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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Aquaplan - Old Waves, New Seas – Aquaplan are relative newcomers from Finland with one previous album under their belt, 2001’s Paperimeri. Their sound is like an updated version of Vermillion Sands: female lead singer coupled...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues