The Crossing

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WINNER - ZMR Music Award - "Best Electronic Album of the Year"
WINNER - ZMR Music Award - "Best Ambient Album of the Year"
WINNER - ZMR Music Award - "Best Cover Art"
ECHOES Radio CD of the month

Listen 1. Awake
Listen 2. Two Paths
Listen 3. From The Smallest Seed
Listen 4. The Same Sky
Listen 5. The Crossing
Listen 6. Above All
Listen 7. For The Fallen
Listen 8. The Lesson
Listen 9. To The Ends Of The Earth
Listen 10. Not Forgotten
Listen 11. Lifted

Following the release of their first collaboration, Treasure, David Helpling and Jon Jenkins spent the next two years in the depths of deep exile studio, carefully crafting The Crossing. With this second collaboration, Helpling and Jenkins embark on a fresh sonic expedition – a cinematic, powerful and deeply melodic triumph that lifts their music to new heights.

The Crossing is a project which ignores current trends in ambient and electronic music, and Helpling and Jenkins are fearless in their pursuit of the lush and monumental sound that dominates their artistic vision. All the essentials for an epic journey are here: compelling and expansive multi-layered drum elements contrasted by alluring yet elusive textures, strong melodies appearing over powerful percussion, synths and guitars, all of which give way to vast spaces of deep and mystifying ambience. From grand melodic vistas to enveloping sonic clouds of textural mystery, The Crossing leads the listener to the ends of the earth…and beyond.

Reviews

A review from Zone Music Reporter | Read Full Review
"these two ace musicians continue to blaze a trail where few contemporaries dare to tread."

Whether they are pounding out powerfully dramatic progressive fusion on guitars, drums and keyboards or sketching out cinematic ambient soundscapes of depth and emotional complexity, these two ace musicians continue to blaze a trail where few contemporaries dare to tread. Superbly engineered, the CD refuses to be pigeonholed yet is never less than highly accessible.

- Bill Binkelman, Zone Music Reporter

A review from Tangram's Music Blog | Read Full Review
"I can’t recommend this album enough, wish I could give it 10 stars instead of 5!"

Just when you thought David Helpling & Jon Jenkins were at their heights with the album ‘Treasure’, the album ‘The Crossing’ has surfaced after 2 years of waiting. And what a stunning album it is!. And I always thought ‘Treasure’ would be unbeatable, boy how wrong could I be. With ‘The Crossing’ they have pushed their creative musical ideas and inspiration to the next level. The album itself is a highly melodic synth journey, very similar to ‘Treasure’, only this time there is an ever deeper (and somewhat darker) melodic feel to it. All the tracks are incredibly well structured, and contains some of the most gorgeous sonic soundscapes I have ever heard before. Both the synths and the percussion plays a very important role in this album, with it’s melodic themes washing over you on most of the tracks. It is so lush and infectious that you will want to listen to the album on repeat, again…and again!. With tracks such as ‘From the Smallest Seed’ and ‘To the ends of the Earth’, these artists have eclipsed themselves. These tracks are a synth feast for your ears and contains the most stunning synth sequencing I have ever heard in my entire life, no doubt about that. It reminds me alot of tracks such as ‘This Day Forward’ & ‘The Frozen Channel’ from the album ‘Treasure’. Brilliant melodic atmosphere!. Other notable tracks are ‘For The Fallen’ and ‘Not Forgotten’. There’s a sense of depth and mystery to them and will surely evoke your deepest inner feelings. Another moody yet melodic piece is ‘Two Paths. With this track you will be in for another highly cinematic treat!. It builds very slowly with echoing guitar textures and lush synth work, and has tons of atmosphere to it. It’s another melodic soundscape that washes over your ears in a very delicate way. All in all, this album has it all in it’s very own and unique (but typical Helpling/Jenkins signature sound) way. It’s drenched in elusive textures, guitars, synths, and percussion that forms this ambient masterpiece way beyond words. It will take you on a journey to the ends of the earth…and back!. I can’t recommend this album enough, wish I could give it 10 stars instead of 5!. Another winning epic masterpiece!. Buy it without hesitation, and do it…NOW!!

- Kristian Persson, Tangram's Music Blog

A review from Echoes CD of the Month | Read Full Review
"You can't help but be swept up in the cinematic expanse of The Crossing"

The summer of 2010 won't be remembered for many great movies, but David Helpling and Jon Jenkins have brought us a great soundtrack. It’s just that movie will be in your imagination. Mixing keyboards, guitars and programming, their latest CD, The Crossing states its cinematic theme from the start. The sound emerges out of a long silence, with a slow motion reveal like you would see in an Imax nature film as the camera slowly widens while zooming in on a desert landscape or out into a starfield. That's the sound of "Awake," the opening track from The Crossing.

