Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts

1/26/2021

Contemporary Instrumental (Solo Piano) - Paz Del Castillo-TRES best of…

Release Date: March 21, 2020

Label: Noise of Dreams

Website

Paz Del Castillo is a pianist that records solo instrumental contemporary new age music. Essentially it is a contemporary instrumental collection however it so relaxing and beautiful that a listener can use it for meditation as well. Once you start listening you will understand why.


Her most recent release is titled TRES best of… which consists of thirteen tracks of her solo piano work. What I discovered while listening was how full-bodied and rhythmic each track was. The consistent flow of each track is a strong representation of solo piano work and how authoritative and effective that one instrument can be with the right hands, turning music into magic.
This is excellent solo piano music with three new tracks included.


One of the best examples of that strength is “Cuevas Del Mar” which translates to “my beach-at the north coast-in Asturias.” The track is full of anticipation, excitement, and above all, catchy rhythms that hold your interest from start to finish. That is but one example, and within every track, some or all of those elements will arise to grab your attention.

Paz creates her music working from the solid ground of classical then transforming the compositions to forge ahead and translate to contemporary instrumental which then crosses over to the sub-genre of new age. I hold firm my belief that most of this type of music blossoms from the classic world of instrumentation. It is not hard to recognize if you listen to this type of music all the time.

Besides this compilation Paz Del Castillo makes a triumphant return to her recording career with the newly released single "I Fight." The word fight can have strong implications both negative and positive, my feeling and thoughts after listening, is that the message was very positive and the music says that loud and clear.

The album closes out with “Lo Quo Se De MI CD-S4QT,” translated it means “What I know about myself,” which serves as an introspective track.

TRES best of…  will deliver the message the artist is conveying and allow each listener to attain a level of peace and relaxation, or meditation if needed. This is music that has many uses and I think it could easily serve as soundtrack music for video and or films. The fact that there are no words gives it a distinct advantage over music with lyrics to think about.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder
January 24, 2021

Tracks:

01. Bolinas (“Moods for Piano”) 02.42 ( A little village at San Francisco California, where I recorded my 1st Album
02. Latiendo (“Eleven Drops”) 04.48 (a heart beat-that keeps beating after difficulties)
03. El abrazo del mar (“Eleven Drops”) 04.07 (the embrace of the sea)
04. Improvisación sobre las aguas tranquilas (“Eleven Drops”) 04.29 Improvisation about calm river)
05. Sobre el Cabo de Mar ( “Now” ) 2.40 (About a beautiful Cape over the cliffs in the north coast of Spain)
06. Unchain me ( “Now” )  04.16
07. Cuevas del Mar (“Moods for Piano”) 04.14 ( my beach-At the north coast-In Asturias)
08. Mother ( “Now” ) 06.05 (for my mother, my essence)
09 Tom ( “Now” ) 03.14
10. Hymn ( “Now” ) 04.28
11. Erase una vez una doncella…. (new) 03.17 (once upon a Maiden, about a medieval history)
12 Vals for the Good people 03.13
13. Lo que se de mí ( new) 06.36 ( What I know about myself, and introspective track)


5/08/2020

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Yurina Shin-Connections

Release Date: May, 7, 2020
Label: Independent

Yurina Shin is a classically trained composer who blends the richness of the classical tradition with the fast-paced, moving rhythms of today. This is on her “About” page on her website. I find this kind of info is simple and straightforward. It creates a clear picture of who the artist is. Yurina has created a lot of music for very successful video games and is very well educated in music, holding an M.A in Music Composition, and a B.A. in Music Education.

That kind of combination is an excellent core to work from for any performing artists as far as I am concerned. I have found the educated musicians are always drawn to the classical genre. This makes total sense as that is where everything else comes from one way or another, it all started there.

Connections is her latest release, which combines her two EP’s Memory Lane and Reflection. This encompasses eight tracks of contemporary instrumental that shines the light upon Yurina’s education and previous experiences as a recording artist.

I do believe as well that many listeners would put this music into the new age instrumental genre. For the sake of brevity, I will call it contemporary instrumental, which does have a strong crossover tendency to new age classifications. The music is very relaxing and beautiful. Piano based music such as this can serve many purposes for personal use, movie soundtracks, and documentaries. However, that is not the intent of presenting this encapsulation of the two EPs. This brings attention to her all-around talents and abilities and hopefully to a wider distribution of listeners and potential record labels.

