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Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog

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Anthony Phillips Slow Dance album cover
4.20 | 208 ratings | 25 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Slow Dance (Part One) (24:01)
2. Slow Dance (Part Two) (26:27)

Total Time: 50:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Anthony Phillips / synths (Jupiter 8, Casio CZ5000), acoustic (6- & 12-string), classical & electric guitars, fretless bass, drum machines (Roland 808, Tom), Emax sampler, sequencer, co-producer

- Julie Allis / harp
- Michael Cox / flute, piccolo
- Ian Hardwick / oboe
- Tjb÷rn Holtmark / trumpet
- Martin Robertson / clarinet
- Ian Thomas / drums
- Frank Ricotti / percussion, "Off Spin"
- Speachi Quartet
- John Owen Edwards / strings conductor
- Gavyn Wright / strings leader

Curio (joke): Speachi quartet on the "Harp" section conducted by Sir Ralph Bernasione (sic)

Releases information

Artwork: Steve Murray And Associates

MC Virgin - TCV 2638 (1990, Europe)

LP Virgin - V 2638 (1990, Europe)

CD Virgin - CDV 2638 (1990, UK & Europe)
CD Blueprint - BP 213 (1995, UK)
CD Arcßngelo - ARC-7259 (2007, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ANTHONY PHILLIPS Slow Dance ratings distribution

(208 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Slow Dance reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Moogtron III
4 stars This album is one of Ant's very best. The music is soundtrack-like, like it's predecessor Tarka (Tarka was actually meant to be a soundtrack). There's no singing on it: the music is a mix between electronic instruments (synthesizers) and acoustic instruments like oboe, trumpet and harp. A mix between keyboard oriented rock and classical music, though Slow Dance has more emphasis on electronic music than Tarka. The record is not unlike " 1984" , though that album suffered from a rather cold, sterile sound. SD sounds warm, and although the music is purely instrumental, it never gets boring. There's a lot of adventure in the compositions, several time changes, and a very original attitude to the use of synthesizers alongside strings and other acoustic instruments. Don't expect any library music. Ant has written a lot of that, but this album showcases far more interesting music. I think this record is quite underrated and is in no way inferior to acknowledged masterworks like The Geese And The Ghost and Trespass (you know, Trespass, Genesis' second album; Ant Phillips was playing the guitar on that one; he was important for the band in those days; I'm insulting your knowledge right now by mentioning this, aren't I?). If you've got a taste for subtle, but interesting instrumental music, than I can recommend this one. It has some of the best melodies and harmonies written by Ant, and the production is flawless and organic. Do yourself a favour, and try being an archaeologist: wipe off the sand from this artefact, will you?
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars All my fellow prog colleagues reviewing this masterpiece are right on target! Firstly, Ant is one of the first and bravest prog artist, with a long history of daring attempts at breaking new ground, some succesful , some less so. From typical pastoral Brit Folk (The Geese & the Ghost") , the whimsical Brit Prog of "Wise" and "Sides" , the sci-fi Prog of "1984" and of course, the massive Private Parts anthology (containing piano only, 12 String only, Synth only, acoustic duets, solos etc..) , this shy, stagefright stricken, very English, cricket loving & ultimately charming prog icon has constantly kept true to his word of doing things his way. "Slowdance" cannot be compared to any of his previous work, simply because it's as close to real symphonic classical music as one could hope to hear in progland. Including orchestral arrangements has not always been a success because of the clash of egos between virtuoso "rockers" and a dedicated group of "serious" music professionals! Why this recording overcomes all the misconceptions is entirely due to Ant's dedication to compose a extensive piece of music that caters to HIS strenghts and HIS vision. Hence, his 12 string guitar stills is the baton wielding conductor, adding lush orchestrations, with glimpses of oboe & flutes , held together with astute use of different keyboards , including various synths which is most courageous under the circumstances. This is a 2 part melancholic suite with a central delicate melody, interweaving pastoral segments with appropriate grandeur where deemed necessary.

Never overtly complex for the sheer sake of being "pro" , Ant prefers to keep things "prog" , in his own special way. Even though "Slowdance" is right on the edge of classical music, this nevertheless remains an album of inspired themes, grandiose playing and thorough enjoyment. Obviously, our more agressive progfans might not find this to be their cup of tea, they must realize that we are talking about Anthony Phillips and this is nor wallpaper music nor is it Dream Theater. This remains my favorite Sunday morning album of all time.

