Readers of my work to any degree will know I have a difficult time with most New Age musics in much the same way I wrangle most "neoprog", which many compeer critics see as a modern wrinkle in the progrock catalogue but I've re-dubbed for what it is: badprog. New Age artists fill a market need, but are often quite guilty of only sketching in their materials, leaving the hard edges out, skirting definition, trading robust fare for milquetoast. For those who desire such meager subsistence, that's great, more power to them, but for the rest of us, not so much. What I've found works best in the genre, though, is either adagios and nocturnes or Impressionistic canvases cleaving more to what informed the prog masterminds. In that respect, Vangelis is one of the shining examplars, and musicians like Uwe Gronau, in capturing what the famed Greek both learned from and then himself produced, has succeeded in bridging the gap adeptly.
Timothey Wenzel, in A Coalescence of Dreams presents us with both excellences and problems. The opener, Ice Wind is excellent, an adagio resonating with space, ethereal emotions, palpable presences, and full coloration featuring Mannheim Steamroller-ish percussion and Paul Speer-esque guitar. It sings from start to finish. Miles from Nowhere is likewise an aching threnody, fleshed out, pulling emotions from mind and heart in a composition rounded with integrity, but A Walk in the Summer Woods, the fourth cut, is an example of the good mixing with the bad. The first half of the song is uneventful, lackluster, while the second half starts layering beautifully, building its meaning…only to terminate much too abruptly, betraying the flow. And this sort of on-again off-again integrity is the defining point of the CD, which renders it somewhat in the neoprog vein.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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