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1984

Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog


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Anthony Phillips 1984 album cover
3.66 | 75 ratings | 20 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prelude '84 (4:19)
2. 1984 part 1 (9:06)
3. 1984 part 2 (15:28)
4. Anthem 1984 (2:27)

Total Time: 31:20

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Anthony Phillips / keyboards, drumbox, occasional guitar, basic percussion
+ Morris Pert / percussion
- Richard Scott / basic percussion, effects, vocal ideas

Releases information

Cd. Virgin CDOVD 321 (1991) / Cd. Virgin 261 068 (1991)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Fitzcarraldo for the last updates
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ANTHONY PHILLIPS 1984 ratings distribution


3.66
(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)
8%

ANTHONY PHILLIPS 1984 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anthony Phillips mostly switched his guitar here for keyboards! What a performance! I wonder if Anthony is not as talented on keyboards as he is on guitars: seriously! He does not hesitate here to play TONS of modern keyboards, always VERY MELODIC and rhythmic. The omnipresent use of a drumbox is not annoying at all. Actually, many keyboards parts sound a bit like Suzanne Ciani, especially the "Seventh wave" album, in a less delicate way. It also sounds a bit like Larry Fast's Synergy of the 70's. Although the keyboards really have the 80's sound, it nevertheless sounds quite progressive New Age, not new wave at all. The keyboards are sometimes floating, but mainly they are rhythmic and melodic.

The second half of "1984 part 1" is absolutely memorable: very progressive, the melodic textures change very often; Morris Pert plays some excellent discreet percussions: it ends with a BEAUTIFUL mellow & melodic echoed texture. On "1984 part 2", rhythm seems more preponderant; the melodies are still quite present, but they are a bit less catchy and addictive than on "1984 part 1". "Anthem 1984" is more an ordinary track, only lasting around 2 minutes.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#25964) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by daveconn
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.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#25960) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 03, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Orwellian?

Released in 1981, the same year as Rick Wakeman's album of the same name, I am initially struck by the similarities of the opening track on each. I don't know which came first, and in any case they are sufficiently different overall that there's no implication that one inspired the other, it appears to be just one of those co-incidences.

Given that the album is entirely instrumental, the title "1984" is pretty academic. There is nothing to link the different parts of that story to the music by way of section titles or narration, thus the listener is left to decide for themselves how the music and story relate, if at all.

The album consists of the main "1984" piece in two parts, book-ended by a couple of short tracks. Phillips largely rests his guitar, preferring to perform on keyboards for most of the time. This makes for a laid back, ambient feel a bit like a lightweight Mike Oldfield, with the occasion Banks/Wakeman-esque synth runs. Considering all three participants in the album contributed to the percussion, it is surprising that it is by far the album's Achilles heel, sounding rather processed and amateur.

