25 years after producing the original Ascension, composer Clifford White returns and rises to new heights with Ascension II. Using gossamer, grace and passion, White’s new music is weightless and incredibly soothing. I have to admit that I wondered if Clifford could top his tremendous effort from his previous album Gods of Olympus and not surprisingly, he has. Ascension II is more celestial and thought provoking. The music is scintillating with ethereal passages that invite one to drift along with the melodies. It also provides an atmosphere that promotes meditation and perhaps even stimulates healing.
A Blessing starts the album with a music box melody of soothing sounds. There is a wonderful combination of keyboard and horn that spirals throughout the tune. The swirling music encompasses the listener like a diaphanous cloak of comfort. It is rather appropriate I think to open the recording with a blessing so that our musical journey will be a fruitful one.
I liked Eternity above the rest. I liked the spatial movement of the piece. It was if I were a traveler, comfortable and satiated, witnessing the millions of layers or dimensions that only unexplored space could offer. There is a wondrous drifting quality to the song that sets the mind adrift in a starry sea of spiritual opulence.
More than any other tune, Sanctuary provides a deep infusion of solitude and relaxation. It has an almost Kitaro-like air of sparkling notes and warm synth background. I really think that the tempo is very soothing as well, imparting a heartbeat cadence that is both uplifting and comforting.
The track, The Healing Touch uses soft strings and guitar to sooth the savage breast. It has a dreamy, waltz in timeless joy feeling. The melody is light, transparent and very peaceful. There are harp like strums and bright piano riffs that combine into a calming tapestry of sound.
No matter who we are, where we are or when we are, we all search for The Answer. The questions are what make us different. We may be seeking the One True Supreme Being, the alchemy of turning lead into gold or the reason why fortune favors so few. We know of no other creature on this planet that makes a similar quest. It is what makes us human. Clifford’s gentle music, with quavering keyboards and haunting background is the perfect escort on our mission. This is another favorite track that I put on repeat.
The tune The Power Within is a shimmering melody that swells and grows until it becomes a mesmerizing song of placid horns and voice-like murmurs of encouragement. It reminded me that the power of healing, whether it be in body or mind or spirit is truly imbued in all of us.
Although Ascension II arrived more than twenty years after its original inception, the material is fresh and timely. The album is uplifting and inspirational for many occasions. Clifford White is not only a very well known synthesizer artist, he has spearheaded several organizations for the continuing promotion of New Age music around the world. He is also the master of the New Age music web portal and associated social network.