Jose Cid: 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Venus e Marte (1978)
I don’t know much of who José Cid is. Apparently he’s a big pop star in his native Portugal. What I do know was he’s been around the music business since the mid 1950s, being in several bands, including Quarteto 1111 (which existed in the late 1960s to mid 1970s). But in the mid to late 1970s, José Cid decided to pursue the prog rock path.
The last Quarteto 1111 album, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas (1974) was said to be Cid’s first journey in to prog rock. The band broke up and Cid decided go solo and continue on in this prog direction. First he released an EP in 1977 called Vida (Sons do Quotidiano), which is loaded with lots of Mellotron, Mini Moog, and string synths. It’s a concept disc dealing with life from birth to death (apparently, life ended on this disc with an automobile accident, since you hear a car crash, before the disc ends with a synth solo). I have never been all that fond of the Vida EP, mainly because I found it a bit too downbeat and depressing for my liking. Luckily his next project, this time, a full LP, would be quite an improvement, and that would be 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte.
This time, Cid went for a concept more to my liking: sci-fi. The album deals with the destruction of the Earth from the usual (wars, pollution). A Man and a Woman escapes in a spaceship only to return to Earth some 10,000 years later to find the planet returned to her former beauty. If anything, this album sounds something like a Portuguese version of Eloy.
This recording reminds me a little of that band’s 1977 album Ocean, except the fact José Cid had the sense to sing in his native Portuguese. This whole album is a vintage keyboard lover’s dream come true. The gatefold features Mr. Cid standing next to his assortment of keyboards, which includes a piano, two Mellotrons (the small white 400 model), Hohner clavinet, Mini Moog, and several keyboards I can’t recognize. He also did the singing, and had a band backing him up, including bassist and guitarist Zé Nabo, and drummer Ramon Gallarza. Scottish-born guitarist Mike Sergeant (from the British band Marmalade, and a former member of Quarteto 1111) guests on one of the songs as well.
The first two songs, “O Último Dia Na Terra” and “O Caos” are nothing short of incredible. The Mellotron choir sound has got to be heard to be believed! I just loved that spacy sci-fi sound that sounds so ’70s. And if you’re a Mellotron fan, you can’t argue with an album in which one of the songs bears the title of “Mellotron O Planeta Fantástico”, another great number, I especially like the use of bass guitar and the Moog synthesizers. Of course the Mellotron is ever present.
“A Partir do Zero” is another good one, I especially love the use of synthesizers on that one. But I could not understand why the album had to end with “Memos” which is mainly the main piano theme found on one of the earlier songs on the album, “Fuga Para O Espaço”. For all the effort José Cid put in to 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte, it’s too bad the label (Orfeu Records) treated him like shit and was reluctant to release this album. The reason was it was not commercial enough (that, in itself, make a prog rock fan like me happy).
The album featured some very elaborate packaging. It was a gatefold with a killer full color six page lyric booklet with some wonderful sci-fi artwork. It cost Orfeu more money to manufacture the album with the packaging, so Cid decided to give away the album by not being paid royalties. The LP, unsurprisingly, was a big flop in Portugal, and it apparently hurt Cid, so he went the more commercial Portuguese pop route after that album (apparently, anything he did after 10.000 Anos isn’t worth wasting your time on if you’re a prog rock fan).
A small California-based label called Art Sublime reissued this incredible album on CD with LP-sized packaging, with the same gatefold and elaborate lyric booklet the original LP had. It also included the Vida (Sons do Quotidiano) EP as a bonus cut.
Apparently 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte is highly sought after by collectors, but I have never met any diehard prog fan who has heard of this album. But still the same, if you like spacy, Mellotron-heavy prog rock, and if you like late ’70s Eloy, you’re bound to enjoy this album!
– José Cid: vocals, piano, Mellotron, ARP Solina, Mini Moog, electric piano
With the help on 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte (1978) of:
– Zé Nabo: guitar, bass
– Ramon Gallarza: drums
– Mike Sergeant: acoustic guitar on O Caos
With the help On Vida (Sons do Quotidiano) (1977) of:
– Zé Nabo: guitar
– Guilherme Scarpa Inês: drums
– José Carrapa: lead guitar