Because of the changing tides of the music, it makes for a more diverse listening experience. The pace and length of the tracks are just right and Yurina uses all of her talents to make each one a singular work of art. The addition of a violin only accentuates her efforts through the ivory keys. The addition of that instrument is always is well suited for the piano accompaniment that I have heard with so many artists.

Yurina desires to reach a larger audience and the uses of her music will certainly follow once that happens. Connections will be an introduction for many potential listeners and I believe will be the springboard to more opportunities and much larger fan base than she already has.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 25, 2020

Founder of:

Track List:
1. Wind
2. Another Day
3. La Lumiere
4. Pulse
5. The Soft Voice
6. A Blue Boy
7. Fog Over the Lake
8. In Darkness

1/30/2020

New Age/Contemporary Instrumental: Louis Colaiannia-Contemplation

Release Date: January 10, 2020
Label: louismusic

I have come to know instrumental piano music on a very intimate level. And because I hear so much of it, every new release has to be excellent and hold my attention. The magic has to be evident within the first few tracks or that special feeling I get, the wonder and amazement of what I am hearing, just falls short.

Louis Colaiannia is a veteran of recording with several albums behind him and his name is well known in the circles of new age music. He is part of that special community of artists that are connected in so many ways, contributing to each other’s releases like family. So, I am one of the fortunate ones that have been invited into that circle to listen to some amazing music year after year.

Louis just released Contemplation a few weeks ago to kick off the new year. Before listening, you must agree that word sparks a lot of interest. So, what does Contemplation mean to you? To be able to reach that level of concentration and thought process you must be accompanied by some soothing instrumental music, music so engaging and beautiful that it sweeps you away to another plane of existence or consciousness. This all must happen effortlessly and with joy. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that this will happen listening to the music of Louis Colaiannia.

The one track that set me on the right course was the second offering titled “Gentle Rain.” I immediately added it to my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist that is on the sidebar of my site for listeners and artists alike to enjoy. The track was like musical rain inviting me to take a walk, as the drops of music and melodies consumed my entire being. There is beauty in those ivory keys and it takes some coaxing to get that out and be realized fully by the artisan playing the instrument.

When I hear musicians like Louis Colaiannia perform it’s like I am hearing a specific individual that was delivered from heaven above to bring joy and healing to everyone willing to listen. I am more than willing; I feel it has become such an essential healing tool of my life that I could not live without it at this point. If you are not involved in a particular discipline like Yoga for instance, or you do not have the focus or patience to meditate, listen to this music. I think Contemplation can help you down that path if you so choose or you can just listen and soak it all in and just let it flow and happen. That is what I do, and I am very grateful for this art and how it has helped me to listen and have the ability to express what it does for me in words others can understand.

Contemplation is beauty and elegance personified by Mr. Louis Colaiannia. The elements of classical, contemporary and new age are a perfect match for the ten tracks you will hear in this transformational listening experience. It is a must-have collection of songs for any appreciator of solo piano music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 28, 2020

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01.The River
02.Gentle Rain
03. Believe in Peace
04. Contemplation
05. After Goodbye
06. Mystic Nights
07. Two Hearts Across Time
08. What If
09. I Am  
10. Forbidden Feelings


11/08/2019

Contemporary Instrumental – New Age Review: Gina Lenee-Revealed

Release Date: November 2, 2019
Label: Independent

Gina Lenee’s recent release Revealed is a collection of eleven contemporary instrumental tracks. The new age in her music are the messages inside the CD sleeve. The words of inspiration and self-validation are a significant part of what she offers a listener.
 
Gina Lenee’s recent release Revealed is a collection of eleven contemporary instrumental tracks. The new age in her music is the messages inside the CD sleeve. The words of inspiration and self-validation are a significant part of what she offers a listener.

You do not have to be a fan of this type of music to get something of value from it if you are then that is the cherry on top of the ice cream. I enjoy this type of music immensely and sometimes wonder if I will run out of words to say with the instrumental albums, but alas, I am inspired, energized, and cleansed emotionally and spiritually with this music.

