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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lineup Fluctuations, 2 Sep 2009
The Soft Machine Operator (COVENTRY, WARWICKSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Illusion (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Renaissance:- The Revival Of Art And Learning, 7 Aug 2011
This review is from: Illusion (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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Illusion by Renaissance
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