Ethereal Journey

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"His goal," writes annotator Beth Ann Lerch of synthesizer player and composer Ray, "is simple: to create music that will bring people to a state of relaxation and reflection." In trying to reach this goal on his debut album, Ethereal Journey, the veteran recording engineer better known as Ray Leonard has made a space music album that treats space as a lonely and austere place. The title track, which opens the album, has a minor-key melody reminiscent of the folk song "The Great Silkie," a melancholy tune that sets the mood the disc maintains for an hour. The music is slow-moving, full of icy, echoing synthesizer patterns. This is the sound of deep space for listeners who have had their hearts slowed to the point of suspended animation. "Melodic ambient music," is the description written on the album cover, and the words are apt. As new age music goes, this one is better used than many for background and atmospheric effect rather than foreground listening. It is certainly calming, but it also has a distinctly sad tone.

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