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Anthony Phillips

Archive Collection

Review by Gary Hill

Anthony Phillips was the original guitarist  in Genesis, but he's only featured on their first album. Since then he's released so much music. The one constant about his material is that it's high quality. Beyond that it covers a lot of musical territory. This new five-CD box set from Esoteric gathers up to earlier collections of his "Archive Collection Volume I" and "Archive Collection Volume I" and adds a previously unreleased fifth disc, "The Masquerade Tapes." In total there are 27 previously unreleased songs on the set. It has all been re-mastered and comes in a cardboard clamshell box. There is a great booklet included, too. It all makes for a great collection of intriguing music from a master creator.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

You can find a bonus video companion for this review here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxGwb3ZyNrI

Track by Track Review
CD ONE:
                   
Archive Collection:
                           
Volume One:
                               
Disc One:
                              
Back to Pluto

This is just a short piece of electronic music that rises slowly and really peaks. It's more of a dramatic, almost science-fiction-like flourish.

Promenade
Lush guitar sounds and textures are on the menu here. This is beautiful and dramatic. There is a wealth of range here. It is full of intricacies and has some soaring moments.
Take This Heart
Piano is the order of business here with a gentle and rather classical sound making up the concept.
Beside the Water's Edge
There is a demo quality to this, particularly in the vocal department. It's not that the vocals are bad. They are just too underdone. The song feels a little like The Beatles meets early Genesis. The guitar work is particularly intricate and tasty.
The Geese and The Ghost
I love the rich and rather old world arrangement on this. The song feels like a playful instrumental folk prog romp. There is a lot of magic and charm built into it.
Which Way the Wind Blows
Here we get another rather Beatles-like cut. Again, the guitar brings intricacies. It also brings Genesis-like reference points.
Rowey Song
This guitar solo is entertaining and energetic.
Lucy Will
Another song that has vocals, this seems to have a different identity. It's very much an accessible tune. The keyboard part later does bring some of those Beatles-like things, but overall this makes me think of something George Harrison might have done in his solo career. I'm reminded of Klaatu a little, too.
God If I Saw Her Now
Genesis and The Beatles seem to meld together on this mellow and classy tune.
In Memoriam Ad
I love the stereo effect on this piece. It's dramatic, but not at all gimmicky. The piece is a classy instrumental number with plenty of prog in the mix.
Hunt Song
The vocals here don't work that well. Then again, it's a demo. The guitar is impeccable. This is mellow and rather lush. This turns out to more rocking zones as it continues. Yet, it's still acoustic guitar based. Keyboards fill out the arrangement, making this more of a rough-around the edges, but complete track.
Rule Britannia Closing Theme
This synthesizer based number feels like something that would be at home in a movie soundtrack. It's all class, even if it's fairly short.
Exocet
Weird electronic music is on the menu here. This is dramatic and rather stunning.
Study In G
I love the intricate acoustic guitar lines here. This is potent and dramatic.
Holy Deadlock
This is strictly a vocal track with some percussion built into it as the only instrumentation. I really dig this cut. It's fun.
Catch You When You Fall
This is a fun instrumental piece that has a full band arrangement and a great groove.
F Sharp
This is a variant on the Genesis song "The Musical Box." In fact, this was the beginning of that song. Although, at least than three-minutes, this is considerably shorter than the final epic piece, it has many of the familiar sections. It's also strictly instrumental and not a complete band arrangement.
The Geese and The Ghost
Another instrumental number that feels a lot like Genesis, this is quite a classy track. Of course, the Genesis connection makes sense since it was written by both Phillips and Mike Rutherford.
F Sharp 2
This rocking instrumental number has both guitar and bass, at least shortly in. Now, I don't recognize any of this as being part of any Genesis song. It has an almost Led Zeppelin feel to me.
Rowey Reprise
I love the intricacies of this acoustic guitar piece.
Slow Dance
This has more of a full band treatment. The guitar and keyboards are the central features of the track, though. It's an enchanting and pretty number with a really lush almost dreamy vibe.
The Burnt-Out Cattle Truck Hits the Road
A weird piece of trippiness, I think this might be backwards tracked.
The Women Were Watching
There is a real 80s music feel to this, yet it's decidedly Anthony Phillips, too. It's entertaining and classy.
CD TWO:
                                  
Archive Collection
                      
Volume One:
                       
Disc Two:
                         
KIP PJ

Backwards tracked, this is weird, and yet compelling.

