1 Dream Maker 7:35
2 Ocean Watch 10:00
3 Nomad 5:10
4 Glass Mountains 5:40
5 Seven Seas 11:20
6 Desert Storm 6:10
7 Reflections 4:15
8 Beyond the Airwaves II 27:50
AD Music | AD6/AD145 Digital (CD/DDL 78:12) ****
(Melodious and rhythmic England School)
Like it or not, David Wright is an icon! An iconic figure of the England School movement, with John Dyson, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy and Andy Pickford (and I forget some!), which started slowly in the quiet moments of the 80's and who knew a lightning development at the dawn of the 90's. And if we trust the readings anchored in time, “Ocean Watch” is definitively the album which has fired his career. Already strong from the praise from the critics and among the circle of more and more numerous fans of EM, which is now mainly guided by digital equipments and the MIDI technology, David Wright was going to leave his imprints with this album and in particular with his first real success; "Nomad". The album proposes a dynamic EM with this unique oniric, melodic and ambiospherical cachet which was going to stigmatize David Wright's signature, making of him an artist who felt at ease with his various hats and facets. Initially released in the end of 93 and out of print since a couple of years, “Ocean Watch” is now available in a completely remastered edition, as well and in a high definition downloadable format and soon in a factory pressed CD, which preserves all the charms and this very retro sound of this period when EM resisted with great difficulty to the proliferation of its sub-genres.
A line of synth buzzing such as a sinister sibylline singing shakes a shower of carillons which clink on the caresses of a synth and of its Vangelis tears. Chords of keyboards in tones of guitar and the cracklings of the elytrons of metal decorate the delicate atmospheres when the percussions bind themselves to those and when their pulsatory knocks awaken a line of sequences which unwinds a minimalist melody of which the circular harmonies will weave a magnetizing earworm. The introduction of "Dream Maker" answers at the aestheticism of the 90's with a solid pallet of sounds which structures a staging to the greatness of the soundscapes of his author. The track evolves, as in each of the 8 works of “Ocean Watch”, in order to adopt a kind of electronic rock very pastiche and very cheerful where will be added lively rolling of electronic militarized percussions, a beautiful pattern of sequences as rhythmic as harmonious and a very harmonious synth which leaves all the room to the new digital advanced of that time. "Dream Maker" sets the tone to an electronic universe not so distant which has terribly aged and which keeps all the same all of its charms. The title-track offers a structure of pulsatory, heavy and slow rhythm. I would say a bit sneaky, even threatening, with beautiful synth pads filled of mists and of whispered voices feed on the influences of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream and which weave ominous ambiences. One of the key points of David Wright; the arrangements are very beautiful and so very intuitive, shaping thus an approach which is similar to a kind of Bolero in which only an explosive finale is just missing. "Nomad" seizes our senses right away with another pulsatory rhythm which is heavier and also livelier, one would say a herd metallic toad, which is made up by a shower of chords of which the discord weaves a fascinating melody. "Glass Mountains" is a beautiful ambient lullaby with a dramatic theme strummed on a mixture of piano/harpsichord where the tears of synth are sounding like a strange sibylline ode. Chaste rustles open "Seven Seas" which moves with a structure of ambient rhythm of which the shadows weave an unfinished ballad. The approach is rather similar to the title-track, for the kind of cosmic Bolero, while the synths are simply mesmerizing with their Latinos perfumes. Contrary to the fans of that time, "Desert Storm" is the track which caught my mind right on the spot on “Ocean Watch”. If the intensity is equal to "Nomad", the rhythm is more nervous and the percussions contain it rather well. The ambiences are rich and depict quite well the birth of a storm. The rolls of percussions are effective, the skipping bass sequences shape a nervous rhythm and the synths are worthy of the sonic novels from Vangelis with a superb mixture of voices and apocalyptic tears. Intense and striking! "Reflections" is a ballad which seems to come out of the shadows of "Seven Seas". It's cheerful and that goes down the ears pretty well. "Beyond the Airwaves II" is considered as an epic track. Up from its 28 minutes, the track offers several segments of ambient melodies which go between long phases very ambiospherical and also very ambiosonic. The orchestrations are in the tone and sign strong moments of atmospheres which are at the limit like a strong and big cinematic romance. There are beautiful small moments, small jewels, here and there. As these angelic synth pads which irradiate a paradisiacal horizon, these angelic voices which tame the anger of the twilights, these oriental flavors which perfume the unknown and these agile fingers of David Wright which tickle a keyboard set by melodic fragments. It's a long odyssey of ambiences to which we taste our ears wide open and well gourmand of those sonic evolutions.
Honestly? I didn't know this “Ocean Watch” from David Wright. It's thus with pleasure (I am a big fan of the very methodical and melodic approach of the English musician) that I savored for long moments this key album of his career. And it's with pleasure that I renew with the ingredients of these previous albums which are revamped here in a technology which allows more latitude to the boldness of this solid composer who assumes completely, and it no matter what, his hats and styles. And we feel in this “Ocean Watch” what David Wright was going to become; that is an important craftsman in the chessboard of the contemporary EM which was going to open quite wide his doors to an incredible epic and to this surprising diversity which is the England School movement. Did I loved? Absolutely!
Sylvain Lupari (September 10th, 2015)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the AD Music web shop here