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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DAVID HELPING & JON JENKINS: The Crossing (2010)

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

A beautiful album that we listen to as one observes a photo album or an exhibition of musical paintings inspired of whimsical landscapes

1 Awake 4:07

2 Two Paths 6:53

3 From The Smallest Seed 5:31

4 The Same Sky 6:02

5 The Crossing 5:52

6 Above All 3:23

7 For The Fallen 9:25

8 The Lesson 6:34

9 To The Ends Of The Earth 8:18

10 Not Forgotten 7:10

11 Lifted 6:39

(CD/DDL 70:45) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

There are albums like that. Albums difficult to describe! Not because they are not good, but rather because each title seems to be conceived with the same musical ideology. THE CROSSING, the second collaboration of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins, is of this kind. A beautiful album that we listen to as one observes a photo album or an exhibition of musical paintings inspired of whimsical landscapes of these two artists to musical antipodes. If Helping likes to cherish softness of New Age, Jon Jenkins is more mordent and likes brushing music closer to progressive electronic. By doing this, the two artists in extreme territorial of a world split by tectonic plates meet by creating a music inspired by sinuous bass movements of Patrick O'Hearn, tribal and synthesized wanderings of Rudy Adrian and musical mysticism of Mark Isham. The result is an album of which music pieces are shape in the same mould, except for some nuances, and where divided rhythms abound in atmospheres in suspension, there where New Age and EM weave sometimes redundant musical canvas, but all the same quite attracting.

Awake starts this musical voyage with a synth which moulds slow hybrid layers that a guitar scrapes of its harmonious galloping keys. Short track but intense, Awake evolves in a dramatic crescendo whose culminating point is its final which explodes of an amalgam of guitar and keyboards chords and percussions that strike a soft latent rhythmic. A title with a progressive evolution just as the powerful and moving The Crossing and Lifted as well as From The Smallest Seed which is a bit lighter. Two Paths is more representative of the universe which surrounds the album. A little like everywhere on the album, the guitar of David Helping is floating. It releases tickled notes whose resonances form echoic loops that float in delicate tinkling atmospheric. Notes in suspension which furrow musical structures whose rhythms are divided by mordant percussions and filled up with beautiful layers of a synth more oneiric than progressive, seeking to protect the soundscapes approach which immerses all around THE CROSSING. One cannot also be unaware of Patrick O'Hearn bass structures influences which shape rhythmic sometimes suave and sensual, sometimes eclectic. With its split up rhythms on a hesitant structure and superb percussions, The Lesson is near Two Paths structure. The Same Sky is a good ambient track where everything is in suspension. A musical world turning slowly with guitar notes which stiffen on a synth with layers of desert dunes. A beautiful title that shows ambient can indeed be melodious. The intro of For the Fallen follows the floating tangent of Above All. A soft intro weaved by layers of a dreamy synth, in communion with the stars, which embrace Steve Roach structures on Western Spaces. A beautiful ambient title, just like the quiet Not Forgotten! To The Ends of the World fits pretty well its meaning with an ambient intro where the percussions mould an avalanche of thunders which strike a desert dressed of oneiric pads. Guitar notes, always scattered and floating, add a more melancholic approach whereas the bass line carves a solitary movement. A great track where splitting up cadences annihilates the ambient charm while really depicting an ambiance totally apocalyptic and angelic.

Did I like THE CROSSING? Let’s say that it is not really my cup of tea. I prefer, and by far, a more complex EM with constant progressive sequenced structures. Elements that we don’t find here. On the other hand, I must admit that there are superb titles hiding behind these parallel structures which make that one has sometimes the impression to hear the same track. Track after track. A thing that annoyed me a bit.

Sylvain Lupari (October 22nd, 2010) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Music Bandcamp

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