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.