William Paul

Horse Dance

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Horses have been a recurring theme in regional Mexican music and country & western; one could write a book about all the ranchera, norteƱo, and country & western songs that horses have inspired. But horses have not been a major topic in new age music. Of course, nature is a major new age theme -- and horses are part of nature. So it makes sense that new age keyboardist/producer/composer William Paul would pay tribute to them on Horse Dreams. He doesn't do it with words -- this 59-minute CD is totally instrumental -- but the song titles generally acknowledge some type of horse, be it a real horse or a fictional one. "Andalusian Renewal" was inspired by an actual breed of horse that, according to Paul's liner notes, was created in Spain in the seventh century and became rare -- although not extinct -- when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded that country. But the horses (or semi-horses) that inspired "Centaurs," "Pegasus Flight," and "Dance of the Unicorn" are mythical creatures. And while horse tales in regional Mexican music and country & western have often gone hand in hand with a rugged, manly man type of realism, Paul's Horse Dreams have a highly ethereal quality; this classical-tinged effort is the type of new age album that could easily serve as the soundtrack of a romantic European art film. Horse Dreams has a very European appeal, which is ironic because Paul -- who was born in Indianapolis, IN, and was living in Ashland, OH, when he recorded the album -- is as Midwestern as it gets. A thoughtful and intriguing effort, Horse Dreams is recommended to anyone who likes his or her new age on the European side.