Timothy Wenzel is a new-age keyboardist who has produced several popular CDs in the last few years. This album focuses on the natural force of the wind. The songs were inspired by humanity’s relationship to this uncontrollable and sometimes capricious force, as well as the various inventions that take advantage of the wind, like sailboats, kites, and windmills. There is also the idea of using sorcery to summon or control the wind, or the wind as a metaphor of change in a person’s life. Wenzel’s previous CD, “The River Serene”, focused on a flowing river as an analogy for life, so this album is a natural topical progression.

The recordings are performed on a keyboard/synthesizer, with instrumental sounds that include strings, woodwinds, harp, guitars, bass, drums and percussion, and choral effects. The music is geared toward creating a sense of peace and relaxation through effective melodies and creative arrangements of instrumental colors and harmonies.

The CD begins with “Still the Wind”, which introduces the typical sounds and textures that are featured on the album – primarily piano and guitar. Track 2: Elven Dance is a light-hearted, bouncy jig with a fiddle playing the melody. Track 3: Peace to My Lady is a romantic ballad performed with guitar and piano. Track 4: All That Might Have Been is a song about reminiscence. Piano is mixed with guitar, woodwinds, and choral effects. Track 5: Mariner’s Lament is an elegy to those lost at sea and the role that wind and water played in global exploration. It has a winsome melody that is explored through variations by piano, choral effects, and strings.

Track 6: Crystal Man is a melodic lament inspired by blood diamonds and oppressed African mine workers. Wenzel makes effective use of pizzicato strings to change the texture of the song. Track 7: The Photograph slows the pace with a ponderous bass line and a haunting electric guitar melody played by Michael Rud from Denmark.  Track 8: Tesla’s Dream leans toward electronica with more unusual and otherworldly synthesizer sounds. An insistent ostinato of keyboards and bell-chimes is featured in Track 9: Whirlwind. The album returns to a more thoughtful and placid mode in Track 10: Edge of the World. This song has mystical appeal, as it was inspired by unknowns and mysteries encountered by explorers. Track 11: Awaken is an invigorating, upbeat number. The title track, Track 12: Summon the Wind, begins with church bells tolling and a plaintive flute solo. It is composed in various sections like a sonatina. At 7:28 minutes, it’s the longest and most complex song on the album.

Summon the Wind  is a pleasant and melodic album. Some of the musical ideas, harmonic progressions, and textures get repetitive through overuse. It’s a little odd that there don’t seem to be any wind sound effects or bird songs included in the music. Nevertheless, the CD offers some lovely tunes that will be useful for rituals and meditations, and for directional evocations in circle casting. People born under the three air signs – Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius – will probably love it!

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Timothy Wenzel
Timothy Wenzel/Coyote Floe Music, 2014
www.timothywenzel.com
Available at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, and Rhapsody
CD ($12.97) or download ($9.99).

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