This classic new age release was originally released in 1984, but it sounds as fresh today as it did when it was then. Braheny used state-of-the-art instruments of the time with rare artistry and inspiration.
There are two pieces on the CD, “The Way Home”, and “Perelandra”. Both are new age/space music pieces with a sense of mystery and wonder. Braheny uses synthesizers in an symphonic way, orchestrating the tracks delicately with airy electronic voices, bells and harps.
“The Way Home” is a magical piece that makes extensive use of an instrument known as the Fairlight CMI. The Fairlight Computer Music Instrument was a tremendously expensive synthesizer when it was released. It was one of the first computer-based digital sampling instruments. While it was groundbreaking at the time, it was very primitive by today’s standards.
Nevertheless, Braheny uses it to great effect. Many of the sounds have an airy quality that sounds like they come from some exotic wind instrument. In fact, the orchestration and sound of “The Way Home” is some of the most beautiful ever recorded.
“Perelandra” was inspired by a novel by C.S. Lewis, and is less new age than space music. It sounds just as beautiful as “The Way Home”, but has more motion. There are some noise-based sounds that sound a little like surf or wind that start off the piece, along with some droning synthesizers. A very slow melodic sequence repeats against the drones, along with some improvised embellishments. Braheny also plays flute-like melodies over this backdrop using a Steiner Electronic Wind Instrument. This allows woodwind-like inflections to be played using electronic sounds, giving them a great deal of expression.
The first section is created using primarily analog synthesizers. The second section is the most beautiful part of the piece. It uses vocal samples that fade in and out, singing “ahhs”, creating the effect of floating through angelic choirs. This section seems inspired by similar work by Brian Eno on his first ambient album. The final section returns to a combination of analog sounds and lush pads.
The two tracks on The Way Home are both classic electronic works, combining the best traits of new age and space music.
The Way Home was one of the first releases on the Hearts of Space records. This classic captures the best of the spirit of HOS, and is a must-have for new age and space music fans.