From there, Helpling and Jenkins take you on a 70 minute trip of interlaced delayed guitar melodies, ringing keyboards, and dramatic percussion flourishes. Like their previous studio album, Treasure, our Echoes CD of the Month in July 2007, The Crossing is unremittingly pretty, bathing itself in electronic orchestral colors. It manages to remain outside both the mainstream and avant-garde of contemporary electronic music. There's no hip-hop rhythms, glitched sounds or fractured digital strategies here. Instead, there's almost a nostalgic future-is -now sheen to their work which luxuriates in deep textures, rich, full-bodied timbres and major key melodies to the beyond.

Timbrally, melodically and rhythmically, the shadow of Patrick O'Hearn drapes their work. You can hear it in the suspended keyboard chords hanging in deep reverb on tracks like "The Same Sky" and the rhythmic trot of "Two Paths." The title track is a caravan journey traversing an endless sky of distant keyboards, time-stepping percussion and slow guitar arpeggios drenched in reverb until Helpling laces a beautifully constructed guitar solo that twists and pivots on the crescendo. Then there’s "For the Fallen," a slo-mo journey that's more reverb than actual instrumental sound, recalling Steve Roach's most ambient dreamscapes until a now patented Helpling-Jenkins keyboard cycle filters in as the clouds of reverb part.

You can't help but be swept up in the cinematic expanse of The Crossing, which ends on a dynamic note of roaring synth orchestrations, tribal drums and another of Helpling's screaming guitar solos on "Lifted." The Crossing would be a perfect soundtrack to a film deserving music of such epic scope. For now, it'll have to be the movie in your head.

- John Diliberto, Echoes CD of the Month

A review from AllMusic.com | Read Full Review
"Not since the mid-'80s has the genre had a duo that so powerfully and hypnotically fuses keyboard, electric guitar, and ambient textures."

Not since the mid-'80s new age projects of David Lanz and Paul Speer has the genre had a duo that so powerfully and hypnotically fuses keyboard, electric guitar, and ambient textures. While their work balanced its expansive pieces with lighter pop confections, on their follow-up to Treasure, David Helpling and Jon Jenkins are all about gentle moods, and graceful and trippy reflections which build to soaring, passionate guitar- and synth-driven crescendos. Jenkins counts his inspirations as Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Tangerine Dream -- and that mix of rock and electronica is a core force in these 11 emotional compositions. Helpling is a notable film composer, and many of these pieces have a rich cinematic quality that seems to urge the listener to create images to go along with the listening experience. The opening track, "Awake," blazes the trail with hypnotic, dreamy soundscapes easing us into a relaxed mode before building dramatically to a blistering climax with fiery guitars and booming drums. "Two Paths" is more rhythmic and densely percussive (not to mention seductive) from the start. The title track takes us out to deep space with languid guitars and ominous atmospheres before the rock & roll fire bursts in. Some tracks, like "To the Ends of the Earth," are dreamy throughout, but even these are so texture rich that only repeated listening reveals their full sonic glory. Those who are not lifted by the end of "Lifted" (the final track) are simply not opening their ears to one of the most powerful ambient recordings in years.

- Jonathan Widran, AllMusic.com

A review from Goatsden | Read Full Review
"rock power and ambient disposition"

With mountainous landscapes featured prominently on the cover, and a title like "The Crossing", one would expect to find either a dramatic film score, or a gentle and lulling ambient "new age" recording. Or, in the case of this third collaboration between ambient film music composer Helpling and prog-rock-inspired electronic artist Jenkins, a little bit of both.

As is apparent from the initial track, this won't simply be another album of pleasant soundscapes or sleepytime background music. With plenty of dynamic percussive thunder and deep tapestries of synths and melodic guitars, Helpling and Jenkins craft upbeat and inspiring instrumental soundtracks that convey crisp and cinematic visions. It's a moody music, with moments of introspection that build into expressive landscapes of wonder, mystery, and bliss. "The Crossing" isn't spacious in the cosmic sense, rather it's an organic, earthly journey. I can envision watching vast herds of wildlife from a mountaintop, with brisk winds blowing over the plains. A lovely album of meditational soundtracks with a rock power and ambient disposition.

- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden

A review from Hypnagogue | Read Full Review
"a bold, hefty, cinematic work, moving and panoramic and dramatic enough to frequently take your breath away"

If I was reduced to having to review CDs in a single word, the only appropriate word to describe The Crossing, the new offering from Jon Jenkins and David Helpling, would be “big.” This is a bold, hefty, cinematic work, moving and panoramic and dramatic enough to frequently take your breath away. Each track here is the sonic equivalent a long, sweeping aerial shot over some sort of stunning vista–towering mountains, rough-hewn gorges, angry seas, parched stretches of primordial desert and vast blue lakes. The Crossing moves from grand, emotional and densely orchestrated pieces to airier, more thoughtful offerings with ease and without a bump. There’s no disruption, for example, going from the powerful, crashing drums of the superb “Two Paths” to the meditative, deep-breath subtlety of “From the Smallest Seed.” The droning wash that eases through the first five minutes of the remarkable “For the Fallen” is as expertly realized as the end of the piece, where the music swells and blossoms into fuller melodic life. The like-minded chemistry that flows between Helpling and Jenkins creates a singular essence of thought that expresses itself brilliantly in these songs, whether the focus is rock-inspired guitar, sweeping New Age keys or tribal-infused drumming. (Lose yourself in the percussion in “To the Ends of the Earth,” as I do.) The eleven tracks here are logically matched one to the next with a sense of narrative intent that simply works. Listen to The Crossing once just to get the feel of it; then go back and listen deeply to take in how much is going on musically at any given moment. Cass Anawaty’s mastering job brings crystalline clarity to each track.

Particularly for fans of well-orchestrated New Age music, The Crossing is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

- Hypnagogue

A review from Sonic Immersion | Read Full Review
"loaded with intrinsic beauty, emotion and flair"

"The Crossing", released three years after their critically acclaimed "Treasure", is the third album by the talented musicians and sound designers David Helpling and Jon Jenkins.

It´s again a highly imaginary release featuring great uplifting, expansive spheres as well as monumental and dynamic moods. Moreover, the intense music with occasional powerful drum elements is loaded with intrinsic beauty, emotion and flair.

Overall, it breaths an exquisite sense of yearning, grace and longing as the expertly layered vast textural pads move forward. Occasionally, it faintly echoes the early recordings of Patrick O´Hearn. The output of Erik Wøllo lso comes to mind, especially when the textures elegantly spread their wings or when electric guitar is more prominently used in e.g. the powerful title track.

When you´re looking for great sonic vistas with strong and elusive melodies, the highly cinematic "The Crossing" is your ticket for a pleasing 70-minute ride into deeper heartlands towards the horizon. The great visual artwork by Michael Karcz which graces the three panel digipak deserves a special mention here as well. Very well done you all!

- Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion

A review from TheCelebrityCafe.com | Read Full Review
"Helpling and Jenkins treat the audience to rich, methodical tunes no hit-making producer could ever create"

David Helpling and Jon Jenkins' album, The Crossing, is a far cry from the hits recycled through today’s radio stations. Absent are the expletive, sex-fueled lyrics and auto tune--The Crossing strikes vocals altogether. Helpling and Jenkins treat the audience to rich, methodical tunes no hit-making producer could ever create.

Younger generations may find themselves in a bit of a culture shock upon their first listen, but it’s important to keep letting the tracks flow. With this type of music, “feeling” the music is everything.

Without lyrics, the listener’s imagination takes the reigns, putting their own interpretation on Helpling and Jenkins’ melodies. The result creates a completely unique and individualized experience for each listener—the way music should be.

Created by the skill of two composers, their expertise in textures, rhythms, and spacing shows. With many of the tracks well over the five-minute mark, Helpling and Jenkins provide depth to each song, scratching the idea of a chorus or bridge and letting the music flow organically.

Look to stand out tracks “From the Smallest Seed,” “The Same Sky,” and “The Crossing” to help showcase the beauty in innovation. Hit play and let your mind roam—it’s worth the change up in routine.

- Amanda Martinez, TheCelebrityCafe.com

A review from Progression Magazine (issue 61) | Read Full Review
"captures the best qualities of emotive electronic music"

Fans of Patrick O'Hearn, Sanford Ponder and albums on Peter Baumann's Private Music label will take great delight in this latest collaboration between two California artists who render lovely, lush sonic expeditions. The Crossing captures the best qualities of emotive electronic music, taking you on richly textured epic journeys within ambient realms -- a superb soundtrack for relaxing reflection.

On many levels, their music occupies the same melodic vistas where O'Hearn built his reputation as an expert purveyor of pure rhythmic lullabies – gentle grooves that envelop you, others immersed in intense, almost tribal elements. Like O'Hearn, Helpling and Jenkins have an exceptional grasp of the spiritual qualities that can be discovered in electronic soundscapes, as their cinematic explorations can be powerful and moving.

"To The Ends Of The Earth," one of the longest tracks at 8:24, offers exquisite evidence for making The Crossing a perfect late-night excursion. "Lifted," the closing cut, brings the venture to a florid finish with its quietly explosive crescendo.

- Mark Newman, Progression Magazine (issue 61)

A review from Morpheus Music | Read Full Review
"expansive panoramas of sweeping beauty and elegant drama"

STYLE

Melodic electronic music. The Crossing is an album of expansive panoramas of sweeping beauty and elegant drama. Electric guitar textures and synth pads work together to form warm soundscapes of touching grace and impressive grandeur. Here synthetic tones luxuriate in epic melody; multi-layered themes that evolve and recur, sometimes building to intense crescendos of heady magnificence; in other places languid and unhurried, falling away into minimal ambient space. There are airy beatless passages of floating bliss such as The Same Sky with its high up atmosphere and meandering, weightless repeating lead motif. There are dense emotive sections where echoing drum beats clamour in rolling patterns like breaking waves whilst powerful, soaring refrains positively beam and sparkle.

ARTWORK

The Crossing is presented as a three panel digipack, a format that, I must say, really is made for atmospheric music of this sort. The package opens out into a glorious pair of panoramic vistas designed by Michal Karcz (whose visionary imagery is appearing with increasing frequency on the covers of interesting CDs of late). The external scene is of a jagged peak clad in thick snow rising out of a turbulent sea of mists. The full view when opened out sees a second peak in the left foreground a gulf to be crossed between. In the rightmost corner another foreground crag stands dark and solid, the eye finally picking out a tiny figure in silhouette looking into the distance. Lovely grey, purple tones hang over a lustrous orange sky behind. The inner view is of a snowy path snaking away through the central panel, dusky, frosted grass filling either side. Track titles are on the rear, credits and website details are within.

OVERALL

Not so long ago this talented duo delivered the album Treasure, and now, building on the success of that release, we have the results of two years' work in the studio presented in The Crossing. The eleven tracks here see Helpling/Jenkins developing their broad sound more fully and picking up just where they left off. Jon Jenkins says of the new album "We wanted to take all of the ingredients that make a great movie or book sequel - more action, more intensity, and somewhat darker with more daunting challenges - and express them through the music on this record." David Helpling continues, "The Crossing is a title with more than one meaning. Not only is it a metaphorical representation of an arduous and inspired journey across an unfathomable hardship and distance, but it is also a crossing of two paths, of two currents; the result of which is complex and beautiful as well as powerful and intangible."

- Morpheus Music

A review from Expose Magazine, issue 39 | Read Full Review
"an inspired ascendancy that takes it all to the next level"

Around three years ago, Helpling and Jenkins' initial collaboration Treasure initiated the journey that continues here – not just a protraction or sequel, but an inspired ascendancy that takes it all to the next level. Eleven distinct vignettes offer lush and colorful symphonic soundscapes, a cinematic approach blanketed in warmth, graduality and simmering intensity. Gentle streams of overt melodics juxtaposed with the rhythmic support are embellished with power as each piece culminates into vivid sonic peaks. No harsh or sharp edges here, the overall approach is to present the melodic imagery through a soft focus lens, seamlessly blending the foreground into its surrounding textures and atmospherics. The process is mysterious and evolutionary, most of the pieces developing from relatively simple ideas into magnificent spectaculars through multiple layers of meticulously applied textures. The pallet of instruments used is not provided, although one might suspect an array of synthesizers, sequencers, hand drums, percussives, the occasional guitar, and most importantly the studio itself, all in the hands of these two diligent master soundtrack creators. For those unfamiliar with Helpling and Jenkins' earlier collaboration, or any of the array of prior releases to their individual credit, this is a perfect place to embark. Recommended.

- Peter Thelen, Expose Magazine, issue 39

More from David Helpling / Jon Jenkins

Trilogy Poster Set
Helpling & Jenkins – Trilogy Poster Set
FOUND Poster
Found Poster
The Crossing Poster
The Crossing Poster
Treasure Poster
Treasure Poster
Found
Found
Beyond Words
Beyond Words
Treasure
Treasure
Trade Offs
Trade Offs
Sleeping On The Edge Of The World
Sleeping On the Edge Of The World
Between Green And Blue
Between Green And Blue
Beyond City Light
Beyond City Light
Flow
Flow
Continuum
Continuum