Solaris Reviews

Also see: Kollar Attila ~ Robert Erdesz ~ NEARFest '99 ~ Baja Prog 2001

Bookmarks: News ~ Solaris Archives

From: Greg Young
Solaris is an instrumental project band from Hungary which has existed since the early 80s. Their music has a strong melodic content, often laced with Eastern European themes, and is highlighted by the use of dynamics and extended thematic development. There is a great deal of interplay among the lead instruments of flute, guitar and keys which is used to good effect indeveloping their themes. The emphasis is not on providing solo spots for the various instruments, but rather in employing those instruments within the context of the development of the individual piece. 1990 is a 2 CD release which was compiled from various recoding sessions. At times, I find the overall sound to be a bit sterile due to the introduction of some digital synth tones along with somewhat electronic sounding drums. However, these are somewhat minor issues when compared to the overall quality of the release. On the positive side, the guitar has a nice mix of distortion in its tone which insures that it doesn't get lost in the sound yet isn't too overbearing within context. A definite highlight is the 23+ minute piece Los Angeles 2026, with its interlocking themes and gradual buildup. Even the shorter pieces, though, tend to embody the strengths of form mentioned before. In terms of overall output by Solaris, I generally tend to think of 1990 less favorably than their other releases. It doesn't have as much of the prevalent analog synth tones contained in the debut Martian Chronicles, nor anything quite as compelling as the six part title suite of that release. I personally think that the definitive Solaris recording is the Live in Los Angeles 2 CD set. Despite being a live recording, it has exemplary sound quality, and the performances given of their studio material seem to have an added dynamism and immediacy which breathes new life into them.

From: Mark Fonda
Solaris is Hungarian and has been around since 1980 but have split and reformed several times. They are strongly keyboard-oriented with flute, guitar, bass and drums. Their first release 'Martian Chronicles' (1983) is a masterpiece. Their other releases are '1990' (2CD, 1990) and 'Live in Los Angeles' (2CD, 1996) which was performed at Progfest '95. It was a collection of tracks from their two studio albums and featured all their previous members, past and present - different configurations playing different tracks - plus one new studio track. They are all instrumental and sound like a blend of ELP, Camel, Eloy and even Jethro Tull, with lots of analog synthesizers and flute. I can't get much from the liner notes since they are all in Hungarian. 

From: "Andrew J. Rozsa" <>
I was just listening to my national pride-and-joy-group's "Live in Los Angeles" album (what a brilliant album it is!), when on an impulse I gravitated to the Solaris Web site   ....to my great sadness I read the following.... "CZIGI IS DEAD! We have a great bereavement. Istvan Cziglan left us on December 27, 1998. I cannot comment our feelings..." I must be getting old and maudlin, because, between the music coming at me right now and the news...tears are flowing down my cheeks. I just don't think that such young men should ever die. What a loss to us all! I am heart-broken.

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
I just listened to Martian Chronicles last night and was glorying in the great instrumental work that Czigi and company were putting forth.  This is devastating news...long live Solaris!!

From: "Andrew J. Rozsa" <>
I wrote to Solaris and passed on our condolences and told them that their and Czigi's music will live forever...in our hearts, minds...and in those of the millions to come after us.... BTW, "Live in  Los Angeles" is even better than 'Martian Chronicles,' IMO. OTOH, I do love live recordings, if they are of good quality. "Live" is superb.

From: Robert  LaDuca <>
I spoke with Solaris' manager Gergely Borszomenyi this morning.  He said Istvan Cziglan's death, after a long illness, does not change future plans for the band, as he had left Solaris as a musician a couple of years ago. While they are deeply saddened by the loss of their dear friend, the musicians of Solaris will definitely carry on.   The new release "The Book of Prophecies" will be delayed until February.   Solaris is under heavy consideration for a performance slot at the inaugural North East Art Rock Festival in late June in Bethlehem PA. ;)

