David Wright – Walking with Ghosts
The electronic music of AD Music artist David Wright is often categorized as “New Age”, presumably because so called “experts” believe that harmonious and melodic music can only be classified thus. Moving works like “Voices” by Vangelis and “The Songs of Distant Earth” by Mike Oldfield were also wrongly catalogued as being New Age. The simple truth is though, these works are quite simply jewels of tenderness and authentic classics of the modern era! And “Walking with Ghosts” sits equally alongside these mythical works and will exceed the wear of time because of the beauty, emotion and originality contained on the album.
A strident synth opens “Going Down”, where the reverberations stretches in fine loops, flooding whispered voices in a strange atmosphere. This dark intro is abruptly awakened by the sharp percussions of “A Certain Malaise”, which open the doors to a more intense rhythm. The first 5 tracks present a sort of galactic western flavour with Bil Kibby’s superb guitar, slamming percussions and layers of floating synths. A twangy guitar melts into a stroboscopic sequencer on “Road to Nowhere”, where Andy Lobban’s glorious guitar enhances the melodious themes, and percussion and a galloping rhythm are overlaid with a spectral synth and a syncopated sequencer and a stunning synthesized lead line. “Midnight in the Shadow of Temptation and Delight” slows down the tempo with a floating atmosphere and a bluesy guitar. Beautiful gliding pads and the cry of a solitary guitar are joined by a progressive bass which rebuilds the rhythm for “Return of the Nomad”, a title definitely more intense, with delirious percussion, beautiful floating synth layers and furious guitar solos. A striking start, where 17 minutes fly by like a bat out of hell.
“Beyond Paradise” and “Night Moves” are two titles of supreme magnetism. A beautiful theremin melody with harmonious sequencing gives a heartbreaking theme that touches the soul. The mellotrons strings raise the hairs on the back of the neck with the kind of softness to bring you to tears. And when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of sensitivity, a saxophone gently whispers its spectral breath to make us sigh and take us even higher. This is a ballad to take you over the edge. Absolutely sublime.
After this heartrending and emotional passage, we enter the atmospheric phase of Walking with Ghosts, with “Darklands”. A beautiful piano, wrapped in layers of synths and strings is used to guide us. Although Melodious, its style is minimalism, and it cleverly uses strange and gentle sound effects, as if drifting through a parallel world of nostalgia.
Synthetic sighs invisibly connect us to the next track, where the ghostly violin of Ciona Lee harmonises with the guitar of Andy Lobban on “Flame Sky”. A very atmospheric title with a strange but highly effective strummed Eastern percussion.
Andy Lobban’s superb guitar accompanies us again on “No More Angels”, a dark and almost foreboding piece. Although it’s full of atmosphere and shadows, it also has an unsettling beauty. Slowly building on layers of strings added to by mellotron, lonely piano and a solitary sax. “Too late now!” Concludes this portion in a strange, atmospheric effects cloud, opening the door to Walking with Ghosts, the title track.
Bird song and church bells pave the way to part 1 “Penumbra”, a melodious piano which enchants by its clearness and its classical sonority. So beautiful, so sublime yet so sad, and we understand why because the artist wrote this music after September 11th. Woven in the shade of a delicate, organ like synth with dark sonorities, this superb musical serenade flows with delicate harmony, added to by gentle and subtle celestial voices. The dream stops abruptly and we’re in to part two, “The Gift”, which embraces a syncopated sequence where the orchestrations are joined by Bill Kibby’s excellent lead guitar. The track develops a Jarre like pacing and is joined by a weaving bass line, again courtesy of Bill Kibby. An animated rhythm builds, developing the themes, now joined by strong synth lead line that fades into a rain storm and crosses divinely, with melancholy piano and guitar, back to the beautiful melody that introduced us to this walk with ghosts. We hear again the beauty of the main theme in part 3 “Acheron”, reaching a soft finale which tears at our soul before moving into the the big orchestration finale of the final part “C’est la Vie” which makes this walk with ghosts, the most beautiful of walks.
I discovered this album 5 years after its release. So if, by reading this review, you understand now that my ears have enjoyed and described a pure masterpiece, then you must seek out and own this album.