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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips

Private Parts and Pieces II

Review by Gary Hill

This is an album in a series of discs showcasing various unreleased tracks by Anthony Phillips. Phillips was the original guitarist in Genesis, and listening to this collection it is interesting to note just how much of an influence he seemed to have on the band, even though he only worked on their material up to and including Trespass. Some of this stuff, being essentially out-takes, is a bit hard to take, but much of it is quite pretty and intriguing. This is definitely a must have for fans of Phillips and for those who were taken by the early Genesis sound.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Scottish Suite
Phillips bills this as "a collection of Scottish salmon farmer's songs and 12th century Paraguayan tin-miner's threnodies". Well, I am not sure about that explanation, but some of this is quite interesting and very Genesisish at times.
Salmon Leap
A dramatic and powerful intro starts this in a very Genesisish mode with cinematic overtones starts this. It runs through a triumphant sounding segment then drops to a piano based movement. It become pretty and atmospheric, then it jumps briefly to a prog stomp ala "Squonk", then alternates back to a more sedate movement before rushing headlong into that Squonkish section. . It plays through that for a time, before altering to a new triumphant movement then dropping to the pretty atmosphere. Although Phillips was far gone from the Genesis fold after the first album, this one interestingly enough feels as if it could have been at home on the Wind and Wuthering album, and the aforementioned segment truly does call to mind "Squonk" Apparently Phillips' influence on the band outlasted his tenure with them.
Parting Thistle
This next section is based on a deceptively intricate acoustic guitar melody. This is quite pretty and gentle and accompanied only by keys that flavor it. Although this doesn't wander far from its beginnings, it is lovely and soothing.
Electric Reaper
More acoustic guitar work starts this cut. It builds on that in more modes that are Genesisish, but not overtly so. This comes across as a gentle, yet invigorating prog jam in these early segments. Then it jumps up to something more akin to good ole rock and roll for a short time. Next another brief element enters before the weirdness ensues in the form of backwards tracking that is rather strange. This runs through, then fades away as a new gentle melody takes the composition. Then it quickly also fades out.
Amorphous, Cadaverous and Nebulous
Early sections of this feel like a lot of chunks of music taped together. There is some interesting stuff here, but it is hard to follow and a bit unsettling. Eventually a guitar melody enters and holds the song for a while, growing and maturing in waves. After a time, this ends and a new dramatic hard rocking prog instrumental excursion begins. This is again quite in the mode of old Genesis and serves as the outro.
Salmon' Last Sleepwalk
Effects start this, then a pretty melody ensues backed by backwards tracking. This one is quite sedate and relaxing. It is fairly brief and not exceptionally dynamic.
Lindsay
This is a pretty acoustic piano melody. It is poignant and quite classical in tone, calling to mind some of Beethoven's gentler works in the mind of this reviewer.
K2
Atmospheric and textural tones gradually begin this one. Then a sort of sonic dissonance enters, but not n a jarring manner. This cut is very slowly flowing and non-abrasive, focusing more on tones than melody. That is not to say that never makes an appearance, because it does, but rather that texture and atmosphere seem to be the true focus of this extended keyboard composition.
Postlude: End of A Season
This is an extremely brief acoustic guitar solo.
Heavens
A beautiful and powerful keyboard solo, this feels quite classical at points and very atmospheric at others.
Spring Meeting
This acoustic guitar melody covers a lot of moods and texture.
Ramona's Aria
This one is a short backwards piece of weirdness.
Chinaman
Another short-lived cut, this guitar piece feels a lot like Phillips' work in Genesis and is quite pretty.
Nocturne
Sedate and enchanting, this is another acoustic guitar solo.
Magic Garden
This is essentially another acoustic piano solo in the classical vein, but it wanders intro more electronic ground before ending.
Von Runkel's Yorker Music
This short track is a balladic one that has a nice texture.
Will O' The Wisp
Echoey, filtered guitar makes up the core of this one.
Tremulous
This comes across as olde worlde and playful. The majority of the piece is played on a reed instrument, at times accompanied, at times solo.
I Saw You Today
This is a "real" song with vocals. It is rather slow moving and feels a bit like a cross between old Genesis and old Pink Floyd. Phillips shows definite talent as a singer.
Back In The Pavilion
This is another piano solo.
Lucy: An Illusion: Extra Track
Another piece with vocals, this really feels like an old Genesis song, but with some minor Beatles like leanings showing up occasionally. It is a strong ballad.
 
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