Queen Bettine
The acoustic guitar sounds that bring this into being are so powerful and pretty. It's definitely reminiscent of Genesis on the introduction. The section with the vocals has a vaguely Beatles-like vibe to it.
What Is the Meaning?
I dig the rich and rather dense arrangement on this instrumental piece. It has a classic old-school prog sound to it. There are some issues with the sound, but it's nothing you wouldn't expect of a demo from that time period.
Farewell
I can make out some Beatles-like angles o this. The recording is a little muddy, but it's a demo and a 1960s demo at that.
Cradle Song
There is such a pretty classical vibe to this piano solo. It's an exceptional piece of music. It covers a lot of territory in its more-than-nine-minute length.
Master of Time
Acoustic guitar gets us underway here. It's both moving with a folk meets prog vibe and intricate. This is sort of exactly the kind of sound I expect from Phillips. It turns more rocking as it continues Other instrumentation joins as the piece continues. It really is quite a dynamic and involved piece.
Lucy: An Illusion
Acoustic guitar and vocals start things off here. For some reason I'm reminded of what you might get if you merged an early King Crimson ballad with The Beatles. It builds up somewhat as it works through.
Henry Goes to War
This has a driving energy for a time. Then it drops way down to continue for a time before returning to the earlier modes.
Sleepfall Celeste
A pretty keyboard based interlude, I like this a lot.
God If I Saw Her Now
This version of a track we heard on the first disc includes both male and female vocals. It's an intriguing rendition that works pretty well.
Make the Best of a Bad Situation
Here we get a nice piano solo. This is dramatic and so classy.
Regrets
A mellower, classically inspired number, this has a lush arrangement. It's another that feels as if it would have been at home in a movie soundtrack. It's all about the symphonic instrumentation. It is an orchestral run-through, so that makes sense.
Nightmare Link
A synthesized piece of music, this makes me think of something Tangerine Dream might do when it gets underway. This is just a short interlude.
Greenhouse
I dig the blending of synth and guitar as this starts. The guitar takes over as the track continues. This gets involved and has some intriguing twists and turns.
In Absentia
This guitar solo has some great intricacies and melodies.
Stranger
I dig the folk music kind of vibe here. There is a real 1960s pop rock feeling to this. There are definitely Beatles-like angles to this at times.
Master of Creation
Piano music with a great melodic sense and a proggy vibe, this is another classy instrumental.
Pennsylvania Flickhouse
This is a full on old-school rock and roller. It has an edge that makes me think of what you might get if you mixed The Yardbirds, The Kinks and The Kingsmen with early Rolling Stones. It's a huge change from everything else so far. It's also a lot of fun.
CD THREE:
                     
Archive Collection

                   

Volume Two:
                          
Disc One:
                   
Guitar Song

Intricate guitar works outward to more of a driving sound as it continues. Yet there are still plenty of complexities in the mix.

The Anthem from Tarka
I dig the more mainstream arrangement on this. It's very keyboard-based. It's also lush and has a gentle groove to it.
Deep in the Night
An evocative and delicate, yet powerful, guitar showcase, this is all class. It's also exactly what come to mind when I think of Anthony Phillips.
Bleak House
Classical piano that is so tasty gets this thing underway. It is quite a dramatic and powerful piano solo.
Our Man in Japan
A short piece, this instrumental has plenty of the kind of guitar based prog one expects from Mr. Phillips.
Child Song
I like the interplay of the piano and vocals. Electric guitar augments the arrangement later.
Old Wives Tale
An acoustic guitar solo, this is all class.
Scottish Suite II (i) Leaping Salmon
Fast-paced piano brings this into being. That mode holds it for this opening section of the suite.
Scottish Suite II (ii) The Witching Hour
We're taken into wonderland as this second part takes over. There is a mysterious and rather otherworldly feeling. Guitar and synthesizer are both part of this track. It's tastefully strange.
Scottish Suite II (iii) Two Truths
More of a full band treatment comes in as this drives outward. I'm reminded of Mike Oldfield to some degree on this.
Scottish Suite II (iv) The Letter
Things drop way down for a piano solo piece here.
Scottish Suite II (v) Walpurgis Night
We're taken out into weirdness again. This has a freaky sort of electronic sound. It feels like something that would be at home in a horror movie soundtrack.
Scottish Suite II (vi) Sweet Reaper
Acoustic guitar provides a pastoral respite to the oddness of the last track.
Scottish Suite II (vii) Why Sinks This Cauldron?
This seems to rise upward in a pleasing way from the previous number. It's not quite as organic and restive, but it's still reasonably gentle and pretty.
Scottish Suite II (viii) Her Last Sleepwalk
The closing movement of the suite takes us in a rather dreamy kind of zone. It's pretty and quite pleasing.
Sally
A bouncy 80s style rocker, this has a lot of class. It's more of a full band treatment than a lot of the stuff here.
Windmill
This is a short keyboard-based instrumental piece.
Tregenna Afternoons
Acoustic guitar is at the heart of this number. This is an extended piece with some killer guitar work.
Lofty Vaults
A keyboard excursion, this has a classical element along with an electronic one. It's another classy cut.
Variation on a Theme of Fantomas
Here we get more dramatic and pleasing piano soloing.
Picardy Pictures
Another dramatic and intricate acoustic guitar piece, I like this a lot.
Polar Lights
Rich layers of synthesizer are on the menu here.
The Ridolfi Plot
Another acoustic guitar tapestry is what we get on this track.
Falling for Love
More of a band arrangement, this is a fun romp with both mainstream pop rock and prog tendencies.
CD FOUR:
                         
Archive Collection:
                   
Volume Two:
                 
Disc Two:
                              
Highland Fling

Take an early Genesis intricacy and bring some folk music to it. You'll have an idea of what this pleasant number feels like.

