“Cityscape” is the triumphant conclusion to Clifford White’s “Synergy Series”. It takes the listener on a joyride through a futuristic metropolis, communicating a positive and upbeat view of the future. It is a city brimming with opportunities and action. “Cityscape” is a worthy ending to the series, confirming yet again that Clifford White is one of the finest New Age music artists of all time.
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”, “The Speed of Silence,” “Robot Dawn,” and “Cityscape”.
Enjoy this exclusive, 26 minutes long “Cityscape” video:
In the “Synergy Series”, we are now several hundred years into the future. Part three gave us robots, while this last chapter is all about future ambiance. “First Light” kickstarts the album. It is a fast and chilled piece with White’s signature sound. I love the way he tells a story; Notice how the thunder and rain give atmosphere, and the distant police sirens and radio chatter add life and movement. The city of the future is waking up, and we are in for quite a ride!
White has saved one of Synergy Series’ best songs for this chapter. “Sidewalk” is, pure and simple, a jewel. It is a cool and rhythmic piece. It could have been used in any context, from a mobile ringtone to a Hollywood movie. Both the melody and the arrangement are very well-made. It is apparent that the sidewalks are THE place to be around here.
The people of the future are, however, not limited to mere walking. With “Skyway” the listener is airborne in a flash, taken on a wild ride. It is travel, future style. Even Richard Branson and Elon Musk would be impressed. Safely back on earth, we are introduced to the “Easy Street”. It is a chilled piece with a nice rhythm and a sweet electric guitar. The street leads directly to an upscale gathering. “Garden Party” is a highly danceable song, with a taste of 1970s disco and J.M. Jarre.
There’s time for romance too. “Lovers Lane” has a funky Bossanova beat, a sassy sax, and a beautiful flute. There’s even a very analog-sounding synth, connecting the past and the future beautifully.
At this stage, we leave love and high life behind and skyrocket into the world of technology. “Forward Motion” gives a glimpse into all the exciting breakthroughs the future has in store for us. But it is not without some physical limitations. “Fever Dream” contains some rather confusing samples and light rhythm. Fever seems to be a thing of the future too, sadly. The heat rises even more with the ambient “Hot Pursuit”. It is a song in turbo mode, for sure. Even at this stage, 4.5 hours into the “Synergy Series”, White’s focus on details is incredible. The song has a very nice build-up and a well-made conclusion. White takes no shortcuts. Just like “Skyway”, “Outward Bound“ takes us flying. It is a thrilling ride, positive and upbeat.
“The Darker Path” is something different. Its hard-hitting arpeggiator synth and sharp rhythm take us down a much darker path. Life in the future is not all a dance on roses. “Elsewhere” is a contrast to this, a warm and light piece – taking us far away from the chilling darkness of the previous song. I love the rich textures and many layers. There’s a complexity here that gives us replay value.
“Cityscape” rounds off not only this part but the whole Synergy series. It is a real tour de force ending, a gift from White to the listener who has ventured this far. It was well worth the efforts it took to get here. The 8 minutes long piece has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. White’s metropolis of the future is not a “Bladerunner” kind of place. No, it is bright and dynamic. It is a place you can leave your door unlocked. If it is because technology makes burglaries meaningless remains unsaid, but it is a soundscape in which you can spend your day. How wonderful!
In conclusion: “Cityscape” by Clifford White is a fabulous conclusion to the “Synergy Series“. It plays well as a standalone album too. What I like the best is its message. When looking at today’s headlines, we tend to think that the future holds nothing but chaos and total environmental collapse. White’s vision is different and optimistic. In the future city, technology has solved most of humankind’s problems. It is a refreshing and hopeful message.
Score: 96/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, visit Clifford White’s homepage.