Char-el - Heaven And Earth

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: CT 2000
Format: CD
Total Time: 98:56:00

With two discs combined back to back, keyboard player Charles Thaxton (Char-El) indeed delivers both Heaven And Earth into one package. As he puts it himself, Earth is a "collection of celestial soundscapes for deep space journeys." In other words: disc one, Heaven, is pure new age, cosmic synthesizer music as delivered by acts as diverse as Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Ashra, etc? The second disc is Earth which Thaxton refers to as "symphonic and rhythmic progressive compositions for terrestrial explorers." Indeed there is a big difference between this Yin and Yang of the home compositions, as obviously for fans of this site, the second disc will please you more, but then again disc one certainly has its merits certainly if you?re looking for a relaxed journey into musical space.

On the second disc, Earth, Thaxton is backed by drums and guitar, so you really get more of a symphonic feel here. Charles also introduces piano, which of course adds more melody to the otherwise "washing" sounds of the synthesizers. ?Full Circle? already indicates that Char-El is a two-faced prog monster who feels at easy both as a solitary multi-instrumentalist as well as part of a band. Larry Clark?s guitar works wonders here and is extra highlighted by the wonderful arrangement. Splendid! Both the rhythm and the synthesized tin whistle evoke the Celtic atmosphere in the uplifting ?Earth,? which sounds as if it?s lifted from the million selling Riverdance epic, whilst right at the very end it sounds like Sandy Nelson has another go. ?Visions In The Skies? declines to the Richard Clayderman level, thus degrading from an interesting angle towards pure Muzak. By adding a bombastic choir, ?Visitors? really sounds like an outtake from a sci-fi soundtrack just when the mothership comes home again after a battle in outer space.

Sometimes the rhythm sounds a bit too bland such as in "Seasons Will Change," so even if that guitar does an outstanding job the song itself sounds rather "ordinary." In fact that slightly distorted guitar sound of Larry Clark works wonders as you can hear in ?Destiny,? with its soft dashes of mellotron in the background. Like the name suggests, "Santa Fe" holds some "southern" elements by means of acoustic guitar on top of a very laidback rhythm, just the kind of music you need to get that pina colada inside of you. "Age Of Light? is a very powerful song where melody and arrangement are concerned. Especially the piano does wonders here backed by outstanding strings.

Heaven And Earth certainly is a very diverse album what with two different "moods" taking in a whole album for themselves. In fact this whole instrumental package would be ideal for those of you who like to party. You can put on Earth first to get in the right mood and then the next day you can put on Heaven to cure that hangover! Nice songs, well put together, but maybe room enough to include more real acoustic instruments for the next offering.

Disc One: Heaven: Into The Infinte / Timestream / Release / Higher Realms / The Secret Grotto / Heaven / Forgiveness / Solar Wind / Ecstasy / Lightworlds

Disc Two: Earth: Beyond The Farthest Star / Full Circle / Earth / Mysterious Valley / Vision In The Skies / Skyspirit / Visitors / Molecular Dance / Southwest Winds / Seasons Will Change / Destiny / The Gift / Santa Fe / On The Wings Of The Eagle / Breaking Free / Age Of Light / Requiem For Planet 3

Charles Thaxton (Char-El) - digital & analogue synthesizers, samplers, mellotron, drum machine
Gary White - additional synthesizers and effects
Doug Bonnel - Roland digital drums and percussion (disc two tracks 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 16)
Chris Stoll - additional drums and percussion (disc two tracks 3, 5, 6, 14, 16)

Special guest :
Larry Clark - guitars (disc two tracks 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17)

  • Worlds Without End (1996)
  • Heaven And Earth (2000)

    Genre: Electronic

    Origin US

  • Added: December 1st 2000
    Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

    Artist website:
    Hits: 695
    Language: english


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