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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips

Private Parts & Pieces XI - City of Dreams

Review by Gary Hill

Each album Anthony Phillips releases is quite different from the ones around it. This particular set is made up of atmospheric electronic music that calls to mind things like Tangerine Dream and Synergy. It's a mostly restful collection of fairly short pieces. It's also a fine entry in the Anthony Phillips catalog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
City of Dreams I
Rather mellow and atmospheric, this is also quite lush and electronic in some ways. It's a short piece at just over a minute long.
Piledriver
As you might expect from a piece called "Piledriver," this comes in more rocking, but also quite synthesized. It's a powerful bit of electronic music.
King of the Mountains
Lush and very pretty, this has definite classical music elements. Yet it's also atmospheric, at least in terms of the opening section. Some electric guitar rises up after a time, weaving some great lines of distorted melody. This makes me think of both Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd quite a bit.
Coral Island
Gentle electronic elements create a pretty sonic tapestry on this piece.
Astral Bath
More energetic keyboard sections bring this into being. Again, I can hear comparisons to Tangerine Dream, but also to Synergy. It shifts toward the more textural as it continues.
City of Dreams II
A dream-like quality is built over the top of this piece. It grows upward within that same concept.
Air & Grace
Delicate and quite pretty, piano drives a lot of this number.
Tuscan Wedding
Textural and pretty, this is a tasty number.
Mystery Train I
I love the building modes on this piece. It's a intricate piece of electronic music that works quite well.
Sunset Pools
More textural sounds are in place on this slow moving number.
Sea & Sardinia
Somehow this atmospheric number really does feel like an underwater excursion to me.
Watching While You Sleep
Another slow and textural piece, this is gentle and pretty.
Night Owl
This is just around a minute long and quite sedate and textural.
The Deep
Again, there is a vibe like that of the ocean here. It really does feel like drifting deep underwater.
City of Dreams III
Not a big change, this is more atmospheric electronic music. It's less than a minute long.
Mystery Train II
There are some parts of this that make me think of Mike Oldfield a bit. This is a bit more intricate and melodic.
Star's End
This is another short textural piece. It has a bit of a dreamlike quality to it.
Desert Flower
Atmospheric elements bring this into being, and it rises upward gradually.
Night Train to Novrogod
This number has a good amount of energy. There is a percussive kind of element that almost feels like the "click clack" of a train on the tracks.
Sea of Tranquillity
Gentle and quite pretty, there is almost an Asian element to this.
39 Steps
Pretty melodies move this piece in electronic ways.
Lake of Fire
This is a short piece that has a definite symphonic element to it despite it's sedate texture.
Realms of Gold
Still quite textural and pretty, there is an almost otherworldly element here. There are some chorale voices later in the piece, but they seem to be synthesized rather than real.
City of Dreams IV
Rising upward via intricate sounds, this has a dense arrangement despite its sedate nature.
Days of Yore
Guitar textures bring this into being and move it forward while still keeping much of the sound of the rest of the disc.
Across the Steppes
There is actually a feeling of clouds floating above the Earth on this number.
Act of Faith
There is some particularly pretty piano at the heart of this cut. In fact, it's essentially a piano solo.
Grand Master
More textural modes are the basis of this sedate number.
Mystery Train III
This short piece is another that makes me think of Mike Oldfield.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
There are synthesized chorale vocals here. This does have a melancholy vibe to it and is pretty. A piano based part takes over later with atmospheric electronic elements replacing it later in the track.
The Homecoming
Bell chiming sounds and other atmospherics are on display on this number.  It turns more classical near the end. There is a false ending and then some dramatic (but still sedate) elements rise up to actually serve as the closing section.
 
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