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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE ORCHARD: Enchanted Autumn (2021)

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

We spent a pleasant 63 minutes listening to this latest album-download from Steve O.

1 Puddles 6:00

2 Out of Season 5:12

3 Last Ferryboat Home 6:10

4 Elusive Sun 4:58

5 October Moon 6:34

6 Old Watermill 5:44

7 Altar Flowers 4:02

8 Opaque Days 5:44

9 Japanese Gardens 6:16

10 A Little Patch of Blue 5:38

11 Raindrops 2:58

12 Enchanted Autumn 4:16

(DDL 63:33) (V.F.)

(New Age, Acoustic Symphonic)

Puddles introduces us to this new collection of Steve Orchard's sweets with a melodic approach in concordance with the New Age style. Built on guitar multi-tracks, the melody is adorned with electronic effects in a style that reminds me of Neil Nappe, but more melodic. Bright arpeggios glisten in this seraphic setting with good elastic effects that feed its rhythmic uncertainty. Celestial arrangements and celestial voices layers complete the poignant framing of this opening track to ENCHANTED AUTUNM, which is a fine album by the English musician. Produced by AD Music and mastered by David Wright, this new Steve Orchard album is an ode to autumn with a nice bunch of titles that ease the tension, the anxiety of this last year. Conceived in an acoustic vision and around orchestrations aiming at giving some shivers to the soul, this new album is a kind of return to the roots for Steve. The use of synthesizers is quite minimal and is mainly used to decorate ambiences designed to listen to this album on a misty Sunday morning, for a romantic evening or for a night of love.

Out of Season is a slow melancholic track built around a piano flowing its nostalgic notes in the tears of violins, like those of flutes or oboes. The melody evolves with finesse in its intonations. And I particularly like the transfer of emotions between the acoustic six-strings and the piano on good arrangements. At this level, a title like Old Watermill is very successful. Last Ferryboat Home makes divinely in the New Age with its ballad on an acoustic guitar haloed by a voice of nymph whispering promises of passion. The music flows like a troubadour trying to seduce the village belle in arrangements designed to make hearts sigh. If you think you've already heard the most tender of ENCHANTED AUTUNM, a track like Elusive Sun will change your mind. Initiated by piano and framed by violins, this beautiful ambient ballad reflects serenity through arpeggios that parade like stars. Piano, arpeggios and acoustic guitar guide a music whose absence of rhythm does not affect the support of a delicious bass that cries with the delicacy of Patrick O'Hearn. Raindrops also features this bass on a dense texture fed by musical raindrops falling on a tarmac of dense orchestrations. October Moon is a romance inspired by Suzanne Ciani's vision of love. Here again, the arrangements represent the strength of a music whose delicate echo effect adds a sibylline dimension. On the dark and enigmatic side, Altar Flowers does not let its place, while Japanese Gardens also benefits from the reverberating effects. Opaque Days is the most intense and cinematic track of this album. The orchestrations cast a shadow on a solitary piano that rises from its bed at times, bringing intensity and passion to this last portion of ENCHANTED AUTUNM. The piano is superb! Speaking of intensity, Japanese Gardens is not orphan of it! The oriental arrangements and the Chinese flutes under a rain are elements to make us drop a tear out of the soul. Slow under a rain of orchestrations, A Little Patch of Blue is a good morphic lullaby in a symphonic vision as intense as Opaque Days. The title-track concludes ENCHANTED AUTUNM with a Christmas hymn. The structure reminds me a lot of the beautiful Amerisynthecana album from Sensitive Chaos.

Lise and I spent a pleasant 63 minutes listening to this latest album-download from Steve Orchard. No lies, no twisted truths but this ENCHANTED AUTUNM is in the line of the good Darshan Ambient albums, an artist who had no equal in proposing a progressive New Age. It's a nice album that should please those who like the music of Suzanne Ciani, Patrick O'Hearn, Mannheim Steamroller and other artists of the genre.

Sylvain Lupari (December 7th, 2021) ***½**

Available at AD Music

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