IN SEARCH OF SILENCE
AD MUSIC 14.11.11
When an album begins with the sound of blowing winds and a female voice guiding your listening, you know you are deep into chill-out territory. Organ, deep and resonant, underpins tinkling sounds and heralds the arrival of a digital beat.
This is a fairly obscure genre but one that persists, through the digital Tangerine Dreams of the Germans, ambient music, the Enigma of chill-out music to today’s New Age Music. David’s been around quite a slice of that time, working solo and in combinations like Code Indigo, Callisto and Trinity. He acknowledges you can get in a rut so he had planned to bring guitar in on this set but ended up consciously choosing to play it differently, spending much more time at the keyboard and less on the computer. He’s always had (paradoxically) an organic feel to his music and that is even more present here, as he picks out ever-sweet melodies and works through the permutations. These are lengthy pieces and variation is slow and floating, riding atop slow waves of deeper sounds and gentle beats. Older electronica fans will note the heavy use of a Mellotron soundalike. The Mellotron, relying on a loop of magnetic tape for each note had a uniquely warbly sound, especially once it got hot, and is much loved for its randomness and strange tone. Electronic samplers allow us the sound without the huge cost and unreliability. Certainly, here, they make for a spacey disconnect between the smooth modern production and the very sixties voice of the Mellotron.
The overall effect is spacey and relaxed. Blips and light jangles flutter around a sweeping swell of stately progressing melodies, gently massaging the brain till, half way through, it is floppy and at peace. Then a woman’s voice comes in and gives a brief encouragement to relax before the final half carries you off into blissful calmness. David has missed out some of the grating memes of the genre – he has ethnic-sounding drums but none of the mock-world music chanting or fake Gregorian Chant that strike a note of falseness and disturb the reverie. The only things that will stir you are noticing things like the very cute and sweet melody on the title track. Where things get louder, like on Alchemy, with its pounding drums, it builds slowly before slowly guiding you back down again without any shocking crescendos.
This genre is easy to make light of but there are times when this is exactly right for a mood – matching one or making one. This is going to be one of my favourites of the genre and I can see me with my feet up late at night, listening and pondering on nothing in particular.