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

12/07/2020

World Instrumental Guitar Review: Kiko Barriuso-6 Stringed Music

Release Date: October, 22, 2020

Label: Independent

Website


Kiko Barriuso is a six-string guitar maestro on his most recent, and seventh proper recording, titled 6 Stringed Music. It does not get any more straightforward than that when it comes to album titles. There are no hidden meanings, riddles, or something that needs to be interpreted. Born in Madrid Spain in 1978, he started with the piano at a young age then gravitated towards the guitar.


After translating Spanish to English on his Bandcamp page this is the overview I got of the album:
6 Stringed Music is a collection of instrumental songs in a world music style. All instruments have been played and programmed by Kiko Barriuso (except where indicated). acoustic guitar mainly, although other types of guitars appear (12 strings, electric ...).

What you are promised is a wide variety of styles and approaches. And that is exactly what you get. I must say straight away that I loved this right from the first note to the end. I have many reasons, first of course is his excellent command of the six-string, the eclectic tracks, and most importantly respect for the level of difficulty of not only playing the guitar incredibly well but venturing into a worldly journey of exploration of sounds. The tracks burst with electric energies and all colors of the musical spectrum.

“Entre Dos Tierras” is a fantastic journey of the acoustic guitar. It is played with style and grace and the full impact and generosity of the varying degrees of sound are appreciated by this listener. “Pisando Un Nuevo Suelo” starts with a nice ambient atmosphere then explodes into some magnificent electric guitar lines. Previous to that you will experience all-acoustic playing and would likely expect more of the same after looking at the album cover as well. It was a nice surprise for my listening tastes as he still played with exceptional precision and grace.

You will find out very quickly that Kiko knows how to make an impact with the guitar regardless if it is acoustic or electric or influenced by another country besides his own. That thought process for me gives even more credence to his ability and amazing talent.

“Un Toque Español” starts and I am wondering if he is going to jump into his full version of “Classical Gas.” The track never reaches that crescendo of emotion and lightning speed playing, instead what you get is a gorgeously short Spanish-influenced acoustic instrumental that ends way too soon. And that is meant strictly as a compliment to how much I appreciated the composition.

“Vuelo Nocturno” is another track filled with worldly delights and sounds. It is one of the highlights of the recording with layers of sounds added to support his guitar presentation. The intermingling of the layers of sounds suits the playing quite well and the result is a richly flavored freshly brewed instrumental gem. I bet you thought I was going to say something about coffee? Well, the comparison is there as a fresh cup of coffee from the finest beans in the world has no comparison, unless you are playing guitar while you’re drinking it, in this instance, it all applies.

Just to make sure he covers all the ground possible; he ends the album with the “Sueño Oriental,” which runs over 7 minutes. On this track you get the best of both worlds, Kiko plays acoustic and electric. The wonder of layering music is a beautiful thing. It is the most progressive and complicated track you will hear.

I think “Closing Time” should have been the last track, it seems appropriate but there is nothing ordinary or anticipatory about any of this music. You just have to wait to see what is next. That is the kind of recording I can appreciate the most.

Kiko Barriuso is a six-string conjurer on 6 Stringed Music. The beauty of the instrument and the lands the music is derived from is a tasty instrumental treat you should not miss. The is the art of music in full bloom and seen through the eyes of one talented man. I cannot wait to see where he goes from here!

Note: For Those of you that do not speak Spanish, I asked Kiko to translate the tracks to English.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder
December 5, 2020 

Track List:
01. Claro Que Si 03:10 (Yes Of Course)
02. Semilla De Amor 03:43 (Love Seed)
03. A Través Del Tiempo 02:54 (Throughout Time)
04. Entre Dos Tierras 04:21 (Between Two Lands)
05. Still Missing You 03:48
06. Pisando Un Nuevo Suelo 04:09 (Stepping On A New Ground)
07. Sensaciones 03:19 (Sensations)
O8. Un Toque Español 03:11 (A Spanish Touch)
09. Vuelo Nocturno 02:57 (Night Flight)
10. Never Ending Winter 02:55
11. A Change of The Seasong 03:17
12. Closing Time 02:27
13. Sueño Oriental 07:17 (Oriental Dream)


2/08/2020

Classical/World/ New Age Instrumental Review: Kim Angelis-Passages

Release Date: January 15, 2020
Label: Cantocielo Music
Website


Kim Angelis has recorded a lot of music over the years. Her most recent effort is Passages. As indicated in her bio on her website, her foundation in classical music is readily apparent. What comes after that foundation is amazing!

