Rebecca Harrold,
The River of Life
(independent, 2012)

Rebecca Harrold's day job is playing for ballet dancers, so she knows how to make music flow and swirl, to leap and fall with grace and subtlety. She can release power quickly and surely, and she can draw it back so easily you don't notice the movements. She knows dynamics and the art of creating and releasing tension.

The River of Life, her first solo album, was produced by Will Ackerman, the founder of Wyndham Hill Records, and is, in many ways, a throwback to the peak days of the new age music era. It features arpeggiated piano and soaring strings, calm, relaxing tunes that let you float away from a day's tensions. It is music that never gets pushy, never shouts at you, but is content to let the conversation flow at its own pace.

Ackerman plays guitar on the disc, and Eugene Friesen from the Paul Winter Consort plays cello; both of these musicians know how to propel a tune without seeming to drive it, a skill that Harrold also has in abundance. Their instruments are supplemented by English horns, lyricons and soprano saxes.

If what I've described so far sounds like a potion you'd take to ensure a good nap, let me assure that it is not. This is quality music, music that looks to the past of the new age style with its peripheral vision while keeping its main focus purely on the future. Harrold is an artist who knows exactly what she wants to know and knows exactly how to do it.

I look forward to this disc spinning in my player for a long time -- at least until it is followed up by her next one.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

28 September 2013

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