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Anthony Phillips - Field Day CD (album) cover


Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars Finally a fat collection of guitar songs by the original guitarist of GENESIS. He tried to do this earlier in his career with the album TWELVE, but I'm afraid that one fell a bit short of the mark. This one has it all. 128 minutes of the finest playing you are going to hear for a long time. Most of the songs are between one and three minutes, with a number of them coming in under a minute, and only two songs longer than five minutes. This may seem unusual to the casual listener. But it really enables him to take his best ideas and condense them into short compositions. NO FILLERS HERE. Just splendid playing. It really is on my CD player all the time. It spans the entire array of moods and feelings. If you like guitar albums and great guitarists, you will be most satisfied with this FIELD DAY added to your collection.
Report this review (#71340)
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The new double CD of acoustic pieces is an aural treat for not only Anthony Phillips fans but also lovers of romantic/impressionistic music in general. Once again, Mr. Phillips has shown his willingness to maintain his integrity and perform the sort of heartfelt music that he does best and without concern for trends. Here, the reclusive guitarist performs a total of 61 pieces for 12 string Alvarez, Guild, and J.M. (John Marlow) guitars, 6-string Brook and L'arrivee guitars, Fylde Cittern, Ramirez, Yari, and Mirecourt classical guitars, Bell Cittern P.H. (Paul Hathaway), Parlour guitar P.H., 10-string J.M., Fylde English bazouki, Greek bazouki, mandolin, and charanga, ...and all in his inimitable style. The primary danger of doing a double CD containing well over 2 hours of all-acoustic instrumental music is that it could potentially become too much of one picture in very short order. Despite the risks, the current batch of Phillips pieces is varied enough in tempo and length - only 7 of the 61 tracks are longer than two and a half minutes - so things never once get boring or tedious. And talk about variety: there are jangly pieces, whistful tunes, lilting melodies, and a number of the vibrant, leaping-about-and-dancing-all-over-the-place type as well. Along with the wisely varied pacing, the artist has sequenced the pieces quite effectively so that each of the sundry aforementioned instruments is allowed just enough time to reveal its individual ring and color in his dexterous hands before being turned over to the sonorities of the next. With two exceptions, all of the pieces on Field Day were written between 2001 and 2004. The compositions sound both familiar and at the same time warmly refreshing, and while there are too many to detail here, the 12-string pieces are to this writer a pure delight, "Concerto de Alvarez" being of special merit. The two visits to former days include Track 7 on CD 1, titled "Steps Retraced," which is in fact a beautiful solo 12-string guitar rendering of the song "Traces," appearing first as a full-band arrangement on the Invisible Men LP way back in 1983. The second is Track 9 on the same CD, in which its writer revisits 1975's "Nocturn" from the second Private Parts and Pieces album 'Back to the Pavilion' in 1980. Here, it is affectionately played on Ramirez classical guitar. It is appropriate that this has come out in the autumn - in this writer's mind, at least - as the music herein does indeed evoke vivid, colorful images of this melancholy season. That said, 'Field Day' would be welcome in any season, as its rich, vibrant, and sensual qualities are easily imagined as playing equally well against a quiet snowy backdrop or a lush pastoral landscape such as the beautiful sepia- toned one that graces the inner jacket. Buy and enjoy this fine release for a long time to come.
Report this review (#71421)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an amazing release!!! On Field Day, Phillips delivers a "sampler platter" of his finest offerings. If you've been to very fine and expensive restaurants, you know that sometimes the chef will send out a tasty treat "on the house" and with his compliments. Well, Mr. Phillips sends out 61 such treats - with his compliments. You might think that so many songs would sound disjointed and patchy. But, through his song selection, he creates a seamless body of work, spread out over two hours of play-time. Besides, the first and last song are variations on a theme, making them perfect bookends. I think both of those tracks include some synth's that are not credited on the sleeve. What you wont find is any flashy, "play it real fast just to impress" pickin' going on here. What you will find is, in some cases, impossible-to-figure-out-the-tuning tuning, nimble fingers, and sweet, melodic songs, played on 6, 10 & 12-string acustic guitars, Parlour guitar, cittern, bazouki, and charanga. This album is meant to be savored. Enjoy the fare from one of the finest chefs in the business. 5 stars from Zagat's
Report this review (#72060)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this CD. I love it! I am an Anthony Phillips fan, but most of his music that I own is from the 1970's and early 80's. So, I'm sitting in my little cubical at work and this really cool chick who works one over from me starts playing this CD. Sometimes we discuss music. Some of our tastes are the same, some are very divergent. Well, after about 5 minutes of this album, I say over the wall, "This is really good, who is it?". She says "Anthony Phillips" - I was floored. She went way up in cool points with me. Well, that got us talking about the ANT. Also, I had to have this album right away. Her copy was played endlessly until mine arrived. I've had it now for about 3 weeks and it hasn't left my CD player. It is sooo wonderful. I wasn't even sure that he was still making music, but boy am I glad he is. In many ways this reminds me of The Geese and the Ghost, except without all the other orchestration. It is a double-album of Ant palying his heart out on various guitars. The one omission, if I can be so presumptuous, is that there is no electric guitar. That in no way makes it a weaker album. I guess I am just curious to hear what he would do with an electric guitar, with all the effects and possibilites that it presents. What he does on accoustic guitars is nothing short of magic. Magic I tell you. If you buy this, you will hear one of the original masters at the top of his game.
Report this review (#72492)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars And where did this come from???? Thirty years into his solo career ANT PHILLIPS comes up with one of his very best albums ever. He's on the opposite trajectory of his former band Genesis. As they continued to get unabshedly worse, Ant got better and better. Field Day is a delightful double album of Phillips playing a host of stringed instruments, all solos with no overdubs. He muses in the liner notes that it might seem like a lot to listen to. To that I say, NO, NO, NO.! As I write this I am listening to Oubliette, which is track 9 on the second disc. I have just replayed this song for the 3rd time in a row. It is too good. Heartbreaking and cosmic sounding - and all on acoustic guitar! Well, I could go down the list and describe each song, but there are 61 of them, so, most of them are short, but I'll save you and me a lot of time. Just go out and buy this future classic. It is the best of one of the very best musicians in Prog music.
Report this review (#84271)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK! Another great piece of music by one of the most underrated, yet awsome artists. I'm talking about Mr.Phillips, of course. I've only got two of his records (The Geese & the Ghost, being the other one), and they're both amazing! I had to try hard to get them. I found TG&TG by lucky chance last year, and I found this one (by lucky chance, also) on a recent trip to the US (I live in Argentina, so it's a long trip one cannot do regularly!) at Virgin Records Megatsore (My God, I'd never seen so many good records together in one store before!). Well, ok. Let's talk about "Field day". This is a double-disc album for acustic guitars, mainly (he uses 12-string, 6-string, 10-string guitars, charangas, etc.). This guy is the master of all acustic guitars! This is not just a record he did with these acustic instruments, improvizing, just to show his abilities. These are very well-thought and structured pieces, which he had written some time before recording the album between 2004-5 (Most of them were written in 2001, some in 2002-3 and others in 2004. There are a couple of tracks which came out of old material from a lot of years before, like "Nocturne"-1975). There is a main theme which gets repeated through the album: on "Voyage out", "Half way out" and "Out and beyond", and also (with some variations) on "Swoon", "Chasing the light" and "Tearaway". So, I won't go song by song 'cos that's impossible. They're 61 tracks for acustic guitar! You have to listen to them, there's no way I can explain the greatness of each of these tracks! All I can say is that they're played with passion, feeling, softness. There are some melancholic, sad ones, energetic and experimental ones, and some other soft and lively ones. It brings back some the old GENESIS (from "Tresspass"), it crosses different genres, some with an old Argentinian "guitarreada" style. So, as you can see Ant has a lot of musical knowledge. One thing I want to point out is that this won't bore you for one second! The tracks go by really fast. You feel that you play the record from track 1 and, in a matter of 5 minutes, it's already track 27, or something! And the whole album passes by in what seems like 20 minutes, when it's acually 2 hours! Another thing is that I don't think this is really SYMPHONIC prog, I think this is more like prog folk of some sort. You'll hear some interesting sounds on the main theme. Some kind of synth effect creating this very pleasent ambient. So, what else can I say? This record is the greatest piece of acustic guitar you can get! Try hard to find it, and, if can't do it in your country, travel the world 'till you get it! When you do so, just go outside or look through the window and watch the sunset as Ant's strings fill your ears with delight! Note: Anthony Phillips is one of the greatest musicians alive and this is THE BEST acustic guitar set in the whole world! Buy it, no matter how high the price is!!!

