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GEOFFREY DOWNES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Geoffrey Downes biography
- Born 1952-08-25 (Stockport, UK)

Geoffrey (sometimes shortened Geoff) Downes is probably best known for his involvement with YES and ASIA, and before that with Trevor Horn in the Pop duo of The Buggles. After having enjoyed massive success with their 1979 debut single Video Killed The Radio Star and released their first album called The Age Of Plastic in 1980, both Downes and Horn were asked to join Yes to replace Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson respectively. This resulted in the excellent album Drama, also released in 1980. The line-up did not prove to be stable, however, and Yes disbanded in 1981.

This opened up the opportunity for Downes and Steve Howe to form Asia together with John WETTON (ex-King Crimson and UK) and Carl Palmer (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Asia enjoyed big success with their self-titled debut album released in 1982. Alpha followed the next year but there were line-up changes ahead with Howe and then Wetton leaving the group. Geoff would go on with Asia as the band's only stable member and produce many further albums with that band.

In 1986 Geoff would record his first solo album, the instrumental The Light Program for which he adopted the moniker of The New Dance Orchestra. This was followed by Vox Humana in 1992, a vocal album of a more Pop Rock nature. A few further albums using the New Dance Orchestra tag have since appeared including The World Service in 1999 and most recently Electronica in 2010.

Outside of Asia, Geoff has worked with John Wetton and the two of them have released several albums as a duo including three albums that went under the titles of Icon I, II, and III. These albums are listed under John Wetton's discography.

In 2011, Downes rejoined Yes again, more than 30 years after his original stint with that band! This resulted in the album Fly From Here, the title suite of which was based on a song that Downes had developed with Trevor Horn back in the early 1980's. A demo version of the song was recorded by The Buggles and has since been released (in two separate parts) as bonus tracks on that group's second album Adventures In Modern Recording. The song was performed live by Yes during the Drama period and a live recording of the song from New York 1980 ap...
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GEOFFREY DOWNES discography


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GEOFFREY DOWNES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 15 ratings
Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: The Light Program
1987
1.88 | 6 ratings
Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Vox Humana
1992
1.32 | 6 ratings
Evolution
1994
1.50 | 2 ratings
Geoffrey Downes & Glenn Hughes: The Work Tapes
1998
2.95 | 3 ratings
Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: The World Service
1999
2.22 | 4 ratings
Shadows & Reflections
2003
3.16 | 10 ratings
Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Pictures Of You
2012
2.63 | 5 ratings
Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Electronica
2013
3.78 | 9 ratings
Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Suburban Ghosts
2015
3.36 | 25 ratings
Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Skyscraper Souls
2017
3.51 | 21 ratings
DBA IV: Halcyon Hymns
2021

GEOFFREY DOWNES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 3 ratings
Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Live in England
2019

GEOFFREY DOWNES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GEOFFREY DOWNES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 2 ratings
The Collection (The New Dance Orchestra)
2003

GEOFFREY DOWNES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
The Bridge (The New Dance Orchestra)
2006
3.50 | 2 ratings
Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Dreaming of England
2014

GEOFFREY DOWNES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 DBA IV: Halcyon Hymns by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.51 | 21 ratings

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DBA IV: Halcyon Hymns
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by bartymj

3 stars 'Six Degrees of Separation' is the concept that on average, all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. This album is a perfect demonstration of that fact, providing a direct link between the co-writers of one of the greatest prog tracks of all time, Jon Anderson & Steve Howe's Close to the Edge ("My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love, it changed as almost strained amidst clear manna from above"), with the writer of one of the worst songs of all time, Nicki Minaj's Anaconda ("This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles, **** bigger than a tower I aint talking 'bout Eiffel's"). Eurgh.

Here then, is the fourth album of a collaboration between Geoff Downes (Asia, The Buggles, and as part of the Yes lineup on 1980's Drama and from 2006 onwards), and Chris Braide; pianist and award winning producer, most often collaborating with Sia and David Guetta, but writing and producing for many artists including the aforementioned Minaj. So that's just three degrees of separation (Howe-Downes-Braide-Minaj), in six you can link Steve Howe with Miss Scandinavia 2001, via popular video game franchise Angry Birds and Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen. I digress.

