Ancient Textures

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This intriguing new release takes the listener on a musical journey through the wonders of the ancient world. Aptly describing this work as "Cinematic New Age Music," the duo of Bill Tyrley and Wally Baudin, who make up Textureworks, use synthesizers, samplers and a Macintosh computer to conjure up visually rich images of ancient cultures and even of the dawn of creation itself. Environmental sounds are judiciously used to set moods and establish geographic locales, while an assortment of sampled percussion instruments help breathe life into the synthesized aural soundscapes. The music ranges from the pastoral serenity of "Land of the Eternal Spring" to the high drama of "Turkana" where congas, timbales, animal and human cries, and percussive synthesizer riffs convey the excitement and danger of the jungle. Whether swaying on the high seas in search of the "Shores of Atlantis" or dancing in the desert to a lively Middle Eastern rhythm on "In Pursuit of the Sun," this music is full of evocative textures and panoramic vistas. There are some shortcomings: the electronics at times sound overly computerized; the shakuhachi and panflute samples are by now well-worn; and the 9-minute neo-Native American "Shaman" could be trimmed. Overall, however, Ancient Textures is an inspiring and stimulating high-tech exploration of humanity's global cultural roots, inviting the listener to "create the imaginary film" for which this music is the visionary soundtrack.