' What a delight it is to welcome old friends Solstice back to the forefront of progressive music’ - PROG
After 40 years, 2020 feels like we're just starting out. It really does. Our 6th studio album, Sia, is out soon on GEP, recorded with our incredible new vocalist, Jess Holland. Although recorded remotely, Sia was made with love and care and has left us with an almost unbearable desire to play together live.
"Music has given us so much over the years and never more so than when creating and performing with Solstice. Something about the experience and the energy from those who enjoy the music is so uplifting. I remember being totally amazed by the vibe at our very first gig at Berkhamsted Town Hall in 1980, and that generosity of spirit from the audience has been there, sustaining us and drawing us back, ever since." Andy Glass
Soaring violin and guitar weaving around delicately passionate female vocals, underpinned by driving rhythmic complexity - Solstice were an unlikely band to succeed in 1980s Britain. Yet because of their unique vision, audiences in search of an alternative to the shiny 'product’ of the music industry reveled in the band’s performances at all the major festivals and sell-out tours, on which they made the legendary Marquee club their home.
In spite of this live success, bolstered by BBC sessions and national music press coverage of an unprecedented level for a then-unsigned band, by the close of the 80s the members had dispersed to pursue successful careers in session work, soundtracks and elsewhere, leaving only the independent Silent Dance album to keep the memory alive.
Interest generated by a CD reissue in the nineties led to a Solstice renaissance, with two studio releases – New Life and Circles – and a live album – The Cropredy Set – documenting their return to the big festival stage.
Pursuing an intense involvement with traditional music, guitarist Andy Glass once more put the band on hold in order to put his energies into the critically-acclaimed 3sticks, but things once again came full circle. A long-awaited DVD release of the Cropredy performance set the stage for a renaissance in 2007, with the entire back catalogue being re-mastered and issued in greatly expanded 'Definitive Edition’ form, tapping into the current ascendance of musicians mixing traditional influences with contemporary elements, drawing a wider audience for a band who the cognoscenti have loved for decades.
This rich musical heritage provided the foundation for the next stage of the band’s development. With club and festival dates in the UK and, for the first time, mainland Europe, Solstice found themselves playing to a larger audience than ever before, including – the latest in a tradition of bizarre gigs – to the Queen at the new Milton Keynes Stadium. Whilst Her Majesty was unavailable for comment, an unconfirmed rumour suggests that Prince Harry has 'Time for a Toke’ on his iPod.
Following the critical acclaim of 2010 album, Spirit, and it’s live counterpart Kindred Spirits, Solstice released the superb, Prophecy, on Esoteric Antenna, finally providing the band with a platform they had so long deserved. Support, in the form of three remixes, from none other than prog lord, Steven Wilson, and artwork from iconic Marvel artist, Barry Kitson, helped bring the music to the attention of new ears.
2020 finds Solstice on a high. The new album, Sia, sounds like a band finally finding it's true voice. New singer, Jess Holland, brings soul and magic to these beautiful songs as Solstice become the band they've always aspired to be. And what perfect timing for Solstice to sign to GEP, a label that understands and loves both the music and the audience and, of course, was founded as a vehicle for IQ who played with Solstice right at the very beginning.