Your true self will be Revealed if you allow this recording to settle into your consciousness and permeate your very being. It goes deep but we all do when it comes to our feelings, beliefs, and how we feel about ourselves. So, the idea here is to empower you to be true to yourself, listen to the music, relax and become one with the textures, colors, and vibrations of all these beautiful tracks. The artistry of the sounds can be a blank canvas that you can paint for yourself.

The extraordinary team at Imaginary Road Studios with Will Ackerman (acoustic guitar), Tom Eaton (electric bass), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) and Premik Russell Tubbs (electric wind synthesizer, soprano sax), help Gina create a masterpiece of instrumental bliss and wonderment. The quality of the tracks from a production standpoint is outstanding and it goes without saying how on point all of the musicians are. Gina’s piano is the core from which everything grows and melds into one amazing track after another.

Once “On The Wings of Love” (added to my Spotify Playlist) started I found immediate recognition from the past. Jeffrey Osborne’s 1982 hit was hard to forget and so is the melody. It was nice to hear that song at the mid-way point of this album. I normally do not hear any covers on these types of releases but it was a welcome addition and a nice transition. Right after that the main focus and sound of the album returns, which is important to maintain that consistency and stay with the original thoughts and meanings.

I will end with this quote from Tom Eaton that says it all! He not only played bass but was the co-producer with Will Ackerman and the engineer for the recording.

“An emotional masterpiece. Each song dives deeply into its own world fully showing the range and passion of a unique artist.” 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 6, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Undeniable
02. Finding Me Again
03. I Want to Get Closer
04. Over
05. Run Away with Me
06. On the Wings of Love
07. Revealed
08. Even If I Have to Stand Alone
09. Are You Still Dancing with Shadows
10. Between What's Lost and Found
11. To My Younger Self

 

9/23/2019

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Jarred Walker-Becoming Tomorrow

Release Date: January 1, 2019
Label: Independent

Jarred Walker started tinkering with the ivory keys when he was four years old. Now all his all-instrumental acoustic piano comes flowing out of your speakers, phone, or whatever device you happen to be using. Even today that sounds so different to say rather than your stereo or car radio. Luckily for Jarred all the music on Becoming Tomorrow transcends time and all barriers. 

One of the more gorgeous tracks is “Dream of the Firefly.” I quickly put it on my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist. Folks that do not read the review will be able to hear it if they go to the site. 

Spotify has a huge market share of streaming music now and it looks as though they are here to stay. That is just fine with me, it is a handy tool to access music and sample some new artists or listen to your library or anyone you follow. It is a great platform to get your music out there and people like Jarred need to be heard, it's as simple as that. It works I cannot deny it.

One of the more difficult things to accomplish with instrumental music is to keep a listener’s attention, particularly those that are accustomed to hearing vocals accompanying all the music. The music needs to demand your attention and paint a picture within each song. Jarred does accomplish that within the ten tracks on Becoming Tomorrow. 

Songs like “Turning Point” are uplifting. The rhythm and pace are something that you would hear playing during a more positive fast-moving scene in a movie. Whether it is one that you are watching or the one developing in your mind's eye, you feel it happening. This is the kind of realism that needs to happen in instrumental music or your audience is lost. Music such as this gives you pause, perhaps a moment to reflect, or just kick off your shoes, sit in a comfy chair and put the day behind you. It is satisfying, like a good day’s work, it keeps you going strong then lets you down easy when the track comes to a close.

All the music you will hear on Becoming Tomorrow was composed by Jarred. His ability to take a diverse array of influences, colors and various complexities within compositions is his greatest attribute. What you get is a composite of everything the man knows coming together like a patchwork quilt with perfected stitching everywhere. It is a contemporary instrumental potpourri that is sure to calm your nerves and satisfy from beginning to end.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 19, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01.  SOMETHING NEW  3:37
02.  ALONG FOR THE RIDE  3:25
03.  DREAM OF THE FIREFLY  4:06
04.  FILL THE STARS  4:00
05.  STEAM HORSE  3:22
06.  THIS TIME  4:27
07.  TURNING POINT  2:25
08.  LOOKING BACK  4:16
09.  AROUND THE BLOCK  2:20
10. END OF THE LINE  3:05



8/26/2019

Contemporary Instrumental-Smooth Jazz Review: Todd Mosby-Open Waters

Release Date: August 1, 2019
Label: M M G Records


Todd Mosby went to the right studio to record Open Waters.

