Tim Wenzel’s musical album offerings are usually centered on a thoughtful thematic idea supplemented that he develops with visual elements and dream images. This CD is inspired by the idea of escaping from stressful issues and creating a new and different life.

Wenzel has been successful in the New Age music genre through the release of a number of albums over several years. The New Age genre hinges on simple melodies and harmonic progressions that foster a sense of calm and relaxation. The composer, who specializes in piano and synth, has three guest artists on this album, including violinist Josie Quick, Jill Haley on English horn and oboe, and percussionist Jeff Haynes. The guests have inspired music that’s a departure from his solo CDs. Most of the melodies and textures have a Celtic/Irish influence.

The tracks take advantage of different instrumental combinations. Track 1: Dream of Summer combines guitar, piano, violin in presenting an opening song that sways and charms. Track 2: Dancing in the Darkness is a waltz-type piece with piano, violin and flute. It was inspired by the notion of a couple dancing in the dark, or the dancing of the northern lights in the sky. Track 3: A Bit About You is a little more pensive and reflective. It opens with guitar, oboe and bass. Some light synth/bell-tones join in as the piece develops.

The title track, Track 4: Running Away, is more energetic and dynamic. It opens with a sweeping piano and violin combination then becomes more thoughtful as the flute joins the mix. The instrumentation shifts back and forth, creating a musical conversation about whether one should stay or go. Track 5: Makes you Wonder is a more solid piece with a good pulsing rhythm and effective bits of various percussion instruments adding in flourishes that accentuate the song.

The album’s contents continue with similar content until the final Track 12: Coronal Rain, which leans toward the ambient genre. It begins with a haunting synth intro, with vocal synth ooohs that provide a more epic sensibility. A flute joins the arrangement with a soaring melody. The song shifts to a spare texture with flute and strings, then opens back up into a fuller arrangement with more synth sounds.

The addition of guest musicians refreshes and expands Wenzel’s range of musical ideas. This is good music for rest, contemplation, quiet gatherings, healing modalities, and other settings where New Age music is preferred for an unobtrusive but inspirational setting.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Timothy Wenzel
Coyote Floe Music, 2019
12 tracks, 54 minutes
CD $15.98/ Mp3 $9.49