Showing posts with label New Age Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Age Reviews. Show all posts

5/27/2019

Instrumental New Age Review: Ann Sweeten-Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow

 Artist: Ann Sweeten
Title: Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow
Label: Orange Band Records
Website


Ann Sweeten has a story to tell. This incredible woman and musician has suffered through 3 bouts of cancer. I found her words inspirational. She does not want anyone to feel sorry for her, she wants positive support and for people to stop and smell the roses of life that abound all around us. 

I covered the 2016 release Where Butterflies Dance and in 2014 Tapestries of Time So now I am ready for the latest offering Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow.

Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow is her story set to music. Words are not necessary with such talent at the keys. The eloquence and beauty of piano instrumental music reach new heights for the artist on this release. With everything going on in her personal life she has found the energy and inner spirit to push herself beyond any physical limitations and turn into something positive and wonderful.

The title track is a gorgeous heartfelt melody flowing like a stream of rhythmic in-sync spirituality. In other words, Ann becomes one with the music and the end result is extraordinary. “Philadelphia 22” is so emotional and full of the grace of the heavens. The power of her rolling piano passages finds its foundation in classical but the soul of the track is all Ann. The addition of the cello, English Horn, and violin give the tracks another layer that brings an additional emotive element and that classical sensibility.

There is sadness in the music however her piano brings out the joy and positive vibes that are within her and it will heal not only the artist but everyone that hears it. That is the beauty of this music. The story behind it all is incredibly real and it will touch many lives.

Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow will leave an indelible mark upon your soul. After reading about her tribulations, the music took on a stronger significance. Just knowing what Ann has been through, her great attitude and the messages she delivers in the music, it would give anyone pause. I heard the birds chirping last night and looked at my wife and said “Hear them chirping? They sound so happy.” That is the purity of nature and all the sounds, smells, and colors that are all around us. I am so grateful for that kind of awareness and the gift of this music, all music, that heals and takes me to another level of reality. 

This kind of instrumental music envelops you in a cocoon of tranquility that cannot be retrieved during a normal busy day. This surely is music made for those seeking healing that goes beyond words.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 27, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Across the Midnight Sky          
02. Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow      
03. Beyond the Clouds          
04. The Empty Swing          
05. Saying Goodbye              
06. Philadelphia 22          
07. Vanish                  
08. Lullaby for Blackie Boo          
09. Through Winter Panes          
10. Like Smoke Through a Keyhole  
   
 

4/24/2019

Ambient-New Age Review: Dan Palladino-Pastoral Memory

Release Date: February 2, 2019
Label: Independent
Dan Palladino is no stranger to recording music. His debut in the new age/ambient genre just arrived in February this year. Pastoral Memory is seven tracks born out of the art of improvisation.

 
Dan uses a blend of acoustic and electric guitars over the top of synth harmonies that breath in and out to create a fluctuating and soothing effect. Music like this is like an animate object taking form in your mind’s eye. One of the best examples is the lead-off track “Rising.” It is the ultimate musical exercise clocking in at a plentiful 10:15.

Some of this music can be used for focus and meditation. You will hear a steady tone throughout parts of songs like “Thankful,” which is another generous portion of Dan’s art at 5:13 then it nicely segues into “Joyful Cleansing” yet another space in time that allows for focus and relaxation, giving the listener 8:48 minutes. Dan uses the guitar for consistency with a steady picking while you hear the movement of water. Then another seamless segue goes right into “Passing Storm,” with rain and thunder, as the synths add an additional layer of texture and ambiance. As the storm passes the birds are happy again tweeting away and it blends right into “Aftermath.” So now you are seeing the logical progression of the music in the titles and the purposeful transition from one track to another.

The addition of the synths is essential in making this an ambient treat for the ears, mind, and body, which for this listener, equates to a happy soul. I for one really appreciated how all of this was arranged and titled. It all made sense to me and did arouse my internal receptors to all the sounds and vibrations.

Six out of the seven songs are given plenty of time and space for the creator of the music and the appreciative listener. For a debut in this genre, this a stunning group of tracks brilliantly composed and exercised by Dan Palladino. One other point is the cover, the cool color of blue water and the white clouds set you at ease and set you up nicely for what you are about to hear on Pastoral Memory.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 24, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
1. Rising
2. Thankful
3. Joyful Cleansing
4. Passing Storm
5. Aftermath
6. Yesterday’s Dream
7. Counting Stars

 

12/19/2018

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Kurt Reiman-North Maple Road

Release Date: September 23, 2018
Label: Independent

Kurt Reiman is a self-made artist. He never had the patience to practice and read music so he listened to his favorite piano composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Billy Joel, Lyle Mays, George Winston, and Dave Brubeck. That is how he learned his craft. That kind of story really makes me think and wonder how someone can pick up how to play a song just by listening. It is a God-given gift that I simply cannot fathom but I sincerely appreciate it.

