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An in depth review of David Wright’s ‘Stranger Days’ by CDS.

Stunning new Double album from the UK’s best-loved Symphonic Synth Music artist, incorporating styles that have originated over the past three decades!

It’s an ambitious project containing New Material plus some new versions of a handful of older tracks – A kind of retrospective in terms of influences and styles, and includes a VANGELIS inspired track, a TANGERINE DREAM inspired track and an EDGAR FROESE inspired track!

The styles cover David’s 30 years in the business, and includes material recorded with other artists, such as a Previously Unreleased track with KLAUS HOFFMANN HOOK (of MIND OVER MATTER / COSMIC HOFFMANN) one with CARYS and another with ROBERT FOX.

‘Stranger Days’ comes with an 12-Page CD Booklet, (22 page digital booklet) and here are some details of all the tracks in contains…

Disc 1 …
‘A Moments Contemplation’ was composed and recorded in 2018 specifically as the opening track for ‘Stranger Days’, and as the title suggests, it is indeed a very beautiful, contemplative and emotional piece of music.

‘Re-Connected’ was originally released on the 2012 album: ‘Connected’, but it’s a track that David always felt could have been “stronger”, and now it is … if you like your Vangelis, you’ll love this one for sure!

The spacey and melodic: ‘Beyond Glass Mountains’ was a popular track from the 1993 ‘Ocean Watch’ album, and this entirely new, reworked version is based on the impromptu ‘live’ performance of the track given at the 2017 Schwingenhaun Garden Party concert. The music is eerie yet melodic with ethereal Mellotron-like strings playing a strong part as they well up through a web of intricate synth patterns with added heavenly voices courtesy of Carys.

‘Walking With Ghosts’ is one of David’s most popular albums and always a favourite at concerts – this studio ‘Fantasy Mix’ version is a 2017 concert arrangement of the piece. After the initial synth lead passes it sounds like a synth string quartet at times and then the inclusion of fine, spacey high register synth melodies backed by heavenly choral arrangements puts it firmly in cosmic territory – This realty is classic David Wright!

‘Krystal Halls’ is a gentle piece with a psychedelic edge that features the late, great Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, or Cosmic Hoffmann as many knew the MIND OVER MATTER musician. David and Klaus recorded this piece together sometime between 2011 and 2013 – Says David: “I remember doing the rhythm, sequences and synth parts as a bed for his wonderful guitar work and we had intended to evolve it more and discussed it just two weeks before his untimely death in October 2017. Klaus was a wonderful human being and a great musical talent – I so enjoyed my time with him both musically and socially.”
As a tribute to Klaus, there is another version of this track performed with CODE INDIGO in 2017 and that can be found on the ‘E-Scape 2018’ compilation CD.

‘Always Tomorrow’ is typical David Wright – a very romantic track full of pure, exquisite flowing melody set over a tight rhythmic structure – this gentle, yet evocative piece has a kind of “old fashioned” feel about it – Beautiful!

‘Once Upon A Dream’ is a rhythmic/sequencer-based track that originated from an idea in 2015 and finished in 2018 for this ‘Stranger Days’ album. It is a modern TANGERINE DREAM inspired piece with intricate synth textures and melodies going on throughout, with some added distant vocal effects in the background.

‘Stranger Days – Parts 1-7’ is a bit of an epic, clocking in at over half an hour! This is the album’s spacey, atmospheric biggie! Says David: “This piece has evolved since I first started writing it in 2014. Sections of it have been performed live on several occasions. I wanted to create an epic journey and it has evolved into something I’m particularly proud of; the flow, the themes and the numerous moods and styles – I even injected humour at one point. I finally completed it early in 2018. As a footnote, the original 15 minute musical idea was to have been on the 2017 ‘Prophecy’ album before ‘Prophecy’ became the collaboration with Carys.”
Totally different from anything else on this double disc set, the title track sounds as challenging to the listener as it probably did to the musician that created it! Opening in the dark reaches of the cosmos with a sombre melody line drifting lost in the ether, it then cross-fades into ‘Part 2’ which is a sequenced passage with a jittery improvised melody that seems to stutter around the soundstage with all manner of effects and sampled sounds all around, and as the track builds the melody becomes more fluent and confident. As we roll over into the 3rd Part the synth lead is now up in the mix and dancing around without a care in the world with added, almost Caribbean percussive sounds decorating the mix. ‘Part 4’ starts out much more subdued, but then elements of the more traditional David Wright sounds emerge with multi-synth melodies really getting into gear over a host of vari-textured rhythms. Without a break ‘Part 5’ surges in on a flow of improvised melodic charm, before an atmospheric crossover leads into the slow marching electronic rhythm that is ‘Part 6’ where we enter a jungle-land of sounds and effects from which a soft lead melody emerges and improvises on high before the sounds of splashing synths introduces ‘Part 7’ – the finale.
This ‘Stranger Days’ track has been something very different for a David Wright piece, going to places I have not heard this musician dare enter before – a kind of sonic progression though time and space from start to finish, and the kind of track that will deliver more from each new airing!

