Bill Martin reviews the ‘Therapist’s Edition’ of
TOUCHING THE CLOUDS
Touching the Clouds is the latest recording from the talented trio of Richard Bolton (guitars / guitar synth), John Hackett (flutes) and Clive Williamson (keyboards, flutes, wind synth, marimba, percussion, voices and whistling. Intended as ‘music for deep relaxation and holistic therapy’, the band's style is impressionistic and contemplative.
My attention was drawn first to the mellifluous flute playing, which tends to improvise around pentatonic scales, and then to the sensitive, crystal-clear solo guitar of Richard Bolton’s Dawn Clouds, Dusk Rain which opens Side 1, and fades into Nimbus, a relaxing flute improvisation over a slow, rhythmic keyboard figure. Clive Williamson’s ability to evoke a whole range of emotional effects is the band’s foundation. His title track has a timeless, dreamlike quality which links many of his pieces on this album, and here, long sustained sounds fade in and out of each other, punctuated by delicate metallic sounds; it is as though we are in a small boat, drifting slowly in a strange place and watching things appear and then recede into the mist.
We are taken to The Crystal Cave, an enchanting place with tinkling wind chimes, drones and swirling chordal sounds to comfort and reassure us. Once again there is this sense of all kinds of images which remain just out of view, but which we glimpse fleetingly before they disappear again. A treat for the head, heart and ears!
Lawrence Ball makes a guest appearance (on the extended ‘Therapist’s Edition’ of the album only) in his Spring Light, a thoughtful piano piece with some subtle, minimalist synthesiser embellishments. His careful use of dissonance and silence draws us into this piece, which fits perfectly into the album’s style. Further delights are Richard Bolton's Pale Clouded Yellow, an effortless electric guitar solo, and Dreamtime (After the Storm), which includes Ashley Drees on cittern.
I love this album and concur whole-heartedly with the description on the insert, ‘90 minutes of music to calm the mind and soothe the spirit’.(Reprinted with Bill Martin's permission from Catalist magazine)
(Touching the Clouds is also available as a 72 minute CD/iTunes download; or original C90 cassette)
Listen to: Nimbus; Touching the Clouds; Lakeside; Der Wälder Nacht (Forested Night); and Wrapped in Evening Mists.
Kindred Spirit reviews Touching the Clouds on CD
Touching the Clouds by Symbiosis (72 mins)
'Of all I've heard, Touching the Clouds is still my
(and my clients') favourite CD'
Holistic Practitioner, Glasgow
'I think Touching the Clouds is WONDERFUL'
'I was absolutely enthralled by the beautiful music'
Customer, Kent... about Touching the Clouds