A pleasant album, but one which has little to make me want to pull it out from the rack on regular occasions.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#25961) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Review by chessman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An amazing album this! I bought it when it was released, back in '81, and have to say I was disappointed in it then. After the wonders of 'The Geese And The Ghost', 'Wise After The Event' and 'Sides', I was not expecting an album so keyboard dominated. I did, however, always enjoy the first and fourth tracks on the album. It was just the two longer pieces that didn't hold my attention - back then! Earlier this year, I spotted this in a second hand shop, and snapped it up for £2.50. The copy I thus obtained is the virgin remaster, and what a bargain it is! I still love the first and fourth tracks, but now also love equally the two middle 'epics'. For those who don't know Ant, they will probably think this an interesting album from some keyboard wizz. For those who do know him, well, it just shows his mastery of more than one instrument. Known, of course, primarily for his 12 string and lead guitar work with Genesis, this may come as a revelation to some. Not much guitar here, (though there is a bit, and mainly electric guitar at that!) but the keyboard work at times is stunning. Take the opener, 'Prelude '84'. it fades in slowly, using the infamous drum machine that was becoming popular at the time, then explodes into a church organ run of almost Bach-like ferocity. This is repeated a few times more throughout the piece, whilst being interspersed with some nice keyboard and guitar melding. A terrific start. '1984 part 1' follows and is rich in subtle keyboard play, with much percussion balancing the sound, and the odd guitar filling in here and there. There are some very catchy moments in this piece, and you will find yourself anticipating them as you become accustomed to the album. There is a moment when pitch-bend is used twice within a minute, first time upwards, then downwards and this is very effective too. '1984 part 2' follows and is almost as good, but doesn't have quite the diversity of the first part. It does reiterate certain themes, however, and is very effective. Towards the end of this there appears the only example of vocals on the album, though these are directed through what sounds like a voice box, and are only used to repeat the word '1984' a couple of times. Finally, comes the very brief yet stately, almost funereal 'Anthem 1984'. Very pompous and grand, it is simply some lovely string chords played to simulate an orchestra. But it is a wonderful way of ending the album. I would recommend anyone to listen to this through headphones, as there is a lot going on here. Comparisons? Well, Ant is Ant, but the nearest I can think of would be Mike Oldfield, round the time of Crisis and Five Miles Out, though Tubular Bells and even Platinum come to mind at times. I enjoy Oldfield as well, but this is a step up from anything he did, IMO. A very underrated album. If you like keyboard led instrumental albums, that hint at Mike Oldfield at his best, then this is for you. Conversely, if you don't possess any of Ant's other albums, then - this is nothing like his other albums! Be prepared!

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#103290) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars 1984, was a year that was supposed to herald the "end of the world" by some Orwellian account, where "Big Brother " would rule and where "sexcrimes" would be severely punished. Well, the year came and went without too much doom, just your usual daily superpower confrontations, wars all over the place, hunger in Africa and lots of "sexcrimes"! Post-disco society was rife with coke fueled partying and general decadence and music wise we had Bowie's histrionic "Diamond Dogs", Wakeman's shallow "1984", Eurythmics' ingenious soundtrack for the famed movie "1984". Prog was on the verge of awakening and resuscitation from many years of mediocrity (with the birth of Marillion and IQ both in 1983). New Wave was now old wave and grunge was getting its ass cheeks slapped, giving it a rather ominous future decade of "Nirvana" and Pearl Jam. In 1981, Anthony Phillips was ardently working on a piece of music that would reflect the upcoming period of doom and gloom and that would also stand the test of time, with enough symphonic stylings to soothe the poor, by then despondent progfan. Prog purists are somewhat unanimous in condemning any kind of drum machine or even programming as the antichrist (well what box could hope to rival Peart , Bruford or Moerlen?) and yet there were some interesting attempts at novel sounds (John Foxx , Thomas Dolby, New Muzik..). Ant's opus is without question among his top albums, not as accomplished as his upcoming 1990 symphonic masterpiece "Slowdance" which remains an all-time prog classic, but a scintillating piece of music nevertheless. The synthetic (Richard Scott) and natural (Morris Pert) percussives are way more intricate than your usual "boom-boom" fare, the reptilian bass-synth escalating the melodies to vivid heights with overlapping waves of synthesized spirals, crests and washes. This doesn't sound Oldfieldian, Eno-ish or TDream-like, as it offers up many heavenly melodies with lots of ingenious soloing. Hardly any crafty guitars or vocals, this is an all-keyboard and electronics fest, perhaps most akin to Geoff Downes' lone 1989 "New Dance Orchestra" masterpiece. From the opening fanfare of the brief "1984 - the Prelude", this album just takes off into some very enjoyable horizons, great driving music actually with the two main title tracks (parts 1 & 2) 15 and 19 minute plus epics, pulsating with a hypnotic strength that is simply remarkable, even 26 years later! It ends with the equally short but stunning "Anthem". To his absolute credit, Phillips always sought new musical playgrounds, whether pop, folk, ambient, symphonic, jazz, lounge, etc. adding his own little very personal touch, sometimes successfully , sometimes not. This delightful album remains a solid monument, a musical highlight in the barren birth of prog's renaissance. 4 wickets

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#132197) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, guitars are keyboards, and drums are drum machines

It is quite remarkable that Anthony Phillips and Rick Wakeman both released albums based on George Orwell's famous novel, 1984, the same year! What a coincidence! Personally, I prefer Wakeman's 1984 over Phillips' 1984.

