Midnight Jazz

David Hansen expresses personal heartaches on fusion CD

September 23, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

David Hansen/All That I Could Give

David Hansen certainly gives his all on this intimate and hopelessly romantic album; every track was written, produced, and arranged by himself. Hansen juggles several styles here – contemporary classical, jazz, New Age, Adult Contemporary, and world music – and manages to stitch them together in the context of moving ballads and spunky instrumentals. Snappy drums and upbeat keyboards produce a playful groove for the opening piece, “Armada.” The synthesized rhythms have a somewhat ’80s flavor that might remind you of fusion efforts from that era.

On the title track, we can hear Hansen’s voice for the first time; it is soulful and deep, not too different from Peter Gabriel’s. A tale of lost love, Hansen’s melancholy lyrics blend well with Joel Hips’ smooth-jazz riffs, increasing the pensive emotions of the piece. “Love in Three Days” thematically seems to be a continuation of it with Bob Mathis’ tropical flute adding an island flavor to the song. There has to be a personal heartache behind these compositions. Throughout the record Hansen balances the experimental tendencies of New Age with the fine craftsmanship of contemporary classical and the unguarded feelings of pop; whether he’s expressing himself wordlessly or through the warm glow of his singing, Hansen has us in the palm of his hands.



New Age artist finds inspiration in Hinduism and Buddhism on ‘Goddess’

May 14, 2008
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An Interview with David Hicken

Written by Vivian Fields

David Hicken’s new album, Goddess, is an enigmatic and stunningly beautiful work. Capturing the essence of New Age with its immaculate instrumentals, Hicken also absorbs the otherwordly, sometimes mythical elements associated with the genre. But what distinguishes Goddess from other New Age releases is that it is thematically unified, a concept album that is usually associated with progressive rock.

Vivian Fields: Each track on Goddess is named after a different deity. What was the inspiration behind this work?

David Hicken: I discovered Hinduism while living in Sri Lanka, and I visited many beautiful temples. One of the first Goddesses that I learned about was Lakshmi, which became the first track of the CD. After that, I liked the idea of writing each piece to represent different deities.  

Fields: How did you go about composing each instrumental to fit the individual Goddesses? Were they conceived to capture their personalities or what they represented?

Hicken: I wrote exactly what came to me when I thought about each deity and didn’t try to manipulate the music to fit my idea of their personalities. Even though the tracks for Ishtar and Pele are very mellow and peaceful, I wasn’t concerned that it didn’t fit our notion of these “warrior” Goddesses because I felt that it reflected the softer side of their personalities.

Fields: Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?
Hicken: Yes, I am very spiritual and I have a great interest in all of the world’s religions – particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. I take time to meditate every day and I love to be surrounded by peace and tranquility.

Fields: How much of the Hawaiian environment that surrounds your everday life influences your musical composition and performances?

Hicken: I am so very fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I am surrounded by exquisite beauty everywhere. My studio overlooks a park, mountains and the ocean, and it was once the site of the most important temple on the island of Oahu. I am very much influenced by the wonders that surround me, and I’m sure that it is reflected in my music.


About author

Julian Wilson, Editor, has been writing about different genres of music, from jazz to techno, for nearly two decades in print.