2018 / David Wahler
Review by Kathy Parsons
With Mosaic, David Wahler returns to his lyrical “soundscapes that tell a story,” taking listeners on a warm and uplifting aural journey guaranteed to soothe, relax, and remove any of the rough edges of the day. Piano, keyboards and synths blended with occasional wordless vocals showcase the best of what “new age” music has to offer - beautiful sounds that offer the listener so much more than just entertainment.
Wahler has released six albums to date and has garnered a very impressive group of awards along the way. His 2009 debut, Antiquus, and its follow-up, A Star Danced, received the “Best Relaxation/Meditation Album” awards from Zone Music Reporter in 2009 and 2010, and Wahler was named “Best New Artist” by ZMR in 2009. His albums have been nominated for several other ZMR awards between 2009 and 2015. I’m sure Mosaic will add more items to this list of awards and honors!
David Wahler started playing the piano by ear as a young child before beginning formal lessons, earning many first place awards at state piano competitions. He later enrolled in the Berklee College of Music’s Electronic Music Production program and a new world opened up to him. I’m sure that Wahler’s understanding of classical music makes a strong contribution to the beauty and cohesiveness of his electronic compositions.
Mosaic opens with the title track, a piece that is made up of many diverse parts that the listener can tune into individually and then pull back from to get the full effect of how the many components work together. It’s a great start to the album and sets the tone for the music that follows. “Afterain” expresses the freshness of the world after a spring rain (I live on the Oregon Coast and am VERY familiar with this!!!). Light and delicate with the sounds of birds and small bell-like effects, this piece almost sparkles. “A Promise to Keep” has piano with gentle atmospheric instrumentation and voices that cast a magical spell. The simplicity of the melody is perfect and surrounds the listener with warmth and and a sense of well-being. “A Child of the Universe” features the angelic voices of The Pacific Boy Choir along with strings, piano and flutes (plus other sounds). This piece also has a very magical quality that evokes many visual images. “August Cloud” becomes much quieter and more hypnotic while remaining very warm and soothing. “Heading Home” is musical tranquility at its best, keeping it simple, elegant and enveloping (like a musical hug!). “Lone Sky Night” is somewhat reminiscent of the best electronic music of the late 1980’s and early ’90’s with the improved production values of today. It can be very difficult to name a favorite piece on an album this good, but this one has a slight edge over the others - I LOVE IT! I also really love the closing track, “Why?,” which could be a quiet meditation or reflection on any number of recent events that have elicited that question. Wahler obviously has a clear understanding that “less is more” in this case, creating a deeply emotional quality while keeping it simple and very direct.
I have loved all of David Wahler’s albums, but Mosaic is my favorite (so far) and I guarantee that it will be one of my Favorite Albums of this year. Mosaic is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby, and I give it my highest recommendation.
April 17, 2018