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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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By Claudio Merlini
Label: AD Music
Enchantment tracks
1. Desire
2. Portraits
3. A Quiet Place
4. Enchantment
5. Faventibus Ventis
6. In The Air
7. Frozen Light
8. Masquerade Girl
9. Inner Spirit
10. Float In The Dark
11. Magic Sleigh Ride
12. Karma
13. Book Of Memories
14. The Tower
15. nchantment Power Mix
16. Enchantment DW Summer Club Mix
Welcome to Magicland
Electronic composer Claudio Merlini seems to be living up to his namesake giving us an album full of color, texture, adventure and magic. Enchantment, an ambient journey, is chock full of spells (or in this case tracks) of fanciful melodies that are fairytales, knights errant and maidens in distress that are eventually saved, the dragons are put to rest and everybody lives happily ever after. I do so love a happy ending.

Imagine little Claudio at ten years of age. Instead of soccer practice, he grabs up a keyboard and begins composing. Fortunately, his biggest fan is his father who loves New Age music. Growing up in the eighties, it would be very difficult not to be influenced by the genre in its heyday with giants such as Jarré, Vangelis and even Yanni roaming about. Merlini’s music is electronic based, but he adds inorganic voice and multi-layering to give the music body. This particular album also contain two bonus tracks that are club mixes for that European flair.

The recording begins with the appropriately named track, Desire. It is an echoing tune of deep drones and rippling washes of yearning. It is the desire to go forward, to satisfy the thirst of the unknown. There are foreign lands to see and emotions yet undiscovered. The body aches for someplace else, the heart for another someone.

A Quiet Place features a sound like the shakuhachi flute. Dramatic, intricate and transparent as light. The overall feeling is one of placidity. The place we arrive at is not a secret, just very, very rare. The skies are always azure, the breezes balmy and the birds always have a new tune. The soothing sounds envelops you like a blanket of warmth. It is the best place in which to lose yourself.

Enchantment, the title tune, is a call to action. It is an invitation to join the fray and to find the justice the cause deserves. The sweet vocal is a like a siren serenading the hero. He is affected by the muse and will do what he has to. Whether it be the spell of magic or the power of love, he is the up to the task, for he is.. enchanted.

Book of Memories is not bound by paper and glue with page after page of written accounts, but it is real. It is the recollections of the journey held together by pain and passion. Keyboard and piano vie for attention in this song of story after story of the tribulations of the heroes. Luckily, they are also filled with many victories.

The final song, The Tower was my favorite track. From a lofty altitude all can be seen and so ends the tale. The rocky roads that were taken, the mysterious lands that were crossed and all the arduous adventures in between can be imagined as we watch from the tower. For some it is a celebration. The question remains however, have we risen above our starting point to greater heights?

Claudio Merlini is in a genre that is fast receding despite the evolution of synthesizers and computers. Oh, there are plenty of entries into the electronic world of music, but most of them fall short of the elaborate nature of composing. Merlini seems to excel at this component of atmospheric music.
Rating: Good +   Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 11/4/2012
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