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Anthony Phillips

Slow Dance: Remastered & Expanded Deluxe Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new set is a three-disc release (two CDs and one DVD). The first CD is a remastered version of the Anthony Phillips Slow Dance album. The DVD (audio) features both a surround sound version of the album along with the stereo mix of it. While the mixes are new, this album has been available before. Perhaps what makes this really desirable is CD number two. That one features a lot of vignettes from the album in different alternate versions. None of those have been released before. As to the album proper, this is an instrumental release in two pieces. Essentially each piece was one side of the vinyl LP. This is very much a blend of electronic New Age music with classical and symphonic prog. There are few non-lyrical chorale vocals at one point, but this is all essentially instrumental. It's also quite a strong and intriguing release.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
CD One: Slow Dance Remastered

               
Slow Dance Part One

This epic is 24 minutes long. Mellow spacey keyboard textures start it and move it gradually forward. It drops back for some harp to take over. Then there is sort of a folk prog element that rises up to move this onward. The harp comes back as it continues. It builds upward before dropping way down. Then we get some sounds that are much closer to classical music to continue. That classical element remains as the piece moves forward. At times it gets more playful, while at other points it drops to pure symphonic beauty. By around the 11 and a half minute mark it has worked its way out to electronic prog that's informed by classical music. By about a minute later we're taking into a section that's quite percussive. It rises up from there into the first real progressive rock segment of the piece. Around the 14 minute mark some non-lyrical chorale vocals join. They take control for a bit, but then music rises up to serve as the backing and support for them. It drops down to just keyboards to continue. It works toward more new age type material as it continues. It eventually rises upward toward more rock oriented stuff around the 21 minute mark. That mode eventually resolves this and sets it up for continuation.

Slow Dance Part Two
A dramatic and powerful progressive rock meets classical music element brings this in, like the continuation that it is of the previous piece. There is almost an Alan Parsons vibe to it in some ways. It drops way down around the two minute mark and moves forward with a much more sedate approach, leaning on the classical elements. Eventually we are taken out into more New Age styled stuff after some extended sedate classical music. It reaches  a peak around the nine and a half minute mark and then moves out from there into an electronic movement that still has some classical elements in play. At times this reminds me a bit of Genesis. It gets to more dramatic prog rock territory right before dropping away around the 12 minute mark. Then waves of keyboard sounds rise up to move the piece forward. As it works its way along the road it turns rather jazzy in some ways. Yet, it's still prog rock and still classically tinged. There are definitely hints of Spanish music in the mix at times. In some ways it also makes me think of some of the music Jeff Wayne has created. It resolves to a more mainstream electronic rock vein from there. It rises up toward a crescendo from there. Then it drops to mellower classical music with some hints of percussion in the background. Electronic sounds take over from there in rather New Age style. It grows out to powerful electronic progressive rock type sounds. There is a real symphonic basis to it. Then around the 22 and a half minute mark, it takes on more of a playful electronic element as hints of space rock emerge. It builds upward to some great progressive rock turned New Age sounds. As it drops back downward, more symphonic elements are heard. It gradually works its way downward to end at the 26 and a half minute mark.
CD Two: Slow Dance Vignettes
             

Theme from Slow Dance

This piece is quite symphonic and very pretty. While this is just about three and a half minutes long, it manages to work through some varied sections.

No Way Out (Alternate Mix)

There are symphonic elements at play here, but overall this is more of a rock song. It has some great guitar, and there is a bit of a Spanish flamenco edge to it. It has some interesting melodic movements built within. It's quite intricate and yet manages to rock, too.

A Slower Dance

Jazz and electronic prog merge here. It reminds me a little of Pat Metheny in some ways. It's a classy piece of music.

Guitar Adagio from Slow Dance

There is some accompaniment here, but overall this roughly minute and a half song is an elegant guitar solo.

Touch Me Deeply

This has a bit more of a rock sound to it. It's still an electronic prog number. It has some nice melody hooks.

Clarinet Sleigh Ride

With a lot of classical music in the mix, this is pretty and electronic at its heart. It has a real playful nature to it.

Slow Dance single demo (Alternate Mix)

Mellower, jazzy sounds are the order of business here. This is definitely classy stuff.

No Way Out (Original Mix with Drums)

The drums make this rock even more than on the previous rendition.

Lenta Chorum

Quite classical in nature, this is very melodic and pretty. It has a lot of emotion built into it. At one minute and 16 seconds, it's the shortest cut here.

 
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