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Field Day is Anthony's latest studio album and is a double album featuring Anthony's beautiful acoustic playing. The album is sure to be popular with his large and dedicated fan base and as to be expected will also appeal to fans of the early Genesis sound as heard on Trespass. Blueprint. 2005.
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Particularly wonderful are "Tearaway", "Tania", "To The Lighthouse" - possibly the best and the longest piece, "Out And Beyond", the unabashedly romantic "Beyond the Castle Walls" - Ant at his most Genesis-like. Most other pieces are short and focused, each one complete in itself, with the exception of a multi-part suite on Disk 1. Many other pieces are miniatures, but very complete, like the impressionistic "Flotsam & Jetsam"
A reviewer was asking with reverence, "Where did this come from?" - I suppose the answer to that is: it came from that same magical and timeless well as Trespass and Geese & the Ghost did, and that well is far from dry. It may be known to some as "Romanticism", and it looks like Anthony has drank deep from it this time.
The primary danger of doing a double CD containing well over 2 hours of all-acoustic instrumental music is that it could potentially become too much of one picture in very short order. Despite the risks, the current batch of Phillips pieces is varied enough in tempo and length - only 7 of the 61 tracks are longer than two and a half minutes - so things never once get boring or tedious. And talk about variety: there are jangly pieces, whistful tunes, lilting melodies, and a number of the vibrant, leaping-about-and-dancing-all-over-the-place type as well. Along with the wisely varied pacing, the artist has sequenced the pieces quite effectively so that each of the sundry aforementioned instruments is allowed just enough time to reveal its individual ring and color in his dexterous hands before being turned over to the sonorities of the next.
With two exceptions, all of the pieces on Field Day were written between 2001 and 2004. The compositions sound both familiar and at the same time warmly refreshing, and while there are too many to detail here, the 12-string pieces are to this writer a pure delight, "Concerto de Alvarez" being of special merit. The two visits to former days include Track 7 on CD 1, titled "Steps Retraced," which is in fact a beautiful solo 12-string guitar rendering of the song "Traces," appearing first as a full-band arrangement on the Invisible Men LP way back in 1983. The second is Track 9 on the same CD, in which its writer revisits 1975's "Nocturn" from the second Private Parts and Pieces album 'Back to the Pavilion' in 1980. Here, it is affectionately played on Ramirez classical guitar.
It is appropriate that this has come out in the autumn - in this writer's mind, at least - as the music herein does indeed evoke vivid, colorful images of this melancholy season. That said, 'Field Day' would be welcome in any season, as its rich, vibrant, and sensual qualities are easily imagined as playing equally well against a quiet snowy backdrop or a lush pastoral landscape such as the beautiful sepia-toned one that graces the inner jacket. Buy and enjoy this fine release for a long time to come.