4.5 rhythmic embraces

Review by Fishy
5 stars Extremely underrated album. By listening to this album it comes as no surprise AP wrote a lot of stuff for TV programmes, some parts could be used for such purposes quite easily especially for nature documentaries. But I don't mean this in a bad way, although the instrumental music would improve by adding images to it, this is highly enjoyable on audio as well. There's not much Phillips albums I like to listen to from start to finish. Most of the albums of AP have some moments of brilliance but are failing in keeping my attention for all the time due to the lack of variety of instrumentation. But this is different. You can hear lots of classical instruments like oboe or harp, a string quartet, flutes and many layers of keyboards. Listening to this album I was wondering if this could be described as rock music in any possible way. Some parts are pure classical, other parts have electronic or new age tendencies but not much rhythm can be found on this album. Often the name of Mike Oldfield comes to mind but Slow Dance is a lot more soft. This is the kind of stuff which listeners can use to set their mind on ease and to dream. Like the title suggests, Slow Dance develops slowly from one mood to another on two sidelong tracks. Every now and then the delicate music swells to an impressive wall of symphonic sound but mostly this is soft and gentle stuff. Still the overall mood is melancholic. You shouldn't guess this is work of a guy who started his career as Genesis' first lead guitarist as the most dominant instrument is the keyboard. This album made a fan of me. Since then I kept on looking for another Phillips album that was on par with "Slow Dance but there really isn't one. "Tarka", "1984" and the two missing links albums show some similarities for the orchestrations and atmospheric sounds. The missing links albums are more fragmented as the several excerpt have no relation to each other. As you can expect "1984" was meant to be cold and sterile. On SD Phillips takes time for an organic, warm sound full of beautiful melodies. 25 minutes is a long time for an instrumental track, but I don't mind if the music is gripping all the time. Still can't believe this instrumental music doesn't bore me for one second ; quite an achievement. Some of the excerpts are suitable to be played on their own. Too bad you are unable to play these sections separately. Although being released in 1990, the sound of the album is timeless capturing many style elements which were used to create a romantic mood somewhat comparable to some of soundtracks of the seventies which were typical for that era. Sometimes these kind of romantic moods are too much for my liking. Still a great album anyway but you definitely have to be in a very quiet mood for this.
Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, I can't always give five stars rating. And again I'm going against the stream. When I've marked Beardfish's new album with five stars, two other reviewers gave it three. Not there's majority of five stars, but I'm gonna give it four. I mean there's nothing bad about it, right ?

Now to the album. As a lot of Anthony Phillip's work, it's very quiet. You can even use it as an Ambient Music (special term used by me, sometimes), but that would be waste. This thing has one thing that I appreciate a lot. And I'm not afraid to call it Melody. By the way, I'm probably gonna not use track-to-track style (heh) here. Music here is nice, slow (dance) and pleasant. You're going to love it. Did this first part of first track just ended after five minutes, or is it continuing ? In these collected songs (which are long) is it always hard to tell (for me). It's different rhytm, using other instruments, but something here is similar. Well, everything here is similar to everything elsewhere here, because of theme of this record, but I mean ... yes, this should be one themed track. Even I didn't realise that songs has changed from part 1 to part 2 on a first spin. ENDing now. Nice synth work (or I'm confused and it's real orchestra). Recommended.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Line-up / Musicians: - Anthony Phillips / synths (Jupiter 8, Casio CZ5000), acoustic (6- & 12-string), classical & electric guitars, fretless bass, drum machines (Roland 808, Tom), Emax sampler, sequencer, co-producer With: - Julie Allis / harp - Michael Cox / flute, piccolo - Ian Hardwick / oboe - Tjb÷rn Holtmark / trumpet - Martin Robertson / clarinet - Ian Thomas / drums - Frank Ricotti / percussion, "Off Spin" - Speachi Quartet - John Owen Edwards / strings conductor - Gavyn Wright / strings leader

Curio (joke): Speachi quartet on the "Harp" section conducted by Sir Ralph Bernasione (sic)

1. Slow Dance (Part One) (24:01) (44.5/50) = 8.9

2. Slow Dance (Part Two) (26:27) (47.75/50) = 9.55

Total Time: 50:28

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I quite appreciated the first solo album from this artist. Between then ('77) and this "Slow Dance", some thirteen years have passed and if you take out his "Private Parts II", there were few albums that could thrilled me.

