Keyboardist Tim Wenzel explores four themes on this CD: water, love, light, and dreams. There are three songs for each thematic topic. Wenzel uses a synthesizer, sequencer and computer to fabricate a wide spectrum of instrumental sounds including piano, strings, woodwinds, harp, guitar, and percussion.

In this CD, Wenzel unifies sound with meaning. Sometimes this is overt, by including water and rain sound effects in the water tracks, but through more subtle connections in the other tracks. The composer maintains fidelity to the feelings and inspirations for each song.

The CD contents include:

1. Rain Coming Down
2. River Serene
3. Before the Rain
4. First Dance
5. A Midnight Rose
6. Such a Long Time
7. Winter’s Light
8. A Twilight Pause
9. The Night Train
10. The Bridge to Our Dreams
11. Passage
12. The Child

The first track gives a sense of suspension and anticipation as it hovers around a minor key. The title track, “River Serene” is especially luscious, with a mix of flute, a plucked-type keyboard, bells, and strings. “Before the Rain” resembles a Celtic dance song. “First Dance” follows this pseudo-Celtic theme with a mix of guitar, chorus, string, and keyboard voices. “A Midnight Rose” is a romantic musical gesture that centers on piano and keyboards. “Such a Long Time” has a more orchestral texture. Some light percussion gives more energy to the track. Various instrumental voices take the lead over a descending (or alternatively ascending) two-bar, three-chord riff.

“Winter’s Light” is reminiscent of a Tangerine Dream song, with overtly electronic-sounding voices blended with a traditional flute and strings. “A Twilight Pause” leans more toward a slow-jazz sound with a strong bass line. It’s one of the most creative pieces on the CD. “The Night Train” moves toward a contemporary adult jazz sound, with variations on the melodic and harmonic material from previous songs. “Bridge to Our Dreams” is a stranger, more otherworldly song with an ambient-space synth background accompaniment. “Passage” is more dramatic and driven. Thematic and textural changes bookend a central melodic passage. “The Child” is a lighter song with guitar, piano and flute.

Wenzel’s previous CD “A Coalescence of Dreams” was well-received and got  went to #6 on the New Age charts. “River Serene” is perhaps not, as a whole, quite as varied or original as “Coalescence,” but the tracks are pleasant and easy to enjoy.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Timothy Wenzel
Timothy Wenzel, 2013, Coyote Floe
twelve tracks, approximately 49 minutes
Available at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, etc.
Check out Tim’s Facebook page: Timothy Wenzel: New Age Music Visions.