Solstice - Silent Dance CD (album) cover





3.24 | 40 ratings

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2 stars Silent Dance is a rarity in my collection of records. Usually, the albums that I loved at the first listen remain well-loved for a long time. Sometimes an album will grow on me, as I give it and myself enough time to do so.

Silent Dance is different; it managed to grind itself down from mildly "interesting" to "irritating". I have played it in every one of the 4 distinct listening modes (hifi, background music, CD in the car and thru headphones), and couldn't pick a single flattering one: all modes sounded precisely 1.5 stars out of 5.

One of the problems I have with this album is what I'd call "instrument abuse". The guitar is too much in-your-face in places, like you'd have in Mahavishnu Orchestra ... sans the trademark virtuosity.

There is also too much of relentless, tireless, almost obnoxious fiddling. I hasten to state that I often enjoy the violin in appropriate circumstances and in correct amounts - be it Irish folk, country, J-L. Ponty or classical (right at this moment we are listening to the most excellent La Quattro Stagioni).

My other problem is with the scarcity and the repetitiveness of the melody lines. Yeah, yeah; concept albums are great, but you can't play variations on the same unremarkable motif for 40+ minutes?

Then, there is another difficulty to cope with - the odd vocals by a female singer, who came close to reproducing the high-pitched screech of Jon Anderson of yore (whether on purpose or by accident). No, dear friends, I do not think she sounds like Annie Haslam .. Annie had the voice of an angel. No angels or such celestial beings have been spotted singin' anywhere near this Solstice album!

I wasn't impressed by the musicianship either, and the sound quality is patchy. To be fair, sometimes the album provides a much-needed respite for the weary listener in the shape of a sparsely placed tasteful and graceful musical passages.

I'd probably smack this poorly made album down with 1 star, but, in recognition of the surprisingly impressive album art, it's going to be a 2/5.

Argonaught | 2/5 |


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