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Anthony Phillips

Strings Of Light

Review by Gary Hill

Many probably know Anthony Phillips' name as the original guitarist for Genesis. If that's all you know, though, you are really missing out. Over the years, he's produced an eclectic set of albums. There is a wide range of style within his catalog. This new set is a collection of guitar solo pieces. It spans two CDs, and there is bonus DVD with surround sound mixes of all the tracks. This is quite an intriguing set. There are moments where it sounds like there are atmospheric things coming from other instrumentation, but I didn't see it in the credits in the booklet. All in all, this should please fans of acoustic guitar music. It has a wide range of concepts and sounds. It's all of particularly high quality, though.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Disc One
         
Jour de fĂȘte

This acoustic guitar solo is quite pretty, rather intricate and still manages a good energy to it. It has a bit of a folk music vibe to it.

Diamond Meadows
This is even more intricate. It's quite beautiful and has a bit of a dreamy, soaring quality to it. This leans more toward classical music zones.
Caprice In Three
Now, the classical thing is even more prominent on this gentle number.
Castle Ruins
Intricate picked guitar is the concept here. This one lands more on the classical end of the spectrum, too. It's a very pretty number.
Mermaids And Wine Maidens
There is a bit more energy to this piece, but it's still based on picked guitar.
Winter Lights
Now, this piece for some reason really does feel like Genesis. There is a real drama and magic in the melody and intricate picking that starts it. When some strummed guitar is added to the mix that Genesis comparison is reinforced. It works through some intriguing changes and shifts toward more classically based stuff as it does. The cut is close to six-and-a-half-minutes long, and Phillips uses that space to really explore. It gets brought back toward more Genesis-like sounds again near the end and some other sonic elements grace it as icing on the cake.
Song For Andy
I love the delicate intricacies of this number. There is a real beauty and majesty to this piece. It also has a sense of drama to it.
Pilgrimage Of Grace
There is a bit of a sad vibe to this cut. It feels a little desolate. It's intricate melodies are also very pretty, though.
Skies Crying
A sense of magic and dream-world seems to be on display with the opening movement of this number. It's intricate, but also rather soaring. There are some intriguing tones before it shifts to a strummed and energetic sound for the second half.
Mouse Trip
This short number has more of a playful folk music meets classical vibe. It has a light-hearted vibe to it.
Restless Heart
Pretty and quite intricate, this definitely has a lot of classical music built into it. It's dramatic and powerful and grows nicely.
Still Rain
Starting quite gently, this grows into a pretty and rather powerful piece as it works forward.
Disc Two
            
Into The Void

This is a dramatic build-up kind of piece. It's very short, running less than half-a-minute.

Andean Explorer
Coming in with a magical kind of vibe, this is the kind of thing that definitely calls to mind Genesis.
Mystery Tale
This is an intricate musical journey that is quite pretty. It's fairly short.
Sunset Riverbank
There is a dreamy quality to this that somehow really does feel like a sunset along the bank of a river. The tune is pretty and quite satisfying.
Tale Ender
This comes in ambient and quite mellow with some atmospherics at its core. Guitar rises up, but it's a short piece that doesn't go very far. It's more of an outro (based on the title).
Shoreline
The gentle acoustic guitar tones of this number have a real Genesis like feeling to them. This is a pretty number with a lot of flavor and style to it.
Days Gone By
There is a bit of a melancholy vibe to this, fitting with the title. It's quite a pretty and intricate number.
Crystalline
Gentle, and quite pretty, this is an intricate and powerful piece of music, despite its sedate nature.
Fleur-de-Lys
With a real classical music element at its core, this is another pretty and gentle acoustic guitar solo.
Grand Tour
Intricate musical concepts are on display here. This is quite a pretty piece. It has a real air of drama and magic to it. It's another that calls to mind Genesis.
Home Road
This short piece is more of a mood-styled cut.
Life Story
At over ten-minutes long, this is of epic proportions. It covers quite a bit of territory given the mellow, acoustic guitar based concept of the number.
 
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