Exposé Online banner

Greg Segal — A Play of Light and Shadow
(Bandcamp no#, 2005/2014, DL)

Greg Segal — The Old Familiar Place
(Bandcamp no#, 2005/2014, DL)

Greg Segal — Tales of Today Will Be Tales of Long Ago
(Bandcamp no#, 2006/2014, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01

A Play of Light and Shadow Cover artThe Old Familiar Place Cover artTales of Today Will Be Tales of Long Ago Cover art

With his own studio and plenty of time on hand to play and experiment, all kinds of things can be committed to tape (or whatever medium), some fully arranged, some more like embryonic fragmentary ideas, and everything in between. With his own record company, the Man isn’t there telling him what’s commercially viable and what isn’t; everything and anything goes. And his productions are CDRs, so they can be produced in small quantities to meet demand as it arises. One isn’t stuck with thousands of discs sitting in the garage waiting to be sold in order to recoup expenses. Such is the mode of Greg Segal with his Phantom Airship label. Averaging about three or four releases a year (between solo CDs and with his improv group Jugalbandi), he’s doing better than Exposé!

A few of Segal’s releases feature more conventional songs with vocals, but the three at hand could best be described as somewhere between experimental space rock and pure introspective reconnaissance. Everything is instrumental; some pieces involve one or two instruments, others are fully arranged for three or more parts, all of played by Segal himself. Both Light and Shadow and The Old Familiar Place take the listener through numerous short vignettes where generally each comprises a singular idea, sometimes fleshed out with additional parts. Many seem like interludes set in place to tie longer tracks together, although sometimes you’ll find several of the shorter pieces back to back, which makes for an interesting listen. L&S seems a bit more purely experimental, while TOFP delves into the inward and atmospheric elements a bit more, while the song titles of the latter suggest the theme of a haunted house. Segal plays all manner of guitars, basses, mandolin, recorder, clarinet, cello, bowed devices, electronic percussion, samples, and household objects; note: there are no keyboards or synthesizers. He can play a mighty sweet guitar when he wants to, as evidenced on “The Clockmaker” on TOFP, but even there it’s drenched in experimental ambience.

Of the three, Tales is probably the most rock oriented, and also the easiest to sink your teeth into on first listen, containing mostly fully arranged pieces, and it definitely contains less fragmentary or purely experimental material than the others. Much of what’s here could be categorized as short psychedelic rock vignettes, with guitar in the forefront and some very cool solos therein. Yet even so, one won’t mistake this for a full band effort, even though all the instruments are in place. Nor does it strive to be; each piece is clearly the singular vision of the composer, and all taken present a satisfying pool of ideas for the listener to absorb. A couple pieces, the opening title track and “The Driving Life”, keep recurring throughout in different variations, the latter a sort of a mutant surf/rockabilly theme with speed guitar overlaid, while the former is a slower paced mesmerizing theme treated to multi-layers of distorted guitars. Segal turns in a great harmonica intro on “The Art Game”, and for a concise, tasty and playful melodic tune, “Division Street” can’t be beat. In all, if I had to choose two among these, it would be Tales… and The Old Familiar Place. Those looking for more experimental musings might try Light & Shadow first.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 34, 2014 releases, 2005 recordings, 2006 recordings

Related artist(s): Greg Segal

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Tibbetts - The Fall of Us All – Steve is back with his first solo offering since 1990's Big Map Idea. For the uninitiated, this Minnesota guitarist's music is truly in a league of its own, anything from a swirling maelstrom of...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues