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CD REVIEW: John Barnard - Araluen
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: John Barnard
Genre: New Age
CD Review:
Listen. Can you hear the opening of nature’s ‘Dawn Opera’? Like waking up, the sounds of the real world (and I don’t mean MTV!) fade in like light, constant, and rhythmically soft. It’s so interesting to hear the birds produce their own language against the gradually opening music. They sing for their instincts, never once caring what that guy at the piano is doing. We each have our own sounds to make in the world, often one on top of the other. It’s nice to find Barnard’s tranquility promoting harmony rather than our usual human jarring effect.

But what else would you expect with what must be called New Age music? It coats, soothes, relieves, it eliminates the negative, and gives safety in reflection, like a good bicycle clip. One of my personal favorites of this 7 track instrumental cd is ‘Araluen Theme’, a slow walk thru the park, picking up all sights, sounds, instruments, with the gait of a solitary traveler and the patience of a first time lover. Really splendid.

British Airways thought this was the bee’s knees as well. From 1996 to 1998, this recording was played ­ in its entirety ­ for their Well Being in the Air relaxation program. And anyone who’s ever flown from the USA to Australia knows you need a lot of relaxation, mate. Takes a day to get there!

Australia? Yes, this is quiet time from down under. Recorded in a park called Araluen in Australia, actually commissioned for the airline itself. Well, it does what it was asked. The lovely river flow of ‘Dreaming’, the crying strings of ‘Pool of Reflection’, it’s all in this one. From ‘Dawn Opera’ to ‘Dusk’, the day is scored with lazy brilliance, ambient to the sleepy mind, immediately putting you at rest. That is the point. That is the satisfaction.

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