Thierry David is back! Almost seven years after “Hypnosis”, David again proves that he is one of the finest artists on the New Age music scene. Listening to his brand-new album “Slow Motion” got me thinking about a Thomas Merton quote: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” That seems to be an accurate definition of David’s music too. His masterfully crafted soundscapes are so vast and intricate that it is actually possible to get “lost” – and when we do, we learn something profound and deeply meaningful about ourselves. “Slow Motion” is easily one of 2021’s finest meditation albums and a pillar in Thierry David’s one-of-a-kind discography.
Thierry David was born in Paris in 1955. During his early years, he practiced the major pieces from the classical repertoire before discovering the freedoms of jazz while still a teenager. Upon graduation from ESSEC, one of the prestigious business schools in Paris, he flew to Peru as a volunteer posted to the cultural service of the French Embassy in Lima. “Rather than rush into a diplomatic or business career, I attempted the entrance exam for Berklee College of Music in Boston,” he says, and was accepted into this prestigious institution. He debuted in 1988 with “Moonstorm” and has since released over 20 highly successful New Age music albums – the most recent being the above mentioned “Hypnosis” (2014). Before that he released “Ambient Tales” (2013), and “Chill & Lounge Tales” (2013).
The “Slow Motion” album opener is called “Convolutions”. David has a unique world of music in store for us; it is quite dark and a hint of melancholy is lurking right under the surface. Yet the most striking is the beautiful ambient melody. The electric guitar, piano, and layers of synths and textures are hands down gorgeous – and the word perfection comes to mind more than once. Its powerful hypnotic, drug-like qualities are nothing short of impressive. “Convolutions” is a brilliant album opener in every sense of the word!
As implied by the title and the sounds of nature in the intro, “Wild Hope” takes the listener into the heart of the wilderness. The soundscape is lush, and the rhythm equally delightful. The “duet” between the piano and the wind instrument is fascinating and alien at the same time. In my book, no one does chill better than Thierry David – and “Wild Hope” is a sublime example of this great genre. It is Buddha Bar, 2021 style.
The title track has a sorrowful edge that instantly connects with the listener. The soundscape feels tender and bare. It is as if David is zooming in and exposing every aspect of an emotion, putting it on slow motion. Before you can move on – from grief or a broken heart, for instance – you have to really feel it, and a piece like “Slow Motion” connects with your pain. It is a good kind of sadness. I’m very impressed with the almost inaudible rhythm. It is there; you can feel it – but you almost cannot hear it, like magic.
Next out is “Diamond Drops”. It has a nice touch of smooth jazz and a cool vibe. I like the textures and how each piano note is like a shiny “diamond drop”, gently falling. It is a mysterious and marvelous soundscape, unique and fresh. Talking about shiny things, track five is called “Divine Spark”. Listening feels a bit like looking into the machinery that binds everything together, the mechanical heart of the DNA, the divine ignition. It is fascinating how it stops, then starts, as if nothing has happened.
My favorite piece on the album is “Dazzling Blue”. It is breathtakingly beautiful and Thierry David is easily on par with Nicholas Gunn, Chuck Wild/Liquid Mind, and David Helpling. The silky-smooth arrangement, light rhythm, and enigmatic atmosphere make “Dazzling Blue” into something truly extraordinary. It is not just dazzling, it is sensational! The ambient melody is soulful and serene. It is a soundscape for special occasions, like a fine bottle of wine. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself:
“Weightless Keys” rounds off the album with finesse and David’s usual attention to details. The slow, reflective piece has a larger-than-life feel, and the synth keys seem to be floating in endless space. Time loses its meaning while listening. The soundscape has so much variation, so you can safely put it – or the whole album – on replay.
In conclusion: When you watch a slow-motion video, you can see things that are normally imperceptible. By reducing the speed, we get a clearer picture of what is going on. I believe this is the key factor that makes Thierry David’s comeback album so great too. “Slow Motion” is a sublime collection of meditative pieces. Their reflective nature makes your mind wander, whether you intend for it to happen or not. I especially like the mysterious atmosphere, making the listening experience so much more interesting. Each of the seven pieces is like a planet of its own, filled with interesting tableaus, light rhythm, and colors. The music is great for relaxation, reading, or creative work.
My recommendation is: Experience life in “Slow Motion”. You will not regret it.
For more information and music samples, visit thierrydavidmusic.com