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Review of the JOURNEY TO ATLANTIS album
       

 

 
 
 
Review from Bill Binkelman, New Age Reporter
 
"...Put the two best electronic keyboard new age music artists together on a project and you should expect nothing short of brilliance. Thankfully, brilliant is exactly the word to describe Journey to Atlantis from Kevin Kendle and Llewellyn. Despite favorably reviewing many of their previous solo efforts, I was still unprepared for the results contained herein. This is an amazing release, from the luminous artwork that accompanies the album (by an artist cited only as “clare”) to the assorted flowing electronic melodies which perfectly capture the sensation of coursing through the underwater world searching for the fabled lost continent, filled with feelings of awe and wonder. While it’s only April, it’s not a stretch to imagine this may be the best new age music album released in 2007.

After the brief prologue of “Into the Deep,” the listener is carried away on undulating washes, plucked strings, and echoed piano on “The Lost City, Part 1.” If you are a frequent listener to the works of either Kendle or Llewellyn, you may be able to detect which of the two is the composer of an individual track. In this case, it’s Kendle. His characteristic warmth and smooth melodicism are present in abundance, yet there is also something new at work, a sensation of fluidity that is unmistakable.

Lights of Atlantis” opens amidst massed arpeggio strings and muted timpani, suggesting a feeling of wonder and majesty. Burbbling synths and broad swathes of retro analogue keyboards (relatively new elements for Kendle, previously heard on his “Deep Skies” series) impart an “underwater/spacemusic” vibe to the proceedings. “Hidden Treasures” (the first composition credited to Llewellyn) softens things considerably, emphasizing soothing synth pads, twinkling tones, and a gentle sensation of being at peace (very characteristic of this artist’s many excellent recordings), with the addition of lilting flute and echoed piano. At eleven-plus minutes in length, it’s the longest selection on the CD and as a result, evolves and morphs gradually through several more dramatic, yet still subdued, stages. Plucked harp sounds and softly whooshing keyboards once again evoke the watery depths, while occasional lush synth strings impart a near cinematic feel to the music.

The Great Crystal” represents a true symbiosis of the two musicians’ motifs: Llewellyn’s flowing peaceful melodies and new age flourishes with Kendle’s more spacious sound-sculpting and overt use of retro electronics. Trademark sampled woodwinds and strings (last heard on Kendle’s superlative CD, Winter) convey an unexpected degree of beautiful somberness. The lovely Llewellyn-penned “Mermaids of Atlantis” introduces that artist’s frequent collaborator (and life partner) Juliana on guest wordless “mermadic” vocals and, as I have often written, her voice is the equal of any other woman in new age music today. Set against an assortment of mystical sounding keyboards, her singing is Siren-like, drawing the listener closer and making one fall under the spell of the enchanted undersea kingdom’s allure. “The Lost City Part 2” closes out the CD on a powerful note, slowly building from a subdued beginning of male chorals and sustained synth washes, adding in twinkling and shimmering textures, and culminating in an exhilarating outpouring of layers of melodies that harkens back to “Part 1” of the song from the album’s beginning.

Kevin Kendle and Llewellyn have put it all on the table with Journey to Atlantis - and then some. Electronic-keyboard new age music simply doesn’t get any better, period. Journey to Atlantis both thrills and soothes; it’s a wondrous sonic voyage to an imaginary (or was it?) land far beneath the water’s surface. Do I need to state how highly I recommend this recording?

Bill Binkelman
New Age Reporter

Reviewer: Bill Binkelman

 
 
 
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