Disc 2 …
Originally written in 1995, ‘Rysheara’ is one of David’s most commercially successful tracks and it opens Disc 2 on a euphoric high. This 2018 ultra melodious version, together with its massive choral synth arrangements is taken from a 2013 live performance also featuring the stunning guitar work of Lee Morant. The track has been arranged to be in keeping with the feel of the original and it wouldn’t sound out of place of a symphonic Progressive rock album!

‘Call To Me’ was recorded with vocalist Carys and this is a 2018 remix of the track originally featured on the ‘Beyond The Airwaves – Volume 2’ album. This recreation gives it a totally new emphases and identity, expanding it into a kind of jazzy chill-out style piece.

Next up is a 2018 chill remix of ‘Walking With Ghosts’ that was created by Dave Massey. This is the 4th DJMass remix of the track, with three other versions on the ‘Walking With Ghosts’ Remix EP released in 2018.
David Wright always felt this to be the strongest of these remixed versions – with its cascading, sweeping keyboard layers and haunting, hook-laden synth melody leading the way over a flowing, driving rhythm and background echoed voices, this is one cracking performance.

‘Melt Away’ is a reworked theme from the ‘Meltdown’ album by CODE INDIGO that was originally set to be part of a proposed chill out project that didn’t materialise. With voices added by Carys, the track was performed at a 2017 concert in Norway, the track has the stirring, pulsating rhythmic structure and background effects that offers up the feel of something in the area of ENIGMA.

‘Harmonic Heaven – Parts 1 & 2’ came from an idea originally conceived in 2016 and completed in May 2018.
‘Part 1’ is initially atmospheric but gradually a theme emerges from a cloudy haze in the form of majestic male and high-register angelic female choirs. ‘Part 2’ sees the arrival of a slow undulating rhythm as layers of sweeping string synths are generated and spread over the soundstage to dramatic effect and including some chord changes as it evolves and builds towards a glorious panoramic sonic view.

‘Light Source’ – Parts 1 & 2’ both came from studio sessions in 2016 and 2017 and are an unashamed tribute to the solo work of the late great Edgar Froese. ‘Part 1’ features a fantastic, melodic lead synth melody lead set over rich, bass tones and a tight backbeat rhythm. This moves directly through to ‘Part 2’ where gentle flute-like textures dance around the semi-dissolving rhythm, followed by what sounds like a synth viola which takes up a slightly different interpretation of the melody line – a really cool track that I’m certain Edgar would approve of!
This is one of those tracks that apparently required very little post-production – the music just works!

‘Colours Of The Night’ is a 2018 version of the original from the 1991 album: ‘Marilynmba’. Always a popular piece, this was one of the first tracks David re-recorded for the original compilation album idea in 2017. Starting out sounding like a piece done entirely using Mellotron layers it gradually focuses of a strong, yet sombre flute-like melody line set over droning strings and strict rhythm and this is one of the these tracks that tugs at the heart strings.

‘Forgotten Symphony – Movements 1-4’ is a newly found work originally put together with Robert Fox circa 2012 and then somehow forgotten about! After re-surfacing in 2017, David expanded the sections to 4 parts and added additional strings (Mellotron and the likes), effects and rhythms, ending up with one mighty fine piece of classy, semi-classical symphonic synthesizer music.

