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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

CRAIG PADILLA: The Heart of the Soul (2012)

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

The Heart of the Soul possesses the beauty of its naming!

1 You Were Here 2:51

2 Sense of Wonder 7:51

3 Angel in My Eyes 11:02

4 Heart of the Soul 4:17

5 Lost in You 5:28

6 New Directions 5:36

7 Spirit Signs 9:04

8 Sensual Beauty 4:10

9 Midnight Encounter 13:10

10 Divine Embrace 7:13

(CD/DDL 70:48) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

THE HEART OF THE SOUL marks a comeback for Craig Padilla who had been silent since Beyond the Portal in 2009. It is in a rather diversified musical framework that he has woven the main melodious lines of his last opus. Because although it is a very intimate work, coming from an artist who has accustomed us to great atmospheric flights, it is dominated by fine contemplative and lyrical melodies which captivate by an astonishing sensitivity.

Even if poetic and imbued of serenity, THE HEART OF THE SOUL begins on the wheel hats, letting heard a line of limpid arpeggios and another with bass tones crossing swords in You Were Here. A bass-drum supports this sequenced crossover which deviates towards a good structure of cosmic rock. Sense of Wonder is the first of the many pearls of this album. Piano notes, divided between romance and melancholy, draw the curves of a beautiful cosmic melody which drags its harmonic refrain in the breaths of ethereal choirs and of stardust. Marrying the poetic softness of the acoustic works of Suzanne Ciani, its introduction transports us to the doors of dream when somewhat jerky synth layers divert its dreamlike delicacy. This leads this soft title towards a spasmodic rhythm which defies the balance of strummed harmonies in the shade of angelic dreams. These piano notes soaked in meditative nostalgia flow sparingly in the introduction to Angel in My Eyes which brings us into spheres of a more progressive atmospheric EM with its solos and synth breezes. These twisted solos blow like these cosmic wanderings of Tangerine Dream in a dense cosmic haze disturbed by strong reverberating pulsations. If the first part is intended to be more exploratory, the second is definitely more melodious with its piano notes whose evasive harmony wanders around delicate scintillating arpeggios. Besides, we can feel the romantic and orchestral influences of Suzanne Ciani on this very personal work by Craig Padilla. Like in the very good melody that is the title-track where the piano notes are place tight in good orchestral arrangements. And on Lost in You whose breaths of a mermaid charmer of senses caress a melancholy approach disturbed by the soft rhythm of a good electronic ballad.

New Directions is another good melody that begins with hesitant chords dancing in a praline mist. Soft synth layers cradle a sweetness that nestles in resonant pulsations while the rhythm takes shape around sequences which undulate with fluttering percussions, quietly pushing the progression of New Directions towards the waltzing mists of enveloping orchestral arrangements. The intro of Spirit Signs is balanced by a mixture of absent choirs and warm winds before that fine percussive arpeggios groped in a corridor imbued with an ambience of mystery. The movement comes out of cerebral limbo with fine kicks which structure of rhythm hard to definite. A rhythm which undulates awkwardly under the breaths of an ethereal choir and of synths with lines as jerky as vaporous, to die out in a gentle river of cosmic serenity. Sensual Beauty is another contemplative melody whose piano notes dream under the mists and lines of a distant synth. Midnight Encounter is the key moment of this latest opus from Craig Padilla. Realizing his very intimate vision of his intra-personal relationship, the Californian synthesist weaves a splendid passage towards inner peace and his dreams with synth lines which weep in moving mists. A good movement of the sequencer releases keys that spin in a fine spiral staccato, shaping the steps of a bewitching morphic dance which will unite its delicacy with a more punchy approach before returning Midnight Encounter to the land of dreamlike dreams. It's pure magic set in music! Divine Embrace concludes this splendid introspective journey that is THE HEART OF THE SOUL with a long ambient title where the notes of a solitary guitar / harp escape the vestiges of a forgotten loneliness in morphic layers of a synth divided between its lyrical enveloping lines and its choirs' hummings.

THE HEART OF THE SOUL has the beauty of its title. There are pure marvels in this album that may destabilize fans who expect an ambient or purely electronic album, such as Beyond the Portal or Analog Destination. Except that the more we advance in our discovery, the more we let ourselves be seduced by these melodies which catch the soul and draw sighs of melancholy.

Sylvain Lupari (May 20th, 2012) *****

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