If you pick up Marc Martino’s A Story and you don’t enjoy it, you can’t blame Martino. He’s done everything he can with the packaging to alert you to the new-agey content inside — the sunset over the ocean on the back cover, the short description of the album that includes all the title tracks (“I heard WHISPER’S SONG and it evoked a PASSION in me”).
On the inside sleeve, he labels every song with its corresponding genre, so you know when you’re listening to “new age,” “classical,” or “Spanish classical.” He even includes special categories — “Calling the Storm” is “epic soundtrack,” “The Vale” is “epic new age,” “Dim” is “disonant [sic] classical,” and “Eldritch Fire” is “dark classical.” Disappointing, then, that “Holly” only rates as “contemporary piano.” Maybe Martino should have given the perkily melancholy tune another couple of revisions so it would rate as “dark, epic, dissonant new age.”
The music is fairly predictable for the genre with plenty of sampled pan flutes and French horns, rainsticks, and broad, dramatic chord changes. Arpeggiating pianos mean brooding and thoughtful (the piano line in “The Vale” is reminiscent of Dana Carvey’s “Chopping Broccoli” McCartney parody). Cheesy drum and horn samples seem to be the only thing that really earn “Turkoise” its “world” designation. “Dim” isn’t terribly dissonant, “Eldritch Fire” isn’t terribly dark, and “Mystery-Oso” is only Spanish in that the plunking synth is aping a Spanish guitar sound over a fairly traditional new age piano tune.
Martino is a competent piano player and manages a few nice flourishes here and there, but there is nothing on this album that will, as the end of The Story promises on the back cover, reveal “the path to true peace.” Then again, if you read the back of the album and you still bought it, you’re probably going to get what you’re expecting.
Words By: Nick A. Zaino III[Rating: 2/5]