I used to be a summer child, one who wanted to run free in the golden fields of August’s rich palate, but now I have grown older, I take much solace and beauty from both autumn and winter, I now truly appreciate them. Winter especially is a time of year when nature holds its own court and creates a natural stasis, one that allows us to breath in the freshness of a January day. Here on this brand new album by David Arkenstone, we have all that and more in one of the most picturesque seasonal voyages ever, within the realms of this brand new release Winterlüde.
Arkenstone is a household name in the dimension of new age, neo classial and instrumenal music, but I believe on this new collection of fine songs, some of his best work may bell be hidden in the snow drifts of musical brillance within, for example, listening to the opening offering entitled Warm Lights Flicker Across The Lake is a pleasure beyond pleasures, the tone of this graphic, yet melodic arrangement, is a multi-instrumental delight, a soundtrack even for the dark days of winter, the gentle chimes, the flowing orchestration is in itself a January sunrise of geat inner reflection.
The tendrils of a more modern styled keyboard can be found on this next charming musical narrative entitled The Icy Brook Finds Its Way, its repetitive yet flowing structures highlight the energies of a stream in February, one that continues to drift like the tide of life, never ending, never ceasing. The string sections here added such a deep resonance to this creative arrangement.
I have often romanticised on how flakes of falling snow are like kisses upon the warmth of our delicate cheeks, here on Kisses from the Falling Snow I can once again, through the medium of this quite breath taking opus, vicariously feel that sensation and enjoy its nuances, this has to be one of the most delicate performances I have heard on an Arkenstone album, its warming embrace is as tender as the keyboards and soft strings that flow from it.
As autumn fades into the misty haze of an early December morning, we can slide down the icy pathway and into the all-embracing next offering entitled The World Sleeps. The slow swirling pace of this textured instrumental composition is akin to a very long sleep, when all falls away and we find ourselves drifting in silence. The delicate nature of the strings on this creation is divine and almost meditative at times.
I have heard David in dark ambient mode a few times, here on Darkening Skies, we have that mixed with his ever popular lord of the rings styled orchestration, the build and progression in this piece is extremely clever and draws an exciting narrative of something coming, looming low and ominous on the horizon, eyes widen on children as this could be our first snow fall of the year! The piano here is incredibly powerful, regal in energy and incredibly descriptive.
There are many tales to be told here that simply ask for a little moment of reflection, an installing of the imaginative processes for best total outcome, Little Mysteries in the Snowy Woods is a fine example, it is without doubt one of the most artistic pieces from the release, and builds carefully and inwardly employing a blissfully powerful bass line, an uplifting orchestration, a gentle and guiding onward musical narrative, and some of the most lush vocalisations ever, this is classic Arkenstone and one of the finest example of truly brilliant contemporary instrumental music you are ever likely to find.
Winter can be one of the most profitable times for times for us musicians; I adore walking across the sands in January, when the beaches are bare and there is no one around, this to me is utter ambience and a clear palate with which to create on, this next piece by the musician is a beautiful example of an artist who uses this time of year to explore further his connection to its days, in the track The Return of Jack Frost. The soft glowing start is a tapestry of tone and timbre that is rare to even find these days, and then through great mastery it grows into a work of electronic genius, and then adds a crisp orchestration within its idyllic structures, simply amazing indeed.
Surrounded by Silence took me back to the late 1980’s for some strange reason, the opening of this piece and its melody reminded me of a time in my past that was true and actually real, so with ease I found this offering to be one of the most emotional arrangements I have heard for many years. How often do we allow ourselves the luxury of not just being in the moment, but also of just standing in the silence of it all? Here Arkenstone explores that narrative with some of the most expressive and imploring multi-instrumentation you’re likely to hear, the melody is incredibly compelling and deeply moving, this is utter class.
We drift into the doorway now of our penultimate creation, it is entitled The White Cathedrals. If there was one piece from this album that could be used in a movie then this composition would be one I would point to for any potential director, it has everything needed, it captures the imagination with its careful approach, it caresses the soul with its lush colourful build and textures, which in turn make it so cinematic to listen to, this for me has to be one of the most beautiful compositions I have heard this year with ease.
Upon the crisp light of dawn we rise and gaze across the dreaming fields, we watch a flock of birds head further south, as the silent trees stand in the stasis of evermore. For me this last track entitled Whispers of the Winter Wind, describes in music my aforementioned statement. This is simply wonderful, I think back over the decades and wonder if anyone has explored winter as well as this, and in all honesty I can count those moments on one hand only. The ethereal vocals added to the swirling orchestration of the arrangement, leaves the listener in total awe and heavenly bliss, with one of the cleverest and most intelligent endings to an album ever, by a man who is indeed a true master of his trade.
Winterlüde by David Arkenstone has been for me one of the best spent 40 minutes and 49 seconds of music listening ever, and considering I have been a music writer for some 10 years now that says a lot. Here is a release crafted by the pen of a man who clearly not only knows his trade, but feels his creations from deep down inside his very essence. Winterlüde by David Arkenstone is the artist at his very best, it is an album that that should be an absolute must for this winter, and to be played during all subsequent ones. Arkenstone is an artisan of the instrumental genre, and this could very well become one his best known releases of all time I truly rate it that highly.