Christmas at Home
New age soundscape sculptor extraordinaire David Whaler weaves a soothing, serene ode to Christmas on his digital-download only EP release, Christmas at Home. As I have recounted in my reviews of previous Wahler recordings, very few artists are as adept as interweaving layers of electronic keyboards into a seamless whole as this artist does (Kevin Kendle comes to mind, but as of yet, Kendle has yet to release a holiday album). Wahler excels at melding his assorted keyboard melodies, textures, and rhythms in a way to make the end result sound almost organic in nature, rather than assembled bit by bit. This brief but extremely enjoyable selection of five carols is no exception. Ranging from four and a half minutes to just a literal tick below six, this EP is sublime at creating a mood of relaxation and beauty, although admittedly the opening "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" does up the melody’s tempo and a subtle rhythm is in the mix. From that opening, though, we are setting the meter for slow and serene (until the concluding song). An ethereal take on "Oh Holy Night" features harp and angelic chorales and well-placed ambient textures. "Silent Night" begins with celestial tones set against echoed piano, steeped in beauty and beautifully rendered. Twinkling tonalities and plucked guitar are featured on "What Child Is This?" alongside gentle bell tones, as if chimes being blown by gentle winds. Later, flute takes the lead as well as horn and the beautiful base melody of the carol is brought to the forefront. Christmas at Home concludes with the spirited original composition "Snowflake" and it energizes the conclusion with piano, synth pads, and ambient elements coalescing into a playful celebration of childlike exuberance with fast tempo rhythm carried not by beats but by the music itself. A joyous conclusion to a too-short but ever so sweet musical delving into the wonder of the holiday season.