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Phil Manzanera

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Phil Manzanera Primitive Guitars album cover
3.88 | 21 ratings | 2 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Criollo (5:13)
2. Caracas (4:05)
3. La Nueva Ola (4:36)
4. Bogota (4:06)
5. Ritmo De Los Angeles (3:08)
6. Europe 70-1 (3:42)
7. Impossible Guitar (6:11)
8. Big Dome (6:20)
9. Europe 80-1 (4:00)

Total time 41:21

Bonus tracks on 2000 & 2008 CD releases:
10. Criollo (French Remix) (4:42)
11. Frontera (Instrumental Version) (5:02)

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Manzanera / guitars, bass, keyboards, drum machine, treatments, producer

- John Wetton / bass (9)
- Livingstone Brown / bass (11)
- Clive Mayuyu / drums (11)
- Kevin Dillon / keyboards (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Tony McGee

LP Editions EG ‎- EGED 14 (1982, UK)

CD Virgin Japan ‎- VJCP-2505 (1990, Japan)
CD Expression Records ‎- EXPCD19 (2000, Europe) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks
CD Arcāngelo ‎- ARC-7292 (2008, Japan) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to fishy for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PHIL MANZANERA Primitive Guitars ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PHIL MANZANERA Primitive Guitars reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Phil Manzenera is one of the finest guitarists to come from the world of progressive rock. Although he can shred when he feels like it, he tends to play beautiful sustained melodies in a style similar to Steve Hackett or the young Robert Fripp. This album is not really a rock album, even though Phil does play some pretty intense solos, instead it is more like an Italian movie soundtrack or some other style of exotic instrumental music. Many of the songs feature a very limited 80s style drum machine. That would be a disaster on most albums, but Phil uses the machine with good taste and it becomes part of the charm of this unique instrumental album.

Phil has a talent for writing strong passionate melodies which he displays on the Spanish styled album opener, Criollo. Another album highlight is La Nueva Ola which has a subtle disco beat topped by a spaghetti western styled guitar melody. Another great song on side one is Caracas which has a techno- funk beat topped by angry noisy blasts of guitar.

Side two opens with the incredible Europe 70-1. This song starts with a Terry Riley styled repeating synth part and then fades into a beautiful ambient guitar melody that sounds very sentimental but not maudlin. This song is followed by Impossible Guitar which brings back the disco beat, this time topped with synth- strings and some nice guitar soloing. The album closes with Europe 80-1 which is another nice, slowly unfolding ambient guitar melody.

Overall this album is somewhat similar to Bo Hanson's Lord of the Rings or the Fripp-Summers album Bewitched. All three albums seem to share a style that could be called the missing link between progressive rock and 60s era exotic soundtrack music. Despite the electronic drum kit and the occaisonal subtle disco beat, this is a great album full of strong melodies and very inventive guitar playing.

I guess the title, Primitive Guitars, is supposed to be ironic because there is nothing primitive about this record, instead it is as sophisticated as Phil himself.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars If you enjoy Phil Manzanera's unique guitar stylings (as I do), then you would definitely enjoy this album. Unlike his previous albums, under his own name or the band 801, which featured mostly composed pieces, on this one Manzanera mostly lays down some rhythm tracks, and layers his elegant guitar lines over them. The result is some incredibly listenable music.

The majority of the pieces have that slight South American flavor that spiced up Manzanera's albums, but here brought to the forefront. And his use off effect, especially chorus, is simply exquisite.

Since the compositions are very loose, and it's mostly a guitar showcase, it's not one of Manzanera's more progressive albums, but it is progessive enough for me.

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