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BRAHENY and CLARK's maiden voyage is brimming with imaginative essays on the emotions associated with one of nature's most multi-faceted expressions. It's a pleasure to immerse yourself in this music's resounding optimism and passion. Rain, the first collaboration between Hearts of Space artists KEVIN BRAHENY and TIM CLARK, exemplifies the kind of rapport most musicians only dream about. "The music just seemed to pour out of us," cracks Braheny.
The idea to create an album entirely about rain preceded the beginning of work in Clark's studio in Phoenix, Arizona. "We knew we wanted to write music that would feel like rain without actually using recorded sounds of thunder and showers. We felt it would be more of an artistic challenge to depict these things purely musically."
Inspiration from nature was lacking at first. Braheny's base in Northern California had been besieged by drought for years, and Clark's Sonoran desert home was experiencing the usual August heatwave - 115 degrees with no rain in sight. The musicians had to conjure up their fondest memories of summer thunderstorms and gentle spring showers.
"After many days composing pieces about rain," says Braheny, "on the last day I was in Phoenix it actually started raining, and in California it continued for months." "It was still pouring when I went to Kevin's studio in December to complete the music," Clark continues, "and it didn't stop until the album was finished."
The nine pieces surpass their immediate value as programmatic excursions. In the opening piece, "Sunshowers," sparkling textures, rich harmonic clouds and exhilarating melodies set the tone for a lively exploration of the many moods and settings associated with rain. Braheny's unmistakable melodic style on the Steiner EWI (electronic wind instrument) enhances the expressiveness of the music with a broad palette of tone colors, sounding at various times like a glistening flute, an underwater cello, or a saxophone from outer space.
Otherwise, it's virtually impossible to tell who's playing what as the musicians fuse their individual styles to create the luxurious slow-motion sonic splashes of "Tidepool," and the electric flashes and dynamic, rhythmic storms of "Monsoon." "Falling Like Tears" is especially striking in its juxtaposition of yearning, mournful melodies and sultry Indonesian gamelan accompaniments.
From the rainy day blues of "Rainstreet" to the carefree, south-of-the-border beats of "Green Umbrella," and the misty Irish cheer of "The Hills of Home," Braheny and Clark's maiden voyage is brimming with imaginative essays on the emotions associated with one of nature's most multi-faceted expressions. It's a pleasure to immerse yourself in this music's resounding optimism and passion. With its gorgeous melodies and rhythmic grace, Rain is sure to chase away any gray clouds on your horizon.