Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Music for the Pastor's Study, Volume ... (I've lost count)

I've already mentioned Anthony Phillips in this series, but when Ant comes out with a new volume in his Private Parts and Pieces catalog, that is noteworthy indeed. Here are a few of the tracks (those that have earned five stars on my iTunes carousel) from his latest, Volume 11, otherwise entitled, City of Dreams.

The interesting thing about this album, if one scans the titles of all these instrumental tracks, is how difficult Ant apparently finds it to focus strictly on urban themes. That theme is held together by the undeniably metropolian artwork, and two series of tracks called City of Dreams (Parts I-IV) and Mystery Train (Parts I-III). Otherwise, the titles are often pastoral (Air & Grace, Act of Faith), rural or oceanic (Sea & Sardinia, Sunset Pools, Across the Steppes, Coral Island), and celestial (Sea of Tranquility, Astral Baths, Star's End, etc.). Even 39 Steps, for those familiar with the book and the movie of the same title, evokes more of a seaside setting than a cityscape. The technological and urban feeling is also anchored by tracks like Piledriver and Night Train ..., but one gets the sense that the latest addition to the Private Parts ... series would sound better in, say, an "HGTV Urban Oasis" than on the street itself. If one were to search Ant's impressive catalog for something comparable, the first stop should be PPP VII, Slow Waves, Soft Stars, for its ethereal use of synths and other electronic keyboards.

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