Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Nothing Above My Shoulders But the Evening
Genres: New Age, Pop
In explaining the title of his fourth recording, Ray Lynch writes in the recording's liner notes that it "refers to the inexplicable feeling of headlessness. What is left when there is no thinking? Just the body, feeling, ... more »
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In explaining the title of his fourth recording, Ray Lynch writes in the recording's liner notes that it "refers to the inexplicable feeling of headlessness. What is left when there is no thinking? Just the body, feeling, being, enjoying." Make of that what you will, keeping in mind that the phrase (plus three other song titles) come from the writings of spiritual guide Da Avabhasa. As for the music, it involves Lynch (classical guitar, harplike keyboards) and a handful of musicians from the San Francisco symphony (violin, cello, and assorted horns get the most exposure) cultivating a gentle soundtrack for the vision of rapture playing in Lynch's imagination. For anyone not fully tuned into Lynch's wavelength, it is generally an unremarkable journey that nevertheless offers some pleasant moments, particularly the opening, quietly melodic journey for guitar ("Over Easy") and the Western guitar twang Lynch slips into the soft classical latticework of "Mesquite." Lynch has a following, as evidenced by the enthusiastic consumer reviews that accompany this offering. If you, as a mainstream music listener, intend to join it, bring only modest musical expectations. --Terry Wood
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Harry Housley | Tennessee, USA | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1993, while many notable contemporary and electronic music acts like Tangerine Dream seemed to be musically lost in a maze of high-tech digital synthesizers, pumping out commercial beat-oriented tunes. Ray Lynch released NOTHING ABOVE MY SHOULDERS and I purchased it; anxious to hear what direction his music had taken. Expecting more DEEP BREAKFAST and NO BLUE THING sonic pleasures, I was miffed over the lack of three-minute tunes, replaced instead by longer pieces, some almost classical. After several listens I began to appreciate this CD. As with most great music, (IMHO) beauty and meaning is not always immediately apparent, (a.k.a., Mike Oldfield's Hergest Ridge, one of my favorites of all time.) Rich with traditional instruments, including delicate piano, airy flutes and acoustic guitars, Nothing Above My Shoulders presents a collection of Ray's most introspective work (IMHO). OVER EASY begins the CD with a laid-back sounding tapestry of guitars, crisp and biting yet smooth and effortless. HER KNEES DEEP brings us classic Lynch song-writing with its heavenly chord progressions. The beautiful melody builds into a powerful climax, full of wonder and awe. Listen to this while watching a sunrise or sunset and you'll know exactly what I mean. PASSION SONG takes me back in time as I picture Mozart playing his harpsichord. Sonorous violins, and oboe (I think) and piano begin interacting, gently and melodically just before RL's unmistakable musical climax arrives in a rich three-dimensional soundstage. IVORY graces the ears with another delicate but heart-felt piano/flute masterpiece that is deeply contemplative. MESQUITE is a delightful surprise, playful and romantic. Again, RL let's his listener share in the evolution of the song as it builds and then subsides. ONLY AN ENJOYMENT offered me what I had hoped to find on this CD - more of the unique Ray Lynch sound I've admired and enjoyed from his previous albums. There is no sense of hurry as he explores and defines this thoughtful composition; sort of a symphony in a little over seven minutes. I like that, Ray having the confidence to convey in his music what is natural for him, and letting us intimately share in his thoughts and emotions along the way. THE VANISHED GARDENS ends this great album - Wow! In my opinion this is the ultimate RL masterpiece. The music soars, wondrously, with beautiful harps and angelic strings. He reiterates the melody, each time defining it with added emotion and each time, taking the climax to a higher emotional level. As with Ray's previous albums, NAMSBTE is a masterful recording - crisp, clear, and full of atmosphere. Every instrument is meticulously focused in the soundstage. I have no doubt this is Ray's finest accomplishment to date, and I admire him for having created yet more heart-felt music rather than becoming commercialized like other bands of the period. If the "masters," Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin, i.e., were alive today, they would be composing music like this. NAMSBTE is an album you'll savor again and again, much like the rest of Ray's music. HH"
M | Colorado | 01/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Ray Lynch CD of all time! Instead of using synthesizers like he did with his previous albums, Ray Lynch uses classical instruments for his compositions, which makes for some very breath taking music. While Ray Lynch's music has always been very visual for me, the use of the classical instruments adds an element of refinement and grace that is not as evident on his other albums. I absolutely love this CD and wish Ray had put out more like this one!"
'Nothing' is everything
Stephen T. Wilson | Cottonwood, AZ USA | 01/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nothing Above my Shoulders' is generally an album of moods, from the upbeat `Over Easy' to the slightly mournful but reflective `The Vanished Gardens of Cordoba'. A beautifully composed album easily suited for those quiet moments of introspection. "Her Knees Deep in your Mind' with its subtle melancholy harmonies sinks deep in your heart as well. And in `Mesquite', Mr. Lynch provides us with an additional boost to our senses. You can almost smell the aroma of sage in the air, and coffee boiling on a campfire as you listen. A restful album to enjoy free from distractions, well worth adding to your collection.