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ANTHONY PHILLIPS

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Anthony Phillips biography
MIX OF PROGRESSIVE CLASSICAL ROCK, NEW AGE & FOLK


Anthony PHILLIPS was one of the original founding members of GENESIS featuring Peter GABRIEL, Tony BANKS, and Michael RUTHERFORD. Following "Trespass", GENESIS' second album, PHILLIPS left (purportedly due to stage fright) and was replaced by Steve HACKETT. Nothing was heard again from Anthony until 1977, when he favored us with his first solo, "The Geese and the Ghost", although PHILLIPS wasn't the first member of the band to release a solo album (that honor goes to Steve HACKETT, by releasing "Voyage of the Acolyte", in 1975). A more commercial audience was courted on "Wise After The Event" and "Sides", to no avail, and PHILLIPS spent much of his time releasing instrumental pieces (both old and new) under the "Private Parts & Pieces" series. Steeped in classical, pre-Baroque, and folk influences, he was able to record entire albums featuring only his acoustic instrument. He is one of the world's masters on the twelve string guitar and piano compositions that hark back to GENESIS' original lost innocence. His studio recordings reveal a distinctive character to his compositions on those instruments as well.

Some of his albums are more "progessive" than others, especially "Sides" (INTERESTING CD), "Private Parts and Pieces II" (A MUST! for fans of early GENESIS), "PP&P IX", and "Wise After the Event" (A MASTERPIECE); others are more "classical" in style like "PP&P III", "PP&P V", "PP&P VI" or "poppy" like "Invisible Men" and a few tracks on "Sides". Anthony PHILLIPS' 1977 debut album is one of the best works, but all of them are excellent. This album (1977) by Ant is my second favorite PHILLIPS album after "Wise After the Event". Even more its a jewel for every Rock collection, but in its own particular genre (a mix of those quiet moments of "Trespass" of GENESIS+the medieval folkprog style by GRYPHON). As you well have gathered, "Anthology" (1995) is an album that has a compilation of tracks from his solo career. This album is the perfect introduction to the world of Anthony PHILLIPS.

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Private Parts & Pieces V-VIIIPrivate Parts & Pieces V-VIII
Box set · Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$27.29
$40.37 (used)
Private Parts & Pieces I-IV: 5cd Deluxe ClamshellPrivate Parts & Pieces I-IV: 5cd Deluxe Clamshell
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$24.91
$35.03 (used)
Living Room ConcertLiving Room Concert
Blueprint UK 1998
Audio CD$100.00
$4.99 (used)
The Geese & The GhostThe Geese & The Ghost
CD+DVD
Esoteric Antenna 2015
Audio CD$17.02
$71.99 (used)
Sides: 3cd/1dvd Deluxe Boxset EditionSides: 3cd/1dvd Deluxe Boxset Edition
Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$21.68
$19.57 (used)
Wise After the Event: Deluxe EditionWise After the Event: Deluxe Edition
Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$21.84
$21.83 (used)
SidesSides
Import
Voiceprint UK 2010
Audio CD$15.56
$15.66 (used)
19841984
Import · Remastered
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$17.83
$17.82 (used)
Seventh HeavenSeventh Heaven
Import
Voiceprint 2012
Audio CD$15.71
$19.90 (used)
Harvest of the Heart: DeluxeHarvest of the Heart: Deluxe
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$38.39
$219.99 (used)
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1984 [EP] by Anthony Phillips (CD, Dec-1993, Blue Plate) USD $3.00 [0 bids]
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ANTHONY PHILLIPS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ANTHONY PHILLIPS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 297 ratings
The Geese And The Ghost
1977
3.81 | 142 ratings
Wise After The Event
1978
3.35 | 87 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces
1978
3.04 | 88 ratings
Sides
1979
3.72 | 88 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces II: Back To The Pavillion
1980
3.75 | 82 ratings
1984
1981
3.55 | 64 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces III: Antiques
1982
2.34 | 43 ratings
Invisible Men
1983
3.14 | 40 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces IV: A Catch At The Tables
1984
3.13 | 45 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces V: Twelve
1984
3.32 | 41 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces VI: Ivory Moon
1986
3.01 | 41 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces VII: Slow Waves, Soft Stars
1987
3.40 | 43 ratings
Tarka
1988
3.44 | 26 ratings
The Missing Links Volume 1 - Finger Painting
1989
4.24 | 137 ratings
Slow Dance
1990
3.96 | 48 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England
1992
2.75 | 20 ratings
Sail the World
1994
3.24 | 27 ratings
Missing Links Volume 2: the Sky Road
1994
3.46 | 28 ratings
Gypsy Suite
1995
3.62 | 37 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces IX: Dragonfly Dreams
1996
4.16 | 27 ratings
The Meadows of Englewood
1996
3.84 | 22 ratings
Missing Links Volume 3: Time & Tide
1997
4.04 | 33 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces X: Soirée
1999
3.50 | 16 ratings
Battle of the Birds - A Celtic Tale
2003
4.21 | 77 ratings
Field Day
2005
3.23 | 13 ratings
Wildlife
2007
2.51 | 18 ratings
Missing Links Volume Four: Pathways & Promenades
2009
2.82 | 11 ratings
Ahead of the Field
2010
3.67 | 21 ratings
Seventh Heaven
2012
2.93 | 14 ratings
Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams
2012

