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  • Sylvain Lupari

DAVID WRIGHT: Stranger Days (2018)

“Stranger Days presents David Wright's nearly 30-year of career in a strong double album where all styles and years coexist inside the same artwork”

CD 1 75:50 1 A Moment’s Contemplation 3:04

2 Re-Connected 7:34

3 Beyond Glass Mountains 5:20

4 Walking with Ghosts Fantasy 6:59

5 Krystal Halls 6:24

6 Always Tomorrow 4:35

7 Once Upon a Dream 6:16

8 Stranger Days (Parts 1-7) 35:10

CD 2 77:47

9 Rysheara (2018 version) 8:40

10 Call to Me (2018 remix) 8:43

11 Walking with Ghosts (Chilled remix) 5:10

12 Melt Away 6:16

13 Harmonic Heaven (Parts 1 & 2) 13:50

14 Light Source (Parts 1 & 2) 10:51

15 Colours of the Night 4:40

16 The Forgotten Symphony (Movements 1-4) 19:24

AD Music | AD188CD (CD/DDL 153:37) (V.F.)

(Berlin & England Schools, New Age)

What makes a new David Wright album a highly anticipated event in EM circles? However, the friendly English musician has nothing to do with the Berlin School style for a long time. Moreover, his very melodious and symphonic approach, which I consider equal to that of Vangelis since the album Direct published in 1988, led him to flirt with the borders of a New Age worthy of the voracity of the media and the public American. Yet despite this approach, his albums follow each other and show much more depth than New Age. Expected for a long time, and repeatedly postponed, STRANGER DAYS is still the umpteenth proof. Behind a flawless production driven by arrangements as intricate as highly stigmatized in the crystal of emotions, this imposing double album is in fact an improbable overview of the career of the greatest melodist in EM. Through some new pieces of music and long concept tracks that will amaze on a first listen and will seduce on each new one, also are hiding old titles and some recent ones that have been reworked to the full satisfaction of this artist who is behind this wave of the England School style in the mid-80's. This new adventure begins with the slow astral flight of tender layers full of seraphic violins of A Moments' Contemplation. Composed specifically like the desired opening of STRANGER DAYS, the music reflects the spirit of its title with a contemplative vision composed with the idea of igniting the flame of our emotions from the first moments of this double album. It's almost successful. Otherwise, it's an excellent prelude to the superb and very catchy Re-Connected that was on the EP Walking with Ghosts (The Remixes), made in early June 2018. The titles Walking with Ghosts Fantasy and Walking with Ghosts (Chilled remix) were also part of this 40-minute musical journey. I wasn't really sure, I don't have the artwork beneath my eyes, but it seemed to me that I had already heard Beyond Glass Mountains. And that's true since it's a reworked version of Glass Mountains appeared on Ocean Watch. The version proposed here is more orchestral with new electronic effects and the sweet voice of Carys gives a depth to this title became more heavenly. A very New Age lunar ballad! Krystal Halls is a title composed with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock that was interpreted by Code Indigo on the album E-Scape 2018. Now, let's talk about the new music! Always Tomorrow is a sweet electronic ballad typical of David Wright's signature. Beautiful and catchy, we can't just not like its simplicity. Probably inspired by the Miramar years of Tangerine Dream, with its effects of sweet and distant voices and its bongos, Once Upon a Dream is also in the well-known David's register with a nervous rhythm encircled by multiple synth textures including one with saxophone aromas which is charmer of senses. From the top of its 35 minutes and its 7 parts, the title-piece is a real monument of modern EM where rhythm, atmosphere and melody flirt in an environment where multiple sound effects are as synonymous of researches and as well dosed. A cosmic breeze lands on a sequencer which sculpts a slow and ominous pulsating rhythm. Sonic filaments whirl around this opening, drifting into a black hole where sound beings are formed. Intense, the slow procession is covered with a layer of tones that a synth pierces with its melodious approach. This synth goes on with its solos and harmonies in a second part whose rhythm takes more shape and turns into a mini Silver Scale of Tangerine Dream. Guitar riffs whip this very Berlin School rhythmic invasion that rolls like a train going up a hill. Tinkling and seductive percussive effects give tonus to this structure well decorated by solos that roll in loops and in effects that give it a slightly spicy velvet texture. We arrive at Part 4 and the rhythm is always hypnotic in a sonic uproar that keeps us awake and keeps our ears on the alert. Coated of orchestral layers a little more melodious, the part 5 keeps its rhythmic instinct which will gradually fade out in the ambiances of the 7th part. An epic title which shows that David Wright can be at ease as much as in the melodic structures easy to commercialize than in a very good Berlin School visited with a creative approach. We get a grip on ourselves and put the CD 2 in the player.

