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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips & Harry Williamson

Gypsy Suite

Review by Gary Hill

Featuring Anthony Phillips in collaboration with guitarist Harry Williamson, this is a mellow instrumental album that is in line with a lot of Phillips' solo catalog. Then again, the original Genesis guitarist is hard to pin down, so this fits with certain parts of his catalog, while varying from others. No matter how it lines up, though, it's an effective set from start to finish.

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Track by Track Review
Gypsy Suite
Movement I: First Light

Delicate and slow moving acoustic guitar gets things going here. It gradually grows outward from there as it gains a little energy and a lot of intricacies. This turns toward more mellow rock oriented territory, ala early Genesis at times later. This keeps evolving and changing and really has some amazing guitar work built into it.

Movement II: Siesta
This is another classy acoustic guitar instrumental piece. It has a lot of intriguing passages and moods built into it. The intricacies and beauty are well on display throughout.
Movement III: Evening Circle
In some ways this feels a little more song-like. It's intricate and artsy, too, though. The multiple layers of guitar work well together, and this again has moments that feel like Genesis.
Movement IV: The Crystal Ball
Coming in dramatic and more song-like, this is my favorite of the suite. Part of the second half of the track seems to focus a little more on the intricate and more introspective concepts. It does get into more intense zones as it continues.
Tarka (Demos 1975-76)
Movement I: The Early Years

I really dig the moving and intricate guitar patterns on the first sections of this thing. Those drop away and we get into piano music from there. Other keyboard sounds are also heard. There is a playful vibe to this and it works toward more electronic zones at points.  Guitar takes control again as it approaches the end.

Movement II a - Streams River And Salmon Hunting
Keyboards start it off here with an almost jazzy arrangement. Guitar and keyboards work well together on this track to create a pretty and dramatic musical arrangement. Intricate takes control by itself at the end of the composition.
Movement II b - Dunes & Estuary
Guitar gets this movement underway and holds it for a time. Keyboards take over further down the road and create their own magic. That gives way to another guitar dominated segment that gets hints of keyboards in the mix. There is a nice blend of instrumentation later and some pretty cool moods and melodies.
Movement II c - Moonfield - Postscript
This piece is less than a minute-and-a-half long. Piano starts it. It's a mellow keyboard oriented thing.
Movement III - The Hunt
Piano starts this previously unreleased number. It grows upward built on that concept. There is a real dramatic sound to this that makes me think "film soundtrack" at times. It's also classical music based. This is a varied and intriguing piano solo from start to finish.
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