ANTHONY PHILLIPS, Missing Links I-IV (Esoteric Recordings, 2020). It’s not uncommon for musicians to stretch their abilities from bands to soundtrack work for movies and television shows. Trevor Rabin and Stanley Clarke have done so on numerous occasions. So has original Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips. With this box set, Phillips has compiled a four-CD collection of soundtrack work he did between 1979 and 1997. There is also a fifth disc containing extra tracks that had not yet found a home. The music is a nice combination of ambient, pastural, and orchestral, giving it a Brian Eno-esque vibe. It is a bit more synthesizer driven than one might expect, as we hear relatively few guitar explorations. Most of the numbers are also surprisingly short, though a few epics manage to sneak in here or there. This is music designed for enjoying peacefully in the background, much like the film and television work most likely conveyed. Missing Links is a good place to come during the search for inner peace.
PHENOMENA, Still the Night . Music fans sentimental about the “Arena Rock” sounds of the 80’s will find their salvation in this album. Featuring vocals by Glenn Hughes (former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, among others), Still the Night is the perfect case of “what you see is what you get.” The music comes with a sense of urgency driven home by the gravitas of the vocals. Rockers like “How do You Feel” and the title track are balanced by candle wielding moments like “Phoenix Rising,” while “Hearts on Fire” (no, not THAT one) would work well as part of a training montage in a Rocky movie. This album is a true throwback, and whether that is a good or bad thing depends entirely on the listener.
TIM MORSE, The Archeology Project . Tim Morse has been part of the music scene for 15 years, and he felt this was the time to look back on his work as both a solo artist and a member of The Mangoes and the Jerry Jenkins band. Like its title, the compilation digs deep to show just how much this artist has grown over the years. The music triggers memories of vintage Yes and Genesis, while providing its own sharp edge. The songwriting is solid and the instrumental passages stand up nicely. There is even a Pink Floyd cover to absorb and enjoy. Based on what he has accomplished, it will be interesting to hear where Tim Morse goes from here.
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