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Anthony Phillips - Private Parts & Pieces CD (album) cover

PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES

Anthony Phillips

 

Symphonic Prog

3.34 | 82 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Two more sides of "Sides"

"Private parts and pieces" was the first of a number of albums released by Anthony Phillips under that title. The LP copy I have is labelled "Special free collector's edition", having been given away in the UK as a bonus disc with the first 5000 copies of the "Sides" album. It has since been made more widely available on CD, with a couple of extra tracks. To maintain the consistency of"Sides", we have a "Home side" and an "Away side" in place of A and B.

The album consists of pieces Phillips recorded by himself using guitar and piano, and as such is almost entirely instrumental. The recordings cover the period from 1972 to 1976, although some of the tracks were composed even before that time. It is probably fair to say that releasing the album as a bonus disc was a good idea, as it is perhaps a little too laid back and eclectic to stand as a bona fide release. That is not to say it is a poor album, there are many beautiful performances to be enjoyed here.

The album opens with "Beauty and the beast", where Phillips performs on 2 pianos and an acoustic guitar, presumably not simultaneously. Phillips accredits "Jeremy Gilbert playing a Chopin Nocturne" as the inspiration for the piece, which is whispy and rather understated. "Field of eternity" is the only track which Phillips does not compose alone, being co-credited to Mike Rutherford. The track is a lengthy 12 string guitar solo which includes part of the incomplete "Flamingo" concerto (see later) and a snippet from an unrecorded Genesis song (which presumably is where Rutherford's credit stems from).

"Tibetan yak-music" is the oddest track on the album. In essence, it is a melody played on a detuned 12 string guitar then processed by Harry Williamson. Interesting but not a piece which demands repeated playing. "Lullaby - Old father time" sees Phillips becoming a one man guitar quartet for a suitably delicate melody.

"Harmonium in the dust" has the alternate title "Harmonious stratosphere". The short recital is an adaptation of a Eustace Grimes composition played out on harmonium. It makes for a pleasant diversion from the solo acoustic guitar, having a bit more depth of sound than the majority of the tracks. "Tregenna afternoons" returns to the sound paintings of the acoustic guitars for another delicately melodic, but rather dull outing.

"Reaper" is a 12 string guitar solo with passing similarities to "Horizons". The piece was originally composed by Phillips in 1970, but not officially recorded by him until 7 years later. The mediaeval feel led to the track being used for a banquet scene Phillips wrote for MacBeth. "Autumnal" find Phillips back at the piano for an onomatopoeic picture of the season.

According to Phillips, "Flamingo" was the first movement of a planned 12 string concerto. The piece has the same feel as some of Steve Hackett's solo acoustic work, being technically impressive, but totally dull. The closing "Seven long years" is a soft, vocal song, which tells a tale of a "Vanished ballerina", an idea which Genesis coincidentally had a few years later when they recorded "Duchess".

In all, this is an album for the Anthony Phillips faithful. Those who enjoy relaxing new age music will also find this album to be a pleasant diversion. For those seeking hints of Genesis, or indeed prog though, the advice would be to look elsewhere in Ant's discography.

The sleeve illustration, for which Peter Cross appears to receive credit, is a wonderful collage of the four seasons in a countryside setting.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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