Press File: Slow Waves, Soft Stars


From Audion comes Anthony Phillips release, the seventh in his own ongoing project.  This one, Private Parts & Pieces VII: Slow Waves, Soft Stars (SYN 308) finds an ambience achieved from synthesizer that would dominate had not Phillips' acoustic guitar offered a balance.  The tracks were recorded over the last four years and include some improvisations with fellow guitarist Enrique Berro Garcia, "Beachrunner" a duet, and "End of the Affair," another duet but here with a classical guitar against a synthesized background.  

Three selections are mini-suites: "Through the Black Hole," for example, possesses a serene power that segues into "Pluto Garden" and its ostinato undercurrents; "Ice Flight" opens the album as a four-part work.  the more satisfying performances include the unaccompanied guitar meditation "Sospriando" and the hokey "Bubble And Squeak".  Of Anthony Phillips himself, his earlier musical life found him with the British Rock Band Genesis, so he and Bill Bruford find themselves delving into new sounds.

Reviewer unknown, Jazz Times

Phillips impressionism

This somewhat laid-back album lends itself well to background or ambient music.  It's really a succession of casual, easy-to-take impressions, passing moods, some synthesized, some done by acoustic guitar.  The music works best if half-listening to - out of the corner of the ear, as it were.

Many of these pieces are improvised and sound like it, not evolving or going anywhere - really, they're modulating washes of synthesized sound interspersed with modest romantic guitar mood pieces.  It's all quite off-handed when one thinks of the many carefully worked out and crafted New Age albums out today.

The opening set, which in some ways is the most cohesive, sets up a cool, spare, crystalline atmosphere that conjures up, to this ear, Arctic spaciousness.  What follows are mini-impressions that will function as unobtrusive company for whatever you happen to be doing around the house.

D.N. Johnson, The Sunday Post, Bridgeport, 20th September 1987

Anthony Phillips: Private Parts And Pieces VII: Slow Waves, Soft Stars

Tenth solo release from original Genesis founder marks the seventh installment in his Private Parts & Pieces series.  Phillips combines classical guitar with acoustic percussion and ethereal synthesizer textures, creating light, relaxing atmospheres.

Writer unknown, Billboard.

Anthony Phillips: Soft Stars (Audion SYN 308)

Anthony Phillips, like Lucia Hwong, imbues his music with the quirks of his personality.  Phillips, who was the original guitarist with Genesis, has recorded a series of albums called Private Parts and Pieces of which Slow Waves, Soft Stars is number seven.  It carries in the tradition of the earlier recordings with short tone poems and sonic minutiae played on guitars, keyboards and percussion.  "Ice Flight" opens the album with a five-part suite that recreates glacial landscapes and white-on-white vistas with synthesizers.  Phillips claims that most of the pieces are improvised, which may account for the fluid emotional feeling of the music, i.e., no computers.  Elsewhere he teams with guitarist Enrique Berro Garcia or plays how own works of acoustic guitar and synthesisers.

John Diliberto, Jazziz.

Praise be to Audion Records for daring to release in today's quick-fix market place two superb albums that may well endure as new age classics - one by Anthony Phillips, the other by Laraaji.

Anthony Phillips' Slow Waves, Soft Stars (Audion/9.98 list), a conceptually integrated suite of 12 brief synth and/or guitar pieces, provides ambient and focused-listening atmospheres attuned with nature and higher-consciousness.  A sterling electro-acoustic album that incorporates the finest elements of new age space music while retaining a distinctly individual flavor and point of view.

Writer unknown,  Pulse! (Tower Records)

Anthony Phillips - Slow Waves, Soft Stars (Audion)

Synthesist/guitarist Anthony Phillips has been composing and recording music since the early 70's but to my knowledge he has never surfaced fully into stardom's light.  His vision was perhaps too personal, gentle and intimate for excitement-orientated radio, and his sense of arhythmic spacemusic was simply too advanced for rhythm-rooted mass audiences.

However, today's marketplace is supporting a variety of New Age forms; Phillips has signed with Audion, a major label, and, indeed the times are ready for this artist's inspired and inspiring Slow Waves, Soft Stars, perhaps his finest work to date.

As a synthesist, Phillips avoids all the pitfalls.  The tone of his music is smooth, graceful, warm, tender and spacious.  His moods are courageously intimate, deeply heart-felt.  His compositions are internally subtle, at times complex, but they do not engage our chattering intellect - instead of dazzling us on the surface, they quiet our mind, provide vast meditative contexts, and awaken our heart with their scintillating beauty.

As a guitarist (on only a few tracks), Phillips provides familiar acoustic sounds and folk-classical stylings, which sparkle with intelligence and earthy vitality.

With its higher-consciousness vision, its spacious, shimmering contexts and its tasteful use of synthesizers and acoustic guitars, Phillips' Slow Waves, Soft Stars proves to be one of the finest New Age instrumental albums of the year.

Lee Underwood, Body Mind Spirit

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