Press Release: The Geese & The Ghost

This is the US press release for The Geese & The Ghost.  

Unfortunately it contains some factual errors which we have chosen not to correct in the interests of presenting it as a piece of archive material


Anthony Phillips joined the British band Genesis as a full time member in June, 1969.  Bypassing university study, he saw an exciting chance to contribute to a viable composing force.  Soon Genesis had gained something of a reputation.  Phillips performed regularly with Genesis, and appears on their first and only album on Decca, Genesis To Revelation, and on two of the group's singles.  With Genesis, he wrote and recorded their first album for Charisma: Trespass.

It was a gruelling year for a seventeen year old straight from school.  But he learned quickly and was soon an integral part of the group's professional activities.  For a time it seemed that the band's line-up was set.  As Peter Gabriel worked on his unique stage presentations and Tony Banks polished his masterful keyboard technique, so too did Anthony Phillips become a fluent and accomplished guitarist.

Yet something was lacking.  Phillips, perhaps because he was younger than the others, found that life on the road was getting in the way of his writing.  By July 1970, with the Trespass album the band's first real success, it was time for Anthony Phillips to make a choice.  If he stayed with the band, whose future he felt was assured, there was a good chance that he would have to give up composing indefinitely.  The alternative was to abandon his achievements with the group and return to a full time commitment to the study of music, the joys of composition...and the sacrifices of being poor.

He chose the latter.  For the next four years he became deeply involved with music on all levels, and survived on the financial and moral support of his family.  At his Surrey home he built his own studio, and in 1974 he began teaching music as another way to explore the subject.

Phillips firmly believes that, as yet, there has still been no completely successful synthesis of 'pop' and 'classical' outside of some film scores, and then at less than profound level.  He would love to see the introduction of lutes and other early string picked instruments within the framework of the modern orchestra, since he feels that modern strings are very much self contained units.  Phillips would like to reach out, into the past and into the future, to a much more diverse style of instrumental assembly.

Phillips says: " I am an improviser, fundamentally, like most pop players, I write with an instrument, I find a sound and work on it."  It is impossible to categorize Phillips' music.  He has written a forty minute piece for full orchestra; and this has equally enjoyed the discipline of quintet writing, involving a more limited and strictly defined combination of sounds.  For Phillips, music will always remain a virgin.

Anthony Phillips' first solo album, The Geese and The Ghost, is a selection from his huge repertoire of material.  Many of the tracks were co-written with Mike Rutherford.  With Rutherford he sketched out the album and with his help it was recorded.  The Geese and The Ghost is a large and complex project, and it broke new ground for Phillips who had to rely solely on his own energy and will to assemble the contributing musicians and guide the project along when Rutherford was away with Genesis.

For Anthony, it is now complete, and stands on its merits as a homage to a musical past which is perhaps too diverse a selection to be an entirely cohesive entity.  Rooted in the music of the French Impressionists Debussy and Ravel, The Geese and The Ghost brings forth impressions of war, the ancient past, of life's sorrows, tragedies and joys endlessly being repeated through the centuries.  In this way we see Anthony Phillips' musical credo reaching through time for a continuum.

At home in Surrey, Anthony Phillips cuts a rural figure.  Amongst a wide circle of friends he is thought of as something of a reactionary.  He is a tennis player, a footballer and a keen lover of cricket, played on warm, hazy summer afternoons at the field by his local village pub.  He also claims to attack suspension bridges and strangle voles, but Phillips regrets that he has not been able to incorporate his zany humour into his music.  So it is understandable that his athletic activities offset the mental strain of composition.

Phillips has travelled widely in Europe, and lived briefly in the United States while in his teens.  He plans on returning to the U.S. in 1977 to play guest sessions for a number of recording artists.  Even the joy of travel pales beside the joy of musical exploration.  "Music", says Phillips, "is my driving passion.  I really have no choice".

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