One notices right away that this album is radically different from Anthony Phillips previous albums (and most of his subsequent albums as well). 1984 is a pure electronic affair and had this been Phillips' only album he might have been placed in the Progressive Electronic category. 1984 too has rather thin and monotonous synthesiser sounds and drum machines. There are no vocals on this album and neither are there any real drums, or guitars, or bass. The sound basically consists of drum machines and electronic keyboards.

The novel, 1984, is a masterpiece, but this album is not I'm afraid. However, it is nonetheless one of Anthony Philips' more interesting albums and it is recommended in addition to The Geese And The Ghost and Wise After The Event (which are stylistically radically different from the present album, and rather different from each other too)

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#229211) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars This work is quite unusual for Anthony Phillips. Instead of the usual acoustic guitar mixed with loops, we have a keyboard driven suite. Many people remarked the fact that this album and Rick Wakeman's 1984 have been published the same year. The difference is that Wakeman's work is effectively a concept album while this one could have had any other title. More than Wakeman, I see simiarities with the instrumental parts of Mike Rutherford's Smallcreep's Day, at least in the Prologue.

All the album has a typical old fashioned Genesis sound and is very lighter than the novel it's supposed to be inspired from. Not properly an easy listening, but everything but challenging for who is used with Genesis.

The problem with this album is that hard fans of Anthony Phillips may be disappointed by an electronic album. Electronic music fans won't find anything new.

The 1984 suite (tracks 2 and 3) has some discontinuities that make it similar to some Mike Oldfield's suites (that's of course not a bad thing). The suite is split into two parts probably because of the vinyl release. I don't see any other reason to have a part 1 and a part 2.

Part 2 is more close to Mike Oldfield than Part 1. Platinum or Crisis may be a reference.

The Anthem is just a closing track with an "orchestral string" arrangement which reminds to some romantic classical music e.g. Mahler.

Non-essential but not bad. Better than some more traditional Phillips' acoustic efforts.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#288735) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars One of the best solo albums by a former member of Genesis. In fact, I think of those solo albums, only Peter Gabriel's third album is better. Even though the last Genesis album Phillips was on was 1970's Trespass, this sounds oddly similar to what Genesis themselves were doing at the time. I think I read once that Anthony borrowed Phil Collins' Roland drum machine for the recording of this album. If that's true, then you are hearing the very drum machine that was used on "In The Air Tonight", for example.

This is an electronic album, very different from most of Phillips' acoustic-oriented material. Besides the Roland drum machine, Anthony uses Polymoog and ARP 2600. He must have had that ARP synth kicking around since the 1970s; almost nobody was using ARP synths in the early 1980s. The sounds of R2D2 in the Star Wars films was made on an ARP 2600, for example. Most keyboardists had moved on to Yamahas and Rolands, or even Fairlights and Synclaviers. Although ARP made some of the best synthesizers in the '70s, the company itself was bankrupt by the turn of the decade.

There is also a little guitar and percussion. Supposedly there is Mellotron here too, but I can't hear it; it must be modified to the point where it sounds like another synth. There are no lyrics but there is a little bit of vocals done on vocoder. There is lots of gorgeous melodies on this album. All the music must have been composed on keyboards because this doesn't sound like something a guitarist would write. "Prelude '84" should have been a hit. I never really cared for "Anthem 1984". It's the shortest and weakest piece on the album. Not a good way to end it.

I don't get the idea of instrumental concept albums, but whatever. The two part title track is the heart and soul of the whole album. Never boring. Lots of variation throughout. The synth playing is really good. A lot of this sounds like symphonic electronic music with a steady beat. But even the drum machine is not just used for time-keeping; it is used to add some percussion effects as well. Overall a really great album, but if you are not into electronic music in general this may not be your cup of tea. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#308249) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 04, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I don't like this "synthetic" album from Antony very much.

