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okDunn407's review of Holland Phillips, Daydream Alley



Written on: 17/09/2015 by okDunn407 (1 review written)

Like so many new age musicians, Holland Phillips grew up studying classical music (and got his degree in music), but also played in rock bands to make a living, to get in front of people and to have the thrill of a crowd enjoying the music. Then he left the touring grind behind and started recording his own instrumental music which falls into the new age genre. But on his fourth album, Daydream Alley, he brings all of his influences in, from Bach to Pink Floyd, and Kansas to Alan Parsons.

Phillips plays an assortment of keyboards, mostly synthesizers (although you can hear the occasional piano, organ or electric piano here and there), and he is proficient at making those synths sound exactly like a cello or oboe or bassoon or French horn, etc., which gives the music a richly-textured feeling with full, hearty arrangements.

The first piece on the album, “Etude in D Minor,” shows off Phillips’ classical training, especially because it features violin. Then the last tune on the project, “Colors,” is almost prog-rock (imagine an instrumental by the group Yes with the amplifiers dialed down a few notches), but still with some semi-forceful drumming and some Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson prog organ and electric piano pushing things along.

Most of the album is fairly slow or mid-tempo as Phillips touches on catchy new age melodies, contemporary-classical motifs, and even smooth jazz (“Jazz Nite” and “Last Night Out”). I suggest you go online and find some streaming samples to listen to and see what you think. This guy definitely has something fresh and worthwhile to offer.

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