Fortunately, the Downes-Braide Association is a chance for Mr Braide to show he has as much to offer the prog world as he does the more commercialised world. I'll state here that this is the first of their collaboration albums I've listened to so can't compare it to earlier ones.

Love Among the Ruins - opens with narration from poet Barney Ashton Bullock before an acoustic start and the first example of Braide's vocals. There's actually something very "Yes" about his style, so not difficult to see what drew Downes to him. The track is given something extra by the soaring electric guitar of Dave Bainbridge, best known for work with Celtic prog band Iona but also now part of the Strawbs lineup. This track, as the title suggests, is a love ballad, not too proggy, but made to feel so by that guitar. (4/5*)

King of the Sunset - David Longdon of Big Big Train joins in on vocals and things get a bit more proggy and darker, but again Bainbridge's swirling guitar is the highlight of the track. It fades out with two minutes to go and gives way to an instrumental interplay between mandolin and guitar which just gives it that little bit more 'prog' (4/5*)

Your Heart Will Find a Way - Perhaps the track designed to be released as a single (it was) to encourage people in, an upbeat anthem with a catchy chorus. Base your opinion of whether or not you'd like this track on your opinion of Owner of a Lonely Heart. An earworm. (3/5*)

Holding the Heavens - Wait a minute, is this Genesis? A 12-string into that's about as classic-prog as it gets, before breaking into another upbeat but calmer track, mainly with Braide's vocals but Longdon returning for the harmonies. It's the sort of song that can put a smile on your face, while not a prog classic, it's simply 'nice'. (3.5/5*) Beachcombers ? Bullock returns with some more poetry dotted amongst a very Anderson/Howe-esque vocal harmony and delicate piano from Downes (3.5/5*)

Warm Summer Sun - My personal favourite, a harmonic duet between Braide and Marc Almond over a melodic piano and string ensemble. I actually got goosebumps the first time round. (4/5*)

Today - Unfortunately I think we actually go from best to worst. This is a track that reminds you of the most lovey- dovey of Beatles numbers, even briefly ripping off the na-na-na-na's of Hey Jude. Suffering through four and a half minutes brings you to another bit of poetry, followed by a great Bainbridge guitar solo, so it's a massive shame I'm bored of the track by its best point. (2/5*)

Hymn to Darkness - Braide's vocals at their best, over haunting mandolin. Almost feels like they could have done a lot more with this, but perhaps that's what makes it half decent (3/5*)

She'll Be Riding Horses - Earworm number two that could have been released by any of the thousands of feel-good power pop bands of the late 90s. Not prog but a guilty pleasure. (2.5/5*)

Late Summer - Downes apparently loves his church music, and this is probably the closest to it. Choral choir and piano melody, and lyrics tinged with loss and sadness. Not much more to it but it does grab you (3/5*)

Remembrance/Epilogue - Many of the best bits of the album combine here; a lot of spoken word from Ashton Bullock, the return of the mandolin melody, and more of Braide's very good vocals, all built on a three chord piano melody which is excellent in its total simplicity. That all works together very well. However, it doesn't develop anywhere, and you get the sense it could have been cut to five or six minutes. Instead we get nearly twelve, and by the end you've got bored of what was a very well put together composition. (3.5/5*)

All in all, very much a mixed bag, but at least its more Yes than Nicki Minaj. I'd definitely recommend giving it a listen, as there's enough variation about it to suggest that there's something for most people. Interestingly though, I'd say the two best personnel on the album are actually not those in the name of the band, but actually guitarist Bainbridge and the poet Bullock. But this is possibly doing a disservice to the 'behind the scenes' composing and producing of Downes and Braide. Definitely worth giving it a go.

 DBA IV: Halcyon Hymns by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.51 | 21 ratings

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DBA IV: Halcyon Hymns
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by Soul2Create

3 stars Wow! This is the most Yes-sounding album of all Downes Bride Association, surely the involvement of Mr Downes in the recording of the new album has something to do with it!. Now, Halcyon dreams is very uplifting, with more space for instrumental breaks than in their previous efforts and very progressive as well. The songs are well constructed and are very catchy, I bet you will be returning to it for sure.

