Echoes: The Retrospective

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This English quartet of progressive rock is known for their thorough but imaginative style of music, as well as their use of numerous synthesizers and sequencers. Nearly every song they perform consists of intricate harmonic passages and rich, melodic sweeps, with vocals used every once in a while. Echoes is a comprehensive two-disc set that takes all of their best work and lays it out over an hour and a half. Camel's talents are bewildering, combining accordion, flute, miniMoog synthesizers, and saxophones throughout their music to instill a genuine progressive sound. The tracks, spanning 20 years, include songs from Mirage, Snow Goose, Rain Dances, and Stationary Traveller, just to name a few, and while an incredible 11 albums are represented here, not one track strays from the essence of the group. Appearances by Brian Eno on "Elke" and Phil Collins on "Ice" just add spark to the already amazing tracks. Andrew Latimer, who sings on a few of the tracks, as well as plays guitar and keys, is a stunning musician and proves it on "Never Let Go" and "Rhayder Goes to Town." Lovers of synthesizer and other keyboard machinery will drool over Peter Bardens' detailed playing on "Lunar Sea" and on "Skylines," saturating them both with electrical magic. No other set captures the lifeblood of this prog band quite like Echoes.

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