Passages
has some incredible virtuoso violin playing. What you will witness is an aural explosion of colors and sound. This a woman taking that classical foundation to new heights of progressive improvisation and turning into a fascinating gypsy-inspired sound with all kinds of elements mixed in for an original sound.

The recording has nine tracks that come at you one after another, full speed ahead. If you have enjoyed other violin artists such as Jean Luc-Ponty and David Ragsdale etc., you will find great joy in this album. I know that great players go back to the days of Bach, so perhaps that is where this talented lady first received the gift of inspiration and creativity that brought her to this place she is in now.

The very first track just blew me away to be perfectly honest. “Lavender Farm” sounds like it should be a soft and gentle introduction to this music that unfolds before you. Well, do not read into that title, this track has plenty of high-level energy and cultural magnificence driving it along. The farm she dedicated the track to is a real place in IIwaco Washington, which is a garden of delights according to track notes included with the fold-out CD cover. I did add it to my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist without a second thought. It is the second-longest track clocking in at 7:51. “The Promise,” another full-fledged classic instrumental track, finishes at 9:19.

How many instrumental violin tracks have you heard that had consistency and grabbed your attention for that long? There are not many that can do that, the previously mentioned Ponty, could do it for me, but then again, I am far from being a violin expert or one that listens to a lot of this type of music presented this way. I do believe I am missing out on an awful lot, and I am sure there is more out there that is similar but will it be this good?

“Lost and Found” illustrates that moving and danceable gypsy sound that I find alluring. It is more than just a casual listen. There are other players involved in all this music that help to heighten the lead violin sound. There is the quintessential percussion, bass, classical harp, flute, clarinet, and kalimba (which is a thumb piano) that populate the various textures and sounds in every track. It all comes together stunningly, like the magic of a gypsy spell, it sweeps you away like a warm wave of heat coming off a campfire blazing long into the night. The warmth permeates your senses, you feel it, smell it, and breathe it in, the music comes alive, and fills you up with all of its vibrations and sounds.

These Passages of time wrapped up in these nine fantastic tracks will convince you that the violin can indeed be a lead instrument if played with as much robustness and talent as one Kim Angelis.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 6, 2020

 

Founder of:








Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

1. Lavender Farm
2. Sweet Botswana
3. Wait Until Summer
4. The Promise
5. Eagles
6. Lost and Found
7. Longing
8. Tango de Paco
9. Sequoias (Resurrected)

 
 

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

 

5/15/2018

New Age-Classical Review: Christine Brown-Ascend

Release Date: October 1, 2017
Label: Key Image Music
It has been 4 years since I had the opportunity to enjoy writing about a Christine Brown recording. I covered Souvenirs in 2014. Looking back into the archives I see that I was ill at the time of my first listening experience and her music helped me get in a positive frame of mind and get well again.

Ascend was released in October of 2017, which now seems ions away with the warm weather upon us in May. As people find ascension in life it can come in many different forms, and it also can be disguised as something else that is happening. Even the definition of the word can take different forms such as to move upward, to slope upward, or to conduct nerve impulses toward or to the brain.  

I think in this case those definitions can apply to all fourteen tracks offered on the recording. The beauty and simplicity of solo piano music is something special. I look at it as an uplifting and pure representation of an instrument. The ivory keys in the right hands can bring heaven to earth and peace to one’s soul. I realize that is a prolific statement to make about music however that is the way I truly feel.

Ascend had a positive effect on me. The nerve impulses to my brain engaged my thought process and released all of those good endorphins.  I liked the way Christine explained the process of making the album. She stated in one passage in a sentence in the liner notes “Creating music is a beautiful and evolving process. Each piece develops through many stages, slowly transforming until each song is ready to be released, just like the life cycle of a butterfly, until it finally emerges from the chrysalis.”

