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

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Art of All - Morgan – The Art of All is a young band (Peter Aliferis drums and keyboards, Ruben Ruiz vocals and guitar, and Chris Debari bass) based in Massachusetts who characterize themselves as a progressive trance...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues