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Anthony Phillips - Private Parts & Pieces II - Back To The Pavillion CD (album) cover


Anthony Phillips


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 119 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars What a unique album! There may be some other albums out there that have consisted of nice, relaxing short intrumental pieces of a mininalistic nature, but none I know of that begin with such a charged progressive sky-opening-up moment as the first part of "Scottish Suite", "Salmon Leap." Furious drums and piano arpeggios join the most "Kinfe"-like electric playing Ant had displayed since the Tresspass song. He even rivals (and sounds a little like) Steve Hackett in his urgent expressiveness here. The piece quickly gives way to an acoustic section, "Parting Thistle", then the majestic "Electric Reaper", the very spacey "Amorhpous, cadaverous and nebulous", and the last part "Salmon's Last Sleepwalk" is reminicient of the end of "Now What" from Wise After the Event. The suite is very atypical of the album, and somewhat leaves one longing for more once it's clear that the album is not going to return to this type thing. However, the rest of the album is nearly all good and often great, consisting mainly of extremely short instrumentals, some being like "samples" of longer songs, like "Romany's Aria" and "Chinaman." These "parts" could logically seem useless on an album, but the way they are presented, they function as little gimpses into far away worlds and musical dimesions, and the album has very much a feel of strolling through a galactic hub of sorts. Anthony Phillips shows that he's every bit as talented at keys as he is at strings, with the graceful piano of "Linsday", not to mention the various virtuostic piano parts throughout the album, and some great minimalist keyboard work on both the glittery and glistening "Heavens", and "K2", a masterpiece of soft layered synth atmospherics that is up there with the best space music. There is some very pleasant acoustic guitar playing on this release, as well as some interesting psychedelic touches (phlange and backwards tape-playing are common on a lot of tracks), but there are some moments when you may feel like you're listening to the soundtrack for The Weather Channel. That is not neccessarily a bad thing, but it makes for an album you need to be in the mood for to really get into, and while I myself can find many an occasion for setting this music to an evening of quiet meditation, some prog fans may crave more dynamics to want to listen to it frequently. The only song with vocals, "I Saw You Today" is not one of the best examples of his usually very emotionally expressive singing and compelling songwriting, but it's still pleasant, and the album's title track closes things out with a very calm relaxed feeling, the whole experience being one of refreshed renewal. Worth checking out if you have an appriciation for creative and varied instrumental music.
7headedchicken | 4/5 |


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