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    Canvas of My Soul

    Sharon West - Canvas of My Soul

    2004 | Cd Baby 

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    All Music Guide Review

    Critics of new age music -- and new age still has its share of critics despite its growth and evolution over the years -- often describe the genre as predictable, and they don't mean it in a favorable way. New age enthusiasts will respond that predictable is exactly what they're seeking -- predictably calm, predictably tranquil, predictably placid. But while some new age releases take the automatic pilot approach, Midwestern composer/keyboardist/producer Sharon West's second album, Canvas of My Soul, has some twists and turns. The 49-minute CD gets off to a progressive rock-ish start with "The Sculptor's Dream," which also incorporates elements of smooth jazz; "The Sculptor's Dream" is, to use West's own words, the most "revved up" thing on the album. But even at its most rhythmic, Canvas of My Soul never becomes very aggressive. West maintains a reflective, contemplative ambience, which isn't to say that all of her material sounds the same -- that isn't the case, thankfully. Parts of Canvas of My Soul favor a spacy, European-sounding approach to synthesizer music (especially the title track), but "Joy's Joy" and "Voice in the Wind" project a gentle, innocent sort of sweetness -- the type of sweetness one associates with Erik Satie's "Gynopedie." European classical music is a definite influence on Canvas of My Soul; West isn't claiming to be a classical artist in the traditional sense (or even the modern sense, for that matter), but her new age performances do incorporate Euro-classical elements, and they incorporate them effectively. Canvas of My Soul is unlikely to convert those who have nothing good to say about new age music, although it's a decent sophomore effort from West. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

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