Prelude #1
A classically based acoustic guitar solo this is all class and has some cool twists and turns.
Siesta
In a similar vein to the last number, there is (appropriately) a dreamy, restful feel to this cut.
Bubble and Squeak
This is another intriguing guitar solo piece.
Guru
I dig the rocking groove on this number. It's less decidedly 80s in texture, yet there is still some of that in play. This has a full band styled arrangement and some proggy tendencies.
Shady Arbours
I love the intricate guitar work on this number. It has some real drama and magic built into it.
West Side Alice
From guitar we go to piano with this energetic and soaring solo.
Vic's Tango
A more full arrangement is on hand here. This has world music, classical and plenty of prog The melodies are so powerful.
Seven Long Years
Intricate, delicate and very pretty, I like this a lot.
Romeo and Juliet
A short instrumental number, this is another with both a delicate and gentle texture.
I Saw You Today
This cut has vocals. It's a slow moving and rather dreamy tune. It gets more intense in the last third of the piece, but only marginally, and only for a while.
The Anthem from Tarka

A gentle musical exploration, this is quite pretty.

Quadrille (from Alice)
This is a keyboard-based tune that's playful and a lot of fun.
Desert Suite (i) Sand Dance
This is based on some killer world music textures. It's fast-paced and so much fun.
Desert Suite (ii) Pipelines
Synthesizer based, there is a  trippy, otherworldly vibe to this that calls to mind acts like Tangerine Dream.
Desert Suite (iii) End Theme
The Middle Eastern themes return on this keyboard heavy number. It really feels like something that would be at home in a movie soundtrack.
Fantomas Opening Theme
There is a real jazz vibe to this piano dominated piece. I'm reminded of the kind of thing Vince Guaraldi did.
Sistine
There is a chimey, playful energy and groove to this piece that works quite well.
Sisters of Remindum
Dramatic piano work brings this into being with an uneasy energy. At it approaches the half-way mark a full-band type arrangement joins and the cut works to something more along the lines of fusion. It's powerful and very cool. That eventually gives way to a much mellower movement that's mostly piano.
Will the Last Man Off the Ice Rink (Please Turn Out the Lights)
This is a short piece based on echoey piano and distant, non-lyrical vocals.
Finale
I really love this piece. It has so much prog magic. It reminds of both The Beatles and Queen, but with a serious prog rock angle. It's a killer instrumental.
CD FIVE:
                             
Archive Collection:
                             
The Masquerade Tapes
                               
Overture

There is a spacey trippiness as this track gets underway. It's a cool electronic instrumental introduction. That builds and peaks and the number begins a shift toward more pure 80s styled music, but it comes via a dramatic transition. Also that 80s music concept is shown through that lens of a prog rock sensibility. I'm reminded of Tangerine Dream to some degree. That part ends the track.

Moon
A bouncy pop rock styled jam, this gets underway with style and charm. There are some cool twists and turns along the road. This is an intriguing piece of proggy music.
Sun
I dig the intricate and involved guitar sound that leads this out. The track has some intriguing variants and layers of keyboards at times augment the texture. There are hints of Genesis music here, along with things more like instrumental AOR prog. This is quite an intriguing number.
Tara's Theme
A pretty and rather New Age arrangement gets this underway. It's classically tinged and has a real intricate beauty to it. The movement that comes in after that is more decidedly 80s music based. It moves through variants of those themes as it continues.
Craw
Unusual piano is at the heart of this as it gets underway. This remains a piano solo from start to finish.
All Horrors of the Night
Another that's strictly on piano, this almost feels like an extension of the previous cut as it starts. From there it evolves getting quite involved and intense as it does so.
Penny Pockets
A wonderful and intricate guitar concept is at play on this track.
Hare B Minor
Piano based sounds are again on the menu here. This has a bit of a world music vibe. There is both a playful sense and a real classical music motif to it.
Destiny
Starting with just piano, other keyboard elements show up as this develops and grows. It's an energetic and entertaining piece of instrumental electronic music.
Fire
A dramatic piano solo piece, this has a lot of intensity and drive to it.
Yellow Carpet
A bouncy kind of pop rock sound is at the heart of this number. It's more of a full band arrangement. It's also a lot of fun with some hints of Beatles music in the mix.
Masque Moon
This is another classy piano solo that works really well. It's a little bit classical and little bit pop rock styled. It's all good.
Moon's Lament for the Sun
More of a full keyboard arrangement is on hand here. The vocals by Lindsey Moore work pretty well on this dramatic and effective piece.
Last of the Heavy Hares
An energized keyboard arrangement is at the heart of this. This is electronic music that calls to mind acts like Synergy.
Only A Dream
I love the enjoyable and entertaining vibe of this number. It has more of a full arrangement, and it feels proggy, but also accessible.
 
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