This work is flirting with classic music: this is rendered with several orchestration passages which are not too bad, but as usual: this is not my cup of tea. Most of the music that is played here is rather delicate, very personal and intimate even in the presence of an orchestra.

At times, this piece of music does sound as an early Mike Oldfield one. This is of course not a handicap: I just want to tell that this oeuvre is quite diverse and features a lot of themes throughout its fifty minutes.

Even if you are not a classic music lover (like myself), there are sufficient beautiful moments to share during this "Slow Dance". Peaceful acoustic guitar parts of course, some lovely harp and other truly melodic passages, including some emotional flute ones.

I am afraid though that I won't be as laudatory as some of my fellow reviewers: I guess that depending if you are into classic or not, it will have a major impact on your opinion about this release. You might know my point of view about this by now?

Anyway, this is a pleasant album after all: lots of symphony, harmony and even spacey soundscapes are available. As a whole I would love to rate this work with seven out of ten. But you know the story on PA? So, three stars is the final rate.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Phillips turns multi-instrumentalist on this album, creating a single continuous piece of music on which his guitar playing is eclipsed by his use of synthesisers and other instruments. Don't expect a Tubular Bells retread, however, even considering the similarities in format: this piece is rooted in Anthony's classical music interests, the synths doing a decent (if somewhat dated) job of standing in for an orchestra. Fans of Phillips' guitar playing will feel very disappointed, those fond of his ear for classical composition may be enchanted - for my part, I think it's a good listen, though the rather dated and cheap synth sound prevents it from attaining excellence.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. "Slow Dance" is Anthony's highest rated album on here released in 1990(recorded in the late 80's) but I prefer his debut from 1977 "The Geese And The Ghost". The biggest difference between the two albums is that Philipps almost discards his guitar on "Slow Dance" for synths and there's more of a Classical bent here. The man is such a wonderful guitar player I mean just listen to his work on GENESIS' "Trespass" album for example or his debut. There are a slew of 5 star reviews on here for this one but even many of them complain abut the lack of guitar on here.

It was interesting to read the Mike Oldfield comparisons as I too felt there was some similar ideas. Two side long tracks although apparently conceived as one long 50 minute piece. This is fancy music with oboe, flute, clarinet, harp and trumpet being involved plus a string quartet. Like the two collaborators who reviewed before me this just isn't my kind of music and also feel it's a 3 star record. Part one is 24 minutes long with plenty of tempo shifts while Part two is more about repeating themes and it's over 26 minutes long.

The highlights for me are those rich, lush moments that I just wish would linger longer but no. It opens that way as it ebbs and flows for around 4 minutes before changing. And on part two we get that same lush atmosphere after 12 minutes but not as long this time. The tempo really speeds up just after this rich section which will return after 19 minutes briefly. I do like those oboe led sections early on Part two but I'm not big on the electronics before 10 minutes. I felt that Oldfield connection on Part one after 12 minutes. A yikes moment with that dancing flute after 8 minutes. A lot of sparse moments during Part one.

I'm in the minority here but I "get" the love for this one believe me.

Latest members reviews

4 stars AP's peak in the 90's was reached by this album, which is close to a masterpiece. This album sounds unlike anything else AP has created until now. It feels like a mixture of soundtrack, Mike Oldfield music and JM Jarre with a difference of using real instruments on top of synthesizers. Two gr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2242882) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, August 10, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is phenomenal! I have listened to some of Mr. Phillips other work, and I think his presence really elevated Genesis' Trespass album. The pastoral sound which he brought to that group was sorely missed by me when he left. His music has always been peaceful and enjoyable to some d ... (read more)