That is a brilliant comparison to one of the miracles of nature. This is an accurate statement to make, in my opinion, about the birth of a track from start to finish. I have always looked at the creation of each track as a bit of a miracle, and those that are able to create on such a level are the blessed that walk this great planet of ours.

If you want to Ascend from daily life, relax, absorb, reflect and heal, music can get you there, just let it take you. Christine Brown will gently push you there if you cannot just fall into it and be swept away like some fortunate listeners. This is a journey and one that can be therapeutic in several ways. Ascending from self, sidestepping the ego of our humanity, and letting the music take over is the best choice you can make. Look what happened when Christine let the music flow through her fingers…

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 14, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Ascend
02. Love’s Legacy
03. Magic Carpet
04. Gravity
05. Closer
06. Forest for the Trees
07. Ivory Wings
08. Lotus Breeze
09. Floating Colors
10. Soar
11. Cherish
12. The Departure
13. Amethyst Sky
14. Safe and Sound


5/12/2018

Instrumental Rock-Blues-Country Review: Eric Tingstad-Electric Spirit

Release Date: May 18, 2018
Label: Independent

If you are an instrumental music fan, I have just the right thing for you to check out. Eric Tingstad will be releasing Electric Spirit on May 18th, 2018. 

I have become accustomed to the acoustic recordings of Eric and have always enjoyed them. The arrival of an all-electric album came as a surprise. I know the man is a very talented purveyor of the six-string so I looked forward to hearing this offering called Electric Spirit.

With his deep commitment to the music and his surroundings that mother earth provides, Eric derives great inspiration. His playing is heartfelt and meaningful to those who believe in cherishing and protecting our environment. After all, what do we have without our precious earth were humans and all living things can thrive? I am with him in his beliefs and the importance of sending the message continually. This what he does as an artisan and advocate of the environment.

Electric Spirit is only different in musical approach, not subject matter. I think I was more than ready to hear Eric play some electric guitar. His tone is as sweet as honey and his picking as sharp as a razor blade ready for its first shave. Picture that analogy and then listen to the music, you will understand. 

What you will hear on Electric Spirit is an eclectic mixture of genres all fusing together to make for a multicultural musical experience. There are blues, country, and rock or more appropriately for some ears, Americana. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all of those performed with a touch of glass and high-end production that any guitar aficionado could produce.

This music runs deep like “Big River,” “Oh’ Shenandoah” and “The Train of Thought” (interesting play on words). The tracks he composed and performed are just sparkling with spirit and good energy. I really appreciated the way Eric took all of his influences and some classic tunes and made them his own, like “Amazing Grace” and “Over The Rainbow.”

Those graceful and well-placed guitars lined just set me at ease and all my worry and stress just melted away. It was like the sweet surrender of my soul to the music and the reward was a deep satisfaction and abiding respect for the artist and his music. It was like every note rang true and resonated with me. That is my personal journey and everyone will have their own story to tell, once they hear this great music.

Eric Tingstad is a great musician and I love the fact that he decided to stretch out and give his listeners another side of his artistry to enjoy on Electric Spirit.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 25, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By MuzikMan Reviews & News

Tracks:
01. Electric City
02. French Quarter
03. Oh’ Shenandoah
04. Bessie
05. Amazing Grace
06. There’s More
07. South To Carolina
08. Big River
09. Key West
10. Flamingo Club
11. The Train of Thought
12. Over The Rainbow

 

4/01/2018

Instrumental New Age Chill Review: 7and5-The Lost Voice

Release Date: March 30, 2018
Label: Independent

The name 7and5 (John Nixon) came from the fact that all musical notes can be expressed within an octave on a piano as 7 white keys and 5 black keys. That is the explanation I received from John Nixon over 3 years ago when I covered his album Themes For A Grey Day.

So, you probably got the hint that 7and5 is a keyboard player. Well, now you know if you didn’t. So, one day after its release I am listening to The Lost Voice. Now I remember why I enjoyed his music so much.