Containing superb music that has originated over the past three decades, ‘Stranger Days’ offers you a broad, diverse and complete spectrum of the many sides to David Wright’s brand of “Electronic Music”. From the deeply reflective tones of his more atmospheric material to the huge, grandiose Vangelis inspired melodies – it is all here! At times spacey, eerie, other worldly and ethereal there is still always plenty room for the emotive melodies we all know and love in David’s music, and with the added variations brought about by the inclusion of material produced with and influenced by other notable artists from the EM genre, you can hear a further expansion of his trademarked sound, as well as the exploration of some new sonic territories.

A terrific value-for-money double CD set that comes highly recommended.

Dave Shoesmith CDS

First review comments from OWR for Stranger Days…

Stranger Days by David Wright

There is a true vibrancy to this latest release by master electronic composer David Wright. ‘Stranger Days’ is a reflective look over the musical shoulder perhaps, but Wright seems to be somewhat revitalised, and that energy can be felt in this literally breath taking new double album. On this epic release, Wright embraces past, present and future, and musically the legions of electronic music fans will be baying at the door for the official release of this new collection of inspirational compositions.

Steve Sheppard

www.oneworldmusic.co.uk

Stranger Days – CD finished and off for production. Final track listing, information and sound bites available!

Stranger Days – CD finished and off for production. Final track listing, information and sound bites available!

Well, it has been a log time coming I know, and I apologise to fans for the many delays. ‘Stranger Days’ is finally complete and sent for production. That means the CD release date is now confirmed as 31st August 2018, although the download is likely to be available earlier on the AD Music Shop web site. Keep an eye on the AD Music shop page for further details, and I will post when the downloads is available. The AD Music Shop page has been updated with the final track listing and updated sound bites – there have been some changes to the previous post and track listing. 
In the meantime, the following text is from the sleeve notes and may help provide further insight into the album and the music.
 

‘Stranger Days’ was originally intended to be straightforward compilation, but it evolved into a journey; a journey through sound and styles reflecting the luminaries of the electronic music genre whose music I have loved since the early 1970’s and whose influences have shaped my music since I recorded my first album in 1989.

As a result, it includes new and previously unreleased music alongside re-recordings of a handful of tracks. So ‘Stranger Days’ is a retrospective in terms of influences and styles and has been a labour of love, taking 18 months to complete. It incorporates music from live performances, studio sessions (in some instances overlooked and forgotten!) and reworked tracks and remixes.

It also includes collaborations with and input from friends and musical colleagues whose influences have helped evolve and mature my musical output over the years. I hope that they feel as enriched by the process as I have been.

Stranger Days also marks a change for me, a shift if you will, into possible new directions. What will those directions be and where will they take me? I have no idea…but I do know I still have more to say…and so I will continue to produce my vision of electronic music, wherever that takes me.

Here are my thoughts on the music of ‘Stranger Days’.1.1 A Moments Contemplation (3:10) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
Recorded in 2018 specifically as the opening track for the ‘Stranger Days’ albumI wanted to start this album differently, and a more ‘contemplative’ piece seemed appropriate.

1.2 ReConnected (7:36) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
Originally on the 2012 album ‘Connected’, this was a track I always felt could be “stronger” and it was nice to have the opportunity to revisit the track. It’s now bigger, tighter and more thematic than the original and was an iTunes single earlier in 2018.

1.3 Beyond Glass Mountains (featuring Carys) (5:20) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright. Vocals by Carys
A popular track from my 1993 Ocean Watch album, this entirely new arrangement is based on the impromptu live performance at the 2017 Schwingenhaun Garden Party concert with beautiful vocal textures by Carys. As a footnote, that concert was recorded and filmed in its entirety and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2019.

1.4 Walking With Ghosts Fantasy (7:00) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
One of my most popular works and a favourite at concerts, this is a studio version of the very different and somewhat darker 2017 concert arrangement.

