The Road Ahead - Review
The Road Ahead is the third album and second non-holiday recording from Dallas-based musician and composer, Joslin. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning forty-nine minutes, this 2010 release adheres to a similar formula as his debut album, The Lone Traveler, while mostly scaling back the heavier techno-dance elements in favor of more contemporary rhythms. Likewise showcasing a colorful array of electronic, global and symphonic orchestral textures, the album features a handful of talented guest artists, of which includes guitarist David Abrams, violinist Radu Cernat, and vocalists Lauren Lamb and Elizabeth Leonard.
“The Atlantic Prelude” introduces the album with symphonic orchestration and a contemporary electronic rhythm, as Latin dance and rock elements lend the composition a sultry, dramatic flair that’s highlighted by cello, classical and electric guitar. Following it up is the equally aesthetic, “Celestial Rain”, a sensual chill-out number accentuated with touches of smooth jazz and lounge. Easily my favorite composition on the album, it seemingly evokes images of a Mediterranean oceanside casted by sunshine and rain, as flowing piano notes ringing like chimes are warmly immersed in bubbling electronics and a bass-laden groove. Switching gears a bit with “Sunrise”, this contemporary instrumental piece opens with singing birds and symphonic orchestration led by piano and brass instruments. Elegantly optimistic and celebratory, it brings imagery to mind of sunlight pouring into a magnificent ballroom or dancehall.
“Fall” is one of two compositions that features the vocals of Lauren Lamb; tailored to more of a pop-rock mode, she sings a catchy melody on this decisively mainstream radio-friendly song. Slipping back into an exotic swathe, “Body Language” is a sumptuous chill-jazz tune that showcases Spanish guitar and a cha-cha rhythm. Imbued with a seductively nocturnal mystique, this tantalizing piece perfectly evokes an atmosphere of a romantic evening on the pier, as one can almost feel the caressing breeze gently blowing in from sea. I’m also particularly fond of “Lonely Lovers Lullaby”, which features the wordless, aria-like vocals of Elizabeth Leonard. Led by a waltzing pace, this classically-infused number showcases a whimsically haunting piano and violin melody, as it seemingly recalls that of masked couples dancing in a vast white room.
Another favorite is “Cat and Mouse Tango”, where ‘tango meets techno’ for an interesting twist. Here, Radu Cernat leads the enchantingly romantic composition with his classical violin. Closing out the album on a gently optimistic note is the title track, “The Road Ahead”. A contemporary instrumental piece that bears subtle Celtic nuances throughout, it aptly portrays peaceful scenery of a sunny and open, northern terrain.
Another top-notch production from an amazing multi-talent, Joslin seemingly immerses himself in the diverse cultures and geographical locations that inspire his lovely compositions. Always infusing his intricate arrangements with an authentic and soulful essence, I’m once again remarkably impressed by the range of his musical dexterity!
~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)