Phil Thornton

Dreamscapes

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Phil Thornton has plenty of musical experience to draw upon, both on his own albums and working for others, and on Dreamscapes he creates what might be the culmination of all his efforts. "Eagle Dream," for example, is a track that truly soars, while "Edge of Dreams" really does possess a dreamlike gauziness in its floating melodies. The use of recorders and Native American flutes, not played to falsely sound native, works wonders. On "Desert Dream," the unusual fretless bass underpinning gives way beautifully to gliss guitar held together by Egyptian percussion -- a far cry from what's usually considered new age music. But throughout the album he takes turns slightly away from the well-trodden new age path, like the tremolo guitar that glides along "Forest Pathways." Thornton doesn't need overpowering synths to make his music (although they're often there at a background level, and sometimes more in the foreground), which puts him well ahead of most of his peers, and there's a constant sense of movement in his work. Whether his music will increase self-awareness, as he hopes, is a debatable point. Either way, though, it's enjoyable.

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