Wenzel is a New-Age keyboardist who has released several CDs over the past few years. These include “A Coalescence of Dreams,” “River Serene,” “Summon the Wind,” and “Distant Horseman” (reviews of these can be found on this site). The music is very much in the New Age genre, so is appropriate for evoking a peaceful ambience, meditation, relaxation, yoga practice, and healing modalities, and possibly for ritual use.

Wenzel’s theme is the idea that people should concentrate on what they have rather than what they don’t have. His songs are titled and inspired by what’s truly important in life. The instrumentation includes various keyboard sounds, flute, woodwinds, harp, guitars, strings, bass, and light percussion.

The songs feature soft, simple melodies and simple repetitive chord progressions. The instrumentation and textures provides the variety. This CD has somewhat more creative composition and variety than some of Wenzel’s previous CDs. The chord progressions don’t display much range and sometimes songs in the same key are back-to-back. Whoops.

New Age composers have a real challenge because the genre is nearly 30 years old. There was never much meat on the bone in the first place! The utility of New Age music is to provide non-challenging and relaxing background music for healing, meditation and relaxation.  It’s tough to keep the music light and digestible while also striving to incorporate interesting features that prevent monotony. Assessing whether a composer has accomplished this or not is tricky. It depends on how people intend to listen to the music. If it’s background music for other activities, then this album accomplishes its goal. If the standard is for pure musical value and compositional creativity, the rating decreases because it adheres to such a narrow range of thoughts and expression. It is possible that Wenzel’s prolific production of albums over the past few years is working against him here.

People who really enjoy New Age music and use it in their personal practices will enjoy this CD. Wenzel does provide very sweet and tender songs here. 

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Timothy Wenzel
Coyote Floe Music, 2017
12 tracks, 51 minutes. CD $15.00, mp3 download $9.49. Available at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and other outlets

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