Anthony Phillips: Private Parts & Pieces I-IV

An exquisite insight into the private world of an enigma.

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Presented in a beautifully detailed clamshell box set, this anthology of the work by Genesis co-founder Anthony Phillips is overwhelming.

The guitarist has brought together the four Private Parts & Pieces albums that spanned 1978 through 1984, and has also selected 18 previously unreleased tracks to form the fifth disc, Private Parts & Extra Pieces. Co-curator Jonathan Dann writes an insightful essay in the booklet and the whole thing is charmingly presented and utterly prog. As for the music, newbies to Phillips’ work should expect echoes of the ‘acoustic pastoral’ typical of the two Genesis albums on which he played. Each disc contains extended instrumental workouts, but as Phillips moves deeper into the 80s with A Catch At The Tables the sound gets tougher. At the heart of this retrospective is Phillips’ intimate acoustic guitar work. His technique on a classical piece like Eduardo is exquisite. Do not expect the previously unreleased material to be filler. It confirms Phillips’ willingness to explore classical ideas like Study in D Minor and his Sea Sketches bring him into conversation with classical composers like Britten. An exhilarating journey into one of prog’s most interesting enigmas.