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EARTHSTONE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Earthstone biography
EARTHSTONE began as a Chris Phillips solo project. After the breakup of his latest band, Ranata Spirit, in 1984 he decided the only way to make the music he liked was to do it alone. Over time, he wrote music, and made home recordings. It was almost ten years before the original dream started to become a reality. However, when the deal with Kinesis came through, Phillips realized he needed some help. Chris Bond had been working with Phillips on some other projects, so he became the other official member of the band. "Seed" was released by Kinesis in 1994. Mark Richards (ex-Ranata Spirit) does play guitar on one track, but this was really a two-man operation. Phillips did 95% of the instrumental work, and all the vocals. Bond provided some keyboards, and co-wrote the lyrics on half of the songs. The drums were programmed, which would become the biggest sore spot for many listeners, especially Phillips. Even though the album was reviewed favorably, and they sold all of the original pressings, Phillips is very disappointed with the final product.


On EARTHSTONE's Facebook page, Phillips states:

'I originally conceived the idea of EARTHSTONE back in the autumn of 1984 after the break-up of Ranata Spirit. The intention was to create something that would be permanent, and not be subject to the usual self-destructive arguments over musical direction and creative input. I wanted there to be something I could always use to express my own ideas without having them diluted and transmogrified until their original meaning is lost. For me, music is a very personal way of conveying deep-seated thoughts to others, and in that sense, it must remain unchanged from my original idea. A number of home recorded songs were made, but none released commercially.'

'Through my involvement in Ranata Spirit and later Silas and the music we produced that found its way around the world, contact was made with Larry Kolota at Kinesis Discs in the USA. By this time, I was already working on my EARTHSTONE project with Chris Bond, who was sound fx and sound man with Silas and had now set up Burning Chrome studio in his home. Larry approached us originally with the idea of re-releasing some of the material from my old bands, but through discussions, he agreed to release an EARTHSTONE album instead. As Chris Bond owned his studio, and that I had no way of paying for his time, we came to an arrangement to share some of the creative input for the "Seed" album, with a 60/4...
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SeedSeed
Import
Kinesis
Audio CD$52.91 (used)

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EARTHSTONE discography


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3.09 | 11 ratings
Seed
1994

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EARTHSTONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Seed by EARTHSTONE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.09 | 11 ratings

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Seed
Earthstone Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Part of the endless list of bands around the Norwich area, Earthstone begun in mid-80's as a project around ex-Ranata Spirit's main leader Chris Phillips.He recruited another talented man of the underground British Prog scene, Silas (Ibey) keyboardist Chris Bond, but it wasn't until 1994, when their debut was released.Phillips plays all instruments and sings, while Bond was responsible for the some keyboards and all programmed parts of the album.Their album ''Seed'' saw the light through the US Kinesis label.

Both Phillips and Bond were involved in the 80's British Prog movement and their influences from this period are evident in Earthstone's album.Full of synth acrobatics, soaring guitar solos and extensive keyboard breaks, ''Seed'' lies in the territory of Neo Prog, although the sound is varied, often sparkled with light psychedelic touches and mainly Electronic-like textures.I really don't know, but the production kind of reminds me of these romantic days of raw, passionate Progressive Rock in the British islands, being quite average with clever technical flaws, otherwise the duo was apparently still rooted in this silver period of Prog music.The compositions are quite long, effective and tight with many variations and notable influences from TWELFTH NIGHT and PALLAS, although much-more keyboard-drenched, with expressive vocals, extended synthesizer leads and Electronic/symphonic orientations akin to QUASAR, STEVE HILLMAN and PROTOS.But the album lacks some serious melodies, being almost exclusively built around the changes in keyboard themes, the 80's-styled guitars and the extended, atmospheric, cinematic passages on dual synthesizers.The drum programming is below average and the album could have been really better with a real musician behind the drum kit.On the other hand, it still retains the deep lyricism of 80's groups in the vocal parts and this lovely sound of sensitive guitar lines, blended with powerful grooves and ongoing breaks of keyboard themes, is certainly attractive.

Officially Earthstone never really disbanded, but the fact was that Chris Bond moved on with his career, forming Stealing the Fire (in the only album of whom Glen Phillips also appears), while Phillips was also involved in later bands, such as Psychedelic/Space Rockers Iron Sun.

