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Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars While in my opinion, some obvious "needed to include" selections are missing, there is something about Anthony's virtuostic sincerity that comes through in enough of these selections that "Anthology" is more than a viable addition to my library. Like one's favorite liqueur, It is not an everyday listen but sure fits the bill when in the appropriate mood.

There is an extraordinarily interesting geneology of musicians scattered throughout the selections, that make this CD a brief "progressive-rock" history lesson.

Report this review (#57304)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Everyone has to start somewhere, and I suspect that may of the members of this forum who profess to love Anthony Phillps' work with Genesis on To Revelation, and, especially, Trespass, and bemoan the fact that he left the band...what might have been...have never actually heard a great deal of his extremely extensive solo work. If you are one of these people, or a member of the forum who has simply never experienced the genius of the man's work, this Anthology, originally released in 1995, and my first real introduction to a cornucopia of exceptional works, is a great place to start.

It contains all that we love and, indeed, loathe about his work. Phillips, a very introverted man, is very clever, and is a multi instrumentalist, not just a guitarist. His compositions have, indeed, been very influential without being commercially huge.

The first track, The Women Are Watching, exemplifies every similar track on the album - that is, if you want to enjoy Phillps' music, don't bother listening to the ones where he sings vocals. He doesn't do it very often, and a good job, because he really cannot sing. This and Lucy Will are simply terrible and best ignored. Unheard Cry features some beautiful guitar work, and emotional vocals revolving around child and mother, but would clearly have benefited from a proper vocalist giving a professional feel to the lovely tune and lyrics. It's a lovely track, but Phillip's just is not a singer.

Prelude is more like it, a lovely composition which is mainly keyboard based, it flows very nicely to a percussive backdrop.

But to really appreciate how influential and great the man's composition's are, The Anthem from Tarka (a soundtrack to an old TV documentary) is a must listen to. Quite simply heavenly in the main keyboard lead, this gorgeous instrumental takes you directly to the riverbed as the Oboe plays the Otter of the title track. It lilts and lifts and is a highlight of Phillips' career.

Tregenna Afternoons is perhaps the best known of his guitar pieces from his earlier solo career, and is a track which features acoustic guitar played to such depth and imagination that you are forgiven for thinking that it is a symphonic work. One of those tracks which, no matter how much you admire Steve Hackett (which I do, very much), makes you wonder what might have been for Genesis had Phillips stayed. For a further good example, simply listen to Nightmare, an instrumental in which you can actually see the dark shapes, vicious happenings, and visceral forms in front of you if you close your eyes to listen to the music. It is Phillips very much proving that his hard rock and mood on The Knife (amongst others) was not an accident.

The album has 17 tracks, and I will not review each one individually - the above tracks really tell you all you need to know. Mainly a work of genius, with some infuriating lapses which make the album, and, indeed, the career, vital and rewarding.

I will, however, make special mention of God If I Saw Her Now, featuring our very own Phil Collins sharing lead vocals, on a track from the very first Mike Rutherford produced solo album. A track of such intricate feeling, emotion, and featuring the most incredible solo guitar piece in the middle, it puts paid to all those doubters as to Collins' prog sensibilities - he shines on this.

A collection of different moods, this album neatly encapsulates Phillip's career to 1995. It is an enjoyable album which I would recommend to those who, like me at the time, are curious about extending their interest in his work.

Probably deserving 3.5 stars, I will award it 3 for the above reason - very good as a starter and taster, but not essential. Get the individual albums for that.

Report this review (#218254)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink

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