Opening with the light and refreshing Equatorial, we are instantly transported to shimmering seas and misty arroyos. The sun sparkles on the water, and seagulls enjoy the unbridled freedom of the skies. Clifford’s music is suffused with joy and carefree optimism, skipping along at a pace quick enough to keep the attention, yet atmospheric enough for the listener to enjoy the audio scenery. And such scenery it is, as melodic flutes and syncopated harp arpeggios dance with crystal like piano washes and heartwarming harmonies. There is also a sweet nostalgia to Clifford’s music which is timeless and jubilant.
The rich heart of the Amazon river beats in Amazonia, as you are expertly guided on a tour of the landscape by air in this uplifting and evocative piece of music. Sublime conga beats support a soaring electric guitar melody that is both gentle and glorious, as the track carries you onward in your lofty journey.
Quiet joy and contentment are the themes of The Tropical Zone, as you relax by the palm tress with your drink of choice, a cool wind blowing across the sun baked coastline. In the distance, you can make out one or two boats, but otherwise there is nothing but clear green sea and sand for miles and miles. You can hear the far off sounds of children’s voices as they play at the coastline, but it is not enough to disturb your reverie. You are in paradise, and there is no place you would rather be. With just the simplest of instrumentation, Clifford manages to conjure up the sheer pleasure of a beach retreat in the sun.
A single piece at over 20 minutes in length, Aqua takes you on a magical journey across the ocean. In the unusual time signature of 7/4, the tracks hypnotic undulations provide support to the varied melodies that weave their way across the landscape of your imaginings. Flute, piano, voice and the gentle sounds of waves create a mystic and mesmerising mood, a soothing and soporific bed of relaxation that carries you away on it’s gentle current of persuasion. Again Clifford shows with the most minimal of instrumentation how it is possible to create somnolent landscapes that are far from repetitive, yet maintain their alluring nature. A deeply relaxing and inspiring album.