Thierry David...has recorded a truly exceptional collection of thirteen tunes, suffused with flowing sythns, percolating beats, and enough hooks and melodies to satisfy any electronica or chill-out fan. David frequently anchors the main melody in echoed piano over which an assortment of synths and keyboards and kinetic rhythms are layered with a surgeon’s skill yet also an artist’s passion.
Zen Pause hits the ground running with “Rain On Me.” Non-stop panning ping-ponging beats and piano refrains are heard over a bed of lush flowing synths. “Deep Sea Green” ushers in with hushed female chorals and a sonar-like series of repeating tones. Muted piano is folded in and when the fast tempo beat emerges, it reminds me of Rainer Bloss’ album of years past, Drive-Inn Vol. II. The beats have that pleasant synth-pop breezy nostalgic sound to them and the track is custom-tailored for putting the top down and cruising up US 1 on the California coastline. “Core Breath” has a contemporary and “English” sound to its grungier type of chill-out. By grungier, I mean less muted, more pronounced beats and a melodic refrain that eschews beauty for a more straight-ahead approach. Every track here has something going for it. “Connected” draws a bead on the previously-mentioned Farish’s motif of echoed piano and contemporary pulsing beats against a myriad of washes along with sensuous wordless vocals by Jade. “Silhouettes at Dusk” kicks off with a babbling brook and morphs into a mixture of Real Music label mate Bernward Koch’s delicious piano/synth New Age music and sexy shuffling midtempo beats. “Releasing the Past” features spacemusic-influenced keyboards on top of chugging slow tempo rhythms, as if Jonn Serrie was intermixed with Cursor Club. “Sunlight in My Mind” is the only cut devoid of a beat, as deeply echoed piano plays a melancholic refrain over somewhat abstract electronic textural effects. The nearly seven-minute title track concludes the album on a mysterious mood, with a haunting lead synth line and quirky midtempo rhythms.
Zen Pause could be the backing music for a Hitchcockian thriller, as it evokes shadow and betrayal and other film noir characteristics through its minor tonalities. The beats, while energetic, are somehow tinted with a certain darkness as well. Sparse jazzy piano (not as echoed as most other songs on the CD) lends a bluesy late-night feel to the closing minute or so. I can’t rave enough about this release. Zen Pause excels at combining accessible melodic electronic music with an assortment of beats and tempos without sounding too commercial or superficial. Perhaps some would consider Thierry David’s music to be lite electronica, but to my mind, it’s not lite at all. It’s “friendly“ and “approachable” and could easily serve as the perfect introduction to the subgenre for new age music fans. As a new direction for the esteemed Real Music label, I’m equally enthusiastic if this is a sign of what may be to come. However, even if this is a one-time only occurrence, I’ll happily accept the fact. The CD comes very highly recommended!