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Anthony Phillips - 1984 CD (album) cover


Anthony Phillips


Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 80 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's unlikely that anyone imagined a totalitarian future this tuneful, so perhaps "1984" is the story of a giant hamster (at least that would explain the cage on the front cover). No matter, since the real story here is how good this album is. Taking a welcome break from the antiquated acoustic music he's known for, ANTHONY PHILLIPS dives into the modern world of synthesizers on "1984", creating an instrumental album that sounds uncannily like TONY BANKS' subsequent work (notably "The Fugitive"). The drumbox and synthesizers can be initially off-putting, leading more than one critic to dismiss "1984" as pedestrian, but on subsequent sittings one discovers the music inside the machine, revealing an album ripe with progressive mind-candy moments. The album begins with "Prelude '84", a joyous introduction to the music ahead (the track was wisely chosen to represent the album on "PHILLIPS' Anthology"). The extended pieces, "1984 Part 1" and "1984 Part 2", introduce pleasant themes and veer off into interesting avenues, some dark and others playful. As a relative novice to the synthesizer, PHILLIPS is too easily enamored of effects at times, but the individual moments of melody and grandeur that arise elevate the musical discussion so that the weaker links are easily overlooked. Although MORRIS PERT is credited on all manner of percussion, the beat is anything but pert here, suggesting that PHILLIPS should have left the drumbox home and engaged Morris more. RICHARD SCOTT, responsible for effects and vocal ideas, does throw some neat ideas out there (he would work with PHILLIPS again on Invisible Men). "Anthem 1984" closes things on an elegiac note (maybe the hamster died), adding little in the bargain.

Even among ANTHONY PHILLIPS albums, "1984" is a sleeper. If you've dug too deep into the work of TONY BANKS or RICK WAKEMAN trying to get your fix of keyboard prog rock, "1984" could be the vintage you're looking for.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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