In a recent video presentation of his new release “Pacific Blue”, Nicholas Gunn says: “I believe that we all have the same kind of life journey, that we all exist within the same parameters. It is our Pacific Blue“. When you listen to the album, you’ll experience that Gunn’s statement has both depth and substance. His unique melodic talent and Alina Renae’s expressive vocal guide us into the deep, blue ocean – which at the same time is a metaphor on life itself. “Pacific Blue” is another winner from Nicholas Gunn!
Born and raised in the UK and a student of the Royal Academy of Music, Nicholas Gunn has produced and composed over 20 solo albums, along with countless other productions. For New Age music fans, Gunn is primarily known for “The Sacred Fire” (1994) and “The Music of the Grand Canyon” (1995). The album “Riding the Thermals” (2019) marked a new direction in Gunn’s music, with inspirations from electronic genres such as EDM. In our review, we wrote “With “Riding the Thermals” Gunn has managed to revitalize his artistic project, and, in the process, found the missing link between EDM and Contemporary Instrumental genres.”
Into the Vastness
It is safe to say that the first minute of the album-opening “Into the Vastness” is world-class sound design. A lonely sounding synth, almost like a sonar, pulls the listener into the deep. Then a low, quite rapid bass and an ARP seem to drag us even further down. There’s a sense of danger here too, as a larger-than-life underwater world opens before our inner eye. It makes me think of David Helpling’s “RUNE,” but the water is way warmer. It is a phenomenal start to the album, and I’m happy to report that Gunn will keep this incredible quality level all the way to the end.
Alina Renae has worked with Gunn on many projects, and their co-operation is, in my opinion, a match made in heaven. Her contributions on this release are evenly divided. “And I” is a stunning love song. Notice the inspired lyrics, and how well it matches the ocean theme. Feelings are washing over the listener. The conclusion, “I finally found a way, to say I love you,” is breathtakingly beautiful. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself:
“Pacific Blue” is an album about being carried by water, also in a literal sense. Just look at the titles, “Sailing,” “Adrift,” “Float” and so on. “Sailing” is a fast, electronic song, reminiscent of the works of another UK New Age music legend, Clifford White and his “Waterworld,” and the sharp lead synth is “all Vangelis.” A touch of “Bladerunner” always spices up a song, in my opinion. “Sailing” is, in short, chill.
One of the most excellent songs on the album is “Chasing the Light.” The mix of electric guitar and piano is magnificent, and the arrangement is top-notch. Making a music video to this piece with light and running water would be super easy since the song is highly visual.
In Gunn’s music these days is also a healthy dose of pop. “Fallen” is a song with real hit potential. The lyrics may have a connection with the quite dramatic – yet fantastic! – cover artwork. It is perhaps a statement on how we as humans can be engulfed in water. Water is life, but it is also dangerous. Next out are two meditative pieces: “Adrift” and “Float,” which show Gunn’s impressive skills as a producer of electronic music – and how he makes it “his.” It sounds like a cliché but check out these two songs, and you’ll see.
The title track is saved for the last part of the album. It is a reflective piece dealing with “The Great Pacific Blue” as a metaphor, and how we get wiser with age. Give it some time, and it will grow on you – like good poetry.
I love the ending! The song “Coast” plays homage to laidback costal lifestyle, which is a usual theme in chill out. “Out from the Deep” is a contrast to “Coast”. Suddenly we are deep down, hearing Alina’s heavenly voice from far below. The song has an incredible build-up, which rounds of the album nicely.
In conclusion: “Pacific Blue” is a new pillar in Nicholas Gunn’s discography, an essential release on par with his classics of the 1990s. The most striking is perhaps Gunn’s perspective; In the lyrics we meet an “I”, a living, breathing human, that we all can relate to – and, on the other side, the enormity of the life-giving and life-taking ocean. This fascinating duality, plus rock-solid melodies and arrangements, are the cornerstones in “Pacific Blue”.
Enjoy “Pacific Blue” and see where the music will take you. It will be a profoundly personal experience, guaranteed.
Score: 97/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, visit nicholasgunn.com