Press File: 1984 

 

Anthony Phillips: Prelude '84 (RCA)

It's about time that the ex-Genesis guitarist received the attention his undoubted talent warrants, and this release is surely the one to bring him to a wider audience.  Its moody, sepulchral tones are so powerful that it can be readily appreciated even out of context.  Certainly it should convert the person whose wallet won't stretch as far as the album; and the Genesis sound is not as dated as their critics would have us believe!

Alan Coulthard, Record Mirror, 18th July 1981


Anthony Phillips: 1984 (Passport Records)

After a string of inconsistent albums, Anthony Phillips finally has a cogent, cohesive style.  Consequently, 1984 is by far the best album he's ever made.

No doom-and-gloom apocalypse of an album, 1984 is one of (mainly) brightness and hope, and when the music does take on a diabolical aspect, it becomes overpowered with the delicacy of a wind chime or the majestic sweep of a cathedral organ. This sense of futuristic struggle gives the LP its power; the strength and depth of the composition itself gives it a staying power lacking in Phillips' previous work.

Phillips proves here that the instrumental electronic music can be as heartfelt as other more "human" approaches - it all boils down to the artist's degree of involvement with his music.  That involvement comes through loud and clear here.  Phillips' compositional approach is methodical - almost mathematical - in its thoroughness of style.  He achieves an interwoven, multi-layered sound much like that of Mike Oldfield.  Themes are subtly stated, then again more pronounced.  It invokes in the attentive listener a kind of passive participation whereby one can anticipate and become more involved than usual.  It definitely rewards repeated listenings.

That, of course, is the real test of good music - will you still be playing this three years from now?  Probably, because 1984 manages to say something that many more "vocal" albums have not been able to about technology and man's use of it.  George Orwell prophesised a dark, fearful time for our generation.  Anthony Phillips looks upon the future with a clear eye and an open heart.  With such an outlook, how bad can 1984 be?

Bruce Hughes, publication unknown.


Steve Hackett : Cured (Charisma)

Anthony Phillips : 1984 (Passport)

No matter how hard they have tried, Genesis still has not, in the eyes of devotees, recouped from the loss of guitarists Anthony Phillips (exit 1972) and Steve Hackett (exit 1977).  Both alumni have continued with their more personal ventures, often leading to a variety of revealing projects.

Last year Steve Hackett promised that his album would convey "a raunchier feeling," but now that Cured is upon us, it's clear that somewhere along the way he had a change of heart.  While Hackett is too fine a musician to produce a bad album, Cured is shocking in its outright pop sound.  Most of the first side plays like what you'd expect from Toto, Charlie or Hall & Oates - all sweetness and light but done exceedingly well.

Side two is the better bet for something in which to sink your teeth.  "Funny Feeling" is disturbing enough to make its point clear.  Hackett's always lovely acoustic work is spotlit on "Cradle of Swans", but this is basically the only time when guitar is the major statement.

Steve Hackett's albums are always cause for conversation, yet there's not always a lot to talk about.  On the other hand, albums from Anthony Phillips create the exact opposite effect.

Phillips' albums really don't cause a stir, yet they are usually inspired, witty and totally enjoyable.  His latest, 1984, is a concept piece that doesn't come close to falling into any of the normal traps.  It's not intended to change the world, but instead is a compact instrumental story.

1984 showcases Phillips' keyboard savvy and "occasional guitar and basic percussion".  He is aided only by Richard Scott and Morris Pert on extra percussion.  An eight-track recording (relatively rare these days), it is a lean and tidy effort.

Broken into four movements, 1984 moves from "Prelude" to "Anthem" without excessive drama; the themes don't make themselves particularly obvious.  But you do travel from an energetic, mechanized, non-frantic ambience to a slow, emotionally thick resolution, a peaceful, yet somehow melancholy shift during the last few moments.

One can only wonder what Phillips had in mind during 1984's creation, but the mystery adds much to the enjoyment.

Joan Tortorici Ruppert, Illinois Entertainer, November 1981


1984  Anthony Phillips  PASSPORT PB 6006

Unlike many other epic tomes that have been set to music, Anthony Phillips' work with 1984 succeeds.  Opening with "Prelude '84" Phillips teases the listener with a light twinkly intro that, like Big Brother, tries to convince the victim that everything  is just fine.  However, following the 4:19 ruse, one hears the majestic evil that makes up the remainder of this disc.

Phillips is convincing in communicating, via his keyboards and synthesizer effects, the menace that George Orwell predicted.  Excellent, moody listening.

Rating:****+++

J. McAuliffe, Rocking Chair, December 1981


Anthony Phillips  1984  (Passport, LP)

This is the sixth solo album by Phillips, one of the founding fathers of Genesis.  Having left the band in 1970 after recording the first two Genesis albums, he returned to studying music.  Since then he has worked primarily on his own, composing both his solo material and movie soundtracks.

1984 consists of four instrumental pieces.  Phillips relies on heavily-orchestrated keyboards, a Roland drum machine and two well-armed percussionists to carry out his musings.  Basic themes are embellished and then transposed into other forms causing the album to literally flow from beginning to end.  Far from Orwellian, 1984 is sprightly, almost happy music.  Even the last song, "Anthem 1984" sounds contemplative though not melancholy.  Maybe Phillips 1984 is meant to be optimistic music created by the electronic instruments of today.  Sounds good to me.

Marc English, Boston Rock, 5th November 1981


Anthony Phillips, "1984"

A very solid album of instrumental rock in the quasi-orchestral Genesis mold.  Phillips lays down layers of fat polyphonic synthesiser chords in highly dramatic riffs over a growling synthesiser bass that Gary Wright wouldn't be ashamed of, and the drum box ticks away the time.  There are occasional discreet electronic effects, but the main emphasis is on ensemble keyboard work.  The orchestration is consistently excellent and sometimes spectacular , with plenty of new details added to each ongoing sonority to keep up the interest.  For some reason I have a feeling that we're going to get awfully tired of references to Orwell's 1984 in the next three years; Phillips could just as well have called his album something more original.  But if the title gets more people to pick up on a well-crafted piece of music, it will have done its job.

Jim Aikin, Keyboard Magazine, October 1981


Anthony Phillips "1984", written and arranged by Anthony Phillips

It's quite obvious that this former member of Genesis has made a vow to himself to seek out the boundaries of progressive rock and this album reflects the discoveries of his exploration.  The LP is dominated by keyboards, percussive tools and effects and a continuous flow of rhythm box.  Amidst a wide variation of rhythmical timings, there are some brilliant ensemble movements that blend in and out of subtle melodies.  The vocals are very limited (mostly through a vocoder) as are the guitar parts.  All four pieces (Prelude 84, 1984 part 1&2 and Anthem 1984") are crisply produced and arranged in a fashion that takes the monotony out of their long journey from beginning to end.  If you are appreciative of Tangerine Dream or other synthetic artists, then you'll certainly enjoy listening to this collection of songs through your headphones at high volume.

Dennishee Askew, Las Vegas Sun, 23rd August 1981


1984  Anthony Phillips  Passport

With 1984 Anthony Phillips veers off to a new direction.  He abandons the path of his initial five albums and journeys into percussive, electronic fantasy.  The four tracks on the album create a pseudo-cinematic effect.

Phillips enlists the aid of Richard Scott for basic percussion and Morris Pert (of Brand X fame) for the majority of the percussion work.  Phillips handles keyboards and an occasional guitar.  The result is simply the best electronic album to date.

Ron Kress, Princetown Spectrum, October 14th 1981.


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