David Arkenstone / Kostia

The Spirit of Olympia

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The Spirit of Olympia draws its inspiration from the Olympic Games, celebrating the camaraderie, competition, and conquering spirit of the history-making sporting event. In keeping with the collaborative spirit of the games, David Arkenstone is joined here by Kostia and David Lanz for a set that includes rousing pop-new age arrangements ("Celebration," "Savannah Runner"), as well as more introspective pieces. "Close Without Touching" features a spare, Eastern-textured violin melody over swells of synthesizer, while "Glory" seems to imagine the crest of Mount Olympus itself with its rousing fanfare and subtle vocal choir. It even ends with the crash of a gong. "A Night in the Village" is the album's most ambitious piece, incorporating seven interludes that move cleverly through the musical styles of numerous cultures, celebrating the global village that is the famous Olympic Village. "Eastern Moon" sways with shakuhachi, "Volga's Journey" approximates lusty Rusian folk music, and "In the Shadows of Kilimanjaro" takes on an African pop-flavored vibe. The Spirit of Olympia is an engaging mishmash of styles and cultural references, and though it wavers with the occasional wan arrangement, it's still an entertaining compliment to the esprit de corps of the Olympics.

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