From: "Dr. Robert L. La Duca" <>
I just received this press release from Solaris mgmt. Don't forget to see them at their second ever USA gig at: the North East Art Rock Festival (NEARfest) on June 27!
SOLARIS : BOOK OF PROPHECIES / NOSTRADAMUS /
Brand new studio album from one of the best instrumental progressive band ever. After the 1995 reunion at the ProgFest Los Angeles and 1996 Rio Art Rock
Festival the band is back again. NOSTRADAMUS is a new concept album. Rich symphonic instrumentation, with a great choir and of course lots of flute, guitar and synth. Let's go back to the 16th century and look into the future (with the past). "We have been interested for long in the 'legend of Nostradamus'. Of course, not necessarily in the way of believing in it. Moreover in such a way as a mystical variation to an important question : how far are we linked to the flow of time ? Indeed, are we separated from time by a wall which cannot be crossed over. This question makes us think because there is no reply." Tracklisting:
1. Foreword - Dedication to Ceasar Nostradamus in the year 1555 of the Lord.
2. Book of Prophecies - Birth of Visions
3.                           -At the Gate of Eternity
4. The First Completed Prophecy - The Duel (Henri II)
5. The Lion's Realm - Elisabeth Of England
6. Wings Of The Phoenix - Hisler
7. 1999 - Ship Of Darkness
8. Wargames - The Third Antichrist
9. The Minute Of The Truth
10. The Last Verse
RELEASE DATE :  22-02-1999

From: "upnsm0ke" <>
> Speaking of...I recently bought their Martian Chronicles and was very impressed by it. Tell me, how does Solaris 1990 stack up to MC???
1990 has some stunners on it. The opening cut, "A Viking Visszater," was the track (on a sampler tape from Doug Larson) that hooked me on to Solaris. 1990 has been reissued since with all four sides of the 2LP set intact on 2 CDs. Plus, there's Live In Los Angeles, also 2 CDs----a great 11min. track appends the live material on there.

From: Mike De Lang <>
After listening to the new Solaris CD every day for about a week now, I need to ask myself...Would I be going out on a limb if I was to say, Best album of 1999? Simply a Masterpiece!!

From: Mike De Lang <>
What little vocals there are on this CD, are in Latin. Besides their regular line up of guitar, keyboards, flute, drums, and two bass players; there are four guest vocalists. One from the Budapest Operetta and two, a tenor and bass vocalist from the Hungarian Opera. Also two guest guitarists and sax player. The vocals remind me a little of that Gregorian style, scary church music that they played on the movie "The Omen". It fits the music very well being that this is a concept album about Nostradamus. That "Gregorian" feel is throughout the whole album. The first song "Book of Prophecies" just blows me away. It's a little over 20 minutes and starts with these Latin vocals, then some nice acoustic guitar, then the crescendo starts to build with some opera style harmonizing along with some killer flute and guitar solos. The crescendo just keeps building and building and when the synthesizers kick in; WOWIEEE!!! The rest of album is just as intense and the production is excellent. IMHO, A Must Have.

From: Jeff Marx <>
Life is good when Solaris gets into the recording studio and serves up some of their magic, which they do on "Nostradamus--Book of Prophecies."  After 4 or 5 spins I agree with Greg Walker who called it unbelievable!  The keys/flute/guitar interaction is as potent as it was way back on Marsbeli Kronikak...add in some "haunting" (see Eli, I'm learning!) operatic and chant elements, and a great concept to wrap the music around, and you get an early album of the year contender.   And there are a few lucky one's hereabout that get to see them play right before Spock's Beard at NearFest on day two, that ought to smoke big time! ("Nostradamus--BoP" Hungary, 1999 Periferic Records).

From: "Richard Zywotkiewicz" <>
I'm really getting into Hungarian prog rock. I've always been into Omega, but yes, these new talents blow them away. I think the best of the lot is Solaris who's Nostradamus cd is a milestone in prog rock. 60 brilliant minutes without let up - a lot of flute, synth keys and fantastic guitar interplay - a hard and soft feel simultaneously. Kind of like Tull's Thick as a Brick meets Grobschnitt's Solar Music. Mostly instrumental as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

From: "Britton Brewer"<>
Greetings! I was interested to learn in the NEARFest program that the members of Solaris played in a pop band called Napoleon Boulevard in the years between THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and 1990. Have any of you heard the Napoleon Boulevard albums and, if so, are they worth tracking down?

From: "Alan J. Mallery" <>
Regarding Solaris and the bass players. They have had 3 bass players in their history. The original was Attila Seres. Next was Gabor Kissabo (who played first in their set) from about 1982-83. Next was Tomas Pocs (who played 2nd) who was on the Martian Chronicles album. When the band reunited for the 1990 album both Kissabo and Pocs are part of the group, so they switch off. At Progfest 95 original guitarist Istvan Ciglan played about half the tracks as well.

