When praising an exciting and well-written book, we often say that it “instantly connects with the reader” and that “you simply cannot put the book down”. Listening to Timothy Wenzel’s new album “Distant Horseman”, it is obvious to me that the same goes for music. From the very first note Wenzel creates a world of harmonies, stories and life. You just don’t want to turn it off. You have to find out how it ends, it is that good.
Timothy Wenzel debuted in 2012 with “Mountains Take Wing”. After this, “A Coalescence of Dreams” (October 2012) , “River Serene” (2013) and “Summon the Wind” (2014) followed. His fifth album, “Distant Horseman”, was released in February 2016.
A Bend in the River
First track is called “A Bend in the River”. The warm and cosy sounding piano is simply irresistible; the melody is impossible not to like. The album features Josie Quick on violin, and it was mastered by Corin Nelsen. When Josie starts playing, the bend in the river suddenly seems like the best place on earth. Or perhaps it the excitement of what lies beyond the bend? Timothy Wenzel is often inspired by Celtic and folk music, and this song is no exception.
Next song is the title track. It follows in the same style, but with a hint of melancholy. It makes you ask; who is this distant horseman? Is it a long lost relative? Or is it a messenger, bringing news of high importance? The cover gives no explanation, other than that fact that there’s a horseman out there, riding away. Talking about the cover; the wonderful artwork is made by Edson Moraes, especially for this album. The sci-fi/fantasy theme is an interesting contrast to album’s traditional sound. It also highlights the fact that this album’s theme is about journeys – either real or imaginary.
I love albums that have a consistent sound. That make them ideal for reading, studying or creative work. “Distant Horseman” is such an album. Timothy’s piano and carefully selected synths, plus Josie’s violin, make an unforgettable atmosphere. Listen to the songs “Turn and walk away” and “A Night so Cold” and you’ll understand what I mean.
The atmosphere is even more laid-back on “Moments in Years”. We are all travelers in time and space, and the flute and the gentle drum make time fly by fast. It is a simple and very nice melody. There’s a bit more drama on “No Tomorrow”, with a quite fast rhythm. The world might be ending, but before there’s lots of life and excitement. Perhaps there’s a tomorrow after all?
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Forgiven”. The orchestral arrangement is very well made, and the song has a great build-up. It has some truly epic qualities. It makes me think of The Lord of the Rings, which is a great match to the album’s journey theme.
“Colors Dancing” is, as the name implies, a bright and happy tune. There’s some really nice keyboards in the background, and the drums make a splashing sound. When colors are dancing, there’s obviously some clearing up to do…
For me the high point on the album is “Ecstasy Eyes”. The gentle melody, with piano, violin and a vocal synth, is balancing perfectly on the edge of melancholy. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and shows that Timothy Wenzel is on par with artists such as Medwyn Goodall, Llewellyn and Marc Enfroy. I also enjoy the Medieval feel of “Summer’s Dance” and the elegant “Walk with Me”.
Timothy has saved a great song for the ending. “Luminous Wake, Starlit Sea”. It has a larger-than-life feel, complete with heavenly voices and a steady marching rhythm. No doubt that the journey has been long and memorable.
I will end where I started; comparing “Distant Horseman” with literature. Its sound is so consistent that it feels like one story, one narrative. You just have to keep on listening to find out how it ends. “Distant Horseman” is Timothy Wenzel’s best album to date. Highly recommended!
Score: 93/100. See how I rate music here.