Friday, July 21, 2023

Walk In Beauty, Like The Night By Michael Whalen


Walk In Beauty, Like The Night


Michael Whalen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I cannot express enough how wonderfully beautiful it has been to have embraced this brand new album by Michael Whalen entitled Walk In Beauty, Like The Night, this release took me back in time to my first walk in the new age genre some 25 years ago, and this blissful 10 track collection of ambient piano tracks is truly what the world needs right now.

The opening offering is called Walk In Beauty, Like The Night and of course it is the title track, I adore it when artists start with the title header it shows a total commitment to the whole project, and this slice of musical serenity reminds me of artists I grew into the industry with like Mike Rowland and Phil Chapman, but what a great way to start such an exciting musical voyage.

We can follow that up by taking the musical way marker named Anywhere Anytime Anything For You, this is a balled of complete unconditional love, full flowing as unfettered notes trickle unto the footfalls of a blissful reverie, we can all be blessed by such calming yet loving compositions.

Tracks like Eternity Floats In Your Eyes continues that theme, the exploration of a deeper love than thought possible. A gentle heart felt honesty drifts from the keyboard like an early November mist, one that lingers longer, as Whalen draws a narrative that touches our very souls.

There is something about this next piece entitled Always For The First Time that reminds me of early David Arkenstone, the harmonic transcendence is classy and clear and the onward construction is built with such style and thoughtfulness, whilst offerings like The Most Humid Sexy Summer are without doubt a horse of a different colour indeed. Here we have a hovering intensity, a sound of a slide guitar, keyboards that are so slow and sensual, delicate, but purposeful and as powerful as a late August night in a LA. This whole composition is cleverly created and quite cinematic in arrangement too at times.

Michael reminds us that back in 2005 his release My Secret Heart was one of his biggest hits of all time, and now, some 18 years later he rates this new album to be the follow up to his beloved and incredibly successful aforementioned compilation. The track Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is stunning; this midway offering even has a Berlin styled electronic essence about its construction too, as well as the sweeping sounds of an utterly desirable keyboard to enjoy.

We Are All Made Of Stars, I have always drawn great comfort from that knowledge, and what follows is some of the finest and most heartfelt new age styled ambient piano I have heard for near on 20 years. The softness of the musical palette here is so very beautiful, that I rated this to be my personal favourite from the album, the tender performance here reminded me of the famous Pure Healing album from Stephen Rhodes, from the turning of this century.

We now softly slide into the next creation of harmonic bliss entitled What We Love Deeply, here we can feel the expression of love that Michael has for his partner of 15 years, as per his liner notes, an expression of love comes from one place only, and this heart felt composition reminded me how blessed I am to have the woman who I have in my life now, this song for me is a celebration and recognition of such matters of the heart.

Our penultimate piece is called Such Sweet Sorrow, such a wonderfully clever oxymoron, one that reminds me of Shakespeare's Juliet, who famously tells her lover Romeo that “parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow”. Here Whalen pulls off a masterful performance on keyboards, and with a slight electronic gesture he brings a joyous yet moving opus with a few delicious minor chords placed hoveringly inside for good measure, what a splendid juxtaposition of musical expression indeed.

Our final offering is entitled Our Home By The Sea, and again the artist reminds me of my location as well, such beauty, such pleasurable sights each day can be felt and seen and more so appreciated. This parting gift is Whalen at his ambient best as he brings not only a calming lullaby of a loving tune, but also creates a caring and tender melody to boot as well, what a clever and crafted way to end an album indeed.

Walk In Beauty, Like The Night by Michael Whalen is without a doubt the artists best work thus far, I truly mean that, through this album the artist has introduced me to some of the most honest and tender tracks I think I have ever heard from him, and in doing so created for me, lush colourful textures of good classic new age ambient piano. This has to be the warmest release ever from Michael and as such I would mind taking a bet that a chart topping position and awards are simply destined to follow for Walk In Beauty, Like The Night by Michael Whalen

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