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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

CLAUDIO MERLINI: Enchantment (2012)

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Once again Claudio Merlini made a harmonious album which hooks our soul like our heart

1 Desire 3:40

2 Portraits 3:51

3 A Quiet Place 4:44

4 Enchantment 5:20

5 Faventibus Ventis 5:15

6 In the Air 4:01

7 Frozen Light 5:20

8 Masquerade Girl 5:21 

9 Inner Spirit 3:43

10 Float in the Dark 4:09

11 Magic Sleigh Ride 3:52 

12 Karma 6:10

13 Book of Memories 4:05

14 The Tower 5:59

15 Enchantment Power Mix 5:32

16 Enchantment DW Summer Club Mix 7:30

(CD/DDL 70:38) (V.F.)

(New Age)

After a second album where the rhythms got intertwined into musical embraces with scents of Le Parc by Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre's Metamorphoses and movie ambiences from Vangelis, Claudio Merlini comes back with a second album on AD Music label and its New Age division. Closer of the New Age and Easy Listening borders than of contemporary electronic based sequence music, ENCHANTMENT proposes 14 titles which flow with more sweetness and romantism than with The Colours of Music where the always soft rhythms were merge with nice melodies weaved in the sighs of Asia.

Spreading his romantic approach over recurring melodious themes, the Italian synthesist announces his colors from the start with Desire and its celestial choirs which introduce a slow lascivious rhythm. The percussions are bubbling in a static broth while chords with tones of guitars are forging a meditative melody which strolls in a musical pattern weaved in a tearing of Merlini's influences. Portraits follows closely with its percussions rolling which bring us towards a melodious approach where crystal clear arpeggios stream with a beautiful fluidity on a good nervous sequenced line. The approach is very near those of Tangerine Dream's melodies in the The Atomic Seasons with choirs and Mellotron violins which float above a musical structure filled by Asian flavors. With its silky flute on a rhythm which waddles innocently, A Quiet Place revisits the beautiful melodious approaches of The Colours of Music with fine percussions and chords of a romantic guitar. It's a soft melody with a dramatic crescendo endowed of a rich musicality where choirs, flutes, guitars and percussions embroider a rich musical setting. And this is one of the best things in Claudio Merlini's works. The title-track is a good example with its delicate shimmered arpeggios which awake singing winds. The intro is soft, and tribal percussions brighten a fragile rhythm. Angelic choirs and celestial violins are wrapping this paradisiacal rhythm which rolls like a ball of silk under the warm winds of the Mediterranean Sea before it’s torn between a soft orchestral violence and a dreamy melody, a little as all that is hearing all over ENCHANTMENT. A delicious bass line crosses the winds of ether which make twinkling the carillons and Faventibus Ventis, leading us in quite a different Claudio Merlini's universe. A sitar accompanies the delicate tams-tams which create a fascinating procession through a strange musical mist where the breaths of flutes and the plaintive sighs are floating with a scent of mystery on a title which distances itself, both by its approach and by its aura of mysticism, from the vibes of this album. It's quite good and mesmerizing.

In the Air is a soft melody which swirls in a cloud of voices and flutes on a changeable rhythm. If the intro is smooth with shimmering and dreamy arpeggios, the rhythm becomes tangled with a livelier approach in the second half. More incisive, the melodious approach of Frozen Light transports us in the territories of Enigma where tribal essences are next to ethereal ambiences. The rhythm is supported by good percussions and by sequences while the ambiances are drawn by suave vocalizes, a little as with Karma which is on the other hand softer and more oneiric. The breaths of flutes and the choirs which roam on the felted knocks of the percussions and the violins of mist are adding a poignant dimension to Masquerade Girl, another meditative title with a melancholic zest that decorate this album. For a short title, Inner Spirit roams on several crossed rhythms. Rhythms of the world built over a sequencing pattern which undulates like a floating carpet whereas percussions and the fierce bass are scraping the homogeneity on a melody lulled by a synth with a good sensibility. Float in the Dark is a title which navigates between melody and ballad in a somber sieved ambiance that tribal percussions carry with balanced strikings. Here, as in the great majority of the album, Claudio Merlini exploits with dexterity the fusion of voices and flutes on good orchestral arrangements, giving a very melodious and musical dimension to his New Age approach. Magic Sleigh Ride is another good melody where arpeggios with tones of harps flow on a bed of violins and of enchanted choirs. Notes of mislaid pianos come to caress the soft melancholy of this title which gradually metamorphoses into a little more joyful ballad. Book of Memories is as much effective as Portraits, while The Tower ends ENCHANTMENT with a strong title where percussions and sequences swirl on an at the same time stormy and melodious structure. A structure which collects the big harmonious influences of this Claudio Merlini's last opus. The album contains 2 mixes of the title track. Enchantment Power Mix bangs with a heavy and pulsating rhythm of dance floor, while Enchantment DW Summer Club Mix is really magnetic with a hammering rhythm. Festive rhythms which clash of this New Age and Easy Listening envelope of this album, but which preserves all of its melodious aura.

Once again Claudio Merlini built a harmonious album where very nice melodies are anchored into soft rhythms. The synth man from Italia knows how to weave good and catchy melody which hangs onto the soul as in the heart on smooth rhythms. And that's the story of ENCHANTMENT; 14 titles that are linked together in a very good tapestry of New Age and Easy Listening where the influences of Enigma and of modern Tangerine Dream go beyond the stories of The Colours of Music which was also a nice album in its kind.

Sylvain Lupari (March 18th, 2012) ***½**

Available at AD Music

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