From: "Mark Fonda" <> Just in from Solaris [solaris@solarismusic.com]: 1980-2000: the Solaris is twenty years old! A memorial series will be launched from the bootleg recordings of the orchestra Please visit for details our completely reconstructed site: http://www.solarismusic.com News: May 17, 2000 It's not a dream, it is REALITY !!! The first part of the SOLARIS archives is on the market !!! You can listen to the very first songs from the SOLARIS on a brand new CD: SOLARIS archive 1. - Back to the Roots. The first period of the band's life between February and September from 1980 - interesting live versions of some legendary SOLARIS themes and some unpublished compositions. A citation from the cover text: "Even just to put it down is frightening: we were formed twenty years ago! There are four class reunions (held every five year), five football world championships, five Olympics, a transition to a new political system behind us; we're after Gorbachev and Reagan, we still remember the Radio Free Europe, the broadcast breaks on Mondays, the 2.80-forint sausages, the tram on Lajos Kossuth street, T??sik (a football player), who almost spat in the judge's face at the match against the Argentines; a time when Western LP's could only be bought at the flea market or on Museum Boulevard, when L?zl?Cseke and Gy?gy Komj?hy represented two separate worlds yet and when we were convinced that B?a Bart? would stay with us forever on the thousand-forint banknote - and so on, an endless flow of things, hopelessly impalpable for our children . The Solaris has almost become an item on the above list - a memory in the head of those who are fond of keeping old things. As it has become the fate of most Hungarian progressive bands. It did not happen so, due to our good luck. Good luck and to several fanatics who have helped a lot to the Solaris to meet the audience. We would like to celebrate this 20-year anniversary with them and with everybody who has ever been touched by our music. We have searched and found recordings never published before, or early, unpublished versions of music recorded in a different way in the old days." On the next archive issues you can follow the SOLARIS-sound transformation step by step?concert for concert? These recordings technically are not ideal but you can feel the fresh power of these songs which undetectable in the studio recordings (much more feeling, much more noise?) !

From: Andrew Rozsa <> Solaris has a new official web page. Other news... they decided to dig up their old archives and publish them as official bootlegs. Started with their 1980 stuff.."Solaris Archive 1. Back to the Roots." There seems to be another album "Rockhullam" ("Rockwaves"), also from 1980, that I haven't seen before. Several mp3 files are available for download, including complete tracks from these "new" archives stuff. Check it out, if you like them. http://www.solarismusic.com/  Viszontl??ra ? minden j?,

From: Carsten Busch <> A message I got from Periferic.  If you're near Budapest: GO!
Hi Carsten,  I ask you to put the news into your mag.about our festival (PERIFERIC MUSIC FESTIVAL) on Aug.12. Three bands to play : After Crying, Attila Koll? (Solaris flutist) with other Solaris members and guest musicians performing Musical Witchcraft and the biggest surprise is ex-EAST guitarist J?os Varga with two other ex-EAST musicians play the instrumental progressive music of early EAST of the seventies. This material was never released and we are going to put out a CD of this music in autumn.  Venue : Park Theatre at Buda (Budapest) Doors open : 5:30 pm Showtime : 6:30 pm Tickets : 25,- DEM  Just on the weekend when the FORMULA 1 race will take place in Budapest at Hungaroring. Cheap hotel rooms are available.

From:  "Andrew J. Rozsa" <>
Date:  Sat Mar 23, 2002  6:12 pm
Subject:  Re: [e-Prog] quidam & solaris/erdesz robert
>Nothing has been posted on the Solaris site for a year. Anyone know what's happening with the band?
I am following the Hungarian forum on Solaris: http://forum.index.hu/forum.cgi?a=t&t=9004095&uq=80
and everybody is waiting for NOAB, the second volume of the Solaris archives. The digital remaster of "Los Angeles Live" is identical to the original, with the addition of a bonus track "Rio Concert" (5:00). That's about it.
BTW, did y'all know that Kollar Atilla is a physician (radiologist)?
Erdesz Robert (Robi)'s "Meeting Point" is both a pleasure and a disappointment.

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