Let me start out
by saying that when I tried to play this CD on my computer (XP with Windows
Media Player) it refused to play. The
disk did not start automatically. I
inserted it again and this time it read the disk. The instructions said I had to agree to an
end users agreement, which I did. I
received an error message “CD3 Launch Error 0002011F-00000002”.
So, I opened the
program through Internet Explorer “LaunchCD.exe”. Again, the same error. While Windows Media Player recognized the CD
and listed the tracks, clicking on the track gave me a window that said a
license was needed and would I like to download it. I agreed with the licensing agreement and
allowed the program to download the license. A window from “SunnComm
Technologies Inc.” popped up saying I needed two digital keys to enjoy the
CD. I waited for the keys to be
downloaded, reinserting the CD as instructed.
The process stopped and repeated itself from the beginning. When I got to the “SunnComm” window again, I
waited for the keys to be delivered.
Note the window said the keys were free of charge and no information was
being collected from my computer. After
four minutes, the keys were still “downloading” according to Windows Media
Player. I reinserted the disk. Again, the license acceptance window, I
agreed, the error message.
took up about 20 minutes of my time, and some frustration on my part. I then went and got my portable CD
player. I was not going to waste any
more time. Frustrated at this point, I
closed Windows Media Player and popped the CD into my portable player and it
worked just fine. I have also played
this CD on my home system, and again, it works fine. It appears it only has issues with the
through this frustrating experience, I needed the calmness this CD was to
invoke. This CD is a compilation of
works by various Windham artists
that promotes calm, relaxation and is ambient at its best.
should not interfere with your normal daily process, but it should not sound
like “elevator music”. Windham Hill,
founded by William Ackerman in 1976, has given us some of the greatest Ambient
artists and some of the best loved ambient music. Even now, years after Will Ackerman has left
the company, Windham Hill still produces the best in the business. While
many of the recent releases are compilations, which have always been their
style, there is still new material being issued and new artists to add to the
catalogue of distinguished artists.
This CD has 12
tracks, all by different artists, with a total time of 59:56, giving almost a
full hour of calming, relaxing ambient music. The first track
is a piano piece by Yanni called "Only a
Memory", a beautiful flowing piano
composition with orchestral accompaniment.
The second track
is Will Ackerman’s solo guitar piece "Big
Thing in the Sky", which is as haunting as
it is beautiful. The third piece
is a George Winston classic "Rainsong" highlighting Mr. Winston’s piano skills and
composition. This piece is light,
melodic and atypical George Winston.
Tim Story checks
in with "Green Glass", the title track from his album of the same
name, and it presents us with a change in mood from classical piano/guitar to
music with more of an electronic spacey feel.
Tim Story, who is known for his brooding and somber style of music, can
also give us a lighter, more airy feel as this piece shows, and it fits well
with the mood of the CD.
Scott have a delightful, bouncy electronica piece called "Bayangume" which again gives a lighthearted feel to the
CD. Yet this piece is not so bouncy that
it disturbs the feel of the CD but rather adds to the relaxing mood this CD
returns us to the solo piano in "No Wonder
They Sing", giving us another quiet, airy
piece to soften the background and give some contemplation to the CD. Lisa Lynne’s
composition “Majestica” combines her harp talents back dropped with flute and
orchestra to give us a soft piece reminiscent of Celtic or Renaissance style of
music. Again, not intrusive, but light,
airy and calming. "Espana"
by Patrick O’Hearn is an electronically orchestrated piece with Spanish
undertones. Impressions of tambourines,
Spanish chords and a lazy rhythm that reminds you of a calm Spanish guitar blend
nicely in this piece.
"Wind in the Trees" by David Arkenstone is the impression of a
lazy summer afternoon with a gentle breeze blowing through the leaves and the
tinkling of a bamboo wind chime.
Electronic Flute highlights this piece and keeps to the mood of the
CD. And again we are
treated to another of Windham Hill’s master piano players with "On the Edge" by Jim Brickman. Again, another piano piece that lightly
dances on the edge of our minds as we listen to the CD.
Douglas Spotted Eagle presents us with a piano
and Native American flute piece called "Closer Still", a composition that exemplifies traditional
Native American flute music given a modern day backdrop. This is a very lovely piece that is
hauntingly romantic. The final track
is the classic Mark Isham composition "Tibet Part II" a spacey electronica piece featuring
guitar. Anyone familiar with the Windham
Hill catalogue will recognize this piece.
A lovely ending to this compilation.
While trying to
load this CD into my computer was frustrating to say the least, it was worth
bypassing the computer to listen to the works.
This is a well thought out and blended collection. The title says it all, but there is more here
than just relaxing music. This is a
collection of some of the best and brightest Windham Hill has to offer. If you never heard any material from Windham
Hill, this would be a good starting point, and if you are a die hard fan as I
am, you will appreciate this collection.
by Margaret Foster