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Time and Again - Special Edition

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Album Review

It isn't uncommon for new age instrumentalists to have extensive credits doing background music or behind-the-scenes music — background music for soap or coffee commercials, background music for television programs, background music for movie trailers. And some of those instrumentalists are so used to playing background music that their own CDs sound like they were written for soap or coffee commercials; their discs sound like they are meant to passively fade into the background while the listener's primary attention is focused on something else. But not all new age fits that description; some new age (especially the world/new age fusion that has been going on) is a lot more interesting and ambitious. So it is best to judge new age on a case-by-case basis instead of making big, sweeping generalizations about the genre. Barry Franklin is one of those new age composer/producers who has done a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, and that background-music mentality sometimes carries over to Time and Again — sometimes, but not always. This late 2005 release is a mixed bag, and some of the tracks are more intriguing than others. There are times when Franklin sounds like he is content to merely fade into the background, but other tracks are more memorable — for example, the alluring "Recollection," the pensive "First Sunrise," and the mildy jazz-influenced "Introspection." Those are among the tracks that stick with the listener after Time and Again is finished playing — the tracks the listener will be anxious to revisit at some point. The less intriguing tracks, meanwhile, aren't bad; they're pleasant enough, but just aren't overly memorable. Neither the best nor the worst that the new age genre had to offer in 2005, Time and Again won't go down in history as a five-star masterpiece but indicates that Franklin is still worth keeping an eye on.

Time and Again - Special Edition, Barry Franklin
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