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Pure Joy

Russel Walder

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Album Review

The oboe is a particularly emotional instrument that listeners don't hear enough of in new age, and Russel Walder conveys an equal amount of joy and haunting melancholy despite the titular promise of only the prior. He balances intense, soaring trip-hoppy numbers like "Faith Embrace" and "State of Grace" (complete with hypnotic machine-generated percussion) with classical-flavored, orchestrally enhanced meditations. Some of these offer a heavy wall of sound ("This Moment Now"), while others are more subtle and mystical. A handful of tracks feature the lush piano of Steve Small, who elsewhere is relegated to a lot of keyboard washes and effects. More of that organic touch would be nice. The CD cover photo finds Walder jumping in exultation. The music inside may make one's heart leap a little but overall the effect is that of some deep mood swinging from light to dark and back again.

Biography

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

Classically trained, Russel Walder began playing the oboe at the age of ten. At 17, he performed at Carnegie Hall with the United States Youth Symphony, then joined them for a world tour. A few short years later, he began studying with Oregon and began dabbling in jazz, pop, and world music. In the '80s, he landed one of his compositions on Windham Hill's famed A Winter's Solstice album, which went on to sell two-million copies. Walder then joined Ira Stein on two recordings for Windham Hill. In...
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Pure Joy, Russel Walder
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