Directions for Life
By David James, October 2002.

 

If keyboard synthesists’ and their music had greater profiles in the UK, then Graham Spence would be amongst the foremost. And this new album would secure that very status.

 

The electronic ambiences are in abundance throughout this journey into ‘space’. Just the titles alone conger-up all kinds of imagery, such as ‘Beyond Stratus,’ of which there is a picture in the Graham Spence art gallery of the same title. The album’s title track is a thought provocative gem, and an excellent example of soundscaping. Ethereal tonalities emerge from the very beginning. The tones luxuriate in waves that defy perception, establishing a steadfast drone. The density of the soundscape increases into a pulsating hypnotic movement. It feels like I could be gliding in the universe.

 

I’ve seen Spence at one of his rare gigs and I was fascinated to know that throughout sections of his live set, he improvises. For a musician to do this freely in front of a live audience, he or she must overcome a good degree of social conditioning and, of necessity, expose some of their authenticity. These moments probably happen spontaneously and are to be treasured.
The ‘fan’ of soundscapes will enjoy not only this five minute gem, but the whole album.
 
This CD would sit alongside any of the elite synthesists of the world. As Spence once said: ‘’ Good music from the soul doesn’t require lyrics to portray a story or image. All that’s needed by the listener is the title, and imagination.’’

 

As his multi-skills have shown, he is also capable of writing intriguing lyrics and songs.  However, for me, it is the haunting sounds of his instrumental work that makes him stand out from the rest.