If you're a fan of previous recordings from Chuck Wild, a.k.a. Liquid Mind, you can rightly expect another serene album of musical bliss on volume seven of the series, sub-titled Reflection. The artist's first release on the Real Music label does not deviate from his usual path, i.e. wave after wave of gently billowing layers of ethereal, silken lush synthesizers that persuade the listener to leave his/her cares from modern urban life behind. This is Wild's goal, i.e. to help people achieve more balance and peacefulness in the hectic world we have created for ourselves. Reflection reinforces my belief that Chuck Wild is a master at creating calming and beautiful music which is elegantly simple and soothes you the same way soft light, a gentle breeze, or pleasing colors do. Its effect is unobtrusive but almost undeniable.
Casual listeners may hear Reflection and wonder how, if at all, this differs from previous releases in the Liquid Mind series. Of course, as someone who listens to music in order to critique it, I can hear subtle differences, especially in the background elements that Wild uses on this album. Overall, though, this is not markedly distinct from previous offerings, except that I sense a stronger push toward a more purely electronic sound at times. There are definite times when, in the background of the mix, spacey textures are present (especially so when listening on headphones). For example, there are subtle ping-ponging (back and forth) sequencer-style notes (yes, even somewhat Berlin school-ish) buried underneath the patient washes on “Into The Silence Of My Being” and when they are there, the song has a slight playfulness that inspires a smile. Likewise, the opening track, “Gently Down” begins with a short whoosh of cosmic spacemusic and gently pulsing electronics before the more characteristic Liquid Mind motif comes into the frame. There are also overt vocals later in the track (wordless but clearly not synthesized) that sound vaguely reminiscent of Ligeti's “Lux Aeterna.”
There are six tracks on the album, two are over ten minutes long and the others are between six and half and nine and a half minutes in duration. “In the Stillness,” besides being the literal center of the album, is also the heart and soul of this sublime and peaceful recording. It's quite minimal at times (actually, it may bring comparisons to Larry Kucharz to mind for some people) and the sustained synth string chords melt into one another with the ease of clouds drifting through a late summer sky. "Finding my Way" is another song where a more overt electronic style of synthesizers is heard, but the track also sounds as if it were influenced by classical adagio motifs. On the title track, I hear synth chorales sharing the lead with strings. This track also features what may be the most evident electronic effects peppered in the background, as mildly percolating notes twinkle and sparkle behind the soft sighs of the chorales.
I can't promise you that listening to Liquid Mind VII: Reflection is guaranteed to ease your troubled mind or pave the way to a restful night's sleep when you are too stressed out to relax, but I doubt any other music could do the job better. Unless you have a distaste for the instrumentation (synth strings, chorales, and subtle washes of electronic textures) or you just flat out dislike "pretty" (to say the least) music, I'm guessing that you will find yourself drifting pleasantly and forgetting, at least temporarily, about that overdue report, an argument with a colleague, or the looming car repair. Relax and settle in while Chuck Wild takes you on a musical vacation from your troubles. Obviously, this CD comes with a strong recommendation from yours truly.