I wrote this a few days ago as a review for iTunes...
Rajaz by Camel
This album has struck me as being perhaps the magnum opus of the bands entire career. In the same way that Yes has Close to the Edge and Rush has Hemispheres, this Camel album is the peak for the band.
Starting off with an instrumental in the odd time signature of 5/4, "Three Wishes" launches you on a journey of sheer musicianship. After an abrupt ending, "Lost and Found" brings in the lovely deep voice- often compared to David Gilmour- of Andrew Latimer, and is bursting with guitar and keyboard solos in 7/8. The organ-rich "The Final Encore" is reminiscent of the very first Camel album. "Rajaz" starts to wind things down, with layered acoustic guitars and Latimer's wonderful voice. "Shout" is to the album much what "Highways of the Sun" is to Rain Dances, a semi-pop song with progressive edges. "Straight to My Heart" finally starts to rev the engine up again with some more brilliant guitar work as well as one of the most personal lyrics Andrew Latimer has ever written. It describes his childhood with "days full of music."
"Sahara" is an instrumental that seems to be linked to the opening instrumental in preparation for the final track, which reminds me of how the Beatles put the reprise of "Sgt. Pepper" before the grand finale, because nothing can follow that! "Lawrence" is my absolute favorite Camel track of all time, with Latimer's emotional voice and his most overwhelmingly beautiful guitar solos. A high b-note, the highest reachable on a standard six-string, at the 9:20 mark seems to bring a kind of euphoria of music, where everything works together in harmony. It gives me goose bumps every time I hear it!
All in all, I would certainly recommend this album to any Camel fan, progressive rock fan, or anyone in search of some of the greatest music ever written. Latimer certainly will go down as a modern day musical genius!
What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator.
I found another review, quite old, but still very good, on the well respected DPRP website, in which the liner notes are quoted:
ZitatThe music of poets once carried caravans across the great deserts. Sung to a simple metre of the animal's footsteps, it transfixed weary travellers on their sole objective...journey's end. This poetry is called 'Rajaz'. It is the rhythm of the camel.
The wikipedia article might be based on these liner notes, but personally I don't think this really means that all songs on the album are in the camel's walking metre.
Inspired by? Probably. The title track? Likely. The other tracks? Maybe. Maybe not.