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I must admit that this album is one of my "guilty pleasures." It is unabashedly sentimental "New Age" music, as sweet as cotton candy and as soft as a down pillow, and this "dark techno/ambient" fan loves it. River of Stars is like all the good moments of Enya, the "celestial choruses" and the synthesized orchestral and string playing, without Enya's bleating little voice and Celtic/religious pretensions. It is slickly and professionally produced, with occasional hints of Latin or Indian rhythms and harmonies. The liner notes give a mythical background for each track, but as far as I'm concerned, they could all come from the same myth or culture, since the style of the different pieces is so similar. Just imagine attenuated "world music" sung by pretty star-bedecked angels in long floating dresses, accompanied by silver flutes and golden harps, and you've got the image for this album. There's a hint of old Vangelis' "Cosmos" in places, such as on track 5, "Starwalkers." Track 3, "Stella Maris," and track 6, "Heaven and Earth," use delicately syncopated rhythms and celestial chants in a bright musical mist, while Track 9, "Tanabata Moon," defines the meaning of "ethereal."
Yes, I admit it. I don't always listen to Serious Classical Music and Somber Ambient. The sun is shining and the wind is rustling in the trees, and I can't stop listening to this balmy summer breeze of an album. My only question is: after next year, will this album's producers become out of date?
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.