My favourite tracks are King of the sunset and Love will find a way, the most proggy ones (actually Remembrance is a bit of a let down since half of the song is narrated and the chorus overly repeated). Recommended to al fans of DBA, Yes and Asia. 3.5 stars!

 Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Live in England by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Live, 2019
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Live in England
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Since their debut album came out in 2012, which has since been followed by two more, fans have been requesting that Geoffrey Downes and Chris Braide actually perform some gigs to support them. However, both are incredibly busy with Downes recording and touring with both Asia and Yes, while Braide is an in-demand songwriter and producer. In September 2018 they finally made it to a stage at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex, and the set has now been released as a double CD, DVD and vinyl. They are admirably supported throughout by Andy Hodge (bass) and David Colquhoun (guitar), but sadly there is no "real" drummer which is always going to be a deficit to my mind. The set is mostly taken from their previous two albums together, along with a few hits along the way.

I must confess that Downes's versions of "Video Killed The Radio Star" works incredibly well in the more refined context, but that is a solo piece and it is when Braide is singing that the band really comes to life. I must confess to not having heard any of the DBA albums but based on this performance I am missing out. Strong vocals, great hooks, this is a commercial prog band with real presence and if they had a live drummer, they would be a force to be reckoned with. I am somewhat disappointed they included some Asia numbers, as well as the aforementioned Buggles, as although they are good covers (albeit that Braide sings higher than Wetton), they are just that, covers. These guys have released three albums together, but no songs from the first featured here, so why not include some of those and leave the Asia songs out altogether? I am old enough to remember being extremely pissed when Bruce Bruce left Samson and joined Iron Maiden, but I doubt there was any talk of Maiden now performing "Vice Versa". This is a separate band to Asia, so leave the songs to the guys who can really do them justice.

That annoyance to one side, this is a very slick release indeed, and I am sure we would be talking more about DBA if they were more visible, but as it is this is a nice set which never breaks boundaries but is pleasant all the same.

 Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Pictures Of You by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.16 | 10 ratings

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Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Pictures Of You
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by Mike Montfort

3 stars So.. the $64M is .. is this prog? Hmmm

Under the big tent theory.. I'd say sure.. its crossover.. but its at the far pop end.

Why do I write this? Well mostly because I REALLY LIKE this release. Its so very very pleasant, smooth vocals, great keys, lots of very nostalgic (Buggles/Asia/YES drama era) noises. Lush and VERY accessible..

Starting with the first "track" which is a lovely suite, you are drawn into DBA's catchy drum lines and melodically sung melodies. Overall the album has just enough time changes, chord progressions and delightful keyboards to qualify for a prog archive. Is this essential prog listening? Nope. Is it worthy of multiple listens and ownership? Absolutely!!

I look forward to hearing DBA's two other offerings to see what direction they went.

 Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Skyscraper Souls by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.36 | 25 ratings

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Downes / Braide Association (DBA): Skyscraper Souls
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars (Excuse my long, slightly out-of-focus intro!) There has been some bashing of keyboardist Geoff Downes among my prog friends. It usually goes like this: - "What good he's ever done?" - "His participation on the albums Drama and Asia. But that's just about it." That bashing raises its head for example when we're watching an Asia concert: - "He ain't no Rick Wakeman." - "He's really at the edge of his capacities on that solo." At this point I start wondering such attitude. No, he's not Rick Wakeman, why should he be? Downes has done a large part of his musical career in the super group Asia (the classic line-up consisting of Downes, Steve Howe, John Wetton and Carl Palmer). My personal relationship to Asia is rather reserved: the eponymous debut (1982) was among my earliest favourite albums as a kid, and for nostalgic reasons it's still enjoyable to listen to, but I haven't been interested to follow their AOR output much beyond that. The aforementioned Yes album Drama (1980) has been even dearer to me since my teenage years. I was too young to be shocked by the half of the classic Yes line- up being replaced by musicians from The Buggles (you know, 'Video Killed the Radio Star'). But, despite it's me who's always standing against the bashing of Downes among my friends, I really can't count him among my prog heroes. Those two albums are hardly enough to place Downes on my TopTen of keyboardists, and his solo career is totally unfamiliar to me.

