David Wahler is a natural. At age 7, never having taken a lesson in his then-short life, he sat down at a church piano and played instrumentally what he'd just heard sung in a hymn recital. He then continued such demonstrations for family and friends before deciding to take formal practice...and unlearn the bad habits he'd unwittingly been empathically creating as he worked out the logistics of the keyboard on his own. One thing led to another and the gent underwent not only artistic expansion (at Berklee) but a Humanistic spiritual shift as well, finding in music a way to bridge gaps over to handicapped and disadvantaged children.
Starting with excellent classical influences (Satie, Faure, Chopin, etc.), he expanded to take in serious modernists like Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, and John Adams. The result of those separated eras meeting, periods with artists possessing more than a little Romanticism, has resulted in this marvelous CD, a lush, mellow, airy fantasia of extremely well composed and arranged cuts designed to engage mind, soul, and body. Antiquus is by no means New Age but instead an intersection where others have crossed and produced quite dazzling work, as more than a few hints of Vangelis, Pater Baumann, Suzanne Ciani, Roger Eno, Kitaro, Harold Budd, and others peek out from behind clouds and pastorales. The entire milieu is relaxing and dreamy, largos and adagios in their natures, utopian vistas and Byronic ideals.
The pace of each cut is intelligently wrought, every note considered and evaluated, much like Satie and Eno favored in their quieter moments, oft richly Enossified in very fetching echoics and gentle ornamentalizations. Had Steven Halpern and Georgia Kelley devoted the time and thought to their much earlier releases, we'd be using them as benchmarks (they didn't, we aren't), and the New Age-onites would've stepped far more quickly into their still much needed evolutions. Wahler has handily aced 'em all. Gregorianesque melismatic vocals accompany three songs, and cuts like Apollo's Lyre reach up to grab firm hold of more emphatically melancholy glory, further cementing the listener's immersion in this gorgeously well-crafted presentation.
Most of the cuts exceed the 5-minute mark, giving ample time to weave all the spacy climes and textures permeating Antiquus into a flowing tapestry of ambrosian delights. Synths and piano dominate, but Wahler makes excellent use of emulations to dub in muted horns, gongs, and such, all calling back to ancient times while framing farflung futures. Most surprising of all, this is his first release, but, as Dave, FAME's editor put it, it sounds like he's been making this music forever. Indeed, and he should be sending the disc to film studios, because they need to hear what he's capable of.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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