Dreaming Out Loud - 4.36
Highlands - 4.58
Around The World In A Day - 3.56
Asian Fantasies - 3.29
On No Mans Land - 4.41
White Horses - 3.51
Million Miles Away From Home - 3.37
Everlasting Picture - 5.30
Feeling Of Flight - 3.12
Into The Deep Blue - 3.47
Guiding Lights - 5.38
Crystal Waterfalls - 4.03
The Sound Of Colours - 2.59
SOUNDSCAPES-EVOCATIVE LISTENING FROM THE MASTERS OF MOOD PAINTING IN MUSIC
What more appropriate name for this CD? Soundscapes, mood-painting in music-in a smooth, evocative style that could only come from Dancing Fantasy. The popular duo has staked out a permanent niche at the top of America's NAC charts, and for good reason. Few other groups can boast their unique blend of compositional skill, musical dexterity and sheer accessibility.
For those who don't already know, Dancing Fantasy is the creation of two men, Curtis McLaw and Chris W. Williams. McLaw and Williams live and work in near Hamburg, Germany. Both are wizards in the recording studio, both know their way around the keyboard and percussion instruments-and both have a knack for making CDs that Americans seem to love. On all Dancing Fantasy projects, they write the songs, do the arrangements, lay down the percussion and keyboard tracks and supervise the recording sessions. Soundscapes bears their unmistakable stamp from first to last. As usual, however, they get some very skillful help from their friends-in this case, guitarist Bill Joseph Flynn, a longtime collaborator, and saxophonist York, an accomplished musician equally adept on tenor and soprano.
Also aboard on this occasion is trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, whose lovely, wistful solo on"White Horses" is one of the highlights of Soundascapes. But then, Soundscapes is full of highlights. Consider the opening cut, "Dreaming Out Loud." It's a killer track that could serve as a model of the Dancing Fantasy style: atmospheric chords supporting an improvisational keyboard line, all of it layered over a gently swinging rhythm track. The song sets its mood with the opening notes and sustains it throughout. Another cut, another mood. The song this time is "On No Man's Land," a brooding, evocative piece reminiscent of the soundtrack music from Chariots of Fire or The Year of Living Dangerously. Flynn's pensive guitar work over a dramatic, insistent pulse could not be more tastefully handled.
The same could also be said of his work on "Million Miles Away from Home" or "Into the Deep Blue" or "Feeling of Flight." Whatever the occasion, Flynn rises to it. He is, by turns, subtle, funky, pensive and, in "Feeling of Flight," lighter than air. Credit is also due to York's sensitive sax solos-his sinuous use of the soprano in "Around the World in a Day," for example, or his moody tenor on "The Sound of Colours," the CD's final cut. As always with Dancing Fantasy, one leaves Soundscapes wishing for more. Together, Curtis McLaw and Chris Williams have achieved something rare: They've developed a unique style-and they've kept it fresh year after year.
1. Dreaming Out Loud (4:36)
Produced by Curtis McLaw and Chris W. Williams, Recorded and Mixed at Studio 1 and Monofon Studio Braunschweig, Germany.
All Keyboards and Programming Curtis McLaw and Chris W. Williams. Guitars - Bill Joseph Flynn, Saxophones - York, * Guitar - Tom Bennecke, * Vocals - Sam-Leigh Brown, * Trumpet - Toshinori Kondo