Diane Arkenstone’s Following the Equator (2005) is without a doubt one of the finest New Age music albums released over the last 10-20 years. Its wonderful atmosphere of adventure and Equatorial warmth is simply not to miss. It is like a soundtrack to a voyage of epic proportions.
Diane Arkenstone has given us many great albums. Her discography, from Jewel in the Sun (2002) to last year’s Union Road (2013) – and her projects together with ex. husband David Arkenstone – is an inspiration to her many fans and artists alike. Following the Equator is the last of the Adventure Cargo series, which also includes African Skies (2003), Spirits of the Rainforest (2003) and Echoes of Egypt (2004).
A Great Adventure
From the very first guitar chords on Marajo, we are greated with a warm, welcoming sound. The Spanish guitar is amazing. At this point though it is easy to label the album as a world music release. But the beauty of New Age music is the variation in sound and expression – and track two, Jubba River, is an upbeat, positive song with the atmosphere of great adenture. It is obvious though that Diane Arkenstone has done a lot of research to get the atmosphere right for this part of the world. This song has been in the playlist on New Age Stars Radio for years, and it receives nothing but positive reviews. It has become a true classic.
The feeling of conquest and greatness continues on the tracks follow; Bintang and Jinja are simply great storytelling. My personal favourite is track no.5, The Spice Trader. What makes this album stand out is the overall quantity from start to finish. I’m amazed over the poetic beauty of Mountains of the Moon. Imagine being on board a wooden ship at night in the middle of the ocean, gazing at the moon. Yes, music can be magical!
If you have no vacation plans in the near future, Following the Equator may be your ticket to an imaginary voyage on first class. To me, that’s the highest praise a New Age music album can get.
Score; 96/100 – See how I rate music here
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