Stellar Connection is French composer/instrumentalist Thierry David’s fourth release on the Real Music label. This fascinating album is a combination of melodic, ambient, and space music, and David describes his creation like this: “In this new album we travel through interstellar space looking for possible connections with unknown and mysterious elements. My wish is to allow the listener to plunge into a personal intimate atmosphere conducive to meditation, peace and serenity.” (Quoted from the liner notes.) In addition to composing and arranging the thirteen tracks, David performs on synthesizers, piano, percussion, wavedrum and programming; percussionist Steve Shehan and guitarist Claude Samard both appear on one track each. It seems that a lot of music designed for meditation and relaxation is overly optimistic and smooth, but Thierry David’s music is often edgy with a dark side, making it especially interesting to listen to with full attention rather than relegating it to the background. It is worth noting that David studied classical music as a young person, experimented with jazz and other music genres as a teen, graduated from a business school in Paris, attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, has lived in a variety of locales all over the world, and has also worked in advertising - a wide variety of life experiences that contribute to David’s unique sound and style. Stellar Connection begins with “Portal Quest,” a dark and mysterious bit of space music that clearly demonstrates that this is not “fluff” music. “Plenty of Space” takes us deeper, adding rhythmic elements and ambient musical sounds that suggest weightlessness and effortless movement as we travel through open space. “A Long Crossing” is somewhat more melodic and a bit slower in tempo, giving us time to explore as we continue the journey. I really like “Feeling a Stellar Pulse,” which combines dark and cold space sounds with a very catchy rhythm and lively little melody. “A Familiar Blue Stranger” (love this title!) has an easy pace and a slightly Hawaiian flavor that is warm and inviting. “Arturan Drifter” resumes a darkly mysterious tone and the feeling of floating as we continue to explore the unknown. “Breathing the Harmonic Mandala” is what I would consider the most melodic of the pieces, utilizing a combination of space music, a gentle rhythm, and a simple but compelling melody line. “Galactic Bliss” is mostly ambient space music, but the tempo picks up in the middle and adds drum and percussion to the pulsating rhythm. “A Silent Voice Answers” (another great title!) is a somewhat ominous closing track that trails off at the end. Recommended!