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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 August 2012
English psychedelic band Kaleidoscope - not to be confused with the American band of the same name - issued two albums and five singles on the Fontana label in the UK between September 1967 and August 1969. Cherry Red associate label Grapefruit have gathered all of this material together for the first time on this definitive two CD collection. Grapefruit is a label worth checking out if you like this type of material issued in comprehensive packages - this from their website:

"Managed by David Wells, Grapefruit is Cherry Red's bespoke psych/garage-era imprint, devoted to issuing single-artist career anthologies (The Herd, The Sorrows, The Knickerbockers) and definitive versions of rare and/or classic albums (Duncan Browne's debut, Skip Bifferty, Tinkerbell's Fairydust) dating from the 1966-70 timeframe, with all releases boasting sympathetic artwork, rare photos, detailed liner notes and from-the-masters sound quality."

David Wells has enlisted well-known CD compiler John Reed to help him co-ordinate this particular project and David has written and illustrated an informative booklet to accompany the two CDs. The booklet contains band history, discography, album sleeves, record labels and band photos in a true labour of love.

The two albums, "Tangerine Dream" and "Faintly Blowing", are presented here in their original stereo mixes, but the album tracks which were additionally released on 45s are also presented as the released 45 single mix. The stereo mix for "Tangerine Dream" is of its day - when probably greater effort went into the then more popular mono mix - and sounds a little dated now; the mono singles mixes having a more balanced sound. "Faintly Blowing", although only a couple of years later, has a much better stereo mix and a more dynamic sound. All the tracks are licensed from Universal Music - the current home of the Fontana label - and sound as if they are from the original Fontana master tapes.

Kaleidoscope went on to become Fairfield Parlour in the seventies, again without too much success, but this, their legacy from the late sixties still stands as a fine body of work. With lovely melodies, killer hooks and a good smattering of whimsy why the band never achieved greater fame is one of rocks enigmas. However, David Wells has done them proud with his "Further Reflections" and is the only compilation you need for the definitive English Kaleidoscope. Five stars and thanks to David and John for an excellent project.
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on 7 October 2017
Brought as present for my son who seems pleased with it
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on 26 January 2013
I knew nothing of this band until reading about them in Rob Young's book Electric Eden, and listening to their two albums I am surprised that they didn't enjoy success in their day to match their abilities, but we all know that commercial success isn't distributed according to level of talent.

Tangerine Dream feels in part like a whimsical foray into the hazy heart of flower-power, with all sorts of allusions to childhood and fairytales, but that sense falls apart somewhat upon paying closer attention to the generally melancholy and sometimes pretty dark lyrics, which often return to themes of depression and isolation.

The album starts off with the request "Relax your eyes, for after all, we can but share these minutes" before bursting into the playful high spirits of Kaleidoscope, sounding almost like a childrens television show theme, all sensory delights, but this is followed by the resigned Please Excuse My Face ("...I feel dead, I'll hide myself away..."). For me this odd pair of songs don't make for a particularly strong opening salvo, the album really gets going with the propulsive and shimmering Dive Into Yesterday, and doesn't look back.

Mr Small, The Watch Repairer Man is an exquisitely crafted vignette about a man on the edge of society who people only value because he is giving away his expertise for next to nothing. This song is a highlight and it sits comfortably amongst many similar miniature portraits of unusual characters by the likes of Syd Barrett and The Kinks. Something about the exuberant singing in the relatively straight-forward Holidaymaker also brings to mind Syd Barrett. The Murder Of Lewis Tollani is one of my favourites, a chilling, atmospheric piece precarious on the verge of madness. With most songs under 3 minutes each the 8-minute-long The Sky Children stands out for it's length as it concludes the album in dreamy style.

Amongst disc one's bonus tracks, single A-sides A Dream For Julie and Jenny Artichoke are very good. The former preceeded Pink Floyd's lovely Julia Dream by three months and I have to wonder if there is any connection, whilst the latter is a rather perky but nevertheless catchy and fun piece reminiscent of Donovan's more upbeat material. Why these two songs weren't hits I can only imagine...

Faintly Blowing is to me as strong as Tangarine Dream, though more rocking and sure-footed. A couple of songs divert from the psychedelic vibe into that curious sub-genre "Dylanesque", whilst the title track takes some hints from The Beatles' headier psychedelic songs. Snapdragon is a gorgeous song, one of those happy moments when everything seems perfect. (Love Song) For Annie is also very cool, schizophrenically alternating noisy boisterous passages with quiet folky sections. If You So Wish is another example of Kaleidoscope at their best. Bless The Executioner is a mellow piece with Donovan written all over it, unfortunately the lyrics to this song don't agree with me, so I tend to pass it by, along with the second "Dylanesque" song The Feathered Tiger. I love the song between them, Black Fjord, all overblown theatrics with a string section accompanying the band adding cinematic drama - yes it might be a little silly but I still like it. Again Kaleidoscope close with a longer song, though this time it's a heady tour-de-force of distorted guitars and rampaging drums, whilst down-right bizarre phasing and an amusing assortment of sound-effects help create a surreal finale.

Do It Again For Jeffrey and Balloon, Kaleidoscope's last singles, aren't as strong as the best pieces on Faintly Blowing and illustrate a slight drop in quality as the band made more compromises with the record label, still trying to get that first hit single.

I am disappointed with the sound quality on this release, anything loud distorts, which is a real shame and does a disservice to the music and its creators. Also, half of the bonus tracks are the "single mix" of album tracks, but these mixes are so close to the originals as to be superfluous.

The booklet comes with lots of pictures of the band and album and single artwork, along with an essay that sheds some light on their story. I'm really glad to have a copy of this release, I don't have a broad enough knowledge of the music scene from which Kaleidoscope came to compare them to many of their contemporaries, but it's pretty fine stuff.
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on 19 July 2012
Kaleidoscope Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 for the first time has there first two albums together Tangerine Dream and Faintly Blowing. When I put on disc one the sound was awesome then the second disc as soon as I put it on the loudness wars came out of my speakers the sound was brickwalled and loud like the life of the music was sucked out of the disc! The booklet does not give any information on who mastered these disc's? Disc one great disc two what a letdown on the sound! The booklet is nice the disc's come in a jewell box this is my first encounter with Grapefruit records my question is where did they get the source for Faintly Blowing? This great English band deserves top notch quality Grapefruit let them down on disc two which sounds like it might be a clone of the German label Repertoire? Three stars as disc two brings this set down.
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on 15 December 2015
I've been waiting years to find this, replacing the well worn Albums, hidden away in the garage. Love it !
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on 22 March 2016
Very good CD - enjoyed listening to tracks that I had not heard for ages. Recommend.
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on 29 April 2013
I bought "From Home To Home" by this group (under their later name of Fairfield Parlour) a couple of years ago and loved it from the first play and still play it often. This double DC of their earliier material, although still having an undeniable quality to it, wasn't such an instant hit with me and it took time to grow.

But grow it has and I'm playing it and enjoying it more and more. Such a shame that the classy sound and wonderful interpretation and production quality of this group didn't achieve more success.
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on 11 September 2012
In the mid to late 1960s there were two bands called Kaleidoscope. One was a great, experimental, 'out there' psychedelic band of the day. Well worth checking out. This is the other one. An average British beat group that noticed the patchoulie blowing in, stopped playing 'smokestack lightning' and bought some new clothes.

Having said that, the results are some pleasant enough pop songs with some some effective and pretty sound effects, wrapped around some innocuous faux hip lyrics (except when they get 'serious' - avoid 'A lesson perhaps'). And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact the first album, Tangerine Dream, is a pretty decent slice of pop pretending to be psychedelia. But nothing more. According to the liner notes this album is on a par with the Kinks' VGPS or the Zombies' O&O. I think not.

The second album, Faintly Blowing, is a heavier, more serious work (according to the liner notes). It's also nowhere near as good.

So if you're looking for a bit of nostalgic psychedelic pop, this should pass muster. But if you're hoping to come across another of those great lost groups of the 1960s (of which there appear to be so many), try that other group with the same name.
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