I got one step “Closer to Heaven,” with the atmospheric and intriguing opening track. I think we all get closer to the heavens when we let the music do all the work. For 7and5 it has been a musical evolution since the beginning when his first release In A Moments Time came out in 2006.  

7and5 is a clever composer and musician. It is not always the easiest thing taking highly technical music and giving it rhythm and purpose. That is exactly what he does on The Lost Voice. The cover is very interesting and thought-provoking, which is yet another aspect of artistry that I appreciate. Some artist will tell that there is no meaning to the cover on the CD and say “I thought it was a cool picture.” I do not think that is the case here. 

What you see is a pure white phone on what appears to be on the white sand of a beach. The main message here is the cord connecting the phone has no end to it. There is a voice, it is connected but for now, it is just lost. Perhaps the music will elevate the voice’s purpose so it finds its way home? Are the cords end at the beginning of the water's edge or at the skyline? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the answer is that we are all connected to Mother Nature and the significance of the cord leads back to the ocean from whence all life came from. Are we a lost human race looking for our way home?

Ok, that is a lot of thought about one picture, I know. That is positive proof that images can be powerful and when you combine images and sound you can find your way home. You find your “Presence” is necessary to receive the messages inside the music. That makes sense to me because I let the music envelop me, which allows relaxation and complete freedom of thought and expression. That is what the listening “experience” is for me. It is different for everyone.

I know one thing for sure, The Lost Voice is a very good album. Once again, this kind of music reminded of some of my favorite ambient and atmospheric bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. The elements of simplicity with the piano combined with the synths and computer-generated sounds is like the meeting of the best of both worlds. It takes vision and intelligence to stand alone and create music like this. It all flows together from one track to the next like our brain synapses growing with each thought. The more you use it the stronger and more useful it becomes.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 31, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Closer to Heaven
02. Life at Once
03. Father
04. Mi Deh Yah
05. Glistening
06. Blue Flame
07. Open Up
08. Presence
09. Winter Frost
10. Heart to Heart
11. Man Plans, God Laughs
12. Distant Memory
13. Wavecrest
14. Epilogue


3/01/2018

New Age/Jazz Instrumental Review: Joseph L. Young-Every Moment

Release Date: March 29, 2018
Label: Independent

It has been a few years since I covered Joseph L. Young’s Ethereum album. The focus on that album was the flute, now we have the arrival of Every Moment at the end of March. This time around there is a focus more on the saxophone, however, the flute is mixed in as well.

The many layers of instrumentation make the 12 tracks on this CD a delightful journey for the listener. I appreciated the mixture of all the instruments. The use of the synthesizer layered between the sax is brilliant. The atmospheres are a combination of new age and smooth jazz. I love that combination and most certainly would like to hear more. The variety is what draws me and keeps me interested.

When I looked at all of the influences of this artist it was a clarification of why I enjoy his music so much. Many of the artists mentioned, were some that provided an introduction to jazz and new age music for me as well.
Being pleased with a recording is acceptance. It is the first level of listening. I do not think you can go anywhere with the music unless you find commonality with it. For me, this was easy listening to Joseph’s offerings. The first thing is how you are stimulated by is the cover, which has many different meanings. It is placed before you to decide where you want it to take you. If Every Moment was precious to you and you felt grateful to be alive, don’t you think that your existence here on this earth would be more rewarding? So maybe this is what the artist is trying to say on the cover of the CD and in his music.

I think the cover is a work of art and the music that follows is as well. Elements of world, Native American, jazz, new age, and chill are all part of the package on Every Moment. This album was a nice change from what I normally hear when listening to new age. It is very original and inventive. I hesitate to say unique but it definitely is an eclectic mix that I enjoyed from beginning to end. That is a major accomplishment for any artist to achieve with a listener.  When you hear so much music all the time it becomes harder to find originality and a step away from the norm. For my ears that is a fact.

A fine example of that kind of diversity I am referring to is the eleventh track (by no coincidence) titled “Eleventh Hour.” It starts off with a swirling synth emulating the wind then the track takes off and continues to evolve. With nearly 6 minutes of that sax mesmerizing you and the synth melting away your stress makes for a very interesting progressive composition that invites you to listen very carefully. It is more thought-provoking and energizing than meditative tracks, which many of the other tracks can be. This is what makes it all so intriguing, you never know what is coming next.

Joseph L. Young gives us another masterpiece of sound and color to listen to. Just remember one thing, savor Every Moment of this gift of music and spirituality and thank Joseph when you can.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 1, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Prism
02. Falling Through Time
03. Every Moment
04. Twilight
05. Time Traveler (feat. Cornell Kinderknecht)
06. Once in a While
07. Vicariously Blue
08. Continuum
09. Chronos Dreams
10. Letting Go
11. Eleventh Hour
12. Evening Repose

12/23/2017

New Age Instrumental Review: Matt Marshak-Year's End

Review by Val Vaccaro for Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck 
http://www.newagemusicreviews.net/

Release Date: December 12, 2016
Independent Label:  Nuance Music Group
Website

If you find yourself waxing sentimental and in self-reflection at the end of the year, and seek solace in the comfort of soothing music, you’re not the only one.

Matt Marshak’s Year’s End CD is a solo acoustic guitar New Age album with 14 new original songs inspired by his philosophical perspective on life and the change of seasons.  Marshak’s Year’s End CD offers beautiful, relaxing, instrumental acoustic guitar melodies with the healing power to lift your spirits at any time of year - to provide refuge from a hectic holiday season, or simple solace from the busy demands and ordeals of everyday life.

As proof of the restorative nature of Marshak’s Year’s End music, it has recently been licensed to Healing Healthcare Systems’ C.A.R.E. music channel to hospitals across America for relaxation, healing, and recovery of patients and their families and to provide a pleasant atmosphere for hospital staff.   That is a good example of ‘music therapy’ for the mind, body and soul.  Marshak’s Year’s End CD is also on the Top 100 Radio Airplay chart for Zonemusicreporter.com (formerly NewAgeReporter.com).

During a recent snowy winter evening in the New York, Marshak said (on his Facebook “Live” video to friends and fans from around world), “This time of year I get sentimental, more introspective. There’s something about the wintry weather and (playing) acoustic guitar that makes me more creative…the writing process often starts for me on the acoustic guitar.”

According to Marshak, “the introspective music on Year’s End is a big contrast from what I’ve done (before).”  Marshak’s Year’s End CD can appeal to both New Age listeners, and to smooth jazz fans alike.   Since 2003, Matt Marshak has recorded 9 smooth jazz instrumental CDs, with his music topping Billboard and other jazz charts. Marshak performs at jazz venues and music festivals in the U.S. and around the world.

On the Year’s End album, Matt Marshak skillfully plays two acoustic guitars- a Larrivee Parlor P-05 guitar and a Taylor S12 grand concert guitar - sometimes sounding like an Indian sitar.  Marshak draws upon numerous sources of inspiration for this CD. The pretty instrumental melodies on Marshak’sYear’s End CD are easy-to-listen-to tunes featuring an eclectic mix of influences from new age, pop, country, jazz, folk, medieval, and classical music, reminiscent (without the vocals) of the genre-bending music of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, acoustic guitar riffs from Led Zeppelin, the warm sounds of James Taylor, and a variety of movie soundtracks.  Marshak recently said after playing his “Thanksgiving Day” song that: “I’ve always been a big fan of James Taylor… he was a big influence on me… his chords, his movements (on songs) like “Carolina on My Mind.”

The music on Matt Marshak’s Year’s End album also has some melodic elements similar to other New Age music such as Jim Brickman’s Sooth CDs, but without vocals, nature sounds, or a typical new age production.  The acoustic guitar songs on Marshak’s Year’s End CD are self-sufficient – they are aural soundscapes which paint their own poetic pictures.

Listeners may also want to check out videos of songs from Year’s End on YouTube. For example, there is a video is of Matt Marshak’s “Baby’s First Snowfall” with some nice photos posted by The SmoothJazzLoft. Another video features Matt Marshak playing acoustic guitar on the song “Rest My Child” - Matt Marshak (Live).