It is too much drum-machine oriented, too little (almost none actually) guitar parts. Just a combo of keyboards, totally eighties oriented and quite flat as far as I am concerned.

After a dreadful opener ("Prelude 1984") one gets two long and instrumental tracks without any emotion. They are cold, impersonal, and weak.

The only track that I like on this album is the short and closing "Anthem 1984". Finally a good piece of music! It is all harmony, poetry and melody. It is totally keyboards driven but in style.

I really wonder what came through Antony's mind while he released this work. Two stars is the real limit I can go to rate this below average album. Sub-par synth music from the eighties: that's all that it is.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#312272) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Latest members reviews

4 stars I was a bit disappointed when the first time I bought this album, because this is my first Anthony Phillips' album that I bought. At that time, my expectation was that I could enjoy Ant's famous 12-guitar works such as in his other albums. Sadly, from the first minute until the end, all I coul ... (read more)

Report this review (#394048) | Posted by interstellarboy | Friday, February 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After a series of albums that combined differing approaches with similar instruments, Anthony Phillips decided to try something different. His albums, The Geese and the Ghost, Wise After the Event, Sides, and Private Parts and Pieces were mostly guitar based, mostly acoustic, well respected, y ... (read more)

Report this review (#243682) | Posted by SonicDeath10 | Thursday, October 08, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have had to reconsider this album time and time again. At first I wasn't very fond of it, but that has changed now. This is a perfect "time capsule" record. Meaning, if you had to bury a bunch of stuff from the 80's that would be dug up later so as to get a peek into what life was like back ... (read more)

Report this review (#97189) | Posted by Mcgraster | Sunday, November 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I always liked this album from the start. Apart from some real percussions (played by Morris Pert) it is a true synth album. If you expect some of those clinical 80s sounds then fortunately you will be disappointed: All the keyboards are analogue synths and seem to be played in real time without ... (read more)

Report this review (#95828) | Posted by madnil | Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is just a dull, uninspired piece of monotonous synth-music. It sounds as if it was a work of someone who just bought synthesiser and is heavily charmed by the very fact, that he has one... It doesn't offer any kind of beauty or excitement. Melodies are rather primitive, structure of comp ... (read more)

Report this review (#95800) | Posted by kajetan | Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A tuneful surprise! Admittedly, this is somewhat of an obscure album, but for no good reason I can think of. Phillips must have been mucking about on his keyboards one day and thought . . . hmm, I beleive there's a song in here! Really, I imagine him fiddling around with his drum machine, whic ... (read more)

Report this review (#72121) | Posted by | Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What do you get when you turn a prog visionary loose in a studio with stacks of keyboards? Answer: 1984. This is BIG, complex, layered album. Even today it holds up. Lots of things going on here. My favourite things is the vocals through the box chanting "19 - 80 - 4 . . . . . 1984" That is ve ... (read more)

Report this review (#71360) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Anthony Phillips was the original guitarist for Genesis (he played on their first two albums, "From Genesis To Revelation" and "Trespass"). Since leaving the band in 1970, he has embarked on a long, productive solo career, making many brilliant solo albums of all different styles of music: roc ... (read more)

Report this review (#68996) | Posted by | Friday, February 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this album is a really strange one, with lots of different textures all around. the first 10 times i listened to it i did not really like it, but it grew very much one me, now it is one of ant`s best albums imho, be shure to buy this one, you will not regret it, just take some time with the alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#56756) | Posted by zebehnn | Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 3.75 stars! 3 stars doesn't do it justice. 4 stars might be a little too generous. But hey, it's Christmas Eve, I'm feeling generous! Let's go with 4. Besides, that's the last number in the title of this album, and it's how many tracks are on it - 4! Yes, the drumbox and synthes sound a little ... (read more)

Report this review (#25962) | Posted by | Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Just dug this out after 10 years or more, what do i think... It's great, if you like keyboards/instrumentals with a hint of electronics, you'll love it Lots of well played/multi layered keyboards, some times it sounds like mike oldfield in his early days. good mix of moody and up tempo 'jolly' bi ... (read more)

Report this review (#25959) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 03, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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