1.5 Krystal Halls (with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock) (6:28) Composed and performed by David Wright and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. Arranged and produced by David Wright
Klaus and I recorded this piece sometime between 2011 and 2013. I remember doing the rhythm, sequences and synth parts as a bed for his wonderful guitar work. We had intended to evolve the music more and discussed it just two weeks before his untimely death in October 2017. Klaus was a wonderful human being and a great musical talent, I miss him greatly and so enjoyed my time with him both musically and socially. There is also a version of this track performed by Code Indigo in 2017 as a tribute to Klaus, and that version can be found on the E-Scape 2018 CD.

1.6 Always Tomorrow (4:38) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
A very romantic track written and recorded in a day in 2016 – it has an old fashioned feel, is short and sweet and gets right to the point. There is another version with Carys’s vocals that we’re working on for future release.

1.7 Once Upon A Dream (6:18) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
An idea from 2015 finished this year for the Stranger Days album, one of those ‘feel good’ EM pieces that just came together quickly and without effort. No prizes for guessing the influences here!

1.8-14 Stranger Days (Parts 1-7) (35:16) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
This epic track has evolved since I first started writing it in 2014. Sections of it have been performed live on several occasions. I wanted to create an epic journey and it has evolved into something I’m particularly proud of; the flow, the themes and the numerous moods and styles – I even injected humour at one point. I finally completed it early in 2018. As a footnote, the original 15 minute musical idea was to have been on the 2017 ‘Prophecy’ album before ‘Prophecy’ became the collaboration with Carys. Another (much shorter) version was performed with Robert Fox at an E-Scape concert in 2015.

2.1 Rysheara (6:42) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
One of my most commercially successful tracks and written originally in 1995 to win a bet that I could write a ‘commercial’ 3:30 track. This 2018 version is taken from a 2012 live performance featuring stunning guitar by Lee Morant and has been arranged to be more in keeping with the feel of the original.

2.2 Call to Me (with Carys) 2018 remix (8:42) Music composed by David Wright, lyrics by Carys. Performed, arranged and produced by David Wright. Vocals by Carys.
I’m much happier with this version of ‘Call to Me’, than the original version on Beyond the Airwaves Vol 2. A remixed version also appeared as an iTunes single and video. One of the rare occasions where I just wasn’t happy with the original mix and feel of the song and was desperate to rework it – having already reworked the track for the iTunes single, perfecting it for Stranger Days was logical. It really does defy categorisation! The idea for the track originally came from one of Carys’s songs ‘No Surrender’. I loved the lyrics and so we recreated the song, giving it a totally new emphases and identity, expanding it into a jazz chill-out style song. As a footnote, check out Carys’s solo album ‘A Different Kind Of Normal’. If you like folk/rock/prog rock influenced music with imaginative and clever songs (by Carys) – you’ll love ‘A Different Kind Of Normal’. I also produced the album, arranged strings etc and played and programmed synths and sequences.

2.3 Walking With Ghosts (2018 Chill Remix) (5:12) Composed by David Wright. Performed by Dave Massey and David Wright. Arranged and produced by Dave Massey. 
This is the 4th remix by Dave Massey (there are 3 other versions on the Walking with Ghosts Remix EP released in 2018). I always felt this to be the strongest remix version.

2.4 Melt Away (6:18) Music composed by David Wright, lyrics by Carys. Performed arranged and produced by David Wright and Dave Massey. Vocals by Carys.
This track was originally something I wrote for the Code Indigo Meltdown album. I reworked it with Dave Massey for a proposed chill out project that didn’t materialise. Carys added lyrics and we performed a version at a 2017 Norway concert. This is a new ambient EM version. Carys also includes another version in her solo concerts. As a footnote, there are several quite different Code Indigo versions, including an epic 18 minute version that will hopefully appear on a final Code Indigo release.

2.5 Harmonic Heaven (13:54) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
This is from an idea originally conceived in 2016 from a studio jam – unashamed slowly evolving EM. Completed in May 2018 for Stranger Days.

2.6 & 7 Light Source (Parts 1 and 2) (10:52) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
From studio sessions in 2016 and 2017, this is one of those tracks that had very little post production work done on it, the music just flowed and worked as played. An unashamed tribute to the late Edgar Froese.

