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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips

1984 (Remastered and Expanded Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

The first disc of this set was originally released in 1981, with a different mix. This is an instrumental album from former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips. Surprisingly it’s predominately keyboard oriented. It calls to mind things like Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Rick Wakeman and Mike Oldfield. It’s also a great disc. This new version includes two CDs. The first disc is new stereo mix of the album. The second disc includes demos, alternate mixes and more. There is also a third disc. That one is a DVD with a 5.1 surround sound mix along with the original stereo mix of the album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

                    
“1984” New Stereo Mix
                 
Prelude '84

The percussion that starts this feels electronic. The cut works out from there into something akin to Tangerine Dream or Vangelis. I suppose Mike Oldfield is another valid reference point. There are some Genesis like elements, too. One of the two shorter tracks, this is a cool ride.

1984 Part One
The first of two epic pieces, this comes in with an electronic meets symphonic and prog texture. As this piece continues to move forward it works through a number of shifts and changes. Vangelis is again a valid reference. It also seems a bit like something Rick Wakeman might do at times. Yes, there are Genesis like sections, too. I really love some of the musical passages here a lot. While Phillips might be known predominately as a guitarist, he really shows that he has some major chops as a keyboardist. I love the sounds and tones that he comes up with, too. I like the cool electronic vibe that closes this.
1984 Part Two
Energetic electronic music starts this, and the cut moves forward from there. This is another epic sized piece. There is a nice balance here between mellower and bombastic stuff as this continues. I think the two reference points I hear more than others are Vangelis and Oldfield. Overall this cut is a bit less dynamic and tamer than the previous one. Then again, it’s also shorter. This does have some powered up stuff, though. In particular there’s an especially effective movement later in the piece that feels quite a bit like Genesis in some ways.
Anthem 1984
Here we have the shortest cut on this disc (just under two and a half minutes). The percussion feels quite electronic, and the song has some Genesis-like qualities in an electronic way.
Disc: 2
                   
Prelude '84 (Early Stage Mix)

In this mix, the piece feels very much like something from Genesis. There are some moments where I’m reminded a bit of Yes, as well. I think I might actually like this better here than on the album proper.

Ascension
This is such a beautiful piece of music. It’s got a lot of Genesis built into it.
1984 Part One (Early Stage Mix)
Somehow, I almost feel this version is stronger than the one that made the actual album, too. It just seems a bit edgier to me. It’s several minutes shorter, too.
Rule Brittania Suite
                        
Sally Theme

This keyboard treatment is powerful. It’s dramatic and melodic. It has some great tones and just works well.

Science and Technology
Suitably, this short instrumental is very electronic and machine-like in nature.
Respect
Just under a minute in length, this is gentle, slow and very pretty.
Church
Another that’s less than a minute in length, this one makes me think of some of the 80s stuff from Rick Wakeman.
Military

This is a rather symphonic keyboard solo. It’s just a little over a minute and a half long.

Power in the Land
The final part of the suite, this is more electronic and synthesized. Yet, it’s melodic and compelling, too.
1984 Part Two (Early Stage Mix)
I think in this case, I prefer the version that made the album. That said, this does tend to rock a bit more. Then again, this is much shorter than the final version, about a third the length.
Anthem 1984 (Early Stage Mix)
This is so pretty. I’m not sure which version I prefer, but it might very well be this one.
Poly Piece (Demo)
I absolutely love this piece. I know that thematically it didn’t fit with the album proper, but I think I like it at least as much as anything there. It’s a powerful piano solo mostly. It has a lot of emotion built into it. It’s fairly classical in nature. It has a lot of beauty. It’s over 16 and a half minutes in length.
 
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