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Illusion Import


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Amazon's Renaissance Store

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Biography

The career paths of bands with long and rich histories are akin to fingerprints; no two are identical. No such statement could be more appropriately applicable than to the forty-four year career of British progressive rock pioneers Renaissance.

The band, acclaimed for their unique blending of progressive rock with classical and symphonic influences, can trace its origins back to 1969 ... Read more in Amazon's Renaissance Store

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Illusion + Renaissance + Turn Of The Cards
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Repertoire
  • ASIN: B0000073BA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,464 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Love Goes On
2. Golden Thread
3. Love Is All
4. Mr. Pine
5. Face Of Yesterday
6. Past Orbits Of Dust

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Soft Machine Operator TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Sept. 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album was started by the original lineup of Renaissance, but never completed as the band split up. John Hawken recruited a new lineup that included Mick Dunford and recorded "Mr Pine" and then the original members minus Hawken got together some time later to record the excellent "Past Orbits of Dust". The album was only released in a few countries at the time - the UK had to wait for a few years before it came out here.

Despite its history, this is actually a good album. Whilst it may lack the tightness of the debut, the song by Dunford is interesting in that it features an extended instrumental passage that would appear on a later Renaissance album - and of course, this lineup is the link between the original Renaissance and the one that had great success in the 1970s, as besides Dunford, Betty Thatcher appears as a lyricist.

This is more "prog rock" than the previous album with less of the classically infused piano. Mr Pine and Past orbits of Dust are highlights and will appeal the most to prog rock fans. Of the other songs Love Goes is memorable with its acoustic, slow opening that changed pace in the middle, and Face of Yesterday.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EARL JASON-JET on 7 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
As i write this there is only one review of this little known masterpiece by Renaissance MK I; criminal. I always wonder what the music business would have been like if Keith Relf hadn't been tragically taken away from us?, his parting was a loss that cannot be underestimated. I've a real soft spot for this classy, cool and original piece of work, the songs are beautifully crafted and takes you on an journey of love, dreams and of course illusion but it's very subjective and like all great works listeners will have their own views and perspective, the theme threads it's way through the album with understated brilliance, the playing is superior, so precise and clear at times that it will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, the crisp and angelic vocals of Jane Relf add a further dimension to this masterpiece and am i the only person on the planet who believes Janes' vocals are just as good as Annies'?. This is an album that was created by people who love music, who wanted to create something special and different and i'd like to thank them for giving me the listener the pleasure of enjoying it for past years and for years to come. P.S. My vinyl copy and CD copy Repertoire-5106 dont have the three extra tracks on them as what is listed on this new Esoteric copy, i've listened to the three extra tracks and feel that although of interest add nothing to the album overall and in my opinion 'Past Orbits Of Dust' was a perfect finale to this great album.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Not bad for a transitional album 14 Mar. 2003
By Robert R. Josef - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Although "Illusion" is billed as the second album by the original lineup of Renaissance (guitarist/vocalist Keith Relf, his sister Jane on vocals, drummer/vocalist Jim McCarty, bassist Louis Cennamo and keyboardist John Hawken), it's actually more complicated than that. The founding members
did complete the first three songs and "Face of Yesterday". But then the band began to fall apart, with McCarty,
then Keith Relf, and then Cennamo, leaving in rapid succession. But the band had begun to develop a following in Europe, so Hawken made what would turn out to be a key personnel change, guitarist Michael Dunford. Dunford in turn brought in Terry Crowe on male vocals, Neil Korner on bass and Terry Slade on drums. This lineup recorded "Mr. Pine" and hit the road with Jane. However, the original band was still under contract, so while Hawken toured, Keith Relf assembled the rest of the originals (with Cennamo bringing in pianist Don Schinn) to record "Past Orbits of Dust".

With all this internal turmoil, one would expect "Illusion" to be very uneven. As it turns out, though, in many ways, it's a better album than their debut. The band cuts down on the winding jams and concentrates more on melody. Two of the contributions, Keith's "Love is All" and " and Jim and new lyricist Betty Thatcher's (who would prove to be a key addition to the team) "Love Goes On" are delightfully catchy pop songs, with nice vocal harmonies and rather dated hippy-dippy lyrics, but that's OK.

Other tracks stick more to the original vision of the band -- classical/rock hybrids. The Keith/Jim co-write "Golden Thread" is a forerunner of what the band would do in the 70's, with an extended piano intro, vocalese by Jane Relf, apocalyptic harmonies. Jim's high, thin lead vocal leaves a lot to be desired. His solo contribution, "Face of Yesterday", is a highlight. Hawken's gentle piano compliments Jane Relf's soothing alto lead voice singing a sad lyric of regret.

"Mr. Pine", written by Dunford, is the most sophisticated but least cohesive of the songs. Hawken's harpsichord leads the verses, but then it changes into an extended electric organ jam based on Jehan Alain's piece "Littanies", followed by a folky guitar buildup. Finally, Keith and Jim come up with the 14-minute "Past Orbits of Dust", a space-rocker similar to Pink Floyd songs of the era, with more far our lyrics by Thatcher and nice three part harmonies. Unfortunately, they make the same mistake here as with the first album's "Bullet", with the driving rock trailing off into ambient, directionless noodling on bass and electric piano -- filler, and the album's low point.

