Tony Banks - Soundtracks (Album Thread)

  • OK, here's a Genesis-related album that doesn't seem to have been discussed much around here... What do you think of Tony's SOUNDTRACKS album?


    I didn't know the album existed until I came across it in a used record shop within a few years of its release. I bought it right then & there.


    At the time I didn't know who Fish was, and probably had not even heard of Marillion. I initially didn't like any of the three singers' voices, and still don't care much for Jim's or Toyah's. (Jim sounds better on the song he did with Steve Hackett. I've never heard anything else sung by Toyah.) Nonetheless, I consider Toyah's track ("Lion of Symmetry") to be a highlight of the album. On my CD copy of the album, "Lion" starts out too loud and has inconsistent volume until a minute or so into the track; I had to do some work on it with recording software to get it evened out.


    Overall, the synthesizers and drum machines are typical in their '80s cheesiness, but I'm accustomed enough to '80s sounds that this doesn't bother me much.


    "Quicksilver Suite: Gypsy" is nicely creepy. Like a lot of the music on the album, it's clearly better than the movie it was recorded for.


    "Redwing Suite: Redwing" has some interesting keyboard effects and is my favorite of the instrumental tracks. For the record, the initial (rather weird) chord is held for a full 1:26. (When I listen to this track, I recall Steve's "Twice Around the Sun," which he claims has "possibly the longest sustained guitar note in the history of recording" -- i.e., about a minute -- and jokingly think, "Well, Tony topped that with his sustained keyboard notes!")


    The music to "Redwing Suite: Lorca" was recycled in the BANKSTATEMENT track "Queen of Darkness" (which I consider to be much better).


    I have several soundtrack albums from movies I've never seen (and probably wouldn't want to see) just because some or all of the music on each is from an artist of interest to me. The one movie I have seen related to a soundtrack album I have is "Quicksilver," which a friend showed me a tape of in the early '90s; I watched it simply so I could see how Tony's music was used in it. As it turned out, Tony's instrumental tracks (adding up to a mere 12-1/2 minutes) managed to serve as almost all of the background music for the film, which seems pretty atypical. (I recall there being just one short section of background music that was clearly Tony's but wasn't on the album.)

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

    Edited 2 times, last by DecomposingMan ().

  • When I listen to this track, I recall Steve's "Twice Around the Sun," which he claims has "possibly the longest sustained guitar note in the history of recording" -- i.e., about a minute -- and jokingly think, "Well, Tony topped that with his sustained keyboard notes!"

    To be fair, that is easy for any keyboard player with the right keyboard. (Here's a puzzler for you, the Mellotron can only hold a note for 8 seconds, due to the tape length, but on "The Voyage" on the Moody Blues "On The Threshold Of A Dream", Mike Pinder holds a note for 11 seconds, without studio trickery. How?


    Anyway, I personally think this is Tony's best album, The Fish track is good, catchy, should've been a hit with some radio play (The video, a spoof on Raindrops keep falling on my head from the Butch Cassidy film, is pretty good too) Lyrically, it's obviously Fish, no bad thing.


    You Call This Victory is better still, I guess it helps if you like Jim Diamond, which I do, the first Ph.D album is excellent. But yes, Lion Of Symmetry is the highlight. Would've been great played live with a suitable lightshow, using UV, and the bass cranked up to 11.


    But the thing that makes it better than A Curious Feeling (which has some great SONGS on it) is that the instrumentals work too, Tony really gets some feeling and emotion in them, whereas the 3 on ACF are just lifeless filler.

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • I still have to purchase this album. I remember I almost bought it some time in the early 90's when I saw it in a second-hand record store. Should have got it.

    Overall, the synthesizers and drum machines are typical in their '80s cheesiness, but I'm accustomed enough to '80s sounds that this doesn't bother me much.

    No need to apologize. I don't know why everybody who talks about 80's music always feels compelled to apologize. "The synths are cheesy, I still like it though..." As if it was guilty pleasure. At the time, the synths were revolutionary.

  • To be fair, that is easy for any keyboard player with the right keyboard.

    That was actually the point of my joke: Holding down keyboard notes for a long time really isn't an accomplishment!

    the Mellotron can only hold a note for 8 seconds, due to the tape length, but on "The Voyage" on the Moody Blues "On The Threshold Of A Dream", Mike Pinder holds a note for 11 seconds, without studio trickery. How?

    I have no idea, but I've heard that he was able to do things with the Mellotron that others couldn't.

    the 3 [instrumentals] on ACF are just lifeless filler.

    Wow, I don't agree with that at all.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

  • 1/ That was actually the point of my joke: Holding down keyboard notes for a long time really isn't an accomplishment!

    2/ I have no idea, but I've heard that he was able to do things with the Mellotron that others couldn't.

    3/ Wow, I don't agree with that at all.

    1/ But with a guitar....... (Actually, you need the right Guitar. Steve has a couple of Fernandez Les Paul copies with a battery operated circuit that, once triggered, makes the string continue to oscillate as long as you want.)


    2/ Indeed, Mike Pinder did have a lot of tricks up his sleeve, most of which he shared with Streetly Electronics, for whom he once worked as a set-up engineer on the Mellotron production line. This particular trick was simple. The Tron has a pitch wheel, which works by speeding up or slowing down the tape motor. He simply slowed the tape down, and played a higher note!


    3/ It's nothing new, I've said it before, ACF has some great songs, Somebody Else's Dream, In the Dark, and Lucky me being maybe the 3 best, but the instrumentals literally do nothing. They don't add to the story, and they're dull as ditchwater. The "Soundtracks" instrumentals, on the other hand, are mostly really good. I suppose it helps that they're not played with that awful electric piano sound Tony used on ACF, and indeed much of that era with Genesis.

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • Christian

    Changed the title of the thread from “Soundtracks” to “Tony Banks - Soundtracks (Album Thread)”.
  • Haven’t heard this in a while, but my favorite song on that album has always been “You call this victory”. And I never was a fan of “Lion …” and I really can’t explain why. It just does not give me anything. The Fish track is also nice and the video is funny!

  • Listening to it for the first time.


    Not a huge fan of the vocal tracks (Jack Hues and Alistair Gordon are the only Tony solo vocalists I like) but the instrumentals are up there with the best he's done. Certainly superior to the ones on Bankstatement and The Fugitive, and on a par with ACF.