In the new age field, it isn't uncommon to find artists who function as one-man or one-woman bands. If the artist can't play guitar, bass, percussion, violin, or drums, he/she can get the sounds of all of those instruments if he or she has the right synthesizers. That is exactly what Harrison Edwards does on Parallel Path, the new age instrumentalist's first album as a leader. Edwards programmed all of the synthesizers and samplers on this CD, and to his credit, he manages to keep the album from sounding cold, stiff, or mechanical. Parallel Path sounds fairly organic -- it doesn't quite sound like the Pennsylvanian is leading a real band comprised of real musicians, but it often comes close. Unlike some types of new age, Parallel Path isn't spacey or hypnotic. The music is fairly lively, and Edwards incorporates influences that range from classical and jazz to the Celtic music of Ireland and Scotland. The hints of Celtic music are quite subtle, but one can hear them on a few of the tunes if they listen closely. Lively, of course, hasn't always been a word that one would use in connection with a lot of new age -- historically, new age has been stereotyped as music that is anything but lively. But then, the new age genre grew increasingly diverse in the '90s, and some of the instrumental music that retailers place in their new age bins these days is, in fact, lively. Edwards does bring a certain liveliness to Parallel Path, a CD that is as organic as it is optimistic.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson