Saturday, August 7, 2010

CD Review -- A Star Danced, by David Wahler

Sometimes you can tell by the packaging of a CD – and its title – what kind of music you might expect to hear. This is very true of David Wahler’s second album, A Star Danced. The elaborate and elegant digipak design casts a charming-looking bear dancing under the stars, and the music conveys the same celestial, wondrous feel.

Composed and performed entirely by Wahler on keyboards and synthesizers, with a guest appearance by guitarist Brent Gunter on “The Seeds of Time,” the music is a magical mix of sampled guitars, basses, drums, percussion, horns, and strings, resulting in a kaleidoscope of sound that exudes ethereal ambiance and cosmic sweep anchored by strong themes and melodic hooks. This is the perfect soundtrack for a long night drive under a starry sky.

The opening and closing tracks set and summate the tone for this sonically mystical album. “Quest” and its concluding reprise literally sound like a synthesis of Miles Davis and Herb Alpert soloing over layered textures by Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. The result is pure aural bliss.

The quality of the compositions, performances, and sounds recalls similar keyboard/synthesizer artists such as Michael Stribling, Pat Metheny collaborator Lyle Mays, Genesis member Tony Banks, and Miami Vice composer Jan Hammer.

If you do listen to this under the night sky, the stars will seem as if they are dancing, and so will your senses.

--Raj Manoharan

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