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Anthony Phillips - The Geese And The Ghost CD (album) cover

THE GEESE AND THE GHOST

Anthony Phillips

 

Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 257 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As good as the lovely artwork anticipates...

Trespass is my favorite Genesis album in large part due to the spirit Ant Phillips brought to the band. It was as much about the friendships of these young men and their coming of age as it was about his musical accomplishment, which was of course formidable. As great as Genesis was, they lost something when Ant stepped away for health reasons. I can sympathize completely as I've always been uncomfortable playing even the small gigs we used to get, I can't imagine the pressure of a touring group---takes a special kind of constitution. Many feel the resulting replacement by Steve Hackett made Genesis better but I've never bought that---it made them different but I'm not sure it made them better. I would have loved to hear what Nursery Cryme would have sounded like with Phillips. In any case, the material on Geese began around and shortly after the time Ant left Genesis in 1970. The years in between were spent writing, recording, taking classes, and getting in as much time with partner Mike Rutherford as he could...obviously Mike was a busy guy. Then, after finishing this project over years of painstaking work, the record company decided it was not commercial enough and refused to release it. Another year passed without a suitor and Ant was already moving on to other things when American label Passport agreed to release it, and so the project became reality in the spring of 1977.

The Geese and the Ghost is not however Trespass-part 2 as it lacks the great voice of Peter Gabriel and the rock power of Genesis. Then again it isn't trying to compete, this is not a rock album by any stretch. The album is built around two 15-minute suites with a few shorter tracks and interludes surrounding them. As mentioned the music is the near literal translation of the fantastic artwork featuring stories and imagery of castles, maidens, and period countrysides. There are few examples of bucolic themed acoustic bliss that quite match what Phillips has done here, but the famous "Principe di un Giorno" album by the Italian band Celeste may come the closest in some ways. Perhaps the English artist Willowglass' first album is another although that one does rock a bit more as I recall. Here soft, incredibly sharp and clean acoustic guitars are layered and adorned with other stringed instruments along with all manner of lush adornments: flutes, recorders, bells, glocks, oboe, cellos, and of course keyboards. Often the mellotrons will be rising and floating in the background with strummed acoustic guitar in one track and lead acoustic in another, occasionally there will be some piano or organ. All of the tracks concentrate on pleasing melody and mostly a soothing experience, even if some of the themes deal with pain. Phil Collins contributes some vocals as does the late Viv McCauliffe who has the voice of an angel. But I most appreciate Ant's modest vocals on the closing track "Collections" as it brings his essence to the work more than Collins voice which one associates with Genesis hits. This is a gorgeous pastoral near-masterpiece that will thrill anyone who loves that kind of mellow prog with acoustic guitars and mellotron. It's an album I appreciate much more than "Voyage of the Acolyte" and much more than post-Gabriel Genesis, with the exception perhaps of Wind and Wuthering.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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