Allowing the grandeur of Rick Randlett’s lovely piano melodies and adventurous, sweeping synth atmospheres to wash over the spiritually attuned soul on Farewell to Memories, his debut new age recording as Orchestra Indigo affords us all a moment to reflect on the power of music and creativity to create silver linings amidst a deeply trying circumstance like the pandemic. You certainly don’t need to know the multi-talented composer’s backstory to fully embrace his lush, melodically immersive melodies and dreamy ambiences, but it’s certainly worth noting.
After several decades of live performing as a charting blues rock singer/songwriter, Randlett released his fifth album Night Songs in February 2020 – just before the lockdown quickly shifted the fortunes of musicians across the world. He was all set to go out and tour in support of the album when it happened. Fortunately now for new age and ambient fans everywhere, Randlett turned his restlessness into a whole new creative flow, using his expansive home studio setup (Mac Book Pro, Studio One for DAW, a Roland Juno synth and Modal Cobalt 8 synth) to create an expansive and ambitious 12 track collection of nostalgic yet inspiring pieces reflecting a variety of moods, from gently melancholy (“Farewell to Memories,” “A Time of Solitude”) to brighter and more hopeful and optimistic (“Daybreak,” “Hope Eternal,” “A Perfect Summer Day”).
One of the most sonically interesting pieces is “Mysteries,” which features haunting chime sounds sprinkled out over an increasingly intense, hypnotic soundscape. Taken as a whole the album offers a sparkling, impressionistic and meditational journey that captures our collective array of up and down emotions over the past few years, from anxiety and sadness to resolve, healing and determination to press forward.
As shared by the artist himself, many of the songs on Farewell to Memories find Randlett sharing musical interpretations of his years growing up in New England, including the title track that was inspired by a return visit upon the passing of his mother several years ago. This bookends perfectly with the collection’s final track “One Last Look,” which takes us to a wistful moment when he left a lake he knew well in his childhood and thinks about all the changes that have happened – and the fact that he would probably never visit again.
The music the composer creates a Orchestra Indigo, however, is very universal. Some might originate as thoughts about moments in his own life, but ultimately this album is for and about all of us and the reality of both celebrating and mourning the past.