It took just a short while for this music to make me feel good in a nostalgic way. It somehow seems to resonate with the early days of my prog voyage in the early eighties. No, it's not as catchy as Asia, nor as exciting or cold-sounding as Drama, but the listener somehow senses where the main composer's musical roots are. I knew nothing about Christopher Braide in advance, but he's a perfect musical partner for Downes. His voice slightly resembles both Trevor Horn and Chris Squire. Also he plays keyboards. Is the music very keyboard centred, then? Well, not so literally, because it's a band effort (featuring guitars of Dave Colquhoun and the rhythm section of Andy Hodge and Ash Shoan, plus several guests). It's full of pop sensibility, and with strong choruses it has some catchiness too. The clean sound with [mock-]orchestral aspirations is mostly in the Neo Prog territory, and to a listener who's grown up with the prog and pop music of the 70's and 80's, it's very easy to connect to. Especially the calmest tracks are rooted in the romantic, classically inspired piano style of Downes, and the edgier "rock attitude" is pretty much absent throughout the 53-minute album.

Most of the guests participate on vocals, but for example David Longdon (Big Big Train) and Tim Bowness (No-man, solo) sadly don't get the lead role. That's why there are no notable sonic differences between the nine tracks. There's one long piece (18- min. 'Skyscraper Souls') which in the end doesn't differ very much from shorter songs, but the music always functions very well, despite the length of the composition. The album contains also some narrative parts spoken by Barney Ashton Bullock, but not so much that it would become an irritating, self-poignant feature. The overall atmosphere is just a little bit melancholic. Nice, accessible, safe prog flavoured pop music with a 70's / 80's retro feel.

I believe it has a lot to do with your personal listening history whether you like this album. If you don't care for pop sensibility and prefer anti-retro modern prog over Neo or Crossover Prog, maybe this music won't win you over. It's like with that Roger Dean cover: surely not among his best, but it adds to the warm breath of nostalgia.

 The Collection (The New Dance Orchestra) by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
2.14 | 2 ratings

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The Collection (The New Dance Orchestra)
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars "And you remember the jingles used to go"

The Collection is a compilation album covering the career Geoff Downes, focusing primarily on his "New Dance Orchestra" albums from the 1980's and 90's. The CD opens with the epic instrumental East West from Downes' first and best solo album The Light Program originally released in 1986. Next up is a track from Geoff's collaboration with John Wetton which sounds like a second rate Asia song. Then follows four numbers from 1992's Vox Humana, the second "New Dance Orchestra" album. One of these is a re- recorded version of The Buggles' hit Video Killed The Radio Star with Glenn Hughes on lead vocals. Three numbers are taken from Geoff's cover album Evolution, and even if I hate that album I must admit that he has chosen the least bad tracks from it; The Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin, Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale, and Kansas' Dust In The Wind. Don't Walk Away is a song from Geoff's collaboration with Glenn Hughes, released as The Work Tapes. This one is just awful!

The "Downes solo" is a live recording taken from the Asia album Live Acoustic and The Journey Begins is taken from the Asia album Rare. The latter album is indeed very rare and it doesn't sound at all like an Asia album but is rather much more in line with Downes' solo output making its presence here very fitting. I believe that this instrumental album was initially meant to be released as a Goeff Downes solo album, but since John Payne played on it the record label insisted on releasing it as an Asia album.

Four tracks are taken from 1999's World Service, another all instrumental "New Dance Orchestra" album. Everything up to this point has been previously released and available on other albums, but the final two tracks are rarer and were new to me. One is a very short demo version of You Can Fly From Here, a song that Geoff has written prior to joining Yes in the early 80's and which were performed by Yes then and which many years later became the title track of a Yes album. Finally, there is an instrumental piano version of Video Killed The Radio Star from a Korg Sampler CD. Personally, I think this is the best version of that song and in general it is the instrumentals of this collection that stand out. But like in most cases, you should start with the source albums.

 Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Electronica by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.63 | 5 ratings

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Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Electronica
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars My only peeve with prog-rock critics is the common reviewing fallacy (in all spheres of music BTW) that seeks to highlight and hammer at: WHAT a musician SHOULD be creating, instead of what they ARE creating. I have always felt that premise to be quite an arrogant and misplaced entitlement, giving the writer some kind of divine perspective on something that does not belong to him in the first place. It's not his muse, nor his inspiration. It belongs uniquely to the artist. Therefore my view has always been based on the quality of the work for what it is, not what it should have been! Many long-careered artists have faced this stupid tendency, be it Jethro Tull's electronic phase (Under Wraps), Oldfield's more new age stuff or even Tangerine Dream's 90s 'fluffier' production. What do you want Thick as a Brick, ad nauseam? Tubular Bells VI? Really?

Geoff Downes is probably one of the most controversial and thus ultra-targeted musicians in prog, still slandered by the 'buggling' Video Star label, still maligned by the Asia AOR slant and unjustly reviled by many as a sell-out. Perhaps that is true in a multitude of ways but his keyboard playing has been superlative on albums such as the 2 Buggles albums, Yes' Drama and more expressly, the dazzling display on the Light Program, the New Dance Orchestra's debut work. The disc remains a sensational example of modern keyboard-driven symphonics. Hey, Geoff has laid a few poor releases, of that there is no doubt but so is life, artistic life in particular. 'You can't always get what you want' was a clever Stones lyric (a rare event IMHO) that should argue against any undue criticism. Yes, 'Electronica' is pure electro-pop, much like acts like recent Midge Ure ('Fragile'), the still urgent Depeche Mode and past wonders like The Beloved, Telex or John Foxx. Intelligent electronic pop music is still better that the slop available on the radio, no? Two great attributes crown this disc: firstly, Ann-Marie Helder is a sensational voice, famous for her work with Karnataka, Panic Room, Luna Rossa, Mostly Autumn, Steve Hackett, Fish, Dave Kilminster, Parade and Tigerdragon. She is my favorite PROG vocalist by a long shot. Secondly, Geoff really does create some stunning melodies throughout and the man has incredible talent on his keyboards.

The end result is to judge for what this is and not what we the fans would wish it to be. There is a lot of good stuff interspersed with little details that suck, best exemplified by the opener 'Shine On', a sublime melody with a perfect delivery from Ann-Marie, great main melody and production but irritated by sloppy 'whoop-whoop' synth loops that make it sound like an old Madonna outtake and then the rather puerile lyrics that do kind of grate on the ears. 7

Then you have a perfect pop song like 'Forgiven', where all is pardoned due to a crushing melody, a heavenly chorus and a mesmerizing searing in the soul. This is one hell of a great song, simple, effective and memorable. 10

'Moving On' shuffles along convincingly, just a bit too accessible but Helder really uses her rich voice brilliantly, you just can't help admire her immense talent. 8

Back to utter sonic beauty with the subtle 'Rainbow's End', a truly lovely melody and a whopping lead vocal that would leave anyone shivering, the synths are breathtakingly haunting while the mechanical percussion is well- conceived. 10

'Breaking the Spell' is very close to the Beloved, a smartly played pop song with dance tendencies, very radio/club friendly. Choppy e-drums and slippery synths rule the roost. 8

Things get interesting with 'Love Is not Enough', a lover's lament at the obvious disappointment of a failed relationship, Geoff's piano glides amid the synthesized carpets, blown away by Ann-Marie's powerful and convincing vocals, full of soul, pain and despair. 9

'Jinx' is quite fun, a slight change of pace and mood that sits well within the flow, a more brooding melody and a quirky synthesized delivery that hints at New Muzik at times, echoing electronic patches , and another conclusive vocal performance from the Helder. 9

The mood shifts once again into a slight more experimental slant with the more dramatic 'Hanging by a Thread', still very commercial but sharply performed, giving the impression that this has been heard before somewhere, sometime. That wee native Indian riff is quite clever and the arrangement gets more room to develop. 8

'Remember the Day' is another top notch tune, pushed by a strong bass synth riff, colliding synth riffs, very electronic and something Madonna would have done with William Orbit in tow. Helder's voice nears a whispering pant which is extremely attractive, seductive and downright sensual. 10

The dance floor shakes with the suave onslaught of 'Dance to the Music of Time', a moody shakedown of pouting lips 'moving to a beating drum', a searing chorus punctuated by a shrill mellotron sound, clanging keys and stunning rhythmic pulses. 10