PS:Pay special attention to "Concerto de Álvarez" and the whole "Parlour Suite". Enjoy yourselves!!!


Report this review (#92648)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.3/10 Incredible

Field Day is fantastic. Don'e expect anything too goosebump worthy, though. This is a different kind of fantastic than what we usually expect from music like this. Field Day is entirely composed of guitar works, with only maybe some sleight aura sounds coming in something like Girl in the Gallery. Almost every song is very short and to the point, but this is not to say a 30 second song can;t be your favorite song ever (i.e. Home Sweet Home ;) )...Ant achieves some amazing melodies here, and you almost wish these were longer songs. I guess it makes them all the more great that I wish for that though, right!? Well, this is a great album to share with people, it is very likeable by most and is entirely instrumental. Not up to par with The Geese or PP&P8, but a truly great work and proof of Ant's incredible guitar work.

Report this review (#144346)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a fantastic album, a real treat.

As with a previous reviewer, I have owned Phillips' Anthology for some time now, and still get a great deal of pleasure from listening to it. I promised myself that I would buy more of his solo output, but didn't get around to it until browsing Amazon the other day, saw thety had a selection, and got this album on the strength of Prog Archives reviews.

It was well worth it. Phillips has produced an album of exceptional acoustic guitar music, interspersed with keyboards on certain tracks.

At 61 songs, it would be impossible to review each track, but it is noticeable immediately how Phillips is able to make his instrument sing and tell a story. For example, you can see the spider on White Spider, you feel that Concerto De Alvarez is a serious whole piece, and the extended Parlour Suite piece puts you in the parlour with other guests.

This album will not appeal to those who only like heavy prog. For those who appreciate the classical influences, and also appreciate one man's virtuosity, this is a must buy. Never has guitar music sounded as rich as this.

It will not be so long before I purchase another.

Report this review (#198076)
Posted Friday, January 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's fascinating to see other reviewer's opinions on this album. You would expect, from all the gushing praise, that this must be some sort of bypassed 'Selling England By the Pound' or other offering of that ilk.

It's not however. I'm a massive Genesis fan, and similarly a fan of all those accomplished players that have ever been associated with the band. In that vein - Ant's first album, 'The Geese and the Ghost' is indeed a brilliant, if overlooked album.

Field Day is not like that. In fact it's quite different - this is an album of guitars. One hell of a lot of guitars actually. But just guitar, the whole guitar, and nothing but the guitar. It's a double CD, and when you consider how much you can cram into a CD that's a lot of music to digest, and a lot of guitar. You get the picture....

It is a beautiful soundscape of acoustic guitar, and probably my favourite acoustic guitar album (to date). There's loads of variety in the guitars that are used and the tracks are all clearly labelled as to what instrument they were recorded with. Similar instruments are grouped well too so you can get a handful of tracks that have a similar sound before changing to a new instrument. The sound reproduction is amazing, and even on the humblest of hi-fi systems it will sound like Antony Phillips is sitting in the room with you.

My only negative point, as you may have gathered, is that there's a massive serving of 'guitar' to get through, and all of it is acoustic in some form or other so the album can feel a little colourless if you try to swallow it whole. Best to not overdose on it and so serve yourself with bite size chunks to keep it feeling fresh.

When I consider a rating I like to think about the experience as a whole package, and due to the sheer size of this album it makes it a little hard to accept as an essential masterpiece - it's unlikely most people would have this in their desert island disc case along with 'the greats'. Therefore it's an easy 4 stars from me.

Right, now for the track by track reviews on the 54 tracks individually.........!

Report this review (#275405)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am not sure how truly progressive this album is because it consists of 32 solo acoustic guitar pieces, however, I can not exaggerate enough on what a treat and gift it is to have this collection of instrumental ditties and fully worked out acoustic guitar songs from one of the masters of off-beat and unexpected melody of our time. It is also particularly enjoyable to follow the track list while matching each song with Ant's list of guitars from his rather extensive collection. While many if not all of the 32 songs here achieve the elevated status of 'beautiful,' the four opening and closing songs and the 12-string pieces definitely haunt me. So many others are worthy of special mention but I won't; just get the album and pick out your own favorites--there are sure to be a dozen or more.

Of all of Ant's albums, this one rates near the top--only behind "The Geese and the Ghost" and "Back to the Pavilion" along side all of the Private Parts and Pieces and "1984."

Report this review (#405854)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well now isn't this most pleasant! If one has a taste for the acoustic guitar work that Mr. Phillips made famous, after a fashion, on Private Parts & Pieces V: Twelve, and many other albums throughout his wondrous career, then one simply must own this collection. It contains nothing but acoustic guitar pieces, and lots of them, spread out over two discs. Got a good book, and placid moment to spare? Need a CD to play on a cool spring day, whilst the rain patters on the roof outside? This is a great CD to pull off the shelf. There are others, yes, but this is quite nice.

Some of it seems vaguely familiar to me, namely "River Of Life" and some of the other blissful, haunting 12-string pieces at the end of disc one. Maybe it's just the type of similarities that one will inevitably hear from the oeuvre of an artist so prolific as Mr. Phillips.

