Friday, May 24, 2024

Watercolor Sky By Michael Whalen


Watercolor Sky


Michael Whalen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The enteral musical fire that is Michael Whalen burns on brightly across this compositional sky of tone and timbre, the artist is currently in full flow and his muse creates some of the most compelling music we have seen alight in the various instrumental genres across our business, today Michael gives to the world another guaranteed compilation of brilliance called Watercolor Sky, and it’s a breath-taking ride you will never want to end.

This 9 track creation contains some sublime musicianship aside of the artist himself, of which we will highlight as we travel through the Whalen realm of musical mastery. Our journey starts with something we have here in Cyprus every year, The Endless Summer, ours lasts at least 5 months and for me this soothing opener manifests a shadowy spot with which to gaze out upon the ocean with, the illustrious majesty of a Charlie Bisharat violin adds layer upon layer to this most scenic of compositions. 

We can now turn to another track with a deep meaning for us here in the offering Ode To A Perfect Sunset, each day for most days of the year we have just this, it is something to adore and be grateful for. The down tempo textures of this composition are utterly sublime and so very redolent of the subject matter; Whalen’s gentle piano is extremely respectful of the topic, whilst we can also be incredibly happy to feel the softness of this multi-instrumental delight, for me personally hearing a Will Ackerman guitar here was a guilty pleasure of great contentment.

The energy picks up for this next arrangement called The Road Not Taken, and we are off on a trek, a new direction as of yet unexplored, that is always fun, here the keyboards of Whalen emphasise this beautifully, whilst the delicious bass of Michael Manring, give us an added depth and passion, and the trumpet of one Mark Isham just seals the deal on yet another exploratory and stunning musical reverie.

It is always an exciting moment when one arrives at the title track, so here we are at the very expectant Watercolor Sky. This bright and exciting offering gifts us an opportunity to embrace a new day in conditions that are appeasing to our hopes and dreams of the hours that lay ahead. Whalen’s delicate percussive nuance adds another layer of excitement and expectation upon this vibrant title header of a composition.

So let’s take a bold step into the last half of the album, and as we do so we come across the almost regal sounding opus of Dancing in the Wind, there is a rhythmic vibrancy to this fascinating piece that makes it sound so appealing, the multi instrumental magic performed upon this offering is incredibly well crafted, and gives a certain weight and depth to the composition, one that manifests an arrangement that is deeply addictive.

Our musical perambulations now take us along the high sea wall and it is here we now gaze down upon The Flood at High Tide; this offering reminds me greatly of Kevin Kendle’s Travelling from his ebullient Summer album. The piano of Whalen here creates some of the most moving tones on the release and the combination of brass and strings added to it, make it for me my personal favourite from this book of musical magic.

Now in the early morning light we can see The First Frost, this crisp moment of nature’s brush stroke of majesty is now before us, the mournful quality here is delightful and at this point I am reminded to tip the hat and applaud Whalen’s inclusion of both Nancy Rumble and Mark Isham on this fine album, I always think that brass instrumentation is not used anywhere nearly enough, and it adds such a moving quality to instrumental music as a whole, in the case of The First Frost doubly so.

The penultimate creation is called Golden Hour and is indeed a master class on how to manifest perfect build and progression within a composition, one so good that it becomes almost anthem like in its inevitable conclusion, this must be said about this arrangement, which of course is another personal favourite of mine too, Whalen and his collective of musical charm, manifest one of the most amazing symbiotic pieces of instrumental perfection with this stunning reverie.

We can conclude with one of my favourite things to do, walk along the beach in January, here on Winter Beach the artist includes the natural sounds of the ocean kissing the coast line, and we are literally taken there by this glorious offering, the trumpet of Isham once again the final brush stroke to this breath taking composition of utter beauty. So when the beaches are bare and there is no one around, that’s where I can be found, and more than likely doing so listening to this emotional manifestation of such style and grace.

Watercolor Sky by Michael Whalen is what any artist who dreams of creating the perfect contemporary instrumental album would be exultant to have accomplished, for me this album is the apex of the aforementioned genre, and as such Whalen must be overjoyed at end product.

Music with a story, tales told with tone, and a narrative manifested by some of the most pin point artistry can be found on Watercolor Sky, this is the album that the industry has been eager to find for ages, an absolutely must buy at all costs release is now before you.

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