Opening with a gentle and beautiful piece entitled The Melting, the listener is immediately transported to the icy beauty of a snow laden landscape, scintillating in the morning sun. The sounds of melting ice and dripping water expertly blend with a smooth and sensual beat, crooning vocals and shimmering cascading sounds, evoking a wondrous and romantic celebration of nature.
Crystal Vision is a long, evolving piece which begins with the gentle lapping of waves and washes of warm keyboards before expanding into rhythmic crystalline cascades of bell-like timbres and glistening arpeggios. Warm and inviting, the music envelops you in a loving cocoon, a chrysalis of sound, iridescent in the sunlight.
The title track Ice Age begins almost within the ice itself, as fractal images splinter and fragment around you whilst you float in limitless space. Warm rhythms gently evolve, carrying you further into your fantasy, and eventually a smooth bossa-nova like rhythm emerges, carrying a melodic theme of travel, discovery and adventure.
Conjuring images of vast, open panoramas, vertiginous cliffs and snow-capped mountains, Expanse takes you on a journey through the stratosphere of an ice laden landscape. A lone flute and oboe carry a lofty melody as you soar among the peaks; an alpine tune that speaks of romance, charm and tenderness.
After all the glamour and enchantment that preceded it, Cool Bananas takes an innovative diversion into cool jazz, with slinky beats and funky riffs. Icy fractal images and shards of glassy sounds still abound, although this time encased in a graceful and serpentine groove that will get your foot tapping.
Returning to the polar vistas that are the primary theme of this album, Glaciation opens with an almost melancholy mood, with glinting shards of sound and an icy melodic zephyr which gradually warms, as if exposed to the rising sun, before the track evolves into another shrewdly conceived groove of sensual jazz influence.
Weaving a tale of innocence and youth, Migration evokes the joy and playfulness of the natural world, with sprightly and whimsical melodies swaddled in a heartfelt and idyllic mood.
Perhaps the most mysterious, ghostly and haunting track on the album, Iceolation is a dreamy and chimerical ballad of bewitchment. A voice from the mountain seems to call out in solitude, supported by gentle African rhythms, strings and cello to weave it’s melancholy tale.
A heartfelt and loving mood abounds in Home, with lofty piano arpeggios underpinned by gentle African grooves that support a charming and beguiling melody. The album finally reaches a graceful conclusion with Golden Days, a nostalgic and sentimental piece, with layered wistful tunes on horns, cello and flute, before rising strings and guitars take over to result in a soaring and emotional, almost tear-jerking climax.
One might have thought that an album concept entirely focused on the Ice Age would be a little too cold for comfort, but Clifford’s album is nothing but warm, romantic, gentle and loving. Of course, there are icy sounds, shimmering cascades and crystal-like bell tones to rarefy the atmosphere, but Clifford’s gentle and caressing music leaves you feeling cocooned in a warm and welcome embrace, leaving you feeling relaxed and renewed.