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Phillips, Anthony: Private Parts & Pieces V VIII

Fans of founder Genesis member and respected solo artist Anthony Phillips have been spoiled lately with the beautifully packaged and presented multi-disc reissues from Esoteric/Cherry Red. Most of those retrospective releases have focused on one album and gathered together a plethora of bonus cuts and mixes, however with Phillips' ongoing Private Parts & Pieces series the first four albums under that banner were brought together with a bonus disc. It's a quite wonderful collection and hence it's joy a to see the process repeated with parts five through eight, which arrive with another packed bonus disc for good measure.

The first album in this stunning clam shell set, where each album's art is recreated in miniature style, is Part V Twelve; named such because each of the twelve acoustic guitar pieces represents a month of the year. Phillips did revisit his vault of ideas and recordings for this 1985 initially Japanese only release (although Virgin did issue it outside Japan in the 90s), however where Twelve varies from the previous four PP&P albums is that all of the compositions were created for one single instrument; namely 12 string acoustic guitar. Some of the tracks here are easily recognised as the month/time of year they are meant to portray, while others maybe not so much. However as a flowing cohesive album, Twelve is a truly pleasurable experience, if a fragile, moody one.

Part VI in the series arrived the next year and having concentrated on acoustic guitar for Twelve, Ivory Moon is instead a piano album, nine pieces which were composed over a fourteen year period pieced together. Four form the "Sea-Dogs Motoring" suite, a flowing, emotional journey that draws you in and focuses the attention in quite stunning style. Two other tracks, "Winter's Thaw" and "The Old House" hark back to Phillips' Genesis days, both demo'd with Mike Rutherford way back when, while "Tara's Theme" and "Moonfall" were both intended for a musical adaptation of the Kit Williams book, Masquerade, that never came to fruition. The tone between Twelve and Ivory Moon is remarkably similar; poignant, pastoral and emotional, however the stark difference in execution makes the pair wonderfully diverse bedfellows. One bonus track appears as it did on the Virgin reissue in the 90s in the shape of "Let Us Now Make Love", an early Genesis piece Phillips re-recorded in 1990 on piano to illustrate how the song originally sounded. It's no exaggeration to suggest it's not just a highlight of this album but of this whole box set.

Another year down the line and 1987 would see the arrival of Part VII Slow Waves, Soft Stars. If Twelve and Ivory Moon were extremely distinct albums from each other, the synth based SW,SS takes a large step in a different direction. So much so that Passport (Phillips' label at the time) decided that it fit perfectly with the New Wave sound that was emerging and unlike Parts V and VI decided to release the album in the US and UK, as well as put together some 'promo' for it. As you'd expect however, Phillips sounds more like Jarre or Schulze than Depeche Mode or Howard Jones, his Englishness shining throughout and making the album a unique shimmer of sound and emotions that avoids flash or pizzazz; no thumping beats or catchy hooks in evidence. Instead the five part "Ice Flight" suite is poignant and fragile but in the most memorable fashion. However in the manner the early PP&P albums had, the mood shifts from there, some extracts from the 'ramble' Phillips had recorded with guitarist Quique Berro Garcia (most of which became Part III Antiques, and can be found in the first PP&P box set) are included, while a collection of pieces Phillips had been recording for TV programmes also found a second home. Broader ranging than its two predecessors, I'd venture that Slow Waves, Soft Stars is actually the strongest of an excellent collection in this box set.

Phillips would go on to release Missing Links Volume I Finger Painting in 1989 and Slow Dance a year later before returning to the Private Parts & Pieces framework with VIII New England in 1992. With Passport folding, Phillips moved to Virgin Records and suddenly found himself in demand, the label keen to reissue all his work and for new music. Phillips therefore set about writing and recording hours and hours of work to include on New England, something that was a break in tradition for the PP&P series, which had previously featured reworked archive material. The result was that Phillips flitted between piano, guitar and synth, included ensemble pieces another novelty for PP&P albums and even added in a couple of vocal tracks with the captivating "Sanctuary" and equally effective "Unheard Cry". Less cohesive in its selections, New England positively bristles with ideas and energy and is another under appreciated highlight in Phillips' catalogue.

Wonderful though these four albums are, and in the spirit of the Private Parts & Pieces ethos, it will be the 19 track bonus disc that most attracts Phillips fans. A collection of previously unreleased tracks going to show the remarkable consistency this multi-instrumentalist has long shown. Pieces are pulled from throughout and prior to the period covered in this box, more collaborations with Garcia revealed, outtakes and joining parts from Masquerade alongside compositions that didn't fit the mood or approach of the album Phillips may have been working on at the time given new life. Highlights come thick and fast, the 12 string "Jongluer" quite wonderful, the piano only mix of "Sanctuary" almost more effective than the vocal take, although not quite. While the atmospheric "Beachrunner II" and chiming "A Place To Rest" will have you continually coming back for more.