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 12 ratings
The "Living Room" Concert
1995
3.82 | 8 ratings
The Live Radio Sessions
1998
3.71 | 8 ratings
Radio Clyde 1978
2003

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.41 | 10 ratings
Harvest of the Heart
1985
3.08 | 12 ratings
Anthony Phillips - Anthology
1995
4.14 | 7 ratings
Legend (1997)
1997
2.77 | 7 ratings
The Archive Collection Volume One
1998
4.50 | 4 ratings
Legend
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
Soft Vivace
2002
3.00 | 4 ratings
All Our Lives
2002
3.88 | 7 ratings
Soundscapes - An Anthology
2003
3.43 | 12 ratings
Archive Collection Vol II
2004
3.75 | 4 ratings
Harvest of the Heart: An Anthology
2014

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Collections
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
We're All as We Lie
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Um & Aargh
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Prelude '84
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sally
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Anthem from Tarka (Five Track CD-Single)
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Anthem From Tarka
1988

ANTHONY PHILLIPS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Geese And The Ghost by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.02 | 297 ratings

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The Geese And The Ghost
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by Replayer

4 stars There's a saying that you prepare for your first album or novel your entire life. While Anthony 'Ant' Phillips had released two albums with Genesis in 1969 and 1970, The Geese and the Ghost is his first solo work and took the better part of a decade to complete. Originally envisioned as joint project with former bandmate and schoolmate Mike Rutherford, the album had to be delayed due to Rutherford's touring and composing duties while Phillips was also occupied with studying classical guitar, which only allowed for sporadic recording sessions. Thus, while the album had its genesis (pun intended) back in 1969, with a lengthy 12-string guitar duet which eventually became the title track, it was mostly recorded in 1974 and 1975. However, it wasn't completed until 1976 and not released until 1977. By then, Phillips wrote a few more tracks and released The Geese and The Ghost as his first solo album.

Rutherford is listed as a co-composer on the two longest tracks and the short interlude Chinese Mushroom Cloud, which is actually reprised in the title track. Phillips and Rutherford play various guitars and keyboard instruments, but it is their 12-string acoustic guitar work that really shines. Genesis drummer Phil Collins sings on two of the songs. John Hackett, younger brother of Genesis' guitarist Steve Hackett, plays flute on a few tracks. Ant's brother Rob contributes oboe.

Wind-Tales is a very short orchestral instrumental that sets the album's pastoral mood. The album includes some guest musicians contributing classical instruments such as cello, oboe, cor anglais, flute, recorder, and violin, but they are not credited for this track, so I assume it's just Ant playing it on Mellotron.

Which Way the Wind Blows is sung by Phil Collins and he does excellent job, imbuing the lyrics with just enough emotion. Interestingly, Phillips revealed that he played electric guitar in the style of classic guitar on this track. Ant also plays Mellotron at the track's end.

Henry - Portraits from Tudor Times is the album's highlight for me. It is one of the album's two epics that Phillips co-wrote with Rutherford. It is an instrumental multi-part song that aurally depicts Henry VII's incursions in France due to French support of Perkin Warbeck as pretender to the English throne. The fact the several themes are reprised adds to the track's cohesiveness. The Henry Goes to War section is the album's most aggressive and Ant even rips a few electric guitar licks. The Lutes Chorus reprise was cut from the original album, but restored in the 2CD reissue.

