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Thread: Solar Minimum - Fresh Opinions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Solar Minimum - Fresh Opinions

    Couldn't wait for my Pre-Order so i loaded it down from Amazon. Helped me to get through a lonely night really feeling lost in that big city Berlin.

    Am i in the mood for that moody stuff, yes I am.

    Many unexpected sounds, songs and vocals. I guess some of the calm and slow songs have to grow on me - but this is for sure nothing negatively.

    After 3 times listening my favourits are:
    It finds you
    Hold on
    Bleed

    The Opener "In the Palm of our hands" sounds great too.

    Lots of piano on many songs and kind of violins on "Better luck next time". That will grow on me fast.

    Don't know why but listening to "Silent Chains" reminds me of David Sylvian from Japan and a song like "September". Don't say a copy, it's about the atmosphere. I love that!!! Same with "The Weight". But i guess comparing these songs to Sylvian is my own personal feeling not everyone can follow.

    Totally surprised about Cy's dark and deep (raspy?) voice on "Other side of the story" and I am not sure, if i really like it. I am afraid to say I will not. (Although I have Tom Waits' "The heart of saturday night" and "Closing time" in my record collection).

    I am sorry that my english is not that good to get Cy's lyrics 100 %. But I am sure that they are again very very good. You can not imagine how much time I spend sitting and reading in a dictionary.

    And if Cy really thinks about singing in french, then "Simply Complicated" would be a perfect song for doing that.

    We are living in 2009 and I don't expect Cy to copy himself and always sound like he did before in the past. So thanks for every surprise and development. Another great record, brilliant in many places, Cy.
    A gift!

    Not to forget: A big compliment to Nick Jackson too...
    Last edited by heimo; 05-27-2009 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    May 2003
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    I havent heared it yet Heimo....its on its way but I have a bottle of wine and some work ready and waiting for me to photoshop as I digest it in.Sounds great from your report mate,thanks for sharing.Dont get too lonely over there in Germany ,we are here for you.

    Dave Snakey

  3. #3
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    A sort of place you don't often find. A quiet room to go out of your mind.
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    It arrived today Thank you Lisa!

    Inaugural spin in affect just now- That voice-you all know what I mean wasn't expecting such a devastatingly moody opener. Love it.
    Last edited by Cary C-Troll; 05-27-2009 at 10:08 PM.

    I don't know what I just said or why.

    From my heart & from my hand
    why don't people understand my intention
    -Weird Science




  4. #4
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    Jul 2003
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    Shepherdstown, WV
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    Honestly - Blown Away

    Not sure what I had expected, but this album completely surprised me. Its fluid and reflective, personal and poetic. This is an album with which you can lose yourself. The thought and effort behind this really shows. Thanks Cy!

  5. #5
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    B side the C side in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, UK
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    Thanks Lisa and Cy.
    Mine arrived yesterday and gets the shrinkwrap removed later when I hit the road for work, best time to get my head around new tunes.
    Stuart at the Welsh Connection

  6. #6
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    May 2003
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    ooooh mine must be soooooo close

    Dave Snakey

  7. #7
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    just had a call from home .........its arrived ,lots of ladies round our house tonight and I am being kicked out.I feel a long drive to the beach tonight to watch the sun come down and listen to solar minimum,anyone care to join me.?

    Dave Snakey

  8. #8
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    Jan 2003
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    Camberley, Surrey, UK
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    Originally posted by spin it
    just had a call from home .........its arrived ,lots of ladies round our house tonight and I am being kicked out.I feel a long drive to the beach tonight to watch the sun come down and listen to solar minimum,anyone care to join me.?
    I could be with you, around 10:30 tonight?
    From the point of ignition
    to the final drive
    the point of the journey
    is not to arrive
    anything can happen

  9. #9
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    aww mate just read this ,can you do it in half an hour.?

    Dave Snakey

  10. #10
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    After only a few days, I'm not ready to do a "track-by-track" but here's what I have so far -

    This is not a collection of songs (like The Returning Sun), it is a piece of work that draws you in, lets you go, then pulls you back with the undertow.

    Solar Minimum is a rich and bold artistic statement - it is brilliantly arranged & produced and it heralds (I hope and believe) a new level of depth & range from Cy himself and The FIXX to follow.

    It is a late night album - echoes of torch songs, Jacques Brel, Debussy...

    I am stunned by the vocals on this album - we all know Cy's range but he has excelled himself this time. Heimo, I will respectfully disagree with you - I think that "The Other Side Of The Story" was made for this delivery.

    Anyway, thanks to Cy, Nick and everyone else involved. Truly inspirational work - more of the same please!
    The world will always turn, with or without your point of view...

  11. #11
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    It only took Nick Jackson 2 minutes and 37 seconds to insert the trademark Pink Floyd echo so prevalent on Its album Over & Out (and probably others too) in the album opener In The Palm Of Our Hands.

