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Silent Dance

a Studio release
by
Solstice

Release Year: 1984

Date Label Catalog # Comments
For nearly 10 years following this recording - there was no new release until the band re-formed up for New Life.
This CD has been remasted and included in the 2 CD set called Pathways (released in 1998) along with the New Life CD and additional materials.
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 10/13/2001 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 8/24/2011 2:44:00 AM by: Rob
  1. Peace (6:30)
  2. Earthsong (6:38)
  3. Sunrise (4:06)
  4. Return of Spring (4:53)
  5. Cheyenne (5:59)
  6. Brave New World (8:47)
  7. Find Yourself (6:01)
Marc Elton
Violin, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Andy Glass
Guitar, Background Vocals
Mark Hawkins
Bass, Bass Pedals
Sandy Leigh
Vocals
Margaret Phillips
Fender Rhodes
Martin Wright
Percussion, Drums

Reviewed by Eric on 17 Sep 2002


Having had the pleasure of hearing a couple self produced Solstice tapes prior to the release of this album, I snapped it up almost immediately after it’s release and was not disappointed. Solstice were unique to the 'Neo' prog scene as they did not attempt to cop Genesis or Yes, but combined Folk and Jazz influences similar to Curved Air, It’s A Beautiful Day, and early Renaissance with a hippie athstetic that not surprisingly separated them from most everything happening at the time. Each track is a gem (a couple songs like 'Peace' are reworked versions of earlier material I heard on the tapes), and the vocals of Sandy Leigh are a delight as well as the fluid violin work of Marc Elton. While the record suffered some production problems, overall it’s a fine release and recommended.

There were many things happening in the UK during the 80’s that went well beyond what IQ, Marillion and Pallas achieved, and Solstice is just one example. Check out Red who offered Jazz rock similar to Brand X, and Isotope, or Le Mat and their The Waltz of the Fool LP that mixed Pop, Prog and Baroque music with original results. The list goes on and maybe one day reissues of these and recordings from Dagaband, Twice Bitten, Mach One, Tamarisk and others will appear on CD and finally give these bands the long overdue credit they deserved?

Reviewed by DBSilver on 25 Nov 2013


I have again been listening to the album Silent Dance and I must acknowledge that all the ingredients are there. Unfortunatley it suffers from a poor job of recording/mixing/mastering. Released at a time when Neo-prog was making it's mark (1984) this is music that is better dated to 1972 - 1976 and properly put on disc it would stand with most of the Renaissance recordings of that period. (Only the best Renaissance tracks top the music here). Still, for the year 1984 - it would have to be added to my best of year list.

Sandy Leigh does and excellent job - sounding at times like John Anderson but with a bit more timber. Without a doubt Leigh sounds so much like Anderson because of the music (especially keyboards & guitars) and melodies - which are more often Yes-like than Renaissance-like. The bottom end (drums and bass) will not be mistaken for Squire/Bruford/White however which points more towards Renaissance. The harmonies used to augment her voice in the upper ranges hollow out her vocal making me have to work to hear a female voice instead of John Anderson. Solstice's music is as close a blend between these two referenced bands as I can imagine.

The violin is fresh - and frankly - it is fantastic at times. In Eric's review here he harkens it to It's a Beautiful Day and this comparision does apply - but to my ear a better comparision would be Papa John Creach on 's Red Octopus album because of how the violin fits in with the music and vocals . The song Return Of Spring demonstrates this best by bringing to mind Starship's Fast Buck Freddy in the interplay and harmony. Of course the key difference is that Solstice are clearly progging while this iteration of Starship are not.

This is a band who seemed to have been flash frozen in 1974, discovered in 1984, and then carefully thawed out. To their credit as songwriters and musicians, Solstice never sounds backwards looking - even though a decade had passed from the high point of this type of music. The success must be due to the fact that while they fit perfectly into the genre of 'classical-folk-prog-rock' circa 1974 the bring forth original compositions and an generally original blendings of sound.

For all the compliments I have made I cannot - in 2003 - call this an essential album though in 1984 I probably would have. There is the medoicre quality of the recording of course but also the fact that in 1984 I would have seen this as a very promising debut and because of this promise I would have recommended this album as the first of an expected many from a fine new band. Nearly 20 years later however this recording has less shine because of it's age and gets set aside because it did not lead to bigger and better things.