Report this review (#751493)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Field Day is a massive collection of acoustic guitar pieces from Anthony Phillips. If you've heard the fifth album in his Private Parts and Pieces series, Twelve, you already have some idea of what to expect here: classical guitar which meanders between the tranquil and the new agey and more complex passages reminiscent of Phillips' proggier work. Taking over two decades to record and assemble due to the compositional structure of the album bloating as the project progressed, it's an impressive achievement, though at the same time one to be approached with caution; it's long enough that it's a challenge to sit through the entire thing, especially considering that it isn't enormously varied despite the occasional other bit of instrumentation creeping in here and there, but at the same time it's structured such that the individual tracks don't really pass muster unless taken as part of the whole.

In short, it's worth a listen, but only if you're already a dedicated Phillips follower; those new to his work would be best advised to start with something which is a bit more varied and requires a bit less investment of time to get into, like The Geese and the Ghost or the first Private Parts and Pieces album.

Report this review (#864081)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A highly prolific composer/performer, that more than once comes up with huge albums filled with lots of songs. It is a tough pace to follow, and as many prolific composers, not always all what they produce are exactly "gems", (in fact his 2012, "Seventh Heaven" album, was quiet dissapointing, IMO).

Anyway, following the PA ratings on this "Field Day" project, I, do have to agree that this is close enough to be one of his best albums. The Anthony Phillips renaissance (the Art-period not the prog-band) guitar flavor permeates most of the record, there are a few "bridges" with added instruments that sound a bit like his (short) early-Genesis days but this is basically an all-acoustic guitar, all A. Phillips album.

What makes the difference mainly from other of his albums is the fact that there are no unnecessary fillers, everything is worth its time to listen to and even in his very personal approach there are new proposals in his way of songwriting...

One thing that should be interesting for "new-comers", is that no matter what kind of song Anthony Phillips plays, even the "sad" ones, almost always have a hopeful and "happy" after-taste, which of course, is kind of "dangerous" , considering the very thin line from "corny" to beautiful.

This work stays far away from the "corn" and much closer to intelligent & well constructed songs, with splashes, in moderation, of "sweetness", but in perfectly balanced quantity of creativity. Therefore, I do agree with the ratings on this one, this is one of his best efforts, very accomplished and tastefully performed.

**** Perfectly deserved, PA stars.

Report this review (#1057926)
Posted Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anthony Philips comes to a full power on this long acoustic release with 61 pieces to satisfy the hunger that lasted several years. This is AP in his most conventional territory that is characterized by acoustic guitar and influence of medieval, classical or simply guitar instrumental music.

Tracks are well composed and interpreted, the sound is very clear.

My favourites on CD1: "High Fives" with its staccato runs, "Steps retraced" with a classical guitar sound, "Field Day" with its playful but subdued tone and nice melody, "Concerto de Alvarez" for its Mediterranean feel and "White Spider" for its virtuosity and expressiveness.

The second CD has a similar taste. The recommende tracks by me are: "Rain on Sag harbour" due to its melancholic feeling, "Oubliette" with its reflectiveness,"Mudlark" for a contrast guitar and banjo-like tone, "To the lighthouse" because it has an epic development.

I am sure that everybody would have chosen different favourites, there are so many choices :).

The album belongs to the better AP albums and deservers 3,5 stars although there not many progressive rock elements to be found here.

Report this review (#2242898)
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have probably half of Phillips' albums from the earlier days, up through the "New England" album that came out in 1992, and I too am one of those people who love the diversity, songwriting skills and level of technical ability that this man displays across most of those albums. Personally, he sort of started to lose me a bit with the more cinematic-sounding albums ("Tarka", "Slow Dance", even the later "Dragonfly Dreams"). Not bad albums, but not what I was primarily coming to Ant Phillips for...

But when he came back in 2005 with "Field Day", I took a dive in the deep end again. He even notes in the liner notes that "this is a lot" - yeah, over 60 songs of a shorter nature, all acoustic, using numerous guitars from his collection. It IS a lot. But it's not too much.

Listening to this album again today, I was surprised at HOW GOOD most of these songs are. He somehow keeps us from being bored by a similar phrase or guitar sound with endless originality here. Really nice, and really surprising given the number of pieces here. If this is to be considered "prog", it would have to be under the most pastoral and simplest of definitions. But the more important point is that it is great music.

Before I played this today, I noticed that I rated this 4-1/2 stars on my RYM page many years ago - the only AP album I have rated that high since his 1979 "Sides". I raised an eyebrow; could this really be that good with so many songs, and short ones at that, and all acoustic?...

Uh, yup.

Report this review (#2451020)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 | Review Permalink

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