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

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Happy Family - "Flying Spirit Dance" Live – It's rare that I'll devote an extensive review to cassette, let alone to a demo cassette - but this band is so special that I feel compelled to sound out their praise far and wide. Happy Family are...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues