Nicholas Gunn

Return to the Grand Canyon

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Anyone who has been to the Grand Canyon knows that no words, painting, or music can perfectly capture the experience. And yet the talented composer/flutist/synthesist, who began his extremely successful new age career in 1993 contemplating an Afternoon in Sedona, does his best to convey his own heartfelt experiences. Wonderfully mixing his melodic flute musings, gentle synth weavings and orchestrations, and very authentic Native American percussion, he scored big on Real Music with The Music of the Grand Canyon. One gets the idea, though, that this project wasn't just created as a commercial boost to launch his association with a new label. It's clear from the love and care that he, his keyboardist wife Cheryl, and guests like violinist Karen Briggs put into this travelogue that the canyon is a place that speaks to his deepest soul. He begins the title track with soaring, gentle synth strings over a subtle, building percussion bed and live soundscape recordings of the region, then eases in a soaring flute line whose lightness creates a contrast with the more ominous tones of the drums. The best tracks are "Flight of the Condor," which weaves flute, percussion, and the intense, powerful energy of Briggs' violin, and "Havasu Falls," which begins with a recording of the falls themselves, then ventures into a lively tune featuring a hypnotic and spirited swirling dance between flute and piano. It's well worth this return visit, and it's a great listen for both nature lovers who have been there, and those who haven't but need assistance as they imagine one of the planet's most amazing natural works of art.

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