2.8 Colours of the Night (2018 version) (4:40) Composed, performed, arranged and produced by David Wright
The original version of this track can be found on the 1991 CD Marilynmba and is a very popular track, and was one of the first tracks I re-recorded for the original compilation album idea in 2017. Dedicated to Jinny

2.9-12 The Forgotten Symphony (Movements 1-4) (21:19) Composed and performed by David Wright and Robert Fox. Additional music performed by David Wright. Arranged and produced by David Wright
A strange one this…Robert Fox and I recorded an idea, probably circa 2012. Bob played some piano parts and we played around with some strings ideas and promptly forgot all about it! I ‘found’ it again in 2017 and thought “Hey, there’s something good here” and pondered at length why didn’t we pursue it. Probably because of Bob’s ill health and the many other projects I was working on at the time. But glad I rediscovered this because it ventures into territory I’d love to explore more and I think it shows what Bob and I could bring out of each other musically. So I edited the ideas into 4 movements and added additional strings and effects to expand the themes, plus adding moog sequence to the opening section and rhythms to the final movement. It has the feel of being ‘Not quite finished’, which while being more accident than design, is a feel Bob and I really like, and I hope you do to.

As stated earlier, ‘Stranger Days is a retrospective in terms of influences and styles”. I could have said which tracks were influenced by who, but what would be the fun in that, eh? So aside from the tribute to Edgar Froese, I thought it would be much more fun to let you work out which tracks were influenced by who, he he he! Enjoy…

‘Stranger Days’ update plus Walking with Ghosts EP and other news

2018 continues to present unwelcome surprises, the latest being a bout of ill health (phlebitis then a wry neck) which has resulted in the release date for ‘Stranger Days’ being pushed back to 27th July 2018. Doubly disappointing because it means it wont be ready for E-Scape 2018 on 2nd June. That’s life though and in the scheme of things, I guess it’s not a disaster, but my apologies to those fans who have pre-ordered ‘Stranger Days’ and expected to get the album at E-Scape.

It appears I must take better care of myself though, as apparently, I’m not getting any younger. Hmmm, and it was always my intention to live forever – or die trying – I think I’m still on track!

So, ‘Stranger Days’.….as with so many musical projects, it has taken on a life of its own, developing into an epic 2 CD set of new and reworked music from my back catalogue. And the likelihood is that there will also be some additional bonus material available on a 3rd download volume. More on that soon, but be forewarned that if you prefer the music on CD, remember to order the ‘CD plus download’ option if you want the bonus music, because it will only be available to download! But like I said, more on that in a later post. For the moment the full 2 CD is just about complete aside from some final edits on the title tracks last 4 parts.

That said, the full track listing for the ‘Stranger Days’ double CD is now online, and I thought fans might like to hear a little background information about ‘Stranger Days’, how it developed and just a general insight into the album from me, with a few musical extracts thrown in. So please click on the preview link for that.

In other news, the ‘Walking With Ghosts’ remix ep was released though iTunes over the weekend. It contains 3 remixes of the ‘Walking with Ghosts’ theme by DJ Mass, (Dave Massey) plus the new ‘Fantasy’ version from ‘Stranger Days’.

Also released on iTunes was the single ‘ReConnected‘, taken from ‘Stranger Days’.

The ep and single are available to download from www.admusicshop.com and there will be a special CDr EP available for a limited period containing the ‘Walking With Ghosts‘ remixes, the ‘ReConnected’ single and the ‘Stranger Days’ Preview.

 

Stranger Days – CD1 sound bites link

Okay, so yeah, as usual I’m way behind schedule. But better late than never, here is link to the AD Music page for sound bites for CD1 of the forthcoming double CD ‘Stranger Days’.

David Wright page on AD Music Shop

Sound bites for CD 2 will follow in the next few weeks……………..

I’ll blog some information on the tracks for CD1 during the next week or so…….

Enjoy……………..

Possible DVD of 2017 Schwingungen-Party-Concert……………..

Surprise and welcome news today from Winfried Wiesrecker in Germany that there is a BlueRay DVD of the ‘David Wright & Carys Schwingungen-Party-Concert’ performance from the 2017 Schwingungen Garden Party on the way to us! We also multitrack recorded the concert so I’m very optimistic that we can put together a nice BlueRay DVD for future release. Well done and thanks Winfried!