''Seed'' is a good, misplaced album of keyboard-filled Neo Prog.It could have been easily recorded and released during the first half of the 80's, a period in which stylistically ''Seed'' belongs.An under-the-radar lost work of cinematic and atmospheric Neo Prog, recommended to all fans of the style.

 Seed by EARTHSTONE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.09 | 11 ratings

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Seed
Earthstone Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I finally managed to get my hands on this rare output by Earthstone. At first I thought we were dealing with a very obscure band that had made only one album. But then I checked out the band description and to my surprise Earthstone is a still existing band that is actually planning to make a seconde one. Never mind, a fact is that this is their only release so far and it's pretty hard to get anywhere. The reason I wanted this album is that I more or less fell in love with the stream track here on PA and then it's only logic to want to check out the album. I will reveal more about this track later on but will do the track by track review now.

First in line is the title track Seed, a funny little rocker with as most significant feature a machine gun like keyboard passage like a sort of staccato play. Nice opener but not one the very best yet. 3,5*.

Second tune, E.L.F. is more melodic and therefore more memorable as a song. A very nice instrumental beginning is followed by an equally fine vocal part. Another great instrumental bit makes this track really worth while. 3,75*.

Next is the stream track I was referring to called The Hand of Glory. This is one of the sweetest tunes I've ever heard. Not sweet in a cheesy way but just very lovely. Enchanting keyboard playing gets this track started and these first few minutes already make this excellent song to one of my favorite neo tracks ever. Halfway a sort of repetitive bit almost ruins the track but last few minutes the wonderful keyboard returns to save it in the end. 4,75*.

Unicorn Home starts as a modern pop song but within first minute the progressive leanings are already there. This turns out to be a standard neo progressive song, not very original but nothing really wrong with it either. Same as the opening title track this is not a memorable highlight. A fine guitar solo in the middle is the highlight on this one. 3,5*.

Llid the God is a strange title of a strange gloomy song. A very special alternation on this very neo-prog album. Halfway a mysterious keyboard piece proves the ambient mood of this instrumental track. 3,5*.

The Splintered Sky starts a bit mysteriously as well but gets more regular later on. The special atmosphere remains throughout the song though and I really like this feature. Some dissonances here and there but in the end the melodic neo progressive leanings win the battle proven by a superb guitar solo clocking over a minute. 4,5*.

The Set is fully melodic once again and suddenly my ear detects the typical "drumming" on this album. As I read in the band description, this is in fact "computer drumming" a consequence of the bands line up consisting of only two persons. Then this kind of drumming is to be expected. This seventh track is another very good one but not one of the outstanding tracks still. 3,75*.

This also goes for Whitlingham Lane that can be called the ballad of the album, one of the more quiet tracks. The laid back guitar playing is a caress for the ear and this song seals the excellent status of the album because I can already reveal that the highlight is yet to come. This one makes 4* comfortably.

The mentioned highlight is the closing epical In the Winter of Night. If you already liked the album so far (which I did !) then you're in for a final treat, a true grand finale of this extremely nice album. This final track treats you with all elements that have been shown so far, Brilliant keyboard play with wonderful melodies as well as some excellent guitar passages. The keyboard dominates on this final track. 4,75*.

In conclusion I can only say this is a great album that hides itself for exposure unjustly. This Seed should be a neo progressive classic and not a hidden gem with one or two reviews. As the band description tells this can probably at least partly be blamed to the band leader himself. I hope he will do his PR better in the future. Some maths show that the average is exactly 4 stars so that's what this will get. (Highly) Recommended for true neo fans.

 Seed by EARTHSTONE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.09 | 11 ratings

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Seed
Earthstone Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars "Seed" seems to have taken the 1970s influences of groups like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and even FM, and incorporated new age and techno elements of the 1980s and the digital age, with mostly impressive results. They are aptly named, because, in spite of all the technology including programmed drums, the lyrical themes are mystical and earth-aware. Everywhere there is delicious darkness and brooding, sometimes bursting out, sometimes ready to explode, sometimes recovering. It's an album I can lose myself in, without the irritation that sometimes accompanies not remembering the last 10 minutes of music.

Several of the tunes simply never drift to the background, in particular "Unicorn Home" and "In the Winter of Night", while "Llid the God" is an imposing instrumental that blows the socks off the new age genre from which it might arguably have sprung. If all tracks had been as good as these three, we might be looking at a classic, but the rest are not bad either, particularly "Hand of Glory", so I really have few complaints except why was there no second album?

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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