Nowadays there is such a wide variety of new age music that it makes your head spin (solo piano, solo guitar, Native flute, modern-classical, avant-garde, gentle jazz, Celtic, world-fusion, soft vocals, wordless vocals and chants, ambient, full-ensemble with drums, soft prog-rock and on and on). We almost forget about traditional new age music. You know the sounds that really started it all (like Vangelis and early Suzanne Ciani) -- full-on synthesizer with occasional other instrumentation like piano or flute mixed in. Well, Timothy Wenzel has not forgotten this legacy. He is a synth-wiz who knows his stuff. As you will hear if you check out his new album, River Serene (his third CD), he creates dreamy, ethereal, but still melodic swirls-of-sound...just great new age stuff.
A couple of tracks make you hear what the title implies. “Rain Coming Down” does capture the sound and feeling of rain (without sticking a microphone outside during a thunder shower). “The Night Train” encapsulates the sound and feeling of riding on a train (the rhythm of the tracks and the rolling along). “First Dance” waltzes along with that effervescent feel of when the guy gets his nerve up to ask the girl to dance and she says yes and they start to fall in love on the dance floor. “A Twilight Pause” is a bit more nebulous, but somehow still seems to mimic that quiet, special moment at dusk when the day falls away to night and you often ponder either those little questions such as “How did the day go” or the big ones such as “Is my life on the right path?” This music is excellent for pondering or simply relaxing to. That is the great thing about new age music, and one reason it has hung around so long. It is the perfect backdrop for so many activities (dining, making love, exercising, reading, couch potatoing, whatever), not so very intrusive, but interesting enough if you choose to listen or dissect. And if you need a new CD for some of these activities, consider this one by keyboardist Timothy Wenzel. Top-notch all the way.
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