Rich liquid-like swirls and bubbling effects are the primary textures present in the waterborne track Waterworld, the title cut from the album of the same name and volume one of Clifford White’s Synergy album series. Deriving some of it’s inspiration from Jean-Michel Jarre’s massively popular late 70’s albums Oxygene and Equinoxe, Waterworld explores similar aural vistas. Ebbing and flowing with sensual rhythm, it is a vivacious elixir of sound and motion. In a similar vein, and pulsing with dynamic energy, the second track Kinetic propels the listener across a fluid landscape, interspersed with shimmering patterns and oscillating rhythms. In just these two pieces, Clifford aptly demonstrates how the musical language discovered by Jean-Michel Jarre in his seminal early albums can continue to be explored and expanded upon to this day.
With the third track Tranceport, Clifford breaks away from the Jarre influence to pursue his own journey into the aquatic dimension via a central pulsing rhythm that gives rise to musical cascades and swells, almost as if the listener is being shot out at speed across a vast tropical landscape. In contrast, the track Eventide offers a rich and deeply relaxing sound bath of exotic textures and marine-like timbres, upon which a warm and sentimental saxophone style melody weaves a romantic and fanciful refrain.
Timestream returns to the rich and evocative textures reminiscent of Oxygene and Equinoxe, combining them with a pulsing beat, syncopated rhythms and a haunting melody to create an almost science fiction-like piece that entices the listener to ponder upon the concepts of quantum dimensions and the mystery of time.
On a slightly more whimsical note, Sealebration takes us on an oceanic deep-dive to subterranean depths, to swim with the dolphins and observe exotic fish, and perhaps ultimately to recognise and appreciate the incredible spectrum and diversification of marine life that exists. These flavours of innocence, wonder and joy are further explored in Venus Rising, a scintillating tune with a starry-eyed, galactic flavour, which hops, skips and ricochets with boundless charm and delight.
We are invited on another journey on the Moonlight Express, a track suggestive of some kind of ethereal locomotive or astral orient express that our Waterworld tourists might enjoy. In some ways this track is reminiscent of some of Jarre’s later works on his Magnetic Fields, China Concerts or Rendezvous albums. In contrast to the frenetic rhythms of the proceeding track, Sea of Stars is a grandiose and stately anthem of space exploration, a Star Trek like theme with a powerful beat and a vast, expansive atmosphere. The album is brought to a skilful conclusion with the track Synergy, a smooth and seductive track which evolves into a rich and evocative ballad with watery pulses and glassy strings which seems to aptly capture and summarise the enigmatic mystery of the Waterworld album.
With such rich and exotic sounds and textures in evidence on Waterworld, one might be forgiven for thinking that the album describes some far-off exotic paradise planet, teeming with strange life forms beyond our comprehension. However upon further reflection, it may indeed be our own planet that Clifford is describing, one that can only be seen with the eyes of those who can recognise the sheer miraculous wonder and diversity of the natural world.