Peter Garnvik’s “End of a Journey” is in every way a remarkable album. When you start listening, you will notice the well-crafted melodies and exquisite arrangement. But that is only the beginning. After a time, you will sense that each piece contains a musical poetry that seems to speak directly to the soul. Lastly, you will experience that even further down is a level of meaning that says something vital about human existence. “End of a Journey” is, in short, great art in every sense of the word.
Swedish artist and composer Peter Garnvik started playing the organ at a young age. He took private lessons and later attended music college. But then Garnvik let go of his musical aspirations, and it took decades before he picked up where he left off as a teenager. “I can now use my life experiences to imbue the music I create with more substance and gravity,” he says.
“Coming Home” is the tender album opener. It sounds shy and humble, yet soon we sense where the melody is going. I love the recording and the air around the piano, making the room feel massive. It appears to be a loving homecoming, and initial trepidation is gone with the wind. “Coming Home” is a fabulous opener, making the listener feel very welcome indeed.
The first part of the album is about affections and everything that bind us together. “I See You” picks up where “Coming Home” left off. It is a lovely piece with a magnificent build-up. The orchestral arrangement, which features a flute, is delightful. I also like how Garnvik uses silence; It is storytelling on a grand scale. “I See You” is not only about love but seeing the needs of another human being on many levels. “Compassion” refines this notion even further. It makes us reflect on what it means to be compassionate and how it can serve as a guiding star. The hint of melancholy makes the piece even more colorful.
“Special Moments” is extraordinary indeed. It has the same finesse that made Kitaro’s “Silk Road” into such a hit in the early 1980s. It features harp and violin – and an Asian wind instrument too. It sounds lovely and adds a level of mystique. “Goodbye My Friend” is sorrowful and has a cinematic quality that any film director will pick up on before “Love’s Embrace” washes away all traces of sadness.
Now the album changes direction, focusing more on the journey theme. “The Final Quest” is perhaps the finest piece on the album. It has the atmosphere of myths and a breathtakingly beautiful melody. The choir’s conclusion is nothing short of masterful; It is impossible not to be impressed by the build-up and larger-than-life finale. Bravo!
The Lonely Path
“The Lonely Path” is a nice contrast. All the energy of “The Final Quest” suddenly evaporates, and there is nothing left but a sinking feeling of abandonment and sadness. Yet on the dark, lonely path suddenly shines a light (as seen on the fantastic cover artwork and below video) – which lights the fire that makes the “Walking Through Paradise” and “A Gentle Touch” so precious and special. The loneliness is replaced by love and life.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there is a philosophical quality to “End of a Journey” that makes the listener reflect. For instance, what does it mean that something is always true? The piece named “Always True” seems to answer that question better than any self-help book – before “Meditation on Eternity” shows a whole new side of Garnvik’s talent. The synths sound wonderful and inspired, and he is easily on par with artists such as John Adorney and Kevin Wood.
Reaching the end of “End of a Journey” feels odd since the whole album is dedicated to feelings of realization and accomplishment. But everything has to end somewhere, and that goes for this fine release too. “New Beginnings” is a joyous and well-balanced piece. Yet again, the piano is center stage, surrounded by the orchestra. The arrangement makes the composition so much more dynamic, making the listener hang on to each note. I like how the track rounds off the album in a light and uncomplicated way as if indicating that the end is a new beginning – and that the journey never really ends.
In conclusion: Peter Garnvik’s music got me thinking about Ella Maillart’s famous quote: “It is always our own self that we find at the end of a journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.” It is that kind of reflection over life, love, and ambitions that make “End of a Journey” into such an outstanding release. It is unpretentious and sincere, not overly romantic or rose-red. It paints a portrait of life as it really is. I also like its variation in sound, from acoustic to synth-based. Pieces like “Coming Home”, “I See You” and “The Final Quest” are genuine and timeless New Age music gems that will strengthen any playlist.
For me, this has been the beginning of a delightful and rewarding journey in music – with no end in sight. Experience for yourself where this stellar album might take you!
For more information and music samples, visit petergarnvik.com