That's with a revamped version of an old David Wright's classic that awaits our ears. Performed in concert, Rysheara (2018 version) evolves in electronic rock mode well played and where the synth of David Wright and the guitar of Lee Morant exchange very good solos. The identity of the original title, which appears on the Dissimilar Views album, is almost intact, even in its more rock approach and stretched out of more than 3 minutes. Call to Me (2018 remix) is already in its third remix since it was released on Beyond the Airwaves Volume 2. It's still a light track, Carys' voice goes very well with David Wright's ethereal harmonies, very close to the borders of Enigma, just like Melt Away, and which also has some Lounge or Chill Out essences. Harmonic Heaven (Parts 1 & 2) bears the colors of its title with a slow exploration in an astral universe. Voices of nymphs from the heavens adorn a landscape of celestial ambiences that reach back to our ears with slow movements of violins, leading a semi-nervous and semi-controlled rhythm with a good mesh of sequences and percussions in the 2nd part. That remains a symphonic music that befits well in the territories of an ambient New Age. Light Source (Parts 1 & 2) is on the other hand more animated and loaded with good synth solos whose signature of David Wright is undeniable. The music switches to a good rock with an amazing play of percussions. The harmonies are woven by the continuous presence of solos and David puts down here and there effects that constantly charm the listening, including one where the movement of percussion stumbles. It's very close to David Wright's first albums. The second part exposes a violin texture in the solos and the rhythm breathes more of its heaviness with a good presence of the bass. Taken out, in order to have a sonic surgery, from the Marylinmba album back in 1998, Colors of the Night is another good electronic ballad with a synth whose violins and flute harmonies are very poignant. A unique ballad in the very romantic style of David Wright. Arranged with Robert Fox, The Forgotten Symphony (Movements 1-4) completes this massive work with a music gently animated by an ambient vision. The rhythm barely breathes with a bass sequences' pattern and a bass line behind the barrage of violins where some fragile piano notes are preludes to harmonious passages, including this nice peasant flute with the bucolic charms of The Keep. Provided with beautiful winks to the great masters of EM, the music is based on intense orchestrations lying by a very emotional play of the Mellotron. And when it's not this Mellotron flute that assails our emotions, it's the piano that triturates them with excellent passages just as poignant. Original sound effects, such as the laughing laughter of a strange bird or the clatter of a deregulated clock, adorn this fascinating procession which ends with a clannish dance approach and a strong oriental fragrance. Monumental in all aspects, this STRANGER DAYS presents David Wright's nearly 30-year of career in a solid double album where all styles and years coexist inside the same artwork. Around 16 tracks and more than 2:30hrs of music, David Wright displays his immense melodic talent in a music which flirts bluntly between the borders of Easy Listening, New Age, England School and Berlin School with a little more creative zest in long structures, especially in Stranger Days (Parts 1-7). Without being essential, the remixes are quite delicious to the ears. But aren't those small details that make of a new album of David Wright a highly anticipated event in the circles of the EM?

Sylvain Lupari (August 27th, 2018) ****½* SynthSequences.com

Available on AD Music

© 2019 by Alexandre Corbin for Synth&Sequences \ Sylvain (A.K.A. Phaedream) Lupari

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