This album reminded me of getting up late Sunday morning and turning on the local “Quiet Storm” station out of San Francisco, KBLX. I see that station is still in operation and wondered if it has changed any. That is one reason why I love jazz so much, particularly smooth jazz, which Todd presents a good example of in many tracks.

The title track I found quite compelling so I added it to my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist. The steady flow of relaxing music allows a listener to pause to reflect, look inward or just kick off your shoes and clear your head. All of that from my point of view, allows you to empty your mind and just fall right into the music. Todd makes that act so easy with twelve tracks on this album.

“Water Dance” was an excellent track with vocals, a step away from the norm, but a nice transition. The beautiful vocals of Noah Wilding made it one of my favorites. “Western Sky” was another that got my attention. They all were enjoyable, to be honest, I found it easy to get absorbed in Todd’s amazing acoustic guitar work. He truly knows how to make the six-string speak.

Open Waters reminds me of why music is so important and something I simply cannot live without. It is my number one healing tool any time day or night. This is the kind of combination of instruments that make for a great session. The excellence of bass player Michael Manring weaves in and out throughout the entire release. He is one of the top bass players in the world and contributes to many recordings at The End of the Road Studio headed up by Will Ackerman. This album reminded me of some of Will’s early work back in the 80s when he launched his Windham Hill Label.

The combination of instruments, chemistry, and production came together for Open Waters and that is evident from the first track onward.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 24, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Drifting
02. Atlantica
03. Open Waters
04. Coming About
05. A New Land
06. Western Sky
07. Dolphin Song
08. Water Dancer
09. Island Song
10. So Far Away
11. Windward
12. Sea of Joni



5/05/2019

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ed Blumenthal-The Late Train Home

Release Date: June 3, 2019
Label: Independent

Ed Blumenthal is a Chiropractor by trade. His was no different than many married folks trying to make a life for his family. His work became demanding and his children needed his time as well. Little time was left for him to play the piano. In fact, it took him nine years to return to the ivory keys. As if by some magical instance or the hand of God, Ed learned how to play the piano without being able to read music. He is self-taught and took videos of his hands creating the basis of some tunes. Further down the road, his wife took the tapes and converted them over to DVD, and he was able to relive his videos playing.  As fate would have it, a cello player named Eugene Friesen, thought the music needed accompaniment. To make a long story short, Ed ended up in Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio to record The Late Train Home. That is the music you will hear on this recording.

In a literal sense, the album is late in coming but it finally made it home. Ed and his music are The Late Train Home. The cover of the album is a view from the train with a beautiful sunset and the crescent moon right above it. We can all be passengers on that train and while we are all traveling down those tracks of life on our journey, we can sit back, breath deep, knowing and trusting that everything is going to be ok. We are here for a reason and to meet our destiny. Ed’s most certainly met his and part of the path he took led to ten tracks on this instrumental piano recording. Some folks may not agree but I look at this as contemporary instrumental music, particularly with piano, as a sub-genre of new age. It is easy enough for relaxation and meditation, so it qualifies as far as I am concerned.

Ed’s piano is like waves and ripples of sound that glide over your body, touching every sense you have, bringing to life awareness of your being and spirituality. In my world, any good music has that capability regardless of the genre. The rolling piano and rhythms are what mesmerize me and carry me away from where I am and where I need to be at that moment in time. Take for instance the title track, it is a captivating and poignant track that has character, purpose, and it tells the story of an artist reaching his destination. Music does speak to us in many different forms. For my ears, I get what the tracks and the title of the album mean by first understanding where the artist is coming from and where they are going. Then I look at the images presented and it all falls into place. That is for me from my vantage point and hopefully in sync with what the artist is trying to convey.

You must look beyond yourself and inside the music to find the answers you seek. When looking through the eyes and soul of another, or in this case the music which equates to those two elements, we see a reflection of ourselves in some shape or form that makes perfect sense. That is what The Late Train Home did for me but the train home was on schedule and arrived at the destination right on time.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 5, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Who Knows
02. The Roads Imagined
03. We Walk On
04. The Hands We Hold
05. Along The Way
06. The Late Train Home
07. Always Waiting
08. Until Then
09. The Sea Sings
10. For Us

4/01/2019

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Christopher James-Grace From Persistence

Release Date: April 5, 2019
Label: Val Gardena Music


I heard The Sad Waltz in 2017 and was very impressed with the talents and musical output of Christopher James. Two years on and my anticipation is mounting to hear the next offering titled Grace From Persistence. 

 
From my perspective, it always helps to know the meaning and messages in the music. It makes my listening experience richer and fuller. Christopher took the title track and gave it some thought. The Native Americans’ belief about the Saguaro cactus came to mind. That album title is a perspective that each of these sacred Saguaros is considered to be a unique individual, surviving on its own despite nature’s extremes. This relates directly to mankind and how resilient we can be as well. It also makes you think about living things like trees and how important they are to our survival.

Christopher set out to continue his explorations into the more complex compositions and that is what he accomplishes on Grace From Persistence. I had to call it contemporary instrumental because of the diverse instruments that accompany the piano of the main artist. I got lost in this music so much that before I realized it, track 7 was playing and it was getting near the end of this musical excursion.

Christopher definitely achieves his own Grace From Persistence by continuing down the path of musical intricacies. Music like this you simply cannot pigeonhole. If the entire album was like “Cul-De-Sac” for instance, then you could classify it as jazz. Which by the way is a big step away from the previous tracks, and it is that kind of change done so well that makes this recording a special and an important contribution in 2019.

I am consistently in awe of musicians that can take one main instrument, like the piano, and build these incredible musical stories. As I always say, music without words presents more of a challenge to convey a mood, atmosphere, ambiance, or message if you will. When I feel the impact of the music strongly like I did with Grace From Persistence it sets the bar higher for the next artist that is attempting to accomplish the same thing with their music. 

All of these thoughts point in a positive direction because we need each other for inspiration and to set goals. Your interpretation of this music will be based on your own life situation and overall feelings and thoughts the moment you listen. I think it’s important to keep one thing in mind, and that is to listen to this music at different points in the day to see what it can do for you. It’s a wonderful listening experience that heals and brings joy. The musicianship is beyond reproach and every track will get and keep your attention.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March  31, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Awakening
02. Get on with It
03. Mother Russia (Fantasy Based on a Theme from Scriabin)
04. Where's Frederick?
05. Beyond the Stars  
06. Grace from Persistence
07. Yes and No
08. Weimar Blues (1929)
09. Cul-De-Sac
10. Neitherworld

 

9/13/2018

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Holland Phillips - Leaning Toward Home

Release Date: September 21, 2018
Label: Ageless Records

My experience with the music of Holland Phillips is Circles of 8 and then I went on another journey with Under a Second Moon. Now another year has already passed and Leaning Toward Home will be arriving within a matter of days.

I get off easy calling Holland’s music contemporary instrumental. It is hard to define so that is the best tag to put on it. It is a fusion of sounds. You can call it whatever you want but I do highly recommend giving it all a good listen.

All the music was composed and performed by Holland. The man is a magician on the keyboards and he generates enough instrumentation to sound like an entire band on this recording.

I like being challenged with music, in a sense that it makes me think, it allows me my own space inside my head and in my soul. That is the complete circle for this listener. It takes a special kind of music to allow that to happen. Holland could not have said it better when he referred to this production as magic. To me, that is the beauty and perfection of music, more importantly, instrumental music that has the ability to sweep you away to an altered consciousness, a better state of mind, body, and spirit.

The title track said it all for me. It has that magical and mystical atmosphere that takes you right in and hangs on until the track fades away. There are so many sounds, consistencies, and bright colors to be discovered on “Leaning Toward Home.”  In fact, the entire recording offers so much diversity in sound that each track brings another feeling and atmosphere to light, it is like watching an ever-changing colorful lava lamp except this is translated to sounds, vibrations, something that is more meaningful and spiritual.

I think what Holland Phillips wants more than anything is for you, the listener, to discover the magic that he did in the music. Your realizations that are found inside the music can be joyous, revealing and mind-expanding. It is what you make it, the choice is yours.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 11, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By MuzikMan Music Reviews & News

Tracks:

01. Prelude to a Dance
02. Before the Epilogue
03. Roadside Brew
04. Time Travels
05. A Sip of Potion
06. Moving Forward
07. Leaning Toward Home
08. Full Circle
09. Surprising Turns
10. Along the Way
11. Bedtime Stories

 

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