As with all the releases in this reissue set Phillips himself adds his thoughts to the excellent, insightful liner notes, while the packaging is sumptuous. Crucially, the remastering work from James Collins is also quite magnificent, allowing the music to stay true to what was initially intended, while satisfying those in search of the clarity reissues should, but often fail to deliver these days. Eclectic yet intrinsically linked, the four albums and bonus disc on Private Parts & Pieces V VIII show a magnificent musician in the strongest of lights. The bonus material makes it essential for long term Phillips fans, while for those looking to delve into the man's catalogue, I can heartily recommend you start here.


Track Listing
DISC ONE:PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES V: TWELVE


1. JANUARY
2. FEBRUARY
3. MARCH
4. APRIL
5. MAY
6. JUNE
7. JULY
8. AUGUST
9. SEPTEMBER
10. OCTOBER
11. NOVEMBER
12. DECEMBER


DISC TWO:
PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES VI: IVORY MOON


SUITE: SEA-DOGS MOTORING:
1. (I) SUNRISE OVER SIENNA
2. (II) BASKING SHARK
3. (III) SEA DOG'S AIR
4. (IV) SAFE HAVENS
5. TARA'S THEME (FROM MASQUERADE)
6. WINTER'S THAW
7. THE OLD HOUSE
8. MOONFALL (FROM MASQUERADE)
9. RAPIDS
BONUS TRACK
10. LET US NOW MAKE LOVE


DISC THREE:
PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES VII: SLOW WAVES, SOFT STARS


ICE FLIGHT:
1. (I) FLIGHT OF THE SNOW PETREL: GLACIER BAY
2. (II) FLIGHT OF THE WHALE-BIRDS: BLIZZARD MOUNTAIN
3. (III) FLIGHT OF THE ALBATROSS: ICE ISLAND
4. (IV) WHITE HEAVEN
5. (V) CATHEDRAL OF ICE
6. BEACHRUNNER
7. END OF THE AFFAIR
8. THE GOLDEN PATHWAY
9. BEHIND THE WATERFALL
10. CARNIVAL
11. THROUGH THE BLACK HOLE
12. PLUTO GARDEN
13. SOSPIRANDO
14. ELEVENSES
15. GOODBYE SERENADE
16. BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
17. VANISHING STREETS
18. SLOW WAVES, SOFT STARS


DISC FOUR:
PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES VIII: NEW ENGLAND


1. AUBADE
2. INFRA DIG
3. SANCTUARY
4. LA DOLOROSA
5. NEW ENGLAND SUITE (I)
6. NEW ENGLAND SUITE (II)
7. NEW ENGLAND SUITE (III)
8. LAST GOODBYES
9. SUNRISE AND SEA MONSTERS
10. IONA
11. CATHEDRAL WOODS
12. IF I COULD TELL YOU
13. JAUNTY ROADS
14. SPIRALS
15. PIECES OF EIGHT (I) PRESSGANG
16. PIECES OF EIGHT (II) SARGASSO
17. PIECES OF EIGHT (III) SEA-SHANTY
18. IN THE MAZE
19. UNHEARD CRY
20. NOW THEY'VE ALL GONE


DISC FIVE:
PRIVATE PARTS & EXTRA PIECES II:


1. CATHEDRAL WOODS LINK
2. JONGLEUR
3. SANCTUARY (PIANO MIX)
4. EMERALD FOREST
5. UNHEARD CRY LINK
6. SKYLARKS OVER THE WATER
7. SIR ISAAC (FROM MASQUERADE)
8. ACROSS THE FORBIDDING HORIZON
9. END OF THE AFFAIR II
10. AUTUMN FALLS
11. BEACHRUNNER II
12. HIGHLAND DAWN
13. SANCTUARY LINK
14. UNHEARD CRY (GUITAR DEMO)
15. MOONFALL (FROM MASQUERADE) (DEMO)
16. PLUTO GARDEN (ALTERNATE MIX)
17. CATHEDRAL OF ICE (ALTERNATE MIX)
18. A PLACE TO REST
19. THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS

Added: October 2nd 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Private Parts & Pieces V - VIII at Cherry
Hits: 1191
Language: english

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