Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
This release from Bolton-based composer Richard Birch is part of a four part series of albums released within months of each other, each with an interlinked spiritual theme. This particular segment is a collection of self-penned modern day prayers set to orchestral and electronic instrumental compositions with the help of co-instrumentalist Ben Blease and narrator Charles Foster who adds his wonderfully rich tones to bring life to Birch's prayers. In the making of this release, Birch consulted people from a variety of cultural, religious and non-religious backgrounds to come up with 15 overarching subjects for prayer. As a result, we get track titles such as "Greed", "Religion And Racism", "Abused" and "Environment" which, together with Birch's articulate style of writing, gives this album a substantial social conscience. In the accompanying book, Birch states that his prayers are "without partiality" and for use "without prejudice, no matter what culture or religion" and, to reflect this stance, Birch has opted not to refer to Jesus or the specifics the Christian faith instead taking a more pluralistic approach to each topic. Musically, the skillfully written melodies and atmospheric orchestral washes make this somewhere between a movie soundtrack and Tubular Bells and Birch succeeds in evoking a gamut of emotions throughout. In summary, this is well above average instrumental fair.
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