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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 David Arkenstone & Charlee Brooks
Label: QDV Recordings
Released 2/5/2013
Lovéren tracks
1. Origins
2. The Forbidden Sea
3. Lumaria
4. Sessa Nulma
5. Jamboree
6. Song of Lovéren
7. Lost
8. Slip Away
9. Love Always Waits
Imagine This Tail
There are two categories that New Age composer David Arkenstone excels at, recordings with lush orchestration and recordings with incredible storylines. Along with extraordinary songstress Charlee Brooks, David offers up his latest adventure, Loveren. Arkenstone, with almost 50 albums in his catalogue, has been a mainstay in the fantasy/New Age field for three decades. His first album of a trilogy series, Grammy Nominated In the Wake of the Wind, made him a leader for the genre. Mountain top, valley, the ancients, and the sea have inspired Arkenstone for many of his albums. This time, with the help of writer Steven Vlasak, the chronicle of an undersea tale comes to pass. Vlasak's accompanying 16 page booklet helps spin the tail of a different little mermaid.

The entire work has a Celtic feeling, but Old World and Middle Eastern elements add to the mystique. The recording opens with the tune Origins filled with the music of fantasy and celestial vocalize. In addition, Brooks adds her own musically phonetic language to the mix and the chorale is reminiscent of Adiemus or music by Klaus Badelt. The music sets the stage for a story that will beguile and enchant. As the ocean waves dance in unseen lines, the vastness of the sea is revealed. Within the notes are the vibrations of every creature that ever lived amongst its briny depths and so begins the tale of the Merfolk.

Lovéren, like any teenager, tests the limit of her youth and travels to the majestic city of Lumaria. The self-titled track is a classic example of Arkenstone's inherent ability to match story with orchestration. In the tune I could sense the power and intensity of the timeless city of light and understand why it is the heart of the culture. The orb at the center of Lumaria becomes the trysting place for the lovers.

Sessa Nulma is one of Brooks' unique contribution of emotion-driven vocals with her new musical language. There is an innate sadness to the song. Loveren, who has fallen in love with Kayan seems to lose the connection with her lover every time she relinquishes his embrace. Charlee Brooks' voice is deliciously sweet and reminds of Lisbeth Scott. Her contrived language which she calls Mermish, sometimes sounds like Latin and at other times reminds me of Polynesian.

Brooks' glorious voice really shines in the vocal Songs of Loveren. Once again Kayan has disappeared under mysterious circumstances and has left the unrequited Loveren in doubt and despair. Brooks' haunting refrain is Loveren’s call to every ocean on the planet seeking her lover. The mermaid is confused by the cycle of a perfect night in the arms of Kayan, but at dawn, when it is time to part, he completely vanishes.

From lack of life-giving sunlight, Loveren falls ill. Time passes; she regains some of her strength and returns to Lumaria to find Kayan inside the orb. The tune Slip Away recounts the sadness that each lover feels. One in the salty depths, the other trapped inside the orb. Both are able to see the other, but both are unable to touch. Kayan is revealed as a human.

It would be cruel to reveal any more of the story, for the remainder in continued in the wondrous music. The last track Love Always Waits has a truly cinematic sound full of lush orchestration and heavenly chorus. The song suggests that faith is the way to have dreams come true. Sometimes not everything in a fairly tale is childish.
Arkenstone has a winner with Loveren.

Returning from recent contemporary themes and spa music, he once again guides us on a journey of fantasy and magik. His orchestrations have tremendous depth and this album has more vocals than any other predecessors. The combination, with respect to vocalist Charlee Brooks is resplendent. Highly recommended.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/22/2013
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