The mixture of ethereal, synthesized tones with crisp, well-captured acoustic sounds and the use of less-common instruments (like what I think is a 12-string guitar in "Dark Star.") Adding vocals without adding lyrics was another good choice for this album, in my opinion. I don't want to hear lyrics on a new-age album, but voice (properly used) can still be a powerful expressive tool.
I didn't like...
*POUNDY, THUMPY POUND-POUND-POUND!!!* Ermagherdz. -___- When is David Arkenstone going to grock that new-age music is *not* the place for heavy drums, especially those very forward/present in the mix? It's really unnerving and messes with my flow when I'm using music like this for spiritual purposes. I also wish he'd find an anon-support-group or something for his ever-present "build-up syndrome." Not everything (not even nearly as much as he does) needs to start with soothing, hypnotic and harmonious sounds and build up to a massive, snare-heavy crescendo that snaps you out of your previously relaxed mental splendour. My nerves, man! >__< Aside from feeling too inconsistent, it's also a formulaic quality (simply because he does it so constantly) that I wish he'd go ahead and lose.
My favorite tracks here were "Secret on the Moors," "Dark Star," "Entropy," "Tears in the Rain," "Drops of Starlight," and "No Rain, No Rainbows." "At First Light" and "Lightdance" were nice as well, though the latter could have been less intense. The above tracks are excellent for background music, nicely setting the mood at a party, a relaxed spiritual gathering (except maybe "Lightdance,") or even driving around in the rain or at night.
"On the Wings of Innocence" and "Illuminations" were too bouncy, and in places, even fruity. The former was way too fast and distracting, and the latter makes me feel like I should be sucking juice out of a raw Coconut while dressed in a grass-skirt and doing the hula, for pete's sake.
Three stars from me. Not every track's a keeper, but there's plenty of material here that I'd rather not be without.