During the mid 90s, Andy Pickford made his name as one of the brightest talents in instrumental synthmusic in many years, producing 5 classic albums as well as performing several concerts around his native Derbyshire which, without fail, evoked the kind of enthusiasm rarely seen since the halcyon days of the 70s. After releasing "Nemesis" in 1997 Andy's self-imposed exile saw him thinking seriously about the kind of music he wanted to produce which led to many rumours that he would be getting into the danc escene but as this latest release, back on the Centaur label where he first made his mark all of ten years ago shows, he has taken his inspirations from a far wider musical landscape.
Although Andy's melodic skills are still much in evidence (just listen to the restful "Drifting" for evidence of this), the emphasis here is on setting an atmosphere which he proves his mastery of time and again.
The opening seconds of "Mundo" might have you thinking you're listening to Kitaro's latest album with waves lapping against the shore before a quite superb melody is embellished over a slighty ambient-tinged sequence, using an accoustic guitar sound. And talking of ambient the 13 minute "Voices In The Deep" is where it's at as the music visits the very furthest reaches of the sea.The serene yet mysterious musical ether is broken by the ethnic percussion and bass sequencing does provide a focal point for the piece although it's just as rewarding to lose yourself in the dark tapestry, this is no new age music so be warned. The three part "Sunstanding" is little short of a masterpiece as a sumptuous atmosphere is built through piano, chords and an operatic voice samples (both massed and solo), latterly backed with Andy's spoken vocals and some evocative guitar samples combine for a feeling of heartfelt wonder which is intensified as the piece builds to it's climax. Rachel Jones adds her vocal talents to the title track which, in unison with Andy's gorgeous synths create another irresistable heart tugger. The serenity of "Mnemosyne" and the abstract/ethnic soundscpe of "Paths Of Vision" that later give way to a more bombastic theme are but two examples of Andy's sonic wizardry that is impossible to describe although anyone with a heart will relate to the heartfelt wonder of "Vanilla" (an oddly bland title for such an emotional piece) as the opera voices again provide the finishing touch to a simple but brilliant piano motif and guitar-synth overlay or the uplifting closer "Heart" where more spoken vocals again add that human feel to the music.
It would be easy to describe this simply as 'chillout music' (and it certainly works well enough in this regard) but there is a general feel that elevates this above such easy going realms, and whilst almost impossible to sufficiently describe in words, this is music that is by turns melodic, atmospheric, serene and mysterious although any attempt at labelling it can only end in failure. Suffice to say that this is the album Peter Namlook or any of his ilk have always dreamt of making!
Artist Link: http://www.cd-services.com