Exposé Online banner

Geoffrey Downes & The New Dance Orchestra — Vox Humana
(Blueprint BP214CD, 1992/1995, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1997-02-01

Vox Humana Cover art

The second solo album by this veteran of Yes and Asia comes pretty much in two distinct halves: a pop song half and a more inspired set of short vignettes that hint at the simpler strains of Mike Oldfield and Vangelis. For the pop song half various different vocalists appear, and the material is akin to what you'd find on his albums with Asia. Max Bacon sings on a few tracks and these remind me of GTR. But they sort of cry out for the kind of unique guitar treatment that we would expect from a Steve Howe or Steve Hackett. Maybe this is material that was rejected by his parent group. But nevertheless the ghost of Asia runs all through these tunes. And fans of that group will like these as long as they don't expect Howe's guitar or Wetton's voice. The singers here sound very American(ised).

On the artistic side my ears began to perk up. Here he uses his keyboard skills in a different setting for each track. There are three arrangements from The Buggles' debut album, The Age of Plastic, including a surprising ballad version of "Video Killed the Radio Star," and a new extended take on "White Car" that's quite nice. In addition we have a duet with classical guitar; a short choral piece; and a robust reading of Albinoni's "Adagio" that is orchestrated more in a romantic tradition. There are no added lyrics a la Renaissance, though.

Even at its most commercial, Vox Humana displays the sensitive use of keyboards, and (rare in the prog genre) ability to support, rather than constantly lead, that Geoffrey has shown before. But I'd say that the more artistic songs on Vox Humana only prove how much more he is capable of.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 11, 1995 releases, 1992 recordings

Related artist(s): Geoff Downes

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mitchell Froom - A Thousand Days – Solo piano records can be a strong romantic but minimalist statement depending on the performer and how personal he would like to make it. Froom’s biography reads like a who’s-who of modern pop...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues