A Star Danced – Review – RJ Lannan, Zone Music Reporter

Lightning Does Strike Twice

I was quite taken with David Wahler‘s first album, Antiquus. It went far and beyond ancient history to offer incredible ambient music that was stunning and intricate. Well, I am happy to report he has entered the modern age and accomplishes the same thing on his latest release A Star Danced. The fourteen-track album is filled with brilliant textures that seemed to engage in an exultant life all their own, and I could not be helped but be inspired by them as well.

David Wahler is a graduate of not only Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and Mannes College – The New School of Music in New York, but also the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. I guess it helps if you start playing piano by ear at age seven as David did. A stint in the world of business was unrewarding for him and the voice of music one more became his muse. His music seems to crossover from the classical to the Impressionists and into modern composers such as Eno and Vangelis. The combination seems to work quite well for him.

Quest, the opening track, seems to demonstrate that David has added a great deal of depth to his music. There are improved textures and instrumental combinations. Voice and trumpet or perhaps flugel horn counterbalance into a dizzying theme. The spacecraft is launched and the stars wink blithely as we travel into space unknown.

Could there be a greater miracle then when the heavens, hearing incredibly joyous music are moved to dance? Sparkling synth, pulses of quivering sound and a scintillating background provide an everlasting sensation of brilliance and movement on the title cut A Star Danced. There are whispers of the angels in the mix, the passing of time by a metronome-like pulse and an elusive, wispy melody that is perfect for dreaming.

The Seeds of Time is without a doubt my favorite on A Star Danced. It has that gossamer quality of a free-floating dandelion seed that is gently persuaded by unseen stellar winds to explore the heavens. There is a pleasing inorganic chorus in the mix, a glistening guitar with visions of Spanish grandeur and a horn-like lead that invites you to remember the journey with every note.

If your transcendent freedom comes with the darkness then you can access it within the tune Come Gentle Night. Quavering horns sing a melody that is like pulling down a velvet shade and transforming twilight into night. The tune rises in the shimmering starlit sky like soul-powered fireworks.

Yvonne is a sweet European tune. It has a mix between an improvisation piece and a cinematic score. Whoever Yvonne is, she must be unforgettable. The music suggests that she is the awe in your heart as you watch a fallen star streak across the pitch-black, summer sky.

Gabriel Faure’s Requiem in D is the inspiration for Pie Jesus, although this song usually is performed by soprano voice. David’s rendition is beautiful and haunting as Faure’s original prayer. The piece soars above the cathedral of the mind and into the starry night sky. Faure’s was criticized because his requiem did not represent the fear of death. His was more than that; it was the musical expression of “the rapture”. There can be no doubt that David follows in some very distinguished footsteps.

David Wahler’s new album is an emotion-filled recording. The sense is smooth flowing and heartfelt as he explores the heavens in a poignant collection of stellar ambient tunes. I invite you to explore the starry, starry night with this master musician and composer. This album is highly recommended.

Rating: Very Good + Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 9/5/2010