Exposé Online banner

Greg Segal with Friends — Invisible Ground of Sympathy
(Phantom Airship no#, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-11-26

Invisible Ground of Sympathy Cover art

Have you ever listened to a disc where a couple songs in you have completely forgot what you are listening to? The ten tracks herein are so varied and dissimilar that one can easily be forgiven for getting lost in these woods. The mailbox on the CD cover tells part of the story; Segal invited ten of his musician friends to submit material for a potential collaboration (there may have been many more but only ten made the final cut), then to every piece chosen, Segal composed and added his parts – given that he’s a true multi-instrumentalist, that could vary widely from drums, keys, guitars, effects, or anything that appropriately complimented what was submitted. One thing to keep in mind is that these are all one-to-one collaborations, Segal and one guest, as opposed to something like Spirits Burning, where there are many different players all adding parts to the same cut.

The disc opens with a punchy number from former Muffin Dave Newhouse featuring six saxophone parts (three bari and three alto) and keyboard bass, to which Segal adds drums, percussion and lead guitar. Tres Gone’s Eric Hausmann contributes “Soft Jungle,” a percussive workout that takes an entirely different direction, to which Segal adds piano, kalimba and a ‘broken toy guitar.’ Next up is a collaboration with Bret Hart, as things get more and more experimental and strange, this is typically around where I start to forget what it is I’m actually listening to. With “Ein Pfund Fleisch” Jerry King’s two bass guitar parts are matched with Segal’s percussion, guitar, and an array of piano and keyboard sounds, offering some serious mix of groove and chaos. With Forrest Fang’s “Bell Epoque” we have the soothing mental massage of Fang’s trademark synth sounds versus percussion, kalimbas, piano, and recorder added by Segal. Next up is another experimental piece where Walter Whitney plays a drum machine through guitar pedals, Segal blanketing it in various synth sounds. The only vocals on the entire disc come with “Sensual, Artless, Beautiful” in the collaboration of mostly synths and vocoder with Charles Rice Goff III. With Don Campau a cauldron of screaming guitars and synths devolves into an interesting stop and go percussive groove, alternating with psychedelic guitars and synth groovation, making one of the most interesting pieces on the latter part of the disc. Kevin Hay’s contribution is more of an ambient circulation of sounds from synths and NI drum plug-ins for a healthy dose of weirdness. “Wicked Something” with Tom Stillwagon closes the set with an ascending dreamy synth groove to which Segal applies drums, bass and some blistering lead guitar. Nicely done, though a confusing album for sure, it wanders all over the map, but each piece is a gem that shines with originality and brilliance.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Forrest Fang, Greg Segal, Dave Newhouse (Manna / Mirage)

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Five-O-One AM - 21st Century Dream – Somewhere between Marillion (Season's End) and the SI label bands Lies Five-O-One AM. That is, song oriented pop with elements of prog. Combine that with WMMS's reputation and Five-O-One AM...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues