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Forever Changes


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Product Description

Forever Changes

A magical third release from Italian maestro Claudio Merlini and easily his best too date. ‘Forever Changes’ shows a growing development and maturity in terms of music and production. There is a strong sense of purpose here and the music has depth and power that previous albums hinted at, but never quite attained. On ‘Forever Changes’ though, each track develops and grows in a thoughtful and at times, quite wondrous way.

Whether through the dynamics found on ‘Fireworks’ and ‘The Spinning Wheel’, or the understated beauty in tracks like ‘Calling Nature’ and ‘Adam and Eve’, the music is instantly appealing. Claudio bares his soul in his music, and as such it is imbued with the most heartfelt and sincere emotions that instantly connect with the listener. It’s difficult to imagine anyone who likes melodic electronic music not being captivated by the spell Claudio weaves. ‘Forever Changes’ is quite simply a stunning and magical electronic music album!

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1 review for Forever Changes

  1. Admin

    Review by CDS

    ‘Fireworks’ is a fantastic, grandiose, epic opening track with a marching beat and a real majestic feel that could make it a strong contender for use in a an opening ceremony for the Olympic games or the theme to an epic historical movie like ‘1412 – Conquest Of Paradise’ or ‘Gladiator’. The multi-layered synthesizer orchestrations and percussion techniques here are stunning indeed and equal to many of Vangelis’ epic scores.

    ‘Unknown Path’ is altogether more sedate yet still quite grandiose in an understated sort of way. There are ghostly, echoed voice effects with lots of layering going on with a strong central melodic core surrounded by percussion and massed symphonic backdrops… there’s even a sequencer somewhere down in the mix!
    Again, this track is very filmic and you get the feeling of a movie scene being played out as you listen to it.

    ‘Chain Reaction’ is similar to the last track in pace and construction with lots of repetitive melodic synth layering going on. Set over a central sequenced percussive electronic rhythm, there are some really nice synth sounds being used here, and where the track lacks in dynamic range it makes up for with its use of varied sounds and samples.

    ‘Calling Nature – Part 1’ is like the previous track in pace with some nice synth flute work set against o soft bed of Robert Schroeder like synth chords. A light jazzy feel pervades with guitar samples and piano taking lead rolls, plus there is some tasteful use of female voice samples filtering into the mix, with added bird effects near the close.
    A very pleasant, laid-back track that demonstrates Claudio Merlini has quite a few strings to his bow.

    ‘Transformation’ has a grand opening that initially makes you think it’s going to hit the heady heights of the grandiose opener, but very quickly it falls back to the more sedate pace of all the earlier tracks with loads of sampling coming in and out of the mix. The rhythmic and sampling element of this track gives it a slight ENIGMA feel, but the real high point for me in this track is rather lush, dreamy, symphonic counter melody that comes and goes at several points within the track – it’s truly gorgeous! The second half features a fantastic violin theme (again probably a synth), and apart from the opening track, this is brilliantly composed and constructed, and easily, apart from the opener, easily the best on the album so far!

    ‘Drawing The Sphere’ is nice track too – again sedate in pace with a constantly flowing rhythm and lots of strong repetitive melodic content included, but he layers and orchestrates the music better here by constructing the passages with many different sounds and symphonic textures, making regular changes to the themes, counter-melodies and dynamics in such a manner hat holds the listener’s interest from start to finish.

    ‘Calling Nature – Part 2’ continues with the same feel of the first part, starting with more of the wistful flute-synth melody line surrounded with a background of warn synth chords and chattering percussive rhythms, then the piano and plucked guitar sounds return, followed by short bursts of the electronically created female voices, and again the light jazzy feel pervades which is all very pleasant and laid-back.

    ‘Spinning Wheel’ is a vibrant track driven by sprightly themes and a high register synthesizer sound that is quite addictive, with plucked violin effects and keyboard layering that brings a real sense of dynamics to the track.
    It builds with added choral sounds and textures and a sense drama borrowed from the opening track.
    This track in unashamedly Vangelis influenced, but not his symphonic style – I’m thinking more along the lines of the vamped analogue keyboard techniques used on the ‘Heaven & Hell’ album, coupled with some of the epic choral work used on that same album.

    ‘Adam And Eve’ closes the album in a sombre, more reflective style with a very catchy synthesized female voice melody line and lovely symphonic textural sounds, using several keyboard melodies to tug on the heartstrings with the greatest of ease. Huge symphonic sweeps refrain the sense of drama plus there’s an ADIEMUS feel brought to parts of the second half that adds another dimension to this very good album. Probably one of the album highlights, this is a superbly constructed track and a great way to close the album for sure.

    For me, as well as Vangelis, various places throughout ‘Forever Changes’, there are quite a few facets of Claudio Merlini’s work that draw comparisons with music of classic American Narada Mystique label artists like David Arkenstone and Peter Buffett– the two American composer/synth musicians that along with Yanni, led the better side of American “New Age” charge of the late80’s/early 90’s. The thematic and melodic construction, rhythms and general atmosphere of past recordings made by these artists sound like they could have been an influence on Merlini’s work. Then there is also the man behind his label – David Wright – himself a strong contender to be named “the UK’s Vangelis”, and without his AD Music label we might not be listening to Claudio Merlini’s music at all – so he too should also be considered as a source of inspiration.
    Claudio Merlini is brilliant arranger and orchestrator of sound, plus he has a great ear for a strong tune.
    My only criticism for this album would be that on some tracks he starts on the same level as he finishes, repeating melodies and keeping things tight right though, perhaps needing to adjust the dynamics a little by letting off the shackles for a while and allowing himself the freedom to improvise more with his melodies, building on them and taking them from strength to strength. This was something I picked up on his earlier releases, but he has improved dramatically with ‘Forever Changes’, so his next album is certainly going to be a really exciting project!
    I would warn that if you have been locked into the “Berlin School” for all your days, perhaps it’s best to give this one a miss, however, if you are into the more melodic end of synth music normally associated with the names mentioned in the heart of this review, then ‘Forever Changes’ is a perfect example of a quality product from that side of the synth music spectrum, and therefore comes heartily recommended.

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