    My favourite is It Finds You.
    The Other Side of the Story suggests Cy has been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash. I like the mellotron sound too. Other Side is so different than anything Cy has delivered thus far that it stands up and walks right toward you. There is no ignoring it as attention has been commanded.

    This album strikes me as being very personal to Cy. An opening up of self a presentation of inner feeling, almost like standing naked before a gathering of peers.
    Unlike 80s Fixx albums, Solar Minimum is much more mature, refined, deeply rooted and private.

    Simply Complicated and My Sweet Life go hand in hand and echoes the pondering of hind-sight - the reflection of a mind over variable possible paths chosen at a Fork in the Road, their probable outcomes. Sifting through the rubble of complexity as 50-something years of experience accumulates and begs recognition. Dismissal of regret in favour of contentedness with that which is.

  12. #12
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    Carrie's Usual Long-Winded Review

    Wow. If you're looking for an album to be uplifting, you won't find it here (and it won't find you). It has the feel of a suicidal jumper's last look back before his plunge over the edge, but with that last look back having saved him. I feel lucky, through tears, that Cy has shared these feelings with us, because as hard as it is to hear, if he had gone on trying to keep them inside, we may never have had this album, or any others. [I'm not trying to be dramatic; this is a serious concern]. Morose? Yes. Morass? No. Reaching out for others is a beautiful illustration of trust when you've lost almost all hope.

    In The Palm Of Our Hands and It Finds You open with enough electronic beat contrasted with light piano to keep the mood up, though even here, one can already witness a change, and not just in lyrics. Cy's beautiful voice, capable of mirroring with perfect verisimilitude the entire range of human emotion in the past, is reduced on this album to almost always a muted state, sometimes little more than a whisper, sometimes, in the case of The Weight, not even singing. While he's still capturing emotion perfectly, there seems to be one overshadowing all others - despair.

    I fear that Better Luck Next Time is about the Fixx - "something not broken"? Hopefully, it's just bad circumstances surrounding them, and not regret of all the history the band has made, friendships that have been forged, good times that have been had, influences that have created, and even lives that have been changed for the better. But, Cy seems to say in many places on this album that, though there has been good in his life, he's been somehow prevented from realizing it, feeling it, or having it empower him. I know this feeling all too well, and it's hard to break free from by yourself. We get it from so many places - society, illness, etc., and we need help. What Cy doesn't lack is confidence in asking for it, where some might be embarrassed. I'm so thankful he doesn't carry the shame

    The little snippet of Solar Minimum is a cute moment, reminiscent of another song, though I can't think which?

    The Other Side of the Story gets a great fleshing-out musically that I think is a vast improvement over earlier versions. I'm with Heimo though, the deep voice just sounds unnatural, being so non-melodic, and I didn't know whether to cringe or giggle more (Dan thinks it'll grow on me - probably). On a more serious note, this version seems more pointedly directed at a woman than it has in the past, a subject not tackled in too many Fixx or even Cy songs. Though he seems to wish her well, there is an overarching sense that he'll be better off alone that seems to underscore the collective societal belief that the opposite sex is just too irritating to live with. I hate to think, as a woman, that I automatically irritate men, but I have to accept that I probably do (then again, I probably irritate women, too)! I try not to see gender when I deal with other people, but I think I'm either alone or in a SMALL minority.
    Silent Chains sinks deeper into an ambience of Cy having been drained of life, and The Weight is just so sad I was in tears by this point. I had to stop listening and go back to work, since I was listening to it on lunch, and I was on autopilot the rest of the afternoon, with a huge lump in my throat long after the tears were wiped away. I didn't feel strong enough to listen to any more anyway, and I was glad we were busy, or I would have kept bawling. At first, the song made me want to ask Cy's kids why they put their father on such a guilt trip when he obviously loves them, but then I took their point of view of what it must have been like to see your parent move half a world away. I thought of how my own father seemed a world away from me, and we were living under the same roof when he died. I can't imagine the complexity of the parent-child relationship from the parent's point of view, because I never had (human) kids, but it can be complex enough from the child's.

    Men and women. Parents and children. Can't we all just be living things and get along? Simply complicated indeed - by ourselves. Saved By Zero was never more apt.

    I started back listening to Bleed today, glad to hear a hear a little more beat and a little more strength of his voice in the chorus. I liked the thought in Sail that Cy could get to "the best yet" if he could get out of "the shallow waters", but I don't feel that he gets out on this album. Still, it's a little more hopeful than the previous songs. Hold On carries this a bit further, even, with its jazzy sound contributing greatly. Cy's voice even recovers some of his emotional range by the end. The suggestion that a small step can make all the difference is a beacon of hope.

