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Album Review: AquaEssence: An Ocean of Calm
Cover image of the album AquaEssence: An Ocean of Calm by Amberfern
AquaEssence: An Ocean of Calm
2013 / Real Music
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
AquaEssence: An Ocean of Calm is Amberfern’s third release on the Real Music label, following Quiescence: A World At Peace (2011) and Mediterranean (2012). Recorded and mixed along the southwest coastline of England, Amberfern (Dr. Clive Brooks) performs on Shakuhachi flute, acoustic and electric guitars, grand piano, electric piano, congas, hand percussion, Celtic harp, bass guitars, synthesizers, and the sounds of ocean waves. Dedicated to his daughter and her new husband, this album is just over an hour of peaceful, calming music. Not quite ambient and not strongly melodic either, this refreshing album offers a soothing respite from the cares and worries of everyday life. There are twelve individual tracks, but the pieces flow from one to the next with no abrupt changes in mood or style, making it suitable for spas, massage, meditation, and other relaxation techniques (like a quiet evening with a nice glass of wine!).

AquaEssence: An Ocean of Calm begins with “Avon Beach,” a blissful piece that sets the soothing tone of the album with guitars, keyboards, atmospheric washes, and the sound of the ocean: slow, graceful, and breathtakingly beautiful! “Rhythm of the Sea” continues the leisurely ebb and flow with guitars, piano, hand drums, and synth washes. “Underwater World” is darkly mysterious, but not dangerous or threatening. The Shakuhachi flute effectively offers its exotic breathy-ness to guitar, keyboards, and atmospheric sounds. Hypnotic female voices work their magic in the slowly seductive “Sirens.” The rhythm and gentle melody give “Spindrift” a slightly Native American flavor while remaining gentle and effortless. I really like the somewhat more upbeat (but still very peaceful) “Across the Blue Bay.” The easy rhythm and piano blend with the guitar to create a vision of warm tropical breezes and peacefully undulating water. The calls of shorebirds open the magical “Ocean Sunrise,” another favorite that suggests feelings of renewal and the anticipation of a fresh start as well as the beauty of an ocean sunrise. I also really like “Coral Reef” with its hand percussion, keyboards, guitar, and atmospheric sounds. It begins mysteriously and gradually lightens to a more tranquil feeling but never quite loses its darker edge. “Calm Waters Home” features more piano than the other tracks, bringing us back to reality, refreshed and relaxed.

Amberfern has created another beautiful hour of soulful and soothing music. It is available from www.RealMusic.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Recommended!
October 19, 2013
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