The Gods of Olympus is electronic keyboard player Clifford White’s first album in fourteen years (his previous, Myths of the Rock, was released in 1995). After listening to The Gods of Olympus, all I can say is “We should all take fourteen years off from our work if this CD indicates the quality of results we’ll achieve!”
Just as the gods of Greek mythology each had distinct traits and powers, so too do the fourteen tracks on this enjoyable excursion into state of the art electronic music each exhibit their own musical “personalities” as White crisscrosses from dramatic Vangelis-esque soundscapes to lively chill-out infectiousness to classic new age melodic portraits, all done up in rich production values and a luxuriant cinematic sense of visual splendor.
The CD spans 70+ minutes of music, so I can’t recount everything in detail. Suffice it to say that White hits the ground running and never looks back – The Gods of Olympus is a winner through and through, starting gate to finish line. From the opening strains of powerful orchestral awe on the title track (Gods of Olympus) all the way through the closing Berlin-meets-techno propulsive power of Zeus – King of the Gods, White whisks the listener away with his exemplary production values, acute ear for excellent instrumentation, and, more than anything else, his knack for unbelievably catchy melodies and infectious rhythms. Simply put, The Gods of Olympus is a solid recommendation to lovers of EM (electronic music) across the full spectrum of the genre’s styles and moods.
White has produced a work of highest quality ear candy – an album that is so enjoyable and infectious that it’s damn near narcotic…
Aphrodite – Goddess of Love and Beauty spins a siren song of sensuality and mysterious beauty with harp, synth pads, choirs, and orchestral plucked strings, hinting at a subtle desert/nomad musical influence. Apollo – God of Light and the Sunlightens the mood considerably, moving into bouncy chill-out territory with a pulsing bass beat and wooden flute melody line, supplemented by a variety of shimmering keyboard accompaniments and a decidedly jazzy inflection. Ares – God of War features suitably somber Barber-esque adagio-like strings, eventually morphing with a march-like cadence synthesizer rhythm track and ebbing/flowing orchestral arrangements. Artemis – Goddess of the Hunt pitches an appropriately frenetic pace with techno-like bass beats and a fast tempo melody line on piano and keyboards.Athena – Goddess of Heroic Endeavor brings subdued world music influences to the forefront with its sampled sitar and Middle Eastern rhythms, whereas Demeter – Goddess of the Earth and Fertility features reverbed piano, synths, pan pipes and a beat reminiscent of (but not derivative from) Enigma, Ryan Farish and many others. Hera – Goddess of Women and Marriage also hews close to this same leit motif.
White has produced a work of highest quality ear candy – an album that is so enjoyable and infectious that it’s damn near narcotic in its initial impact. Despite the impressive variety from song to song, White infuses the album with a cohesive “sound,” no doubt due to his production acumen and his skill/artistry in choosing his keyboard instrumentation. Besides the impressive music, the overall CD package is likewise visually appealing – great art design and layout, especially color and font choices.
Comparisons to other artists would be problematic since White incorporates many different musical styles into The Gods of Olympus. Yes, Vangelis fans should certainly take note, but so should chill-out/electronica lovers, as should electronic new age music aficionados. This CD is a flat-out blast – a true joy to listen to over and over. I sure hope we don’t have to wait fourteen more years for the next offering from Clifford White.