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Anthony Phillips - 1984 CD (album) cover

1984

Anthony Phillips

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 98 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars To Anthony Phillips is primarily associated with gentle progressive folk/pop/rock with an added sense of baroque music. At least I thinkt that's correct when speaking of his 70's output with what I am mostly familiar. Being a very gifted guitarist and possessing a mild mannered voice the music on "1984" comes across not as a schock but rather a surprise. Now, surprises can be sweet as sugar but also unpleasant in a myriad of ways.

There's a serious 80's sound on this album that cannot be denied and definately not ridiculed. One has to remember the time in which the music was recorded. Given that the electronics of the late 70's and early 80's might come across as cheezy, one must approach this album bearing that in mind. Gone are the guitars (for the most part anyway) and enter all sorts of electronic instruments, including drum machines. I love this approach and find it not only charming and endearing but also great in so many ways.

The novel "1984" is quite something. Dark and foreboding. The words of Orwell may be quite the challenge to transform into theater, movie or music. Some say it can't be done but I beg to differ. The darkness in the novel transforms beautifully into music, especially when conducted in this very much modern (for it's day) and electronic, futuristic fashion.

There is a deceptive gaiety in this opus similar to the songs in the book, made by machines and sporting a cold joy that is lacking in heart and soul. I suppose I really want to say "artificial joy". In the novel Big Brother supplies the citizens with supposedly everything needed, from chocolate to music. It is depressing but extremely evocative and exciting piece of literature. The music of Phillips is, however, not without heart. It is brilliant and manages to portray this false smile of totalitarianism to a degree of perfect splendour. And while the music is cold and futuristic, one feels the love Phillips has put into this project. The result is a very melodious and engaging experience, sporting a multitude of melodies one can't wait to hear.

This is truly the audio companion to the novel and I find it to be one of the finest examples of early 80's prog. While instrumentally lightyears away from his previous work, the essence of Phillips genius is there. Easily 4 stars.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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