2021 / Neo Pacifica Recordings
Review by Michael Debbage
A most unpredictable artist as far as musical style is concerned, David Arkenstone is capable of producing epic music in many sub genres. However, it appears that Arkenstone was so happy with his prior collaboration with Project: CSQ that prior to “the turning of the year” he managed to record the elegant Solitude. Yet there is no let down in the newness of the exploration of the neo-classical emphasis underscored by his prior ambient explorations. Comparisons to The Turning Of The Year are undeniably there. Meanwhile, Solitude is a delicate classy recording that certainly lives up to its title without the secluded themes being portrayed as sully, but rather surreal and sublime.
Composed, arranged and produced by David Arkenstone, he does not hesitate to bring in essentially the same players from Project: CSQ as well as the understated delicate orchestration of Jeremy Borum. The results are very similar yet still new and a sense of pushing the envelope that begun with his prior recording. Opening with the soft yet rhythmic keys of Arkenstone as the strings softly counter him, the first track “Jokulsarlon” really sets the tone for this latest musical adventure. While “Mare Tranquillitatis” presents similar musical patterns, skip forward to the bolder “Laments Of The Ice Giants” and the Viking like choral voices countered with deeper strings presenting an almost eerie feel to it. One can almost imagine being on board the Titanic on the placid water under a starry sky surrounded by massive icebergs, but this time avoiding the collision and that sinking feeling.
For something more regal and yet passionate, the gorgeous “Reflections In The Empty Spaces” comes to mind immediately followed by the slow build sway of “The Silence Of Snow”. However, the album closes out with its quietest moment “I Closed My Eyes And The Autumn Passed” that you will totally fall for. Considering the song title, it makes one wonder if David Arkenstone has experienced one of our Dallas brief Autumn seasons.
Interesting that Arkenstone closes out Solitude with a song about the subject matter he explored on his prior release The Turning Of The Year. Needless to say, the comparison’s of these two stellar recordings is clearly ever present, but Arkenstone avoids the mistake of wash rinse repeat. But if you enjoyed his prior release then seclude yourself in a quiet place and deeply submerge yourself into this sleepy stunner.
December 17, 2021
Review by Michael Debbage