God If I Saw Her Now is a duet between Vivienne McAuliffe and Phil Collins dealing with the male character reminiscing about his unrequited love for another girl. Phillip's introductory guitar passage reminds me of Bach's Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Chinese Mushroom Cloud is a short and ominous instrumental is reprised in the middle of the title track, so I'm not sure why it's listed separately as a standalone track.

The title track is another lengthy instrumental. The focus is on the acoustic 12-strings, but it also contains a bit of more traditional rock instrumentation, such as electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. The song's title derives from two ARP Pro Soloist synth effects that are fairly buried in the mix. The geese honking effect is encountered at 4:40 and 13:20 and the ghost at 4:55 and 13:40. Part two starts at the 8 minute mark and includes a reprise of the Chinese Mushroom Cloud melody at 8:10. Part II is livelier than Part I.

Collections is a piano ballad played and sung by Phillips. It features lush orchestration, but according to the album credits, only John Hackett is featured of the guest musicians, which implies the orchestral accompaniment is mostly provided by Ant on the Mellotron.

Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West is a melancholy tune played on piano with flute, oboe and Mellotron accompaniment. The geese synth effect is featured here, as well.

The CD reissue includes a bonus CD, the bulk of which consists of demo/basic tracks for all the proper songs on the album (i.e. all except for Wind Tales and Chinese Mushroom Cloud). However, there are two previously unreleased Phillips songs included as well. The first is Master of Time, sung by Phillips, which was intended for the album. The other is Silver Song, a song written by Phillips and Rutherford as a farewell to former Genesis drummer John Silver. There is an instrumental demo version and a vocal version, featuring Phil Collins' singing and drumming. The vocal version was intended to be released as a single in 1973, but was never released by Charisma Records. It's a catchy and enjoyable song, though I find it somewhat ironic that Phil is the one singing of missing a drummer whose role in Genesis he occupied at the time.

The album also has beautiful cover art that suits the music perfectly and references several songs: medieval imagery (Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times), the sunset (Which Way the Wind Blows), a ghostly apparition (The Geese and the Ghost), geese (The Geese and the Ghost and Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West). The back cover's armored goose makes me smile every time I see it.

I recommend The Geese and the Ghost to fans of early Genesis and of acoustic guitar music, such as performed by Gordon Giltrap and Blackmore's Night.

 1984 by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.75 | 82 ratings

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1984
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To Anthony Phillips is primarily associated with gentle progressive folk/pop/rock with an added sense of baroque music. At least I thinkt that's correct when speaking of his 70's output with what I am mostly familiar. Being a very gifted guitarist and possessing a mild mannered voice the music on "1984" comes across not as a schock but rather a surprise. Now, surprises can be sweet as sugar but also unpleasant in a myriad of ways.

There's a serious 80's sound on this album that cannot be denied and definately not ridiculed. One has to remember the time in which the music was recorded. Given that the electronics of the late 70's and early 80's might come across as cheezy, one must approach this album bearing that in mind. Gone are the guitars (for the most part anyway) and enter all sorts of electronic instruments, including drum machines. I love this approach and find it not only charming and endearing but also great in so many ways.

The novel "1984" is quite something. Dark and foreboding. The words of Orwell may be quite the challenge to transform into theater, movie or music. Some say it can't be done but I beg to differ. The darkness in the novel transforms beautifully into music, especially when conducted in this very much modern (for it's day) and electronic, futuristic fashion.

There is a deceptive gaiety in this opus similar to the songs in the book, made by machines and sporting a cold joy that is lacking in heart and soul. I suppose I really want to say "artificial joy". In the novel Big Brother supplies the citizens with supposedly everything needed, from chocolate to music. It is depressing but extremely evocative and exciting piece of literature. The music of Phillips is, however, not without heart. It is brilliant and manages to portray this false smile of totalitarianism to a degree of perfect splendour. And while the music is cold and futuristic, one feels the love Phillips has put into this project. The result is a very melodious and engaging experience, sporting a multitude of melodies one can't wait to hear.

This is truly the audio companion to the novel and I find it to be one of the finest examples of early 80's prog. While instrumentally lightyears away from his previous work, the essence of Phillips genius is there. Easily 4 stars.

 Slow Dance by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.24 | 137 ratings

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Slow Dance
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by branchranch

5 stars This album is phenomenal! I have listened to some of Mr. Phillips other work, and I think his presence really elevated Genesis' Trespass album. The pastoral sound which he brought to that group was sorely missed by me when he left. His music has always been peaceful and enjoyable to some degree. However, the only other recording by him that I own is Geese and the Ghost, which I like but not nearly as much as this one. But suddenly, out of nowhere, nearly twenty years later, the hand of God falls on Ant, and he creates this masterpiece. The equivalent of two side-long epics in the tradition of Thick as a Brick, this is an instrumental composition of incredible magnitude. And most surprisingly of all, his incredible guitar takes a backseat on this one. This recording is so filled with orchestral instrumentation, it could easily be classified as semi-classical, although comparisons to Michael Oldfield could easily be made, as well. The record starts out with one of the most enchanting themes I have ever heard. This theme will reoccur throughout the recording, and provides the glue which holds the entire piece together. A harp sound sets the mood, and then the orchestra enters bringing warmth and power to the main theme. Simplicity seems to be the key in this masterwork. Much of the record is spent is soft reflection between a couple of solo instruments playing counterpoint with the current melody line. Although there are a few segments where percussion takes center stage, the recording is so soft and pastoral, it is hard to classify it as rock at all. (after all this is a progressive-ROCK site) Transitions between musical passages are almost seamless, which is hard to fathom in a nearly 50- minute composition. The repeating main theme serves its purpose well here. Part two is a bit less interesting than part one, but only a little. On the downside, there are some cheesy-sounding synths and sampling from time to time, but that was a reflection of the time it was recorded. If you are a fan of classical or semi-classical music, Michael Oldfield, soft instrumental music, even easy-listening, you will find a lot to like here. If you insist that your music always have a driving beat, you will miss a real hidden gem. Final score: 4.75, rounded up to 5 stars, no doubt.
 Slow Dance by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.24 | 137 ratings

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Slow Dance
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by Thandrus

5 stars This is a wonder album. Many people know who Anthony Phillips is, yet few actually know his music well. Apart of the conventional, pastoral prog albums early in his solo career (recalling the music of times when he was in Genesis) to many acoustic albums devoted to piano and his beloved guitar. Other than this, he had a few unsuccessful pop flings and some shots for orchestral/synthesizer music. The album in question belongs to latter territory and what an album it is!

Being surrounded with such amount of film (and new age) music, there's very much to compare it to, but only very rarely this type of music has achieved such an emotional effect. A two-part composition is presented, with alternatiing amazingly beautiful, magical themes with endless, interesting variations. Sound is bright but very, very deep and massive at moments (e.g. the beginning sequence).

This is one of my all-time favourite albums. This is for everyone that puts beauty first.

 Private Parts & Pieces II: Back To The Pavillion by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.72 | 88 ratings

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Private Parts & Pieces II: Back To The Pavillion
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Come 1980 and Phillips would again return to the memories of the past, releasing an album with compositions originally written for other projects and some leftovers from the ''Wise after the event'' sessions.The album was titled ''Private parts & pieces II: Back to the Pavilion'' and was originally released for the US label Passport in June.Phillips is the main figure on this work, playing electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano and singing, while his only regular assistant was ex-King Crimson drummer Andy McCulloch.Mike Rutherford appears on bass on ''Scottish suite'', Rob Phillips plays the oboe on ''Von Runkel's Yorker music'' and Mel Collins enters in ''Tremulous'' with his flute.

Special mention should be given to the 15-min. excellent opening ''Scottish suite'', described by Phillips as ''a collection of Scottish Salmon farmer's songs and 12th century Paraguayan tin-miner's threnodies''.This belongs among Phillips' most genuine, sophisticated and progressive compositions, a meld of late-70's Symphonic Rock with bucolic British Folk, dominated by excellent handling of classical guitars, dark keyboard flavors and melodious symph-based textures in an all instrumental majesty very close to his days with GENESIS, at least during the acoustic lines.Definitely a highlight of his career with a nice balance between acoustic themes and electric energy and a charming combination of dramatic and gentle musicianship.Cut off the ''dramatic'' and ''electric'' words from the previous description to follow the storyline of the rest of the album, which is filled with romantic piano lines, acoustic crescendos and embryonic pre-New Age flashes with Phillips being the absolute officer, passing through stylistic variations, which have all in common the mood for sentimental, heavily acoustic and ethereal soundscapes.The material here is not bad at all, but falls short compared to the impressive opening opus.This comes indeed as a collection of short pieces and different sources of inspiration with Folk, Classical and minimalistic Music as the guidelines, leading to instrumental isolation, always led by Phillips' lovely tunes and accomplished skills on guitar and keyboards, but leaving much to be desired regarding a richer and more progressive side.

An uneven release, which somehow manages to keep a high level of musicianship.Maybe too mellow and experimental for the casual prog listener, but the acoustic tracks have a nice and attractive atmosphere, while ''Scottish suite'' is a real stunner and a good enough reason to purchase the album.Recommended.

 Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.93 | 14 ratings

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Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by Raccoon

4 stars If synthesizers are involved, proggers like to steer clear (with some exceptions). Synthesizers usually bring a poppier, giddy approach to their style, instead of truly taking advantage of the vast variety of sounds it's capable of.

Here, Anthony Phillips creates a whole universe of sound. Surrounding you in a flurry of calming and relaxing touches, tones, and keys. The wave of crystalline keyboards, a wall of sound if I've ever heard one. Luckily, this one's multitracked. You can tell time and patience was put into this little beauty. Now, I shouldn't call it 'little' since it's 31 songs, but it has a 'fragile' sound. No, not that Yes album, but a precious and peaceful representation. The title of the album explains the overall feel.

The only tracks I can't get into are the various City of Dreams songs, I-IV and Mystery Train. They're each a little over a minute (or less) so that's a small complaint, they all just sound too similar for my taste. Sure, there's an addition of some new texture or sound, but the lack of a new piece doesn't impress me. I love the variety, and each song is a completely different. A different sense of 'peaceful'. Ambient music has a risk of becoming boring, but this isn't the case. With each song so short, there's plenty of new ideas to present. It isn't Eno-ambient, there's multiple textures going at once. (No offense to Eno, I love his music, but for a different reason. I have to be in the mood. With this, I can listen to it and become entranced that easily.)

Some stand-outs (though they really ALL are remarkable) is: King of the Mountains, Astral Bath, Air & Grace, Sunset Pools, The Deep, Night Train (one of the more lively pieces on here), Sea of Tranquility (introducing the harp makes this possibly the most beautiful song on the album), Realms of Gold (which is a little haunting, though beautiful, which shows that a 'realm of gold' could bring both elegance and danger. Also has a distant, quiet choir in the backdrop), Days of Yore (sounds like an out-of-tune acoustic guitar, a nice change of pace), Act of Faith (reminding me of Soiree, a luscious piano piece. Highly inspirational, and sadly, very short too), Grand Master (sounds like Anthony brought an organ into the ocean and started playing!), Anthem for Doomed Youth (the choir's front- and-center here), and The Homecoming, a great meditative closer to this meditative album.

Since nearly EVERY song is a highlight, I highly recommend that you listen to the previews on Amazon. Since I'm impatient, Amazon's mp3 price-tag of $8.99 was fair, so I grabbed it the first day it was released on here. The mp3 album title is listed as Private Parts & Pieces XI, NOT City of Dreams strangely enough. Those 57 minutes fly by, and it's always a rewarding experience when you turn it on again.

It's not as revolutionary for Ant Phillips as Seventh Heaven was, but it's still brilliant in its own sense. Please, just give it a listen. I used to love Mike Oldfield and his style, until I discovered Anthony Phillips' captivating discography.

 Tarka by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.40 | 43 ratings

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Tarka
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars An orphan film score

Tarka is a large scale instrumental work consisting of three longer "movements" followed by a shorter "postlude", and is Anthony Phillips's most orchestral work. I think it is roughly comparable in style to the orchestral version of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. Strictly speaking this is not an Anthony Phillips album, but rather a collaborative work by Phillips and Harry Williamson. The music was inspired by the novel "Tarka The Otter" by Henry Williamson (which I believe is Harry's father).

Originally the music featured here was composed as a soundtrack for a film based on the book. But, as it turned out, the final version of the film (which were finished in 1979) did not include any of this music. Wikipedia states that: "In 1976 Anthony Phillips, formerly a guitarist with Genesis, and Harry Williamson recorded a soundtrack to the film of Tarka the Otter with the support of David Cobham, the producer. Harry had helped to persuade his father to sign the contract, reassuring him that with the music he had composed, the film would be true to the book. When the film rushes were shown, however, it became apparent that there had never been any intention to use this orchestral work in the film." So, apparently the two musicians (as well as the author of the novel) were fooled by the makers of the film.

From the information above it should be clear that this music is a lot older than the release date of the album suggests. It wasn't until the late 80's, however, that this work was completed and finally released in 1988. I find this album a pleasant listen, but isn't anything more than that. Perhaps it would have been excellent as film music, but without the accompanying images this is not strong enough to stand on its own as a work of music.

 Invisible Men by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.34 | 43 ratings

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Invisible Men
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Invisible Prog

Within Anthony Phillips' own discography the closest comparison for the present album is the first side of Sides. Other reference points are the solo albums by other Genesis members, like Tony Banks' The Fugitive for example, released the same year as Invisible Men. This album is also comparable to the very least adventurous and most commercial releases by the likes of Electric Light Orchestra (Discovery), Alan Parsons Project (Vulture Culture), Barclay James Harvest (Victims Of Circumstance), and the poppiest singles by Mike Oldfield.

Invisible Men is a Pop album made up of short vocally driven tunes dominated by thin synthesiser sounds and cheap drum machines. Guitars are rather scarce here, and some horrible brass instruments have crept in. There is not one trace of anything progressive to be found here.

There is however one good song here in The Women Were Watching, a folky Pop Rock song with a strong melody, a good anti-war lyric, and some nice flute (or something that sounds like a flute). Though, I'm sure that this song would have been even better had the drum machines been replaced by proper drums and the rigid, monotonic rhythm had been loosened up somewhat and the instruments had a more organic sound.

Hardly Anthony Phillips greatest achievement

 Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.93 | 14 ratings

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Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Sea of tranquillity

City Of Dreams is the eleventh and, at the time of writing, latest entry in the Private Parts & Pieces collection and also Anthony Phillips' most recent solo album to date. The album features as many as 31 instrumental tracks, all of which are rather short (with running times between just under a minute to just under four minutes). Instead of making up segments of a larger, continuous piece of music, the individual tracks very often fade out to silence before the next one begins, thus emphasising the compilation nature of the Private Parts & Pieces series.

Most of the pieces here can perhaps be defined as ambient or electronic, but there are also some Classical, acoustic guitar and piano pieces that are characteristic of Phillips' oeuvre. There is even a tiny bit of electric guitar, which is unusual, on the track called King Of The Mountains. Some works by Vangelis and Mike Oldfield come to mind (in the case of the latter, particularly recent albums like Tr3s Lunas and Light + Shade).

While definitely an improvement over the previous two Private Parts & Pieces albums, City Of Dreams is not particularly impressive in its own right. Though it is a good addition to the collections of the fans.

 Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England  by PHILLIPS, ANTHONY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.96 | 48 ratings

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Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England
Anthony Phillips Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The best Private Parts & Pieces album!

For those who might have followed my series of reviews of Anthony Phillips' Private Parts & Pieces albums, you will have noticed that I am not a big fan of these albums. Many of these albums focus on only a single aspect of Phillips' diverse artistic ambition and skill, and some of them even focus on only a single instrument (most commonly the acoustic guitar, but sometimes piano or synthesisers). This observation can not without justification be extended to Phillips' discography as a whole with albums in many styles including Classical music, Pop Rock, New-Age, Folk, ambient/electronic, etc.

Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England stands out for me, however, in pooling the respective strengths of some of the previous albums in the series. Like on many previous Private Parts & Pieces albums we have here again some acoustic guitar pieces, some piano pieces, and even a couple of vocal numbers, but the compositions are stronger this time around. It does not just feel like Ant strumming away on his guitar, but that he actually took care to perform some carefully crafted material. There is also a nicer flow to this album that makes it feel like an organic whole instead of just a collection of independent pieces like most other Private Parts & Pieces albums very often do. New England is in many respects Phillips' most consistent album, at least since 1981's conceptual 1984 album (which is very different from the present album in style).

For this album, Ant has relaxed the synthesisers, but alternates between stringed acoustic instruments (mostly guitar, but also some lovely mandolin) and piano. There are several guests appearing on some interesting instruments, some of which are more "exotic" than others, but all of which add to the diversity of the sound palette of the album.

Much of this album, like the three-part title suite for instance, reminded me of Amazing Blondel in its soft melodic approach and Medieval-flavoured, folky, acoustic nature. Other parts are more Classical, some experimental, and yet others are towards easy-listening. The ten plus minute Sunrise And Sea Monsters is an odd fusion of jazzy easy-listening with more experimental passages.

One of Anthony Phillips' more enjoyable albums

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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