Rick Sparks is in a mellow, tranquil place with Hushabye, his latest ambient album placed firmly in the genre of lullaby, as he encourages the wonderous ability to ‘sail away into dreamland’.
Well known for his ambient and dreamscape music of piano, synthesiser and layers of strings blending with wordless vocals, his music crosses boundaries, never fitting specifically into any one particular category.
Hushabye consists of eleven tracks, some well-loved traditional favourites and others straight from the heart of Rick Sparks, commencing with the new song under the traditional title My Soul To Keep, taken from the children’s prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep, well known and beloved of children down through the centuries.
The second track Love Can Make You Happy (J. Sigler) came from a peaceful time spent at Woodstock in 1969, when ‘three days of peace and music’ have become treasured memories. Wordless vocals, with delicate piano notes interwoven throughout the melody make this a timeless song of peace.
As each of the delicately constructed tracks unfold the music simply flows, morphing into one continuous lullaby, the notes of the flute changing the melody here, the synth blending layers on another song.
When The Stars Come out entwining flute and piano together, creates a dainty tune reminiscent of so many of the old lullaby’s and perfect for encouraging a good sleep. A favourite Sunday school song Jesus Loves Me has been revamped courtesy of synth and piano, along with some wordless vocals, which evolves into almost haunting tune that simply drifts.
A traditional organlike sound introduces the final track We Are Loved, a measured, complex piece encapsulating the sentiment that we are all loved both by God and many others in our lives.
It is not often albums could be recommended for their ability to introduce a deep and peaceful slumber, but Hushabye certainly fits the bill as, by the end of the final track, if you are not asleep, you are certainly relaxed, at peace and ready to tumble into the world of blessed dreams, just as orchestrated by Rick Sparks.