    I love the...I don't know whether to call it "classic movie" or " French cafe" sound of Simply Complicated, and the song certainly illuminates the problem I was speaking of before of how we clutter and label life until we can't see it, but it sheds no light on how to stop. My Sweet Life is more of a solution, telling us to treasure the small moments, the natural elements, the basics, because that's where the beauty is, delightfully uncluttered. His voice, standing alone at the end of the song, is a shining example, and I look forward to the day when it reflects happiness again (among other things)! I've never been a big fan of reggae, but the tinge of it here works well.

    Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the whole thing, and it's just Cy's attempt to bring calm to frenzied times, but the somber lyrics suggest otherwise. It packs the emotional punch of a friend telling you they're ready to give up, and your telling them to come down from there. Or, remembering being told not to jump yourself. There's just no point in singing happy songs when you feel like that. While it's difficult to deal with, it's no less than absolutely necessary, and the resulting attempt to save a life is something that makes one proud to be human. That's why, as much as a more upbeat album would be easier to listen to, this one is so beautiful. I may not be able to listen to it often, as I over-empathize with tragedy, but when I do, I will remember what was done for me in the past, and attempt to pass it on.
    Maybe on course to the best yet!

  13. #13
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    Carrie ,great personal review,this album appears to have touched you in a way like no other.I love this album,I have a pretty cool life,love my job and family and dont often feel despair or feelings of helplessness.I have felt these feelings but not regularly.
    What Cy does for me is takes me out of this almost idyllic life and makes me think.My musical taste apart from the Fixx is more chosen for melody than lyrics.The fixx drew me in with their sound and then with their lyrics.
    This album takes me out of my comfort zone at times but ushers me back in at the same time.It is not lost on me that in 10 years time my relationships especially with my kids will have run a similar length to Cy s present.
    As Cy says who knows where we will be in 10 years time.One thing is for sure this album will be in my collection if I need a shoulder to cry on.Until then I will enjoy it for the great album it is.

    Dave Snakey

  14. #14
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    Mar 2000
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    Gilberts, IL USA
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    Post

    Very insightful commentary Steve. Your comments are spot on with how I feel about this record. Carrie's review is great as well.

    When I first heard "Other Side", I instantly thought of Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt". For me it helps with the "setting" of the lyrics.

    Speaking of "Hurt", Trent Reznor said in an interview that he was initially hesitant about letting anyone cover the song, but when Cash sent him the completed the track, he listened to it and broke down crying, and called Johnny Cash personally and give him his blessing.

    Cy's conveyance of emotion comes through in a similar manner on these collection of songs...The Weight was a real surprise in both style and lyrics.

    The "Better Luck" vocals reminding me of Peter Gabriel....can't place the track...maybe "Mercy Street".

    Big fan of the first 4 tracks, but I can't get Silent Chains and it's "I Will"-ish piano and chorus out of my head.



    Originally posted by Steve Pariseau
    It only took Nick Jackson 2 minutes and 37 seconds to insert the trademark Pink Floyd echo so prevalent on Its album Over & Out (and probably others too) in the album opener In The Palm Of Our Hands.

    My favourite is It Finds You.
    The Other Side of the Story suggests Cy has been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash. I like the mellotron sound too. Other Side is so different than anything Cy has delivered thus far that it stands up and walks right toward you. There is no ignoring it as attention has been commanded.

    This album strikes me as being very personal to Cy. An opening up of self a presentation of inner feeling, almost like standing naked before a gathering of peers.
    Unlike 80s Fixx albums, Solar Minimum is much more mature, refined, deeply rooted and private.

    Simply Complicated and My Sweet Life go hand in hand and echoes the pondering of hind-sight - the reflection of a mind over variable possible paths chosen at a Fork in the Road, their probable outcomes. Sifting through the rubble of complexity as 50-something years of experience accumulates and begs recognition. Dismissal of regret in favour of contentedness with that which is.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Seattle
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    1,593

    Thumbs up First go around

    Ira put the CD in, cranked up the stereo, and we sunk back into the big cushy sofa...snuggled in together for some active listening.

    This first go around, we listened to the music itself.

    Ira really liked the arrangements. The 2nd song he liked best of all.

    He asked me what I thought, and I said overall this CD reminds me of Sting or Paul Simon (plus noticed that J. C. tone, too). And yet, it's uniquely Cy.

    Maybe because we haven't sat and listened specifically to examine the lyrics, we found the music "moody", but not "depressing" or "suicidal".

    I'd say always "artists=mercurial", like a law of physics, and that's just how it is, no matter what the medium. LOL!

    So, strap in, folks! It's very, very different from "Mayfly", and The Fixx.

    Anyway, next listen, we'll see how the words lay.

    Cheers,

    Kim & Ira
    My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
    ~Dalai Lama

    I reject your reality and substitute my own.
    ~Adam Savage

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