Joel Andrews

Journey Towards the Sun

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Journey Toward the Sun is a dual-continent creation between spiritual harpist Joel Andrews of the United States and arranger/keyboard artist Søren Hyldgaard of Denmark. Andrews often tours Europe, and while in Copenhagen, he met Hyldgaard, who traveled to California to record Andrews' improvisations. Hyldgaard filled out the solo instrumental and orchestral keyboard parts later and recorded the rest of the album in Denmark. A typical Andrews improvisation is a free-form channeling of spiritual music. Here, Andrews creates "singable" melodies and rhapsodies. One is the playful, almost Parisian, "Turn for the Earth," performed with flautist Liselotte Nylander. The broad Americana of "Prairie Dawn" includes the noble English horn played by Rikke Thomsen and the proud trumpet played by Flemming Therkildsen. "Florentine Music Box" is a delicate ballet between harp and flute. The second half of the album ventures in to more exotic moods and scales so typical of Andrews' work. "Homage to the Muse" is a nocturne-flavored duet with what sounds like bass clarinet (not cited in the notes); gentle strings come in to give a wistful flavor. "Delphic Oracle" is similar in sound to a sultry, stately piece by Erik Satie or Maurice Ravel. The longest piece, "Search for the Temple of Enlightenment," shows Andrews at his best. He plays in a Greek mode, and the hypnotic piece progresses to the accompaniment of temple bells and choir vocalese.

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