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In Touch by Tony O'Connor

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In Touch
This was - and still is - a very special album for me. Originally planned to be exactly 60 beats per minute throughout, I discovered a deep, nurturing calm coming into the music while writing the pieces. The music seemed to write itself.

I have been told by many listeners that In Touch has helped them in a time of grieving for a lost one, so perhaps there was indeed a special message inside the melodies. Whatever it is, this album still takes me to a very quiet, comforting place.

1. Beginnings
2. Images
3. Diana
4. Waterfalls
5. Tomorrow

In Touch
Studio Horizon (1989)
Review : Wind and Wire

Using his trademark blend of flutes, piano, and a assortment of keyboards, Australian Tony O'Connor has produced another recording of soothing yet musically accomplished selections. This continues his unbroken string of wonderful and relaxing CDs which stretches back more than a few years. Tony is a consummate professional when it comes to albums that embody a serene and classically romantic melodic sensibility without ever sinking into the morass of disposable pop or new age noodling. In Touch is suffused with a gentle calm and a sense of acceptance (which is emphasized by the liner notes). The music is never soporific or boring yet the drama is subdued enough that this could be either enjoyed as background or as foreground listening. The exception is the final cut which is quite dramatic, closing the album on a rather affirming note.

There are only five cuts on the CD so each song has the time to develop over a longer period than is usual. The opener, "In Touch," features pan flute, piano, and lush synthesizers, all of which combine to paint a romantic soundscape of longing and regret. "Images," the next song, is another somber number, but a little more uptempo, and it uses a synth trumpet to wonderful effect - haunting and wistful - later joined by a synth soprano/tenor (can't tell which) sax. A reverbed synth bass line comes and goes, along with an undercurrent of washes as well that somber yet beautiful pan flute sound. "Diana" is a piano-based number which is overtly romantic, comparing favorably to standard-bearers like Lanz, Ciani, and Spielberg. The synth strings here may be over the top to some, but I have always admired Tony's sense of balance and this song is no different. As a romantic love song, it's great. Closing out the album are the quietly uplifting "Waterfalls" (another song anchored by piano and fleshed out with synth strings and sparse pan flute) and "Tomorrow," the thirteen-minute album closer, which signals a hopefulness and optimism with its more triumphant refrain and overall positive feel as it swells to its dramatic conclusion, aided by muted but still full-sounding drums.

In Touch is a solid CD from an artist who consistently proven that he can deliver the goods when it comes to romantic and melodic adult contemporary instrumental music - whether of the more relaxation variety or a more varied collection of moods and textures (such as this one). For fans of the early "glory" days of new age music (Narada, Private Music, Windham Hill), Tony is a reminder that not everyone has abandoned the quest for making music that can story the soul and renew the heart. Amen to that - amen to that!

All Music, Images and Text Copyright 1990-2008 Studio Horizon