2001 / Hearts of Speace
Review by Michael Debbage
David Darling has become one of the leading cellists in the New Age genre, or for that matter in any genre. His style is graceful, golden and glorious that you know when you have been touched by his ever so unique trademark sound. Though this is not a new release, Cello Blue is a wonderful escape into the neverland of the darling music of David.
This reviewer’s initial exposure to this artist was back in 1987 via the music of Michael Jones, the master of improvisation. His collaboration with David Darling on the album Amber continues to be an all-time favorite and it would certainly be a desert island disc. Back then it was all about Michael Jones but with the opportunity to hear Cello Blue apparently David Darling's contributions were just as vital. It was about two very talented artists that put together a poignant beauty and frankly one about which cannot be emphasized enough.
Prior to that Darling paid his dues in the groundbreaking group The Paul Winter Consort that became one of the cornerstone groups of the New Age genre. Of course, Darling went on to create his own solo material that included the critically acclaimed Eight-String Religion. One of Darling's most unique techniques is the multiple overdub of his cello making for a mini orchestration of lush strings. This is heard vividly on the very open chords of the first track "Children". The second distinctive characteristic of Darling is the soft plucked sound he is able to draw out of his cello. Just skip forward to the lusciously smooth title track that also features some soft palatable piano work from Darling. This particular track brings back very vivid memories of the utterly serene yet moving "Shadows Of The Moon" from the previously mentioned Amber album with Michael Jones.
Otherwise, the album spends much time with spatial themes that also include brief and subtle sounds of nature, specifically the unobtrusive bird calling found on several tracks. While musically the album is a tour de force, the titles such as "Prayer and Word", "Thy Will Not Mine Be Done", "Serenity" and "Presence" would strongly suggest that Darling was searching for a meditative and spiritual persona. And it is clear that the music creates a sense of serenity and surrender.
No matter what the intent is of David Darling, Cello Blue continues to add to the legacy of this musician and the significant impact he has made to this genre and others. Though behind the eight ball on the awareness of this album, there is no doubting that Cello Blue will carry the longevity and credibility associated with the artist David Darling.
May 15, 2010