David Arkenstone is one of those guys you'd just love to hate. Arkenstone, not Yanni, should be new age's favorite whipping boy. He's got that big, poofy hair; he deigns to call himself a storyteller, not "just" a musician; he infuses Native American music with new age synth stylings; and Spirit Wind even comes packaged with incense!
Only problem is, like Yanni, Arkenstone delivers the goods. He plays keyboards, guitar, even flute on this disc. He's audacious, but he can be subtle too. The opening track, "The Ancient Road," moves from Native American sounds to a hip-hop beat so skillfully you hardly even notice the transition.
If Yanni is the genre's answer to the Moody Blues, Arkenstone might be thought of as new age's version of Peter Gabriel. His blending of various exotic beats with both organic and synthetic sounds is quite comparable, and like Gabriel, he comes off as a sincere innovator rather than a mystic dilettante.
Even at his worst, Arkenstone is interesting. At his best, as on this disc, he is compelling.