11 Songs, 45 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

WKellerman ,

Feeding the imagination

Such a wonderful palette of colour – diverse styles and textures, especially the electronic elements and synths. I felt very relaxed as one song flowed into the next. I enjoyed the sweet melody line of A MOMENT IN TIME and the dream-like quality of FAIRYTALE NIGHTS. Escapism at its best!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

"Under a Second Moon" is the sixth release from composer and multi-instrumentalist Holland Phillips and his third album in the past three years. Phillips is a classically-trained musician who earned a degree in Music Composition. In addition to focusing on music therapy and how sounds affect the human body, he also learned to play most of the orchestral instruments to better understand their characteristics. After graduation, Phillips spent a number of years touring with southern and classic rock bands throughout the midwest and Canada. With these diverse musical roots, it is no wonder that Phillips’ original music incorporates a broad range of musical styles and genres. Phillips composed the eleven tracks on the album and performs on pianos, synths and guitars; Paul Christensen provides sax on several tracks.

I enjoyed reading about the origin of the title for the album. It follows the theme of a fantasy novel Phillips wrote, but "Under a Second Moon" is also “that place that you can go, the place that’s only real in your own head; that mystical place where anything is possible and dreams are the fields that you play in.” Then Phillips discovered that we actually do live under a second moon, one that scientists discovered only a few years ago - “for now, we are all part of a magical moment in time where we live and dream and work under two moons, and explore our life’s journey in the company of both.” Interesting!

The album begins with “Out of the Frying Pan,” which features Paul Christensen on sax as well as a variety of keyboards and orchestral sounds. Mysterious and magical, it’s an intriguing opener! “Taking The Road Not Taken” has a buoyant feeling of anticipation and adventure. “Possibly Maybe” is more relaxed with a gently swaying rhythm. Piano, percussion, wordless vocals, and other synth instrumentation create a lovely piece that is simple, smooth and very effective. The title song has Christensen in the lead with his passionate, soulful sax. A favorite, I love the drama of this one! I also really like “Love Comes Gently” and how easily it evokes images of a romantic slow dance. My favorite track on the album is “Long Way Home” which has more of a rock influence. The driving beat and bittersweet melody come to life with keyboards, percussion and electric guitars as well as haunting vocals. I think I could listen to this one all day! “Deepening Skies” is perhaps the most orchestrated piece on the album with piano, flute, strings, horns and more. Relaxed yet also on the melancholy side, it’s a beauty! “It Comes To This” expresses powerful emotions with its beautiful melody. Played mostly on piano backed with keyboard and strings, there are dreamy moments to soften the more passionate passages. “Fairytale Nights” is peaceful and soothing with just a touch of magic (there are no witches or dragons in this one!), and brings this excellent album to a close.

"Under a Second Moon" is varied in styles yet holds together really well as cohesive album. Recommended!

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

Under A Second Moon is the sixth album by multi-instrumentalist Holland Phillips and follow-up to his 2016 album, Circles of Eight. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning forty-six minutes, Holland’s latest album follows the new age / contemporary musical style of his previous releases, drawing heavily upon a distinguishable and well-worn 1980’s synthesized sound. In fact, notable comparisons could be drawn to some of the earliest works by both Yanni and David Arkenstone, as well as to a lesser degree that of Bill Douglas and Richard Souther. Throughout the album Holland plays piano, synthesizer and guitar while Paul Christensen lends saxophone to a couple of pieces. Additionally, subtle programmed beats underscore many of the arrangements.

The opening piece, “Out of the Frying Pan”, is enjoyably fey-like with its sampled wind instrument and metallic keyboard notes, as it moves at a rhythmic pace sans a definable drumbeat. Ostensibly retrospective in its essence, this piece along with others on the album seemingly convey a notion of viewing framed photos or snapshots of different scenes in time, as opposed to that of being present in the captured moments to experience them in real-time. One such example is the aptly named, “A Moment in Time”, a slightly jazz-infused number that perfectly illustrates the album’s cover painting of moonlight and landscape. Many of the compositions skew heavily sentimental, such as noted on the title piece, “Under a Second Moon”, an instrumental ballad that's accompanied by saxophone and a tender keyboard arrangement. Comparatively, I found myself most appreciating the more whimsical and fantasy-like moments on the album, such as that exemplified on “Long Way Home”, a dynamic electronic piece with a cinematic flair and easily my favorite of the lot. In my view, the 80’s-era musical influences works best on pieces such as this, with its retro guitar riffs and vintage drum programming that are further complimented by some Pat Metheny-esque vocal lines.

Rather than simply being modern music with a vintage edge, everything about these compositions – from the production, melodies, arrangements and sound quality– seemingly hails straight from the 1980’s, thereby recalling the reigning era of cassette tapes with some sense of nostalgia. An enjoyably positive listening experience overall, Under A Second Moon will likely most appeal to those who appreciate classic ‘new age’ synthesizer music of the melodic and rhythmic variety!

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