Overall, Marshak’s Year’s End CD can gracefully bring the gift of calm, with its aural soundscapes to enhance your life for any time of year.  Matt Marshak’s Year’s End CD is available on various websites including CDBaby.com.

5/5 Stars

CD Review by Val Vaccaro

December 17, 2017

 

Tracks:
01. Peace and Joy
02. Thanksgiving Day        

03. Walk in the Forest        
04. Great People       
05. Winter's Day        
06. The Light of Spring     
07. Leave Your Worries       
08. Deep Within     
09. Rest My Child       
10. This Old Barn        
11. Echo       
12. Harvest Song    
 14. Baby's First Snowfall       

12/04/2017

Acoustic Latin Review: Victor Samalot-Esperanza

Release Date: September 25, 2017
Label: TSM Productions
Music that has flavor, color and personality are what gets my heart pumping. Victor Samalot is a name that was hard for me to forget. I covered some music by his band Rare Blend back in 2006. I am so glad he stayed in touch and invited me to cover his new album Esperanza.

Esperanza is a Spanish word for “hope.”  So, if you have an ounce of hope in your soul that some good music will change your mood…then it is mission accomplished with this album.

Victor is an accomplished guitarist and he reaches new heights on Esperanza. My love for Latin flavored music goes back many years when I listened to Segovia, DiMeola and many others that took that style and brewed it into a world fusion that blew my mind. This is not that kind of music however I do appreciate an individual artist sitting down and playing their instrument with minimum to no accompaniment. 

With nine tracks offered up on Esperanza, one great tune after another just poured out of the speakers. It was like Victor picked up his guitar and never put it down. The flow and pace that he sets right from the start is like a river that knows exactly where it is going.

I do not think it would be fair to mention any particular track that stands out on an album that is so outstanding from beginning to end. That is no exaggeration either. The nine tracks went by in the blink of an eyelash for me. Anytime I really enjoy the music as much as I did this, time is relative to that enjoyment button getting pushed in all the way in and not popping back out. That is a major accomplishment for any artist trying to get your attention and then keeping it. My ears are designed to evaluate thus making the experience quite a bit different than just a casual listen.

With all of that in mind, I first think about how the music makes me feel then from that point listen to the story that may be unfolding and finally the production values. Victor gets an A+ an all accounts. The story part however is going to have to be your own, it is very alive and cinematic music so that will not be a problem.

Esperanza is a work of art and I hope that Mr. Samalot decides to keep going in this direction because he certainly has the mojo to play any type of Latin flavored music and make a direct impact on a listener. 

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 4, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Tracks: 
1. Mofongo
2. Cafe Puerto Rico
3. Esperanza
4. El Torero
5. El Hombre Sin Nombre
6. Struttin
7. La Plaza
8. Streets Of Barcelona
9. One For The Road
 


8/03/2017

New Age Jazz Fusion Review: Christopher James-The Sad Waltz

Release Date: 2017
Label: Vai Gardena Music

There is one word that can explain what you will hear on the new Christopher James release The Sad Waltz, diversity!

Listening to instrumental music is a wonderful thing and at times it becomes similar, then I crave for something fresh and different. Well I got just what the music doctor ordered with The Sad Waltz.

The list of contributors on this recording is quite impressive. This is the reason the 14 tracks sound so complex and different. There is brass, percussion, acoustic bass, different layers of keyboards and many other sounds that make for a symphony of sound. This beautiful work is a real journey for the artist. James wanted to explore harmonics and different approaches to every track. The result is a constant flow of change with perceptions and colors that only music such as this can provide.
The opening track is very exciting and it sets the tone for the entire album. “Consequence of Intention” has some excellent guitar lines provided by the guitar maestro David Torn. While listening I was sincerely appreciating the sound and particularly the guitar. I nodded my head in recognition of Mr. Torn, whose name I recognized instantly. He is well a respected musician in the world of jazz rock fusion.

Where the album goes from there is hard to explain but I can tell you it is very good! The changing sounds and textures in each track is like watching different scenes in a movie. The movie playing is the thought patterns and feelings the music will create for each individual listener. For my listening pleasure, this is what makes this recording so special. And speaking of soundtracks, the bonus track is an alternate take of “How Can I Change Your Mind?” And it is a fantastic way to close the curtains on this amazing listening experience.

I found nothing sad about this music as the title may indicate. Of course, this can be interpreted by some as the word sad in literal sense or it can mean different things dependent upon your own perception. The album title and track was inspired by Randy Newman’s “Ragtime Theme.” The simplicity of the main theme was the core of the track but fair warning, to expect simplicity consistently with this music is way off base. The title track invites you to listen some more. The balance is finite and focused and what you will discover is an inventive and refreshing sound throughout the entire listen.

This is pure creativity and energy coming together to form a super nova of sounds. The Sad Waltz just made it into my top 10 instrumental albums for 2017.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 3, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Consequence of Intention
02. The Steppes of Mora
03. Ostinato Piano, Percussion, Strings and Electronics
04. I Can See It Now
05. Intremezzo Simpatcico
06. The Mighty Quinn (Martin)
07. Claude’s Clouds
08. The Sad Waltz
09. How Can I Change Your Mind?
10. Reverie
11. One Last Time
12. Close Your Eyes
13. Guardian Angel
Bonus Track:
14. How Can I Change Your Mind? (alternate take)


2/11/2016

New Age-Jazz-World Instrumental Review: Todd Mosby-On Eagle Mountain

Release Date: April, 1, 2016
Label: Mosby Music Group
Website
As an introduction to this artist I had the pleasure of focusing in on one track on our Rate The Tracks site. “Spirit Dancer” is a multicultural brew of new age with some infusion of smooth jazz topped off by hints of world to make it a distinct crossover flight. 

As with many of the recordings at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios, some familiar names are part of the equation. The incomparable Tony Levin and several others including Michael Manring, Jill Halley and Tom Eaton combined with the astute guidance of Ackerman make for an unbeatable team. They all draw out the very best from each other during a recording session.

“Eagle Mountain” in all its beauty and splendor pictured on the cover of this recording gets a proper introduction through the delicate and tasteful guitar playing of Mr. Mosby. The bass section is amazing as well and it all jells into auditory perfection.

The great outdoors can inspire and refresh when embraced and surely Todd is one such person. After listening to this music that one thought becomes reality. “Falling Light” dances and sings and turns into one of my favorites very quickly. It is nearly six minutes of musical enchantment. It builds and builds until you hear percussion, violin, guitar and bass all intersecting at the same point. I really enjoyed the way the track started with a simple foundation then built a towering monument of sound. As the sun rises over the mountain peak it falls onto the trees, animals, vegetation and people below. This is a beautiful thought process that becomes totally engaging once transferred to music.

I think the artist really gets in touch with his surroundings while recording this music and obviously could envision the places he held dear in his mind and heart. Instruments like the ewi, bells, singing bowls and English horn, cello and other elements make their presence known and are part of the final product.

Perhaps the deciding factor that made this entire listening experience coalesce for my ears and spirit was how Todd took his guitar and added all the other instruments to make On Eagle Mountain a delight to fall into, like your favorite comfy chair. This recording was like a culinary delight taking every ingredient and then measuring it properly to flesh out the sound for each individual track. Interesting enough the titles go very well with the music.

On Eagle Mountain took me down a road that made me feel alive and free just like the open sky and mountains ranges that adorn our land. Music that is that powerful needs recognition and validation. It was my pleasure to be one of the fortunate people to give all the credit to the creators of this superb release.




5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Spirit Dancer, Eagle Mountain, Falling Light

Tracks:
01. SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN
02. SOARING 
03. EAGLE MOUNTAIN 
04. FALLING LIGHT 
05. COLORADO, MISSOURI 
06. JACK’S FORK 
07. SPIRIT DANCER 
08. ODE TO JOE
09. MOON SONG 
10. MOUNTAIN LULLABY
11. STAR SONG
 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder

February 11, 2016

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

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