Carrying the momentum of his well-received debut album, Mountains Take Wing, Timothy Wenzel returns with a fresh set of New Age pieces on A Coalescence of Dreams. While Wenzel’s songs course across fairly broad New Age territory, he plays with the lilt of Celtic music throughout the disc, notably in the pleasant flute melodies in “Follow the River” and “Miles from Nowhere.” The title track is an engaging blend of choral pads and Wenzel’s lyrical piano. This one takes on extra dimension when dulcimer-like tones enter as accompaniment. The long voice of rich string sounds finish the blend. Folksy acoustic guitar opens “The Road to Hana,” quickly joined by strings and piano. The cantering pace is catchy. It’s a traveling tune that sets the foot tapping but also takes a nice emotive turn–there’s something very personal at work here. For me, however, the go-track on this disc is the brilliant “Mountain Rain.” Opening with acoustic guitar, piano, and string pads, it moves gracefully along, fluid and calm. Then a shift–everything drops out except for hushed choral pads, underscored with a low string sound. It creates a stunning, spiritual moment that gains its strength from its simplicity. That passes, and the guitar and piano resume, joined by flute. This is a wonderful piece that really showcases Wenzel’s multi-instrumental talents. He’s not alone here, however; Michael Rud offers up some soaring edge-of-rock guitar licks in the late half of “Ice Wind,” and Lenny Lavash contributes drums to that track, along with snappy hand percussion on the closer, “We Walk Together.” This track was created in the throes of emotion stemming from Wenzel’s learning of his brother’s incurable cancer. On his site, Wenzel writes, “At around 2 AM I could not stand any more so I went to my keyboard and poured out my soul, every last drop of it. The keyboard was literally wet with tears by the time I finished. Exhausted, I could do no more. I could not even listen to the song again without crying.” It’s a fantastic piece, built on piano and sliding in and out of complexity in its arrangement. It has distinct phases, and is a truly affecting piece of music.
A Coalescence of Dreams is a straightforward New Age disc, beautifully played and designed for downtime listening. It may be too light a take for some, but on the whole it’s easy to enjoy and lovely at low volumes–but do yourself the favor of giving Wenzel’s work a close listen, too. This is a talented composer with a lot to say. New Age fans will want to keep an ear on Timothy Wenzel.
Available at Timothy Wenzel’s web site.