North Maple Road is the first recording released by Kurt. He is a working man just as are most indie recording artists. Not making enough money to sustain life, the indies are forced to work a day job so they can do what gives them passion. That daytime gig actually sustains the second career (in most cases). The dream, of course, is to remain working in that passion driven art form, whatever that may be. Alas, most of us do not find a way to that path but what keeps it all going is the hunger, the belief that you are actually contributing to the music-loving public and to the greater good of mankind.

Solo piano is beautiful, something that anyone can listen to at their leisure or for meditation or simply focus on one thing that needs more time and clarity. The music is the tool that carves out what we want, a time and place like North Maple Road, a fond memory, a reflection of life, or thoughts that make us smile from the inside out. It is all there waiting for us like an empty canvas waiting for those first strokes from our own personal paintbrush.

I am a New Englander and appreciate the mountains, the four seasons and the beauty that surrounds us. Just look at the cover of this CD, doesn’t it look pure and crystal clear? Don’t you wish you could think that way 24/7? That would be amazing but not realistic. Thankfully we have talented musicians like Kurt Reiman to help us down that path where we can see the light of day and feel hope. Music is so powerful and the simplicity of a piano and how Kurt makes it an extension of his soul and the physical body is a beautiful thing.

North Maple Road is twelve tracks with very meaningful titles. Kurt is a family man and you see it with the track names and feel the love and warmth in the music. He is grateful for everyone in his life and gives credit to his mentors. He knows he would not be at this point in life without all the people that have helped him. We are all the same, we just have a tendency to forget about all that and get on with our busy lives. This music creates a pause and pushes you gently to get in another space, look at the artwork on the cover of the album and think about the title of each song.

So, thank you, Kurt, for pushing me in the right direction and giving me the awareness of everything that your music means and stands for. There is so much inside this music and it is a fulfilling experience to know more about the person that created this work of art and appreciate where it all came from.
 
North Maple Road is an experience, not just another album to “listen” to.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 19, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Sunrise over Narragansett Bay
02. You’re My Friend
03. Push Me Higher Daddy
04. Walk with Me
05. Together and Alone
06. North Maple Road
07. Live Your Dreams My Son
08. I Need to Say This
09. Evening Snowfall
10. By Your Side
11. Stars and Constellations
12. You’ll Always be Here with Me



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


2/03/2018

New Age Review: Trine Opsahl-Add Colours To My Sunset Sky


Trine Opsahl’s latest release is Add Colours To My Sunset Sky. The 13 tracks on this CD encompass some of the most beautiful harp playing you will ever hear. She is an expert at playing the Celtic Harp. The album is primarily instrumental.

I think of two people when it comes to harp music, Harpo Marx and Andreas Vollenweider. I know you may find it funny that I mention the famous comedian Marx Brother but if you ever saw him play the harp you would understand. His face got real serious and he was excellent. Andreas of course broke new ground many years ago for the instrument. I believe it is time to add another name to list.

Thinking about the gates of heaven and angels naturally come to mind when you hear harp music or picture someone playing. I say that at the risk of being cliché. One thing for certain, music that is so delicate and gorgeous will you bring closer to the heavens above. Perhaps you will be able to totally relax or even meditate with the help of this music. It certainly engages your spirit and makes your physical existence seem nonessential. The soul cages we live in can be set free with a little help from our friends like Trine. Foe people that are cerebral, there is release available as well.


Another addition to this album is an instrument that may remind you of the Indian Tamboura called the monochord. I was actually reminded of the sitar myself and along with Trine’s haunting vocals, the combination proved to be striking. The use of the two different instruments projects different sides of the artist. When she plays the harp, it is inviting and peaceful but then there are other shades of light and emotion that come through when she sings and plays the monochord. The visions that came to my mind were Vikings traveling the seas or dying in battle with the promise of honor in Valhalla. I know that may sound a bit dramatic for a new age recording, however those are the images that came to me, for anyone else I am sure it would be entirely different.


As simplistic and straightforward as Add Colours To My Sunset Sky is at times, it remains a very interesting and entertaining work of art. I think Trine’s mixture of tempos and moods is brilliant and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with on the next album. She will add colors to your sky, day, evening and world, whatever the case may be, this another great example of the power of music


4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 3, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Songs from a Mountain I
02. Sunshine on a Stony Path
03. Rosebed Garden
04. In a Grain of Sand
05. Eternity in a Song
06. Lightly Dance into the Morning
07. Songs from a Mountain II
08. Rose of the Eternal Spring
09. Add Colours to My Sunset Sky
10. Diving into an Ocean of Love
11. Today Will Be Forever
12. Leaving on a Thursday Morning
13. Graceful Like a River

 

1/31/2018

Instrumental New Age Review: Dan Kennedy-Mountains Made of Shadow Anthems Made of Light

Release Date: March 2, 2018
Label: Mt. Pollux Music

The forthcoming Dan Kennedy album carries with it a very descriptive title. That is one of the many factors that attracts me to this kind of music. A thought provoking title is a good way to start things off.