Keith's production sounds echoey and distant, which might sound disconcerting to those used to the fuller arrangements of 70's Renaissance. Still, it will appeal to people who like melodic progressive rock, with Jane Relf's vocals worth the price. By the time this was released in 1971,(in Germany only!),she and Hawken had also left. They, and the new Renaissance, would move on to bigger things. For those interested in the band's roots, "Illusion" is probably a more accessible introduction than the first album. New fans, though, should try the fourth album, "Ashes are Burning" before working their way backwards to here.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The Lost Renaissance Album 3 Sept. 2000
By Chris Gerbig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
1971's Illusion was originally only released in Germany and unobtainable for many years. This album is by the FIRST Renaissance lineup, founded by Keith Relf and Jim McCarty (ex-Yardbirds) and featuring his sister Jane on vocals. Less accomplished than the later masterpieces produced by the Annie Haslam led incarnation, this is still an interesting archive item. It has a much more folky and dreamlike atmosphere than the first Renaissance album. Jane's voice has become a little stronger and she harmonizes well with her brother on the opening cut "Love Goes On". John Hawken (who later joined the Strawbs) plays some beautiful piano on "Golden Thread" which is a nice amalgam of folk and classical music with delicate vocals from Keith, quite different from his Yardbirds days. This preludes the vocal style he would use later on the classic Armageddon track "Silver Tightrope". The masterpiece of this album is the sedate and wistful "Face of Yesterday", with more lovely piano and Jane's vocals at their best. This song was also later performed by Illusion (an almost complete reformation of this original Renaissance lineup) in 1977, after Keith had sadly passed away. The long, meandering "Orbits of Dust" features some great electric piano, jazzy percussion and a more psychedelic vibe. Michael Dunford performs on "Mr. Pine", a song he wrote. When the band dissolved, he was left to carry on the name and recruited Annie Haslam and the other musicians who were to form the definitive lineup. "Illusion" has several moments of great musical virtuosity and atmospheric strength. Fans of either RENAISSANCE lineup and of the later band ILLUSION should enjoy this.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
RENAISSANCE ILLUSION 16 Feb. 2006
By YARDBIRD FAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
THIS FEATURES THE ORIGINAL LINE UP.IT WAS ONLY RELEASED IN GERMANY.THIS IS MORE FOLKY THAN THE FIRST ALBUM.LOVE GOES ON IS A CATCHY SONG WITH NICE HARMONIES BY KEITH AND JANE.JANES VOCALS ON FACE OF YESTERDAY ARE MAGNIFICENT.ALSO VERY GOOD VOCALS BY KEITH ON LOVE IS ALL,THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE TRACKS.PAST ORBITS OF DUST IS A LONG TRACK WITH A PSYCHEDELIC SOUND AND ECHOEY VOCALS FROM JANE.MR.PINE IS A VERY GOOD SONG THAT FEATURES HARPSICHORD BY JOHN HAWKEN.KEITH ISNT ON THIS TRACK.FANS OF RENAISSANCE AND ILLUSION WILL ENJOY THIS CD,I DO.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The bridge between Renaissance Mark I & Mark II 22 May 2008
By DM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a longtime Renaissance fan, I didn't even know this album existed until I stumbled across a badly taken care of UK LP copy in a used record store. I didn't know that there were Renaissance lineups where some members of Mark I & Mark II (the mutually exclusive lineups of 1969-70 & 1972-80) played together. I didn't know that most Mark I members were not directly replaced by their Mark II counterparts, but by transitional members (of which some lasted longer than the originals did).

Most of this album was made by Mark I before it fell apart, but it also features the only released music from the turbulent "lost" period (1970-72) between Mark I & Mark II. The rather un-Renaissance-like "Mr. Pine" features Mark I members John Hawken & Jane Relf, Mark II member Mick Dunford (himself technically a transitional member prior to his return in 1973), and transitional members Neil Korner (previously of the New Vaudeville Band), Terry Crowe & Terry Slade. "Past Orbits Of Dust" was recorded around the same time, mostly by departed Mark I members reuniting to finish the album. Like most Mark II albums, but unlike the one fully Mark I album, ILLUSION has some lyrics by poetess Betty Thatcher.

Besides its historical significance, this is overall a better album than Renaissance's 1969 debut. "Love Goes On" is a nice bit of post-'60s pop. "Golden Thread" (brought down a little by Jim McCarty's shaky lead vocal - his only full lead with the band) points forward to what the band would be doing later in the '70s. The almost 15-minute "Past Orbits Of Dust" may be overextended filler, but it's a good song in its own right; think of it as "Renaissance meets Traffic."

The indisputable highlight here, though, is "Face Of Yesterday" (later re-recorded by the Renaissance Mark I reunion band named Illusion after this album). Besides showing (along with other songs here) that Jane Relf has finally come into her own as a vocalist, it is simply a beautiful song -- better, in fact, than most of what Renaissance ever did before or since. Where did the drummer for the Yardbirds learn to write like this?

A must for Renaissance fans.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Renaissance - Transitional Album That Does Not Quite Work 15 Jun. 2012
By Steven Sly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Being a long time Annie Haslam era Renaissance fan I have always been curious about the early albums before the classic lineup came to be. I checked out the first Renaissance album and was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Bering that in mind I decided to delve into "Illusion" hoping for a similar find. Unfortunately this one does not stack up nearly as well, and does not do nearly as much for me. The band was pretty much falling apart at this point and I think it shows on the album. The best track is "Mr. Pine" which featured Mike Dunford who would go on to lead the more famous next incarnation of the group. The rest of the album is a mish mash of half finished ideas and meandering instrumental interludes. The final track "Past Orbits Of Dust" has it's moments, but at almost 15 minutes eventually wears out it's welcome. In the end this was a transitional album that did not live up to the material that came before or after it.
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