'Walking through the Fire' continues the melodic onslaught, delivering another divine melody and a masterful display of a voice that understands emotion and feeling. Simple but hypnotic, accessible but utterly pleasing. 9

The much-maligned disc ends with 'Golden Days', a Downes'led piano that thrills mightily, evoking Wakeman at his finest while Ann-Marie convinces us once again with a lovely performance. 10

Though I am a devoted and dedicated progman and have certainly the credentials to prove it, I cannot help to be swayed by wonderful melodies and then be totally seduced by a voice that makes my knees shake. It must be the stupid romantic in me, influenced by the sweet honey of unrequited love. It all started with those 'chansons de geste' I was subjected to in French school! That being said, this will do fine when I have a lightweight day in mind, maybe some cuddling or caressing with my little lady, if I am a good boy!

Am I 'Forgiven' ?

4 pop soda synths

 Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Electronica by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.63 | 5 ratings

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Geoffrey Downes & New Dance Orchestra: Electronica
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Vox humana

Geoffrey Downes has to date released four full-length albums under the name "New Dance Orchestra". These four albums are rather different from each other. The best of the four is by far the 1986 debut The Light Program, an all-instrumental, keyboard-driven symphony in five parts. The second best New Dance Orchestra album is 1999's The World Service, likewise an all-instrumental work. 1992's Vox Humana was more of a song-based album with various guests singing lead on different tracks. This brings us to the present album, released in 2010, entitled Electronica. Comparing this to the previous three New Dance Orchestra albums, the most similar is Vox Humana in virtue of this being a song-based, vocally driven album.

The vocals on all 12 songs are handled by Anne-Marie Helder who has a fine voice. Downes himself stands for keyboards and programming. There are no other musicians involved and there are no real drums on this album and neither is there bass, guitar, or any other instruments. The songs are not poor as such, it is just that this is not the kind of music that I want Geoff Downes to make. Electronica is 100% pure electronic Pop music with absolutely nothing progressive about it. As such, it bears no relation whatsoever to Geoff's previous solo albums or to his day jobs in Yes, Asia or even The Buggles.

Best avoided!

 Evolution by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.32 | 6 ratings

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Evolution
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Degeneration!

Evolution is an instrumental cover album that Geoffrey Downes released in 1993, one year after his vocal album Vox Humana. This is the kind of instrumental covers that you would have expected from some unknown guy playing Midi- keyboards in a bar and not from a professional musician who had played with major acts like Yes and Asia. Geoff here decided to record insipid, instrumental covers of familiar songs by acts like Toto, Foreigner, and Styx. The result is cheesy with extra cheese. The Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin, Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale, and Kansas' Dust In The Wind are slightly better, but still fall far short of the originals.

Geoff could have done something special with some of these songs, but he decided instead to just play it simple in both arrangements and instruments. Frankly, this is an utterly embarrassing album and I wish that this had never been released. How could Downes sink this low?

Strictly for completionists with strong stomachs.

 Shadows & Reflections by DOWNES, GEOFFREY album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.22 | 4 ratings

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Shadows & Reflections
Geoffrey Downes Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Stream of consciousness

Shadows & Reflections was Geoffrey Downes' fifth solo album overall and the second one not to use the "New Dance Orchestra" name. This absence of that name is appropriate as this album is different from The Light Program, Vox Humana, and The World Service in that on Shadows & Reflections Downes decided to go full ambient. Like The Light Program, the present album holds long tracks with only two this time: one called Shadows and the other called Reflections. The former has a running time of over 20 minutes and the second is over 30 minutes in length. But unlike the melodic "electronic symphony" found on The Light Program, what we have here is mostly soundscapes and dreamy, relaxing mood music. Still, there are a few moments here and there where Geoff breaks out of the ambient mood and indulges in some electronic synth excursions and even plays some classical piano. Comparisons to the music of Vangelis is never far off when hearing Shadows & Reflections.

I find this album pleasant and enjoyable for the most part but it is a step backwards compared to the previous The World Service. Recommended only for people with a taste for ambient, electronic music.

Thanks to southsideofthesky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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