Exposé Online banner

Phil Mercy — Fear of Fantastic Flight
(Mellow MMP 337, 1998, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 1999-04-01

Fear of Fantastic Flight Cover art

I don't know who Phil Mercy is, but, if I had to guess from what's in the CD booklet, I'd say he's a gifted English guitarist who has always wished for a chance to record the kind of music HE likes, rather than the stuff he does for a living (no doubt watered down pablum for the masses). Fortunately for us, Phil likes progressive fusion and that's what you'll find from the beginning of "Fear of Fantastic Flight" to the end. Solid fusion rock appears on the tracks "Aliens Wear Boots" and "Pump II" while "Dance of the Aliens" and "Khan Bh–t" could have come off of a Gamalon or Bon Lozaga release. Phil also gets to display his dexterity on keyboards, whether he's playing solo lines or deft unisons with the guitar. This is also truly a solo effort; all the drum parts are programmed on an Alesis drum machine and Phil displays his mastery of that instrument as well. Not to sound like a broken record, but, as with most of my colleagues at Expos‚, I always prefer a live musician to a drum machine, no matter how well programmed it is. Economic necessities aside, the use of digital drumming and keys leaves the overall sound of "Fear of Fantastic Flight" a bit flat and lifeless. Fortunately for the listener, the compositions and arrangements have the upper hand and more than tip the scales in favor of this release. I sure hope Phil can employ some of his session mates to help him out on the next one which I am eager to hear.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 17, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Phil Mercy

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

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 Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Matt Steckler - Persiflage – Matt Steckler is a woodwind player (alto sax, flute) who previously has played in the group Dead Cat Bounce. Persiflage is his debut solo release with a group of fine New York City jazzers on...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues