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Phillips, Anthony: Archive Collection Volume I & Volume II

Cherry Red/Esoteric Records really have pushed the boat out in their extensive reissuing of the Anthony Phillips catalogue, shining a light on the greater and lesser known aspects of the work of a hugely talented musician who was also one of the founding members of Genesis. My own personal gripe that not all of the expanded and remastered sets that have come from this campaign have arrived in the same style packaging aside (some, like this are in beautiful clamshell boxes, others in lavish fold out digi-packs), every aspect has been treated with care and respect. I’d go as far as to suggest that this really is amongst the gold standard in sensibly priced reissues.

The latest albums to be given this level of attention are the two Archive Collection releases from Phillips’ lengthy body of work, the first of which was released in 1998 and the second in 2004. As ever in this series though, that’s not all you’ll discover when the clamshell opens, with a fantastic 60 page booklet put together with Phillips’ help detailing the tracks to be found here and the times, places and circumstances of their recording. For Phillips aficionados, that in itself makes this nigh on indispensable, but then you have to factor in the extra music that’s also included. Volume I of the Archive Collection, which was originally an album and an EP release all in one, now expanded with a further 12 unreleased tracks to become a true, proper double album. Then comes Archive Volume II, which, as was originally the case, comes as a two disc effort, but not content with that, we also get The Masquerade Tapes, which is a disc of a further 15 unreleased pieces.

Anyone with a passing interest in Anthony Phillips’ career will know that he’s long combined releasing albums with composing music for TV and other medium and as you’d expect there’s a mixture of these initial ideas on these discs. Hence you get an insight into the early work Phillips was creating for his solo career but also the music he was writing as he was exiting Genesis, with little inflections of From Genesis To Revelation and Trespass sometimes in evidence, with many disc one demos such as “God, If I Saw Her Now”, “In Memorium Ad”, “F Sharp”, which appears in two guises, and “The Geese And The Ghost” all dating from 1969 or 1970. However, one of the real treasures arrives on disc two, “Pennsylvania Flickhouse” from 1966 being a demo from the band Anon, who featured both Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford. In reality the music shows basically no relation to what the pair would move onto in their next band, with this track being a jaunty piece of Beatles inflected pop-rock, but it’s great fun.

Elsewhere in the newly available pieces comes the orchestral infused drama of “Regrets”, which is a true highlight, the infectious stroll of “Greenhouse”, where it’s Phillips’ wonderful guitar work that comes to the fore - as it so often does in acoustic, electric and 12-string formulations across this set - while “Master Of Creation” uses piano to display its emotion. And it really has to be said that the new tracks on this disc really do add hugely to the original Volume I release.

Discs three and four then present Volume II in full, with the likes of the “Anthem From Tarka” demo and “Lofty Vaults” using keys and synths, and faring well - and showing their late 70s/early 80s roots as they do so. Although often on these discs, the recording values and electronic backbones make the pieces a little more stand offish than they might have been otherwise. For me though, it’s the seven part Scottish Suite that really captures the imagination, with evocative themes displayed in a variety of ways to get the pieces’ overall message across.

However, the jewel in the crown in this set is the final disc, The Masquerade Tapes, which features a full album’s worth of previously unreleased material from the mid-80s where - after a remarkably protracted journey - Phillips composed a musical accompaniment for a children’s book about a hare and its journey as it carries a treasure from the moon to the sun. The book, and the subsequent musical (of which Phillips was not a part) have a story so intricate that they deserve their own essay (see the booklet!), and one too long to be told here, but it involves many deals, broken promises, failed beginnings, buried treasure for the public to find, a best selling book and a tragically short lived stage musical. For us, the main part is the music all this inspired, which is full of all of Phillips’ main strengths, as he uses a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments to genuinely take you on a fantastical journey that has already drawn me back to it numerous times. The atmospheres and the pacing of the whole piece really do illustrate Phillips’ talent and then some.

In all honesty, maybe more than the numerous Private Parts and Pieces releases that are to be found in this body of work, these two Archive sets are possibly aimed more at the true, hardcore fans of this musician’s work. However, even with that in mind, I’d suggest that anyone who admires Anthony Phillips’ music will want to experience Masquerade (worthy of a full half star on this review in its own right), while the other unreleased music also stacks up very well, making this another intriguing release from a hugely impressive catalogue.

