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CIRCLES

Solstice

Neo-Prog


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Solstice Circles album cover
2.73 | 26 ratings | 4 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Salu (5:23)
2. Circles (8:30)
3. Soul to soul (7:18)
4. Thank you (5:49)
5. Medicine (5:48)
6. Sacred run (6:16)
7. Coming home (3:02)
Bonus on CD
8. Spirit (3:53)

Total Time: 45:59

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Glass / guitars, backing vocals, programming
- Marc Elton / violins
- Clive Bunker / drums
- Emma Brown / vocals
- Craig Sunderland / bass

Releases information

K7- A New Day Records AND CD 13 / CD-BELLE-97354

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Progshine for the last updates
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SOLSTICE Circles ratings distribution


2.73
(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
17%
Good, but non-essential (71%)
71%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SOLSTICE Circles reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars The right to celebrate

The title track of this album provided me with something of a history lesson. The song is based on an event that took place at the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1985 that apparently has become known as 'the battle of the bean field'. According to Wikipedia, whilst the full account of events remains in dispute, a court judgement six years later found the police guilty of wrongful arrest, assault and criminal damage as they attacked the seemingly innocent festival goers. It is unclear whether the band members where actually there that day.

The music of Circles is similar to the previous two Solstice albums even though the line-up changed once again. Each of these three albums had a different lead vocalist and this time Emma Brown replaces Heidi Kemp and the drummer on Circles is none other than Clive Bunker of Jethro Tull fame. The rest of the line-up remained stable with guitarist Andy Glass, violinist Marc Elton and bass player Craig Sunderland. Solstice is not a very prolific band as they have recorded only four studio albums throughout their 30 year existence (including the most recent one being released this year). Once again, band leader and composer Andy Glass has a good band backing him up, but for the first time there are no keyboards.

Circles is, as noted, the third Solstice album coming three years after the previous New Life and some 12 years after the debut, Silent Dance. It is interesting how similar these three albums are in sound given the distance in time between them. The band seems to be living in a vacuum, seemingly unaffected by changing trends. Whatever else you might accuse Solstice of, you can hardly accuse them of compromising their musical vision for popularity. They seem to have opted for a rather 'timeless' sound that clearly draws on the classic Prog-era without ever coming across as a 'retro' band. Having this said, the present album is a bit less flashy compared to New Life and the Jazz-Fusion influence is mostly absent here in favour of a more relaxed sound. Circles is an enjoyable listen for sure, but the music seems to just 'float' by without demanding your full attention. Before you know it, the album is over and you are left without any strong emotions. It is possible to listen to this music, but mostly I find myself just hearing it.

Bands that come to mind while listening to Circles are Mike Oldfield, Yes (in their most 'relaxed' and least complex moments), Camel (also in their more relaxed moments; think Ice). The Kansas and Dixie Dregs similarities are less evident here. This ought to tell you that this is not very difficult music. It is very difficult to dislike this music, but it is equally difficult to be very excited about it.

I rate this with only two stars, but this does not imply that this is a weak effort by any means. It is just that compared to the previous two Solstice albums, Circles adds nothing new and is less memorable. I recommend anyone who is interested in this band to start with the better Silent Dance and then move on to the almost as good New Life. If you find yourself craving for more after hearing those two albums, Circles is indeed a good addition to your collection. But it is not the place to start.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#280240) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2010

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars Solstice were back but not actually kickin', even if ''New life'' was a great comeback.Heidi Kemp appeared to leave the band at some point, while Marc Elton was unable to perform live due to suffering from tinnitus.Andy Glass found the replacement of Kemp in Emma Brown, a student and session singer, while at the same time he had built a good relationship with former Jethro Tull members Mick Abrahams and Clive Bunker, while producing an acoustic album for the first.Bunker agreed to join Solstice for the upcoming third album.He not only provided solid drumming, but his involvement led Solstice to find a new home on A New Day, a small label set by the eponymous Jethro Tull-related fanzine.Recorded at Audiolab in Buckingham, ''Circles'' originally came out in 1997.

Insisting on producing vinyl-length albums on CD, the new formation of Solstice seems to be pretty tight, but the music on ''Circles'' lacks a few of the incredible melodies and twists of the band's previous releases.New singer Emma Brown has a nice Annie Haslam-like voice, providing a RENAISSANCE/MAGENTA-related spark to the overall melodic music, which has still some pretty strong links with Folk, while Andy Glass' guitar work recalls now more of DAVID GILMOUR's slow guitar solos with a touch of STEVE ROTHERY in some passages.Despite his health problems, Elton is the reason the band is always rooted in old-styled British Folk, great solos and impressive runs are coming out of his violin strings.Compositionally Solstice retained much of their inspiration.The pieces are well-crafted with rich moments and fine soloing by the instrumentalists, but there is certain turn towards more accesible songwriting, which is not a bad thing as far as the music is good.Moreover the album is less keyboard-oriented than any of Solstice's back catalogue at that point with only some supporting colors here and there.Violin, guitars and ethereal female vocals prevail in ''Circles'', which sounds as the most RENAISSANCE-like effort of the band in terms of the atmosphere.

Full respect to a band, that fought hard for a number of reasons to get back on track.Even if ''Circles'' does not belong among Solstice's top albums, it's a fine work along the lines of Folk-influeneced modern Prog Rock.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1164975) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 25, 2014

Latest members reviews

2 stars I find it easier to simply buy a CD and take time to listen to the music to see what I think about it rather than just formulate an opinion by listening to samples from YouTube, Amazon, or iTunes. There have been a few albums and bands who failed to impress me when I gave a casual listen to a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1236529) | Posted by FragileKings | Wednesday, August 06, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I enjoy this release , but I am not sure how good it is.The title track is very good and stands out. Some of the other tracks are not so good , 'such as soul to soul'. however most tracks contain great guitar work from Andy Glass. Their appearance at the Uk Tull convention in 1996 was ... (read more)

Report this review (#28743) | Posted by platform | Monday, May 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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