Release Date: April 13, 2021
Keith Richie’s Ambient Highways was 5 years in the making.
Sometimes life can get in the way of things we want to do or accomplish. And then it takes intestinal fortitude and a supportive family to help you reach the end of the line to complete what you set out to do. Check all the boxes for Keith.
Now I begin my travel down the colorful Ambient Highways. The eye-catching artwork, provided by Keith’s wife and the colors of 180-gram LPs (purple white marbleized, and translucent blue), and the album sleeves with its dystopian view, bring many things to mind. Everything syncs up beautifully into one clear package of instrumental ambient music with a new age feel and color.
The engines start and you are rolling down the highway with “Neutrino.” The steady pulses provide the focus and you are seamlessly engaged, as the light keyboards are echoing through the cosmos. “V Feeling” provides ambient layers down this new highway with the cosmos as a backdrop. As I listen and I look at this cover art I am thinking how quickly everything is moving on the highway, at light speed, and how life can be that fast, then we are once again stardust. Side one closes with “Xenogenesis,” offering some nice keys to relax and draw you into the mix of orchestrations and rhythms that create an ambient bubble in time.
Side B brings you the title track as the “Ambient Highways” are now an extension of you as the music moves you. This fantastic voyage and the softness of the synth ushers you into all the layers of sound. The “Weeping Angels” are now calling with synths sounding like a harp playing at the gates of heaven. This is a prolific track title with the music to emulate what the words say beautifully with purpose. “Faiths Song (Ptilopteri Waltz)” closes out the purple and white marbleized spinning disc with a dance of divinity and color pulsating with love.
Now as the beauty of the translucent blue disc spins on your turntable, the chilling “Arctic Shores” get some warmth from sounds that Keith is creating on side C. You feel the chill turn into something new and refreshing as the waves hit the shoreline, the cold is gone and the water is inviting again. “Dew From The Morning Star” takes shape as the music drips it inviting sounds on the grass and leaves on the trees. The only thing missing is the sound of happy birds chirping. The piano is engaging, bringing about these visions in your mind’s eye. Then the storytelling track, and Keith’s musical bio, “Keeping The Dream Alive” begins. This is personal and a victory for the artist and all the people he loves. It is all at once cinematic, emotional, and bursting with many colors of joy. It is the perfect closer for this side of music.
Side D finishes in epic form with some very exciting and powerful music. “Neptune’s Awakening” puts the ocean on notice and all of your senses, as you envision this God emerging from the depths. The music is anticipatory and exciting like an important scene in a movie. “Distant Visions” is a continuation of this turn of events and musical direction. I enjoyed how much the music changed and continued to get my attention from beginning to end. You can feel the energy and strength of the music making its way through your heart and soul. The curtain closes on “Ultima Thule.” This is the Latin variation of the Greek meaning of “furthest of the far places” or a reference to people located beyond the borders of the known world. Look into the cosmos they may be waiting for you on the edge of time or perhaps the beginning or end of the universe? The sounds echo through the mists of time and the constant ticking of life's clock is present, as the beauty of every molecule that makes up this vast universe is represented and captured within the music.
Ambient Highways is a musical story that you will not forget. The fact that Keith composed, performed, and engineered this entire recording, is a credit to his immense talent and vision that we can all appreciate in his music. This one is a keeper for the ages in the world of ambient instrumental music with a taste of new-age essence tucked within every track. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, into the ground we return and our spirits ascend to return where we began. Music, heaven, and the cosmos can be found traveling along the Ambient Highways.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 6, 2021
2. V Feeling
1. Ambient Highways
2. Weeping Angels
3. Faith's Song (Ptilopteri Waltz)
1. Arctic Shores
2. Dew from the Mourning Star
3. Keeping the Dream Alive
1. Neptune's Awakening
2. Distant Visions
3. Ultima Thule