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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE BARNES: New Day (2009)

Good soft and romantic music that oscillates between Suzanne Cianni and Vangelis with a subtle touch of Mike Oldfield

1 Watching Clouds 5:18

2 Distant Storm 4:43

3 Birds In Flight 4:38

4 New Day 5:01

5 The Hills 5:19

6 Falling Leaves 4:29

7 The Meadow 4:45

8 Still Waters 4:26

9 Lullabye 3:38

10 A Snow Scene 4:11

11 Reflections 4:28

(CD/DDL 51:22) (V.F.)

(New Age)

Oops! Readers and consumers of Heavy and dark EM. Of twisted sequences and synths with multiple layered ambiences and even of Electronica, don't expect much from this column! It was with impatience that I unpacked this last Steve Barnes' CD in order to have a good time. Oops again! My ears as my feet remained intact. From an upbeat, House and Techno music, Steve Barnes has completely changed his style, undertaking a 180-degree musical turn to offer a soft, honeyed and extremely romantic album; NEW DAY. A new day that wants to be a new musical direction? Or just a break that is no longer intended for the extroverted public of the English beat boy, or for EM fans with heavy sequencers or dark atmospheres? No! Steve Barnes surprises by showing a great mastery of more conventional instruments, such as acoustic and classical guitars which are accompanied by a nostalgic piano and a mellotron with flutes as sweet as melancholic. In fact, NEW DAY is the equivalent of a Motorhead doing chamber music…

The chords of a soft acoustic guitar cross the dreamy breaths of a nostalgic flute before embracing the sweet notes of a romantic piano. Watching Clouds is the kickoff of this latest opus by Barnes that may disappoint more than one. On the other hand, it's just as likely to please a female audience or an audience eager for romantic music which is listened to under the glow of a fireplace. Steve Barnes produces a very personal album of an incredible tenderness which has nothing to do with the bubbling sequences and the atmospheric momentums specific to progressive EM, even less of his dance floor beats. Not being quite my style, I hesitated before talking to you about this album. The respect that I have for David Wright, this album is on his AD Music label, and as well as this new hatching of a new form of New Age, the progressive New-Age, and especially the fans of Steve Barnes have to know. NEW DAY is primarily intended for those who seek for soft music with tender rhythmic harmonies for an evening of love. One evening of candlelit supper with the prospect of a melee hopelessly in love, but of a tender and poetic love which takes place under the heat of the hearth of feverish bodies or under the soft flakes of scattered snow under a winter night sky. Romantic, right? Not that the music is sensual, far from it. This NEW DAY is composed of 11 tracks with soft rhythms, where the melancholic piano and the romantic guitar prevails in a sound universe where the mellotron is full of flutes as sweet as the breaths of our lover on our neck. Good soft and romantic music that oscillates between Suzanne Cianni and Vangelis (without the dramatic orchestrations), with a subtle touch of Mike Oldfield. An album amazing of tenderness that borders New Age and the spirit of Cupid.

Sylvain Lupari (October 12th, 2009) *****

Available at AD Music

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