Track Listing
Disc One
Archive Collection Volume One: Disc One
1. Back To Pluto (1987) 2. Promenade (Alternate Version 1986) 3. Take This Heart (Demo 1972) 4. Beside The Water’s Edge (Demo 1977) 5. The Geese And The Ghost (Kiddies Mix 1975) 6. Which Way The Wind Blows (Alternate Version 1975) 7. Rowey Song (1972) 8. Lucy Will (Demo 1978) 9. God If I Saw Her Now (Demo 1970) 10. In Memoriam Ad (Demo 1970) 11. Hunt Song (Demo 1977) 12. Rule Britannia Closing Theme (1981) 13. Exocet (Instrumental Mix 1982) 14. Study In G (1978) 15, Holy Deadlock (Vocal Mix 1978) 16. Catch You When You Fall (1978) 17. F Sharp (Demo 1969) 18. The Geese And The Ghost (Demo 1969) 19. F Sharp 2 (Demo 1969) 20 Rowey Reprise (1972) 21. Slow Dance (Single Demo 1990) 22. The Burnt-Out Cattle Truck Hits The Road (1991) 23. The Women Were Watching (Instrumental Mix 1982)

Disc Two
Archive Collection Volume One: Disc Two
(Tracks 6 �" 18 Previously Unreleased)
1. Kip Pj (1978) 2. Queen Bettine (Demo 1972) 3. What Is The Meaning? (Demo 1969) 4. Farewell (Demo 1969) 5. Cradle Song (1978) 6. Master Of Time (Instrumental Version 1973) 7. Lucy: An Illusion (1978) 8. Henry Goes To War (Guitars Only Mix 1975) 9. Sleepfall Celeste (1976) 10. God If I Saw Her Now (Alternate Version 1975) 11. Make The Best Of A Bad Situation (1982) 12. Regrets (Initial Orchestral Run-Through 1977) 13. Nightmare Link (1978) 14. Greenhouse (Instrumental Mix 1977) 15. In Absentia (Demo 1971) 16. Stranger (Demo 1970) 17. Master Of Creation (Demo 1969) 18. Pennsylvania Flickhouse (The Anon Demo 1966)

Disc Three
Archive Collection Volume Two: Disc One
1. Guitar Song (Demo 1973) 2. The Anthem From Tarka (Demo 1988) 3. Deep In The Night (Demo 1977) 4. Bleak House (Instrumental Mix 1978) 5. Our Man In Japan (Library Piece 1979) 6. Child Song (Demo 1973) 7. Old Wives Tale (Solo Version 1976) 8. Scottish Suite II (I) Leaping Salmon 9. Scottish Suite II (II) The Witching Hour 10. Scottish Suite II (III) Two Truths 11. Scottish Suite II (IV) The Letter 12. Scottish Suite II (V) Walpurgis Night 13. Scottish Suite II (VI) Sweet Reaper 14. Scottish Suite II (VII) Why Sinks This Cauldron? 15. Scottish Suite II (VIIIx) Her Last Sleepwalk 16. Sally (Instrumental Mix 1982) 17. Windmill (Demo 1971) 18. Tregenna Afternoons (Demo 1973) 19. Lofty Vaults (Library Piece 1979) 20. Variation On A Theme Of Fantomas (Demo 1973) 21. Picardy Pictures (Demo 1972) 22. Polar Lights (Library Piece 1979) 23. The Ridolfi Plot (Demo 1978) 24. Falling For Love (Instrumental Mix 1982)

Disc Four
Archive Collection Volume Two: Disc Two
1. Highland Fling (Library Piece 1979) 2. Prelude #1 (1981) 3. Siesta (1981) 4. Bubble And Squeak (1981) 5. Guru (Instrumental Mix 1982) 6. Shady Arbours (1974) 7. West Side Alice (1983) 8. Vic’s Tango (Demo 1983) 9. Seven Long Years (Instrumental Mix 1976) 10. Romeo And Juliet (Library Piece 1976) 11. I Saw You Today (1978) 12. The Anthem From Tarka (Alternate Mix Of Demo 1988) 13. Quadrille (From Alice) (1983) 14. Desert Suite (I) Sand Dance 15. Desert Suite (II) Pipelines 16. Desert Suite (III) End Theme 17. Fantomas Opening Theme (Film Music 1973) 18. Sistine (Instrumental Mix 1982) 19. Sisters Of Remindum (Basic Mix 1977 / 1978) 20. Will The Last Man Off The Ice Rink (Please Turn Out The Lights) (1973) 21. Finale (Instrumental Mix 1982

Disc Five
Archive Collection: The Masquerade Tapes
(Previously Unreleased)
1. Overture 2. Moon 3. Sun 4. Tara’s Theme 5. Craw 6. All Horrors Of The Night 7. Penny Pockets 8. Hare B Minor 9. Destiny 10. Fire 11. Yellow Carpet 12. Masque Moon 13. Moon’s Lament For The Sun (Vocal By Lindsey Moore) 14. Last Of The Heavy Hares 15. Only A Dream

Added: February 16th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Archives Collection @ Cherry Red
Hits: 1118
Language: english

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