Neoclassical, melodic ambient. Journey's End is a gentle, engrossing album that takes the listener through a range of appealing instrumental vistas. Opening with a drifting arrangement of warm ambient, beatless drone and texture, the album progresses via some delicate piano pieces into rhythmic sections with keening electric guitar and ponderous pace, onward via a section where the music takes on more of a 'new age' or ethereal electronic nature with subdued choral voices to the acoustic guitar and vibes lounge sound of the penultimate 5 Years before winding down with the classically oriented strings and piano of the emotive title track. For me the most poignant pieces are the wistful, meandering Wax Branches where beautifully fragile piano lines take the lead over airy synthetic washes and the equally reflective Reaching Out, where the electronic soundscaping is a little more prominent, suggestive of heavenly light and weightless reverie, once more with sensitive, melancholy piano phrases pulling at the heart.
Howard Ferre’s neo-classical and electronica leanings are on par with Enigma, Enya, Tangerine Dream, and similar groups. The mostly instrumental compositions provide an ideal environment for chill-laxing, lounging, and contemplating the extreme beauty of sound from something as simple as a keyboard.
The 9-minute opening track, “Before You,” is the most ambient piece here, the flows silken and wispy. Get to “Turning Point” and the surprise arrival of a downtempo beat is upstaged only by the late-track flair of a wailing guitar. This is my favorite track here, a soundtrack-worthy piece with a cool-striding attitude. Roll the credits as the hero turns his Corvette toward the sunset. “Stained Glass Reflection” practically has “insert lyrics here” written across its laid-back folk-rock pedigree. Cocktails are in order when Ferré turns on the Latin-jazz electric-piano vibe in “5 Years.” Smoky-sweet and sexy, neatly augmented with rolls of thunder, and just the right amount of showy. The title track brings the disc to a poignant close with a sentimental melody and a sometimes bold symphonic backdrop. The camera circles. Pulls back. Fades out. Journey’s End perfectly showcases the wide scope of Ferré’s musicianship–not just his instrumental range or ability to write songs in several styles, but to tell a story with each piece that’s complete and understandable. On top of that, it all quite nicely stands up to repeat listens. A great end-of-day disc and a superb debut from Howard Ferré. This Journey’s End is clearly just the beginning.
Howard Ferre and Ferre Studios © 2013