Phillip Hilliard Presswood was born November 5, 1980 into a joint American-Irish family. The youngest of three children, it was clear early on that Phillip had leanings toward music and instrumentation. By age four he was playing piano, and had composed his first orchestral work before entering his teens. After being classically trained as a pianist and graduating high school at 16, Phillip devoted considerable amounts of time to researching and learning various sound synthesis methods, including MIDI, sampling, and hard disk recording.
On completion of his music and linguistic studies in the American capital of Washington, D.C. (Phillip speaks five languages), Phillip was fortunate to engage in several soundtrack projects in the capital area, as well as further afield in New York and Los Angeles. It was felt that his music lent itself easily to visual interpretation, and this initial soundtrack work eventually led to a demonstration album, “Call From the West” in 2004.
In 2005 he released his first nationally-sold album, “The Secret of the Dawn.” The two singles from that album, the title track and ‘Another Life’ were featured in radio play in all the major city centers in the United States, followed up with 2008’s “Solea”. The new album, “Beauty for Ashes”, set for release in November, is based on a line from the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew bible and speaks to birth, destruction, and rebirth through an agreement with the universe in order to have a chance to live a mortal life.
All vocals and instruments heard in Phillip’s songs are performed by himself. Phillip also mixes and produces his own work. In anticipation of the “Beauty for Ashes” album release, I recently heard a preview of the single track, “I Will Reach to You”, off the same album.
The wellsprings of creativity which are ready to be opened to the public once again with Phillip’s all-new upcoming album, is allowed it’s first outpouring here. The multi-layered variety of sound can be heard on so many levels that it is all-purpose music.
I love the sometimes melancholy then uplifting chord changes, the lilting thrills and multi-faceted string styling’s; at times, classical flourishes, angelic vocals and a mesmerizing cello draws you in. You’ll find yourself turning up the volume, tapping your foot to the timpani or just listening intently. Even when quieter, the music is compelling, yet exhilarating, and wide-ranging, but never shrill.
The cello, as is often the case with this instrument, is deeply and dominantly moving here. This music was not merely written, rather, it was finely composed. The similarities to the other-worldly soundscapes of Enya, or the cinematic magnificence of Vangelis are evident in Phillip Presswood’s work.
Phillip produces music that is timeless. Not a moment feels cheap or unchallenging to the ear. There is a cohesive, deep feel to “I Will Reach to You”, as it unfurls slowly and seductively, allowing the instrumentation and vocals to captivate your senses.
For those who consider listening to music as a way to pass the time, for entertainment, or consider listening to music as a way to explore emotional feelings, let me say that “I Will Reach to You” does a very good job at fulfilling those emotional explorations.
Phillip Presswood delivers great food for the soul!