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Anthony Phillips and Joji Hirota


Review by Gary Hill

This album was originally released in 2007, It was a compilation of pieces of music recorded for two British TV shows, "Survival" and "Natural World." That original release is what we get on the first CD of this new edition. The second disc includes a number of previously unreleased pieces, including one at the end featuring both Anthony Phillips and his Genesis band-mate Mike Rutherford. Other than one track on the second disc that has some world music vocals, this is a purely instrumental set. As you might guess, given the origins, it's more background music than something for intense listening, but it works that way, too.

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Track by Track Review
CD One
Creatures of the Magic Water - 1994
Creatures of the Magic Water Opening Theme

There really is a lot of magic here as synthetic layers of atmosphere are accompanied by slow moving guitar.

Green Hell
This is a short (less than 30-scconds) bit of electronic atmospherics.
Jaguar and the Terrapin
Percussive concepts are in the driver's seat here. This is less than a minute long.
Flooded Forest
Coming in pretty and atmospheric, there is a real world music vibe to this.
Hidden Shadow
Chimes open this and mysterious atmospherics take over from there. There is a frantic urgency along with world music on a short passage later.
River God
The world music sounds are a big part of the electronic tapestry of this piece.
Secrets of the Amazon - 2003
Secrets of the Amazon

There is an electronic energy and groove to this that makes me think of Synergy.

Killing Grounds
Built with a real sense of mystery to it, this has world music in the mix, too. It's rather trippy.
River Dolphins
There seems to be a real positive energy to this electronic piece.
Faces in the Forest
Here we get a short piece of electronic atmosphere.
Final Journey
Coming in rather electronic, this grows outward with a cool percussive groove and some classy world music sounds.
Jaguar - Eater of Souls - 1999
Onza – Eater of Souls

There is a real sense of mystery and magic on this number.

Relentless Sun in Half Drowned Lands
The electronic atmosphere of this is beautiful.
Serengeti Jigsaw - 1998
Serengeti Jigsaw Opening Theme

Dramatic and moving, this has so much class and style.

Massacre of the Termites
Coming out of the previous cut, there is a dark vibe to this. It turns percussive after a short time. There are still waves of electronics over the top, but overall this is all about the beats.
Web of the Spider Monkey - 1995


Web of the Spider Monkey Opening Theme

Dramatic waves of sound are heard as this gets underway. At about two-and-a-half-minutes long, this is one of the longest tracks on this first disc. It is also one of the most complex, working through a number of changes and modes.

Dungeons and Dragons - 2000
Island of Stone

Powerful and mysterious electronic textures are on the menu here. After a time a tribal percussive element takes command, but there are still electronic layers over the top of that. This piece is just a little longer than the last one, and that space is put to good use.

Atmospheric, there is a sense of flight about this.
Courting Chameleons
I dig the percussive nature of this piece. It has a lot of intriguing movement and texture to it.
Rock Spires, Crocodile Caves
This is another that definitely seems to ooze mystery, but also majesty.
Dusty Track
Percussion with waves of electronics over the top is the order of business here. The piece is moving and exotic.
Fathomless Caves
Here we have another mysterious sounding piece of electronic music that is also beautiful.
Secrets of a Norfolk Wood - 1998
Storm Breaks

I feel a sense of adventure to this. It has some natural vibes amidst the electronic textures. There is almost a classical music sense to it.

Morning Call
There is a gentle, playful energy here. This feels comforting and homey.
Autumn Dusk
With a sense of gentle comfort to it, there is some majesty here, as well.
Bears of the Russian Front - 2000
Bears of Kamchatka Opening Theme

I dig the rather symphonic and sedate electronic concepts here.

In The Tundra
There is a gentle beauty to this song.
Across the Frozen Wastes
A sense of barren cold really does permeate this. It feels like winds driving across a frozen landscape a lot of the time.
I dig the drama and style of this cut a lot. It has some harpsichord like textures, and I'm a sucker for that instrument.
Mellow and electronic, this is sedate and effective. It has some more of that harpsichord type sound on board.
Gremlins: Faces in the Forest - 1997
Mother of the Moon

I love the sense of mystery to this cut.

Jurassic Shark - 2000
Jurassic Shark Opening Theme

This has a real beauty to it, but also a sense of danger at times. It is majestic.

Ray’s Song
Mellow, and yet somewhat playful, this is pretty.
Voyage of the Whale Shark
This is rich and dense and quite intriguing. I love the electronic vibes of this piece.
Particularly powerful and majestic, this is an intriguing number.
The Only Good Shark is a Dead One
Slower moving and melodic, I like this quite a bit.
Back Through Time – Under the Ocean
I'm reminded a little of Pat Metheny for some reason.
Jurassic Shark Closing Theme
There is a real symphonic majesty to this number.
Midway: Island of Life - 1999
Midway: Island of Life Opening Theme

Slow moving atmospherics are on hand as this gets underway.

Dolphins at Play
There really is a sense of play, but also poise and majesty to this number.
Dolphins, Seals & Rays
With a gentle beauty to it, this has some synthetic chorale vocals on display at times.
Mysteries of the Wreck
Slow moving electronic sounds create something that feels like the soundtrack to an exploratory section of a science fiction movie. This also has those chorale vocal elements on display.
Sunset Flight
Pretty waves of sound and classically tinged melodies merge on this slow moving number.
Fight to the Death
This has a sense of a life and death struggle that is befitting of the title. It's powerful and evocative. I'd say that it's one of the strongest pieces on this first disc.
From the Jaws of Death – Touching the Face of God
Packed with majesty and beauty, this really does end things in a satisfying way.
CD Two:

This short piece is largely percussive and tribal.

East of Eden
There is a real sense of electronic majesty as this gets underway. After a time percussion rises to lead the way. The music has an Asian element to it.
Web of the Spider Monkey
This is a bit more artificial in nature than the version on the other disc. It's perhaps a little more sedate, too.
Appalachian Heights
There is a playful nature to this song. It's another intriguing one.
Night Train (original version)
The electronic textures to this work well. It doesn't really stand out, though.
Fast Train
I dig the fast-paced groove of this. It's another track that makes me think of Synergy.
Bay Beneath The Sea Suite
There is a slowly building atmospheric section that makes up the first part of this. The track shifts gear from there to something full of beauty and some mystery. At nearly eight-and-a-half minutes of music, this is the epic of the set. It works through a whole host of different moods and sections. There are some chorale vocal like sounds later in a mellow and majestic movement. We get a fast paced electronic segment later that really stands out, too.
Schaun Journey (alternate version)
With a great world music aesthetic, the flute is a driving force on this.
Valley Beneath The Sea
This has an otherworldly vibe to it. It's electronic and classy.
Eastern Market
A bouncy number, this has some actual world music vocals on it.
Sky Valley
The electronic sonic tapestry here has a good energy and vibe. There are some hints of Genesis in the mix on this.
I really dig the interplay between the percussion and the acoustic guitar on this. The track has a nice groove to it.
Lemurs Prologue
Majestic, electronic and powerful, this is also slow moving and a little mysterious. Percussion later brings an increased tempo and intensity for a while, but the atmospherics take over again beyond that.
Eastern Rivers
Tribal percussion dances around like crazy on this number.
Mysterious Skies
I love the organic, world music angles to this cut. They are delivered with electronics in the mix, too, though.
The intricacies of this are tasty. There are spacey electronics merged with more organic sounds.
Loons Suite
This number is over six-minutes long. It has a gentle and rather soundtrack like vibe at first. That gives way later to more energized electronic sounds. This has quite a few changes and includes recurring themes.
The Victors
This is an entertaining cut with a good energy and vibe. It also has a cool groove to it. It is a joint effort between Anthony Phillips and his former Genesis band-mate Mike Rutherford.  

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