name often appeared in "Wind and Wire"
magazine as well as in the new age music newsgroup, but I only
recently discovered his music first-hand. I'm hooked! This is not
piano music per se, but keyboards are used extensively, creating the
soundtrack to a film that exists only in the listener's mind.
Recordings like this could easily reignite the passion for sitting in
a dark room and focusing on the music without distractions. At the
very least, a listener will have to concentrate on the album a few
times to really understand what is happening. It ain't a pretty
picture, but it sure gets the pulse pounding and the visual images
flowing! It is music to be experienced and savored in all of its deep
complexity, allowing your mind go where the musical images take it.
If you are not familiar with it,
absinthe is a bright green drink made from the hallucinogenic
extract from the wormwood plant, combined with anise. It was used
extensively by artists and writers to enhance their creative vision
(Oscar Wilde was a very prominent advocate), but is now banned in
almost every country in the world. Even if absinthe were still
available, this album would probably scare away anyone interested in
experimenting with it. "Dancing With the Green Fairy"
(Main Title Theme) opens the album with a mysterious and somewhat
ominous feel - undoubtedly the preparation of the drink and
consumption of it - temptation and seduction into a rapidly-changing
mindstate. For the listener, this opening sequence is also compelling
and seductive, drawing him or her in. Rhythms become more intense, as
do the sound effects - we're in for a real ride here! The
hallucinations begin with "Night of the Circus"
- these clowns are definitely evil, and the calliope is scary with
its breathy and distorted piping. Each track conjures up new visual
experiences as the absinthe effect intensifies, taking the listener
deeper and darker, creating an incredibly powerful experience. "Unwanted
Memories of a Music Box, a Funeral, and a Merry-Go-Round"
indicates how disjointed things are becoming. "Oblivion"
begins almost serenely with a catchy rhythm - the calm before the
storm. Next come "Faces in the Woodwork" and
the (Nightmare Sequence), "Visions Through the Third Eye"
- some of the scariest music I've ever heard (and more than 17
minutes' worth!). When the drinking glass is shattered amid the
pounding rhythm of the nightmare, you just know this guy is totally
enveloped in his darkest and most terrifying vision. What an
exhilarating trip! It makes you want to return again and again for
is another example of how broad the "new age" genre
has become. This is not music to relax or unwind to, but is to be
experienced for itself. It is about an intense as they come, and I
thoroughly enjoy getting caught up in all of the visual images. Very
highly recommended! It is available from www.amazon.com
This Kathy Parsons review
originally reviewed on the Mainly
Piano website. It
is reprinted here on Ambient Visions with permission.