Given the overwhelming problems with pollution these days, it is hard to be a technology optimist. We can, of course, consume and travel less, but a significant part of the problem must be fixed by developing new technologies. Listening to part two of Clifford White’s “Synergy series,” “The Speed of Silence,” reinstated my belief in science. The album is profoundly positive, showing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. In this part of the series, we leave the world as we know it behind (as presented in part one, “Waterworld”), and take off into the brave new future. It is a voyage you don’t want to miss!
Clifford White was only 17 years old when he debuted on New World Music in 1985 with “Ascension.” His most recent albums are “The Gods of Olympus” (2009), “Atlantis” (2010) and “The Healing Touch – Ascension II” (2010). The new series is, according to White, “an exploration of electronic music past, present, and future.” The albums are “Waterworld” (see our review here), “The Speed of Silence,” “Robot Dawn,” and “Cityscape.”
Enjoy this exclusive, 22-minute long presentation of “The Speed of Silence”:
The whole “Synergy Series” flows beautifully as one continuous, gigantic, album. “Speed of Silence” starts where “Waterworld” left off; with two water-related songs. As we hit play, waves wash over us as we are breaking the surface. “Tidal Forces” is a tribute to the awesome powers of the sea. The song has a fresh and smart vibe with some subtle 1980s references. “Vitamin Sea” is unmistakably Clifford White, with its gentle synth lead and light rhythm. He is easily on par with Tony O Connor and Medwyn Goodall in these first songs.
Next out is the title track. At this stage in the “Synergy Series,” we are leaving the ocean behind and starting our grand voyage. Clifford has a spaceship ready for us; “The Speed of Silence” takes off like a rocket! It is fast, futuristic, even danceable.
One of Clifford’s inspirations is Edgar Froese, lead member of Tangerine Dream. “Froesen Dreams” has excellent 1980s sounding analogue synths and an arrangement and melody that could have been taken from Froese’s masterpiece “Stuntman” (1979). It is the best song on the album; upbeat, inspired and highly creative.
The futuristic atmosphere continues on “Fertile.” In the beginning, we hear the rain and distant thunder. The pluck-like synth and bell are as gentle as raindrops. The Tangerine Dream influences are, as they say, right under the surface – fertile as ever. I very much enjoyed the trumpet part.
A new world order rises in the song “Event Horizon.” Vangelis couldn’t have done it any better; It grand, massive and epic. Anything is possible for the supernatural forces at play here. “Submersible” takes it, as the title implies, down a notch. It is a chilled piece. Again we are given a taste of technology and what the future has in store for us. Clifford is a first-rate sci-fi author; his typewriter is his digital audio workstation.
“Love on a Real Train” from “Dream Sequence” (1985) is Tangerine Dreams’ most popular song ever. Clifford’s “Love on the Moon” has much of the same sound. It is a heartwarming melody, taking us on a space trip for a romantic rendezvous. It is space tourism à la Richard Branson, proposing to a girl on the moon! Back on planet Earth, we are enjoying an upscale honeymoon by the sea with “Sea Breeze,” complete with a saxophone and a sassy beat.
At this stage on the album, we are (hopefully) many years into the future. “Space Invaders” gives us a close encounter with real aliens. They seem friendly enough, in an E.T. or ALF kind of way. It is a refreshing and quite complex piece with nice effects. “Electric Frontier” concludes the album with a soft touch of Jean Michel Jarre, plus Clifford’s usual well-made arrangements.
In conclusion: “The Speed of Silence” by Clifford White is a profoundly positive album, like a musical vitamin injection. It is brimming with optimism for science and future technologies. It represents a shift in the Synergy series too, from the ancient “Waterworld” and into the space age. Even though it is a four-CD series, his attention to detail is nothing short of masterful on every track.
“The Speed of Silence” will leave you feeling happy, relaxed and hopeful. Few things these days have that quality.
Score: 94/100 – See how I rate music here
For more information, and to learn about the complete Synergy series, see Clifford White’s homepage.