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Valley in the Clouds

4.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Released in 1987, Valley in the Clouds by multi- instrumentalist David Arkenstone still stands as one of the most exquisite electronic new age recordings ever produced. Lofty praise, but nearly every track of this meticulously designed musical voyage validates the claim. Imbued with a star-traveler's adventurous spirit, Arkenstone's work conveys a sense of interstellar majesty that invites a listener's imagination to operate on an IMAX scale. Luminous at times, gently percussive at others, the nine pieces succeed at fulfilling Arkenstone's stated composing ambition: "I kept asking myself: What would Indiana Jones enjoy listening to?" he said whimsically at the time. If Indy was transformed into Rocket Man, Arkenstone would immerse him in such expansive sonic delights as "Ancient Legend" and "Stepping Stars," a classic pair of album-openers that grandly establish the mystical-travel theme. "Princess" is worthy of royalty in any galaxy, and "Night Wind" can introduce you to auroras that only your mind's eye knew existed. An audio excursion not to be missed. --Terry Wood
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Narada Mystique
  • ASIN: B000005P0E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,822 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
OK---Quick and Clean---I own over 200 "New Age" CD's. This is my favorite, no question. David broke some serious ground with this one. If you haven't heard it, try it....you'll definitely like it.
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This was the first Arkenstone album, and one can see why he made such a splash in New Age music. This is in his early style (of course!): integrated, non-ethnic, Western/universal. If you have only heard his second-stage/middle style, heavy on the ethnic influence, this will surprise you. Many of us are waiting for him to re-integrate after his world explorations. In the meantime, see the other side by checking this album out. The themes are fresh, the effects and moods appropriate. The music moves with strength and none of the cutsey, folksy, or yet overwrought elements one finds in too many New Age albums. The tone might be described as synthesizer symphonic.
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Format: Audio CD
David's debut is a great mixture of synth and string arrangements that give it an ethereal feel that never becomes dull. David's CD's all have a different theme to them, and this one evokes images of another world, but at the same time gives the listener a modern, cinematic feel to it. This is one of the best in the David Arkenstone cataloque. Soundtrack music without the movie!
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Format: Audio CD
If I had heard any of David Arkenstone's later albums before I heard "Valley in the Clouds", I probably wouldn't have thought much of this album. But it was "Valley of the Clouds" that introduced me to Arkenstone's music, and while it's not as complex as his later works, this album contains some of my favorite Arkenstone songs and is still a wonderful work of art to listen to.
Listening to Arkenstone's albums, it's easy to notice that he likes to make each album unique and different from the last one. Each of his albums has its own sound, and it's this that makes his music so ecclectic and appealing. With his debut, "Valley in the Clouds", the music is simple and right to the point. Rarely is there a complex movement found in this album's songs, and each piece likes to use long, drawn-out notes that echo like a haunting opera. But the songs are in no way reminiscent of BGMs (BackGround Music) that you hear on a Discovery Channel documentary; they are all stand-alone compositions that sound great. Several of my personal favorites on this album include the haunting "Night Wind" and the magnificent "The Sun Girl".
While the songs of "Valley in the Clouds" are nowhere near as complex as his later works, they are still great to listen to. If anything, "Valley in the Clouds" is a great way to introduce yourself to the diverse and unique musical talents of David Arkenstone. If you enjoy the simple yet elegent music found on this album, then you'll be pleased to learn that it only gets better from here.
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By A Customer on July 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
For anyone who has heard any of his later works...you are truly missing the best he has done! This CD may be vintage, but it is incredible! My recommendation is to give it a try, sit back, relax...Let the sounds wash over you as you are transported to the stars!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
New Age / New Wave allows for enjoyable music for when you are not into the large band classicals and not wanting the vocals -- a chance to just relax and head into a peaceful sleep. Valley in the Clouds have a few really good and memmorable musical tracks worthy of listening to regularly.
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Format: Audio CD
Yes, I give "Valley in the Clouds" 5 stars. It was the first David Arkenstone I bought, some 18 years ago, and it was his debut album. My 5 stars come with a sense of perspective.

While, in some of my other reviews, I refer to "Valley..." as somewhat dated, it represents the absolute best of "New Age" music circa 1987. It cannot, however, be referred to as Arkenstone's best work. Certain other of his releases even received Grammy nominations. "Valley..." did not. It also lacks much of the sweep, drama, and symphonic orchestrations of some of Arkenstone's later work.

Having said that, "Valley..." is highly recommended both for its stand alone quality, and as an introduction to David Arkenstone. It was Arkenstone's brilliant introduction to all of us. He creates a unique "synthesized" world, lush in imagery and vision, full of dreams, at once familiar and yet fantastic.

It is hard to name a track not to like. But there are standouts which deserve separate mention, such as "Ancient Legend", "Stepping Stars", the title track "Valley in The Clouds", "Princess", "Night Wind", and "The Sun Girl". These vary from the sweep and grandeur (as much as can be created on a synthesizer without an orchestra) of "Ancient Legend" and "Valley in The Clouds", to the wonder of "Stepping Stars"and "Night Wind", and finally to the lyrical beauty of "Princess" and "The Sun Girl".

Did I leave out anybody else's favorite? Of course! That's part of the joy of "Valley in The Clouds". Almost anyone can name different favorites, because almost all the tracks are that good! If asked for two favorites, almost everyone can say "Valley in The Clouds and... .", with a different track to name.

This album deserves its 5 stars, but with perspective.
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Format: Audio CD
I added this CD to my Christmas list based on the 5 starreviews here at Amazon. .... Now that I've heard it, I am a little disappointed.
Had I heard this CD in 1987, I would have given it 5+ stars. Compared to similar current music and older works by other artists however, this one does not stand out.
I have Citizen of the World and Quest of the Dream Warrior. Both are among my all time favorites. I wish I had requested another title for now. I would only recommend this one if you have all of David Arkenstone's CDs and want to complete your collection.
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