Water and life under the sea are important topics in Clifford White’s music. Indeed, his albums with these topics are among the finest New Age music ever released. Titles such as “The Lifespring” (1989), “Aqua” (1994) and “Atlantis” (2010) became instant classics when they were released. Now Clifford has released a massive four-album collection called “the Synergy series,” where “Waterworld” is the first part. Let’s dive into this album and see if Clifford has delivered a new oceanic masterpiece!
Clifford White was only 17 years old when he debuted on New World Music in 1985 with “Ascension.” His most recent albums are “The Gods of Olympus” (2009), “Atlantis” (2010) and “The Healing Touch – Ascension II” (2010). The new series is, according to White, “an exploration of electronic music past, present, and future.” The albums are “The Speed of Silence,” “Robot Dawn,” “Cityscape” and our topic of the day: “Waterworld.” Total running time is just under 5 hours.
Enjoy this exclusive 20-minute long clip from “Waterworld”:
“Waterworld’ is inspired by the early works of Jean-Michel Jarre (especially “Oxygenè” and “Equinoxe”). The album starts with the title track. Both in terms of rhythm, use of textures and analogue sounding synths, fans of Jarre will feel right at home. I think it is rather clever since the theme of White’s album fits this sound nicely. “Waterworld” has a beautiful ambient melody and gives you a feeling of traveling deep into the depths of the ocean. It is a wonderful opening of the series!
Next song is “Kinetic”. It has the atmosphere of “Oxygenè, Pt 4”. Still, it is unmistakably Clifford White in its expression. We are taken on an undersea voyage, moving fast into the black unknown. The song has many interesting twists and turns. Next song, “Tranceport”, is even faster. The flute-like synth is very lovely, reminiscent of another UK music legend; Medwyn Goodall.
We are back on the surface with the song “Edentide.” The sax sounds terrific! It is a cool piece, showing just how versatile White is as an artist. “Timestream” has several layers, moving like an undercurrent, preparing the stage for the next song: “Sealebration”. With sounds of water and strong Jarre influences, we are at the very center of this magic, oceanic world. It is such a cool place, filled with vibrant colors and strange creatures. “Sealebration” is a tribute to the ocean and the best song on the album. It even has a strange sounding electric guitar.
The latest episode of Dream Mixtape is dedicated to Clifford White & “Waterworld”:
The chilled atmosphere continues on “Venus Rising.” The ultra-light arrangement shows White’s impressive synth skills, just like his “Ascension” did back in 1985. The only thing that has changed is the equipment; his musical genius is the same. JM Jarre fans will for sure embrace the next song, “Moonlight Express.” It is impossible not to smile while listening to it. If only Jarre had such equipment on his kitchen table in 1976 while recording “Oxygenè”…
Near the end, “Sea of Stars” is another winner. It is an 8-minute long chilled piece, perfect for relaxation and thinking. It is easy to drift away while listening to it, seeing before your inner eye starlight dancing on gentle waves. How wonderful!
The last track is something entirely different. “Synergy” is the series’ signature track, a taste of what White has in store for us on the next three disks. We are now leaving Waterworld behind and will soon enter a futuristic sphere of robots, giant cities and, most importantly, speed. The melody has a cool vibe and an upbeat atmosphere. Discovering the complete series seems like the only rational thing to do at this stage. We will of course return with a full review of each part.
In conclusion: It is said that we know more about outer space than we know about the deepest oceans on planet Earth. Listening to Clifford White’s new album “Waterworld,” we get a glimpse of all the fascinating things that are waiting for us down there. “Waterworld” is perhaps not totally on par with White’s oceanic masterworks of the past (compared to “Equatorial” from “Aqua” for instance), but is at the same time only an introduction – not a stand-alone release. With this in mind, we can conclude that “Waterworld” is a fantastic start on the voyage into the magical Synergy series!
Score: 91/100 – See how I rate music here.
The CD and digital downloads are available on Clifford White’s homepage.
The album is also on Spotify: