Anthony Phillips – 1984 Reissue Review

Esoteric Arts have just released ‘1984’ the latest album in their excellent Anthony Phillips deluxe reissue series – review by Tim Darbyshire

AP 1984 1

This is a 3 disc deluxe digi-pack edition of the album. Disc 1 contains the new 2016 stereo mix of the album. Disc 2 contains the bonus material and is identical to the second disc of the 2008 Voiceprint version. Disc 3 contains the new 2016 5.1 surround sound mix of the album on  DVD-A. Also included is a two-sided poster and a 16-page booklet with photos and extensive liner notes – including the customary excellent new essay written by Jonathan Dann. There is a short forward written by Steven Wilson, as this is his favourite Ant album.

Originally released in 1981 ‘1984’ is a radical departure from the more pastoral feel of the albums that preceded it – ‘The Geese And The Ghost’, ‘Wise After The Event’,  ‘Sides’, ‘Private Parts And Pieces’, and ‘Private Parts and Pieces II: Back to the Pavilion’. With relatively few audible guitar parts, ‘1984’ is an instrumental electronic album – mostly synth based with some vocal effects and a variety of percussion. It was also the first Anthony Phillips album not to feature the intricate artwork of Peter Cross.

The album itself is based around 2 long form pieces – ‘1984 Part One’ and ‘1984 Part Two’ bookended by ‘Prelude ’84’ and ‘Anthem 1984’. It’s never dull, often melodic and to these ears at least,  has survived the test of time. All synths and drum machine programming is done by Ant, with percussion provided by Morris Pert of Brand X fame. Use of drum machines was becoming de rigueur at the turn of the ’80s, see Genesis and ‘Duke’ for example….

Stylistically, ‘1984’ remains an anomaly in Ant’s back catalogue. ‘Slow Dance’ (released 1990) also contains long instrumental pieces, but these are orchestrally lush. Ant followed up this album with 1983’s ‘Invisible Men’ – a collaboration with Richard Scott which was totally song-based.

Time for a slight gripe; despite being a decent digipack, I’m baffled why Esoteric chose to change the format of these deluxe reissues. All the others to date have been housed in rigid clamshell style boxes – see photo below. ‘1984’ bucks this trend and also looks slightly odd as the thick spine doesn’t have the  artist or title on it.

Track Listing:

CD 1:

1: Prelude ’84
2: 1984 Part One
3: 1984 Part Two
4: Anthem 1984

CD2:

1: Prelude ’84 (Early Stage Mix)
2: Ascension
3: 1984 Part One (Early Stage Mix)
4: Sally Theme
5: Science And Technology
6: Respect
7: Church
8: Military
9: Power In The Land
10: 1984 Part Two (Early Stage Mix)
11: Anthem 1984 (Early Stage Mix)
12: Poly Piece (Demo)

DVD: 5.1 Surround Mix

1: Prelude ’84
2: 1984 Part One
3: 1984 Part Two
4: Anthem 1984

AP 1984 1AP 1984 2AP 1984 3AP 1984 4AP 1984 5AP spines

 

 

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