Report this review (#1389838) | Posted by branchranch | Sunday, March 29, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a wonder album. Many people know who Anthony Phillips is, yet few actually know his music well. Apart of the conventional, pastoral prog albums early in his solo career (recalling the music of times when he was in Genesis) to many acoustic albums devoted to piano and his beloved guitar. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1377012) | Posted by Thandrus | Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars His magnum opus, no doubt. A work in which all his creativity focused. If Antonio Vivaldi was still alive in our days, I believe he would write music of the same kind. We all know Anthony Phillips as a refined and romantic guitarist who created his own guitar universe, existed in that universe himse ... (read more)

Report this review (#1057386) | Posted by proghaven | Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In 1990, a breath of fresh air. Listed as New Age at the time, a clearly superior sonic flight to it. Calm and deliberate, emotional and rhythmic. One of the few times that this virtuous and skillful musician was surrounded by eminent musician to accompany it, appropriate to the occasion. Often ... (read more)

Report this review (#982893) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A rare example of perfection within the confines of an album suite, 'Slow Dance' is the 'Thick As A Brick" of ambient-oriented progressive music, a must own pair of movements that touches everything from pastoral classicism to infectious worldly beat to electronics and back again, creating a feel ... (read more)

Report this review (#251958) | Posted by Anteater | Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sublime quality in every way, Slowdance is phonically superior over almost 90% of all music in the history of mankind. Being ultra romantic without being lame, Ant Phillips created this piece of art that flows effortlessly over 50 minutes and after listening session, it only leaves a huge impr ... (read more)

Report this review (#247407) | Posted by Jadittir | Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8.8/10 Great Slow Dance is full of shockingly good melodies and mixes various moods into an overall very nice, melodic experience. The entire album may have reached masterpiece status had Ant picked the right use of intrumentation, especially synths. There are moments in this song that sti ... (read more)

Report this review (#144344) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A bona fide Prog masterpiece!!! They don't get much bigger than this. Very few musicians have even attempted to pull off something this grand. Fewer, still, have succeeded. Well, let's call this a brilliant success. From the opening chords, to the final etherial escape, this CD will keep you r ... (read more)

Report this review (#84003) | Posted by Mcgraster | Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't really add much to what has already been said by previous reviewers of this CD. Everyone loves it! All I can say is, to those of you who have not heard this magnum opus, you don't know what you're missing! Unlike many virtuosos, who write music that showcases their particular talent, e ... (read more)

Report this review (#72067) | Posted by | Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I listened to this again this morning, just to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating. Nope - I'm not! This is, to be sure, one of the finest syth/orchestral tracks out there. It's 50 minutes of awesome, melodic sounds. Woven together by layers of sound, booming basses and lilting piccolo's keep ... (read more)

Report this review (#71891) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At almost 15 yrs old, this CD is beginning to show signs of age. Since most of the music is synth driven, the present-day listener will be able to detect some "retro" sounds coming from ANT's stack of keyboards as technology has improved so much since 1991. That said, the music itself continue ... (read more)

Report this review (#50415) | Posted by | Friday, October 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is Anthony Phillips' best album. But I'm not grading this on a curve. This piece deserves 5 stars. It stands up against any other ***** work on this site. This is a complete album. No vocals here, very classical in nature, it's grand, and sweeping. Every time I play this album for other ... (read more)

Report this review (#42712) | Posted by | Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm, torn between giving this a 4 which I think it deserves and a 5 just to help bring it wider attention which it very much deserves. If anyone heard Geese and wants Ant's other best and most consistant work this is the one. The first part is absolutely beautiful and has definite greatness as ... (read more)

Report this review (#25989) | Posted by | Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is impossible not to like this album - especially if you like symphonic music, Vangelis, The Enid and suchlike. However it is not a typical Anthony Phillips album - there is more Classical music influence here than in his classics like The Geese And The Ghost, Wise After The Event, Private ... (read more)

Report this review (#25987) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I cannot for the life of me figure out why this album hasn't gotten more traction. It's brilliant. I read one review of this album somewhere that concluded with "Watch your back Mike Oldfield!" - he wasn't kidding. SLOW DANCE is such a monumental piece of music, it's got to be listened to!!! W ... (read more)

Report this review (#25986) | Posted by | Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the one of three PERFECT Anthony Phillips albums (The Geese and the Ghost, and Antiques being the other two). A totally instrumental album, Ant draws on all his best stuff, save his solo piano playing. Divided into 2 parts, the album thunders and whispers, it exhilarates and saddens. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#25985) | Posted by | Thursday, December 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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