Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Antiquus
David Wahler
Cover image of the album Antiquus by David Wahler
David Wahler
2009 / Darius Productions
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Antiquus is the debut from pianist/keyboard wizard David Wahler, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any evidence that this is a first recording. From the stunning cover artwork by Matt Strieby at Newleaf Design to the outstanding sound quality of the production, this is one very impressive recording - and I haven’t even mentioned the music yet! Even though it will be classified as an “ambient” or “new age” album, Antiquus rates very high on the “wow!” meter. Layers of sound produced on a variety of keyboards give the music a complexity that isn’t immediately obvious. Walher studied classical piano from a young age through college and then began working in theater. He taught music appreciation to disadvantaged and handicapped children before embarking on a career in retail and design. Finding something missing in his life, Wahler enrolled in the Berklee College of Music’s Electronic Music Production program and a new world opened for him. Antiquus is a musical exploration of our common heritage, and each of the ten tracks refers to an ancient myth, sacred love, or eternal truth. Wahler says, “I strive to unveil the answers to questions men and women have asked since antiquity.” Whether or not those questions are answered, Antiquus is a breathtaking exploration.

The title track opens with almost a whisper. Soft-spoken broken chords roll in the background as the spare, graceful melody brings is in. The echoing effect makes it sound like the music is being played in a large open space - perhaps an ancient Greek temple - and the sense of mystery is intriguing. “Kyoto Mist” is a cool, gentle daydream with piano, various plucked instruments, and sparkling bells and chimes. The patterns are simple and relaxed and the mood they create is serene. “Teresa” is a favorite. Beginning with the sound of thunder and bells in the background, the first chords are dark and mysterious. A gently rolling bass pattern lays a foundation for the very spare melody. As the piece develops, strings and voices fill the open spaces. “Teresa” reminds me of Michael Dulin’s keyboard work - stirring yet very peaceful. “Night Sky of Orion” suggests vast darkness pierced occasionally by sparkling light - tranquil and hushed. “Hyacinthus” is another favorite. In Greek mythology, Hyacinthus was a beautiful youth loved by Apollo who was killed when he was struck by a discus. The piece conveys profound grief and is achingly beautiful. “Lune Mysterieuse” picks up the tempo a bit with a gentle but compelling rhythm and plenty of atmosphere. I also love the closing track, “Ancient Dawn.” Overflowing with musical colors, this would be the perfect soundtrack to enhance a film of stunning images. Yum!

Antiquus is one of those wonderful albums that people are not going to be able to keep quiet about. I fully expect it to top the charts and to be on many “year’s best” lists for 2009 (including mine!). Check it out at davidwahler.com, cdbaby.com, amazon.com, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!!
June 11, 2009
This review has been tagged as:
Debut AlbumsKathy's Favorites: 2009
More reviews of David Wahler albums