Heading to Dreamland  – Juan Sánchez (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

With instrumental music, such as this elegant offering, I find myself making the same point as I do when reviewing music with lyrics that are in a language other than my own. Take away the direct communication that the words provide and you are left with just the music itself as the bridge between the musician and listener. And it is a wonderful way to approach music. All too often people just engage with the lyrics, want something that is familiar, something to sing along to…it does after all explain the rise in popularity of tribute and cover bands. But in doing so they miss at least half of what the music is about, half of what the musician intended the song to be. Well, here the music is the “be all and end all” as they say, and despite, or perhaps because of, the lightened floating form that it takes, it is gorgeous in the extreme.

Heading to Dreamland is a hauntingly beautiful and exquisitely minimalist mix of shimmering piano and just the hint of synth-string washes to act as a hazy backdrop. My knowledge of classical music, which this undoubtedly is, is limited, but it does remind me of the drifting ambience of Ludovico Einaudi and the understated nature of much of his work, but that may just be because my frame of reference misses some more obvious inspirations.

But whatever the inspirations for such music are, there is no doubting the eloquence of the piece and the stillness of the seascape in the video, the passing of birds, the dramatic coastal scenes and the performance taking place at a point where man’s world meets the open expanse of nature seems the perfect visual metaphor for such bridled music.

Juan Sánchez obviously has the perfect self-editing process, as such natural wonders and dreamlike thoughts in the hands of lesser musicians could easily result in more bombastic musical statements, more intricate musical weaves. Instead he creates something understated, something where the pauses between the notes not only allow the drifting synth to swirl around and come to the fore but the very minimalism of the approach adds to the feeling of quiet contemplation, of reflection and meditation, a moment of pause perchance to dream.

I have already used up all the appropriate words needed to summarise the music but forgive the repetition if I just say that this is a gorgeous moment of understated beauty, something everyone needs to find time for in this hectic and often dark modern world.

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