Mountains Made of Shadow Anthems Made of Light is very reflective title for a recording. It is Dan’s fourth proper album. And it is a solo album, you get nothing but the artist and his piano. 

Simplicity rules the day on any occasion for my ears. I don’t have to be in a certain mood to enjoy this music, it always soothes me and comforts me regardless of when I am listening.

Speaking of simplicity, just look at the album cover. It does not get more explanatory than what you see here. The title is in sync with the colors and picturesque mountain range and orange skyline. Dan’s piano helps to paint that picture in your mind’s eye and perhaps a bit more. That of course is all dependent on each individual listener, and that my music loving friends is a beautiful thing. The silence of a singular instrument invites a serenity and peacefulness.

As Dan’s piano leads you through his journey full of nature and its colors, you become enthralled within the 12 tracks offered. Nearly every track gives you time to absorb the emotion and atmospheres, all within a 4 to 5-minute time span. That is just right for my attention span and purposes of a thought process. It is like I am being plugged into a socket in the heavens where I can focus on what is really important in life.

I am to the point with my take on this type music, that I would rather not take out the reviewer’s scissors (which is applicable most of the time) and slice it up and piece it together in various ways. By doing that I usually choose 3 or 4 tracks to focus on as high points during the listen. I prefer to look at the instrumental albums as a complete work of art. Although each track is dissimilar, I find it more fully realized for someone that has not heard the music yet. This way they can get an understanding of how it all made me feel. It is more personal that way.

Mountains Made of Shadow Anthems Made of Light is an entity, a projection of another person’s soul to reflect off yours. The artist has a mirror to look into which is the instrument they are playing. The music is our mirror as we are the recipients of those sounds and vibrations created with that musical brush. This is my process and you as the potential listener, will find yours waiting inside the music. Open it up like it was your birthday or Christmas and enjoy!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 31, 2018
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:

01. Chilly Morning
02. Give It All Away
03. Wintergreen
04. Backstory
05. Souvenirs
06. After The Heartache Is Gone
07. California
08. Ennio
09. Wildflower
10. Implying Flying
11. Allelu
12. The Fire Within

 

11/27/2017

Acoustic Instrumental/New Age Review: Camille Nelson-Lead Me Home

Release Date: August 18, 2017
Label: Stone Angel Music

Camille Nelson’s recent release is hard to put into a neat little box. Some music is actually like that and not very memorable. With Lead Me Home she plays the acoustic guitar and violin. She offers a multitude of colors and flavors for a perspective audience.

This music is atmospheric and something you may here as the soundtrack to Western type of movie. It does cover a lot of ground including spirituals, roots, blues, folk and new age. 

That kind of eclectic selection for one album holds a listener’s interest from start to finish. It certainly did the trick for me.

Camille and her many talents will keep you spellbound. This is a complete soundtrack, one that could fit into any listener’s lifestyle or musical preference. It is like getting in an easy chair and just letting your hair down for a while. Music such as this prompts this kind of feeling as the movie in your mind flickers away. Additionally, if you want to empty your mind this can be accomplished as well.

Some of the highlights for my ears was the outstanding picking on the acoustic guitar and the slide playing. The slide of course gave the tracks a definite blues and roots feeling to them. I could picture rustic scenery, or a cowboy riding into the sun setting off in the distance (like one of those old Clint Eastwood movies). That is what this music did for me. Everyone is different and for my tastes and interpretations that is the movie that I could see in my mind.

Camille Nelson is the kind of talent that could get noticed by more than one industry and I look forward to what she will create next. Lead Me Home should make plenty of ears perk up along the way before she decides to go back into the studio again.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 27, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. Amazing Grace
02. How Great Thou Art
03. Nearer My God to Thee
04. Be Thou My Vision (feat. Alex Sharpe)
05. Adelia
06. Be Still My Soul
07. Israel Israel God Is Calling
08. Come Come Ye Saints (feat. Steven Sharp Nelson)
09. Lead Me Home
10. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
11. Patterns of Light
12. Count Your Many Blessings




10/18/2017

New Age Review: Rachel Lafond-Wandering Soul

Release Date: May 15, 2017
Label: Independent

Rachel Lafond released Wandering Soul in May of 2017.

This is piano only music, based in the foundation of contemporary instrumental and classical. It emerges as a finely presented new age sound.

Rachel’s singularity is her greatest asset on this recording. Likewise, her intent is to reach each “individual” listener is successful. This individualism makes total sense, it fits the entire presentation. While it is created for the masses, what you see is the artist on the piano alone.  And upon further inspection, there is a mirror image of her looking out the window, subtle yet effective. What happens is we get a window into a Wandering Soul. A mirror image of her soul wandering from her physical body tells the story before you even hit play.

This is a story played out on the piano with insight and depth. The kind of emotion and soul searching that you can find within this music, it is part and parcel of what get with this CD. The melodic tempo of the tracks has a hint of sadness, yet the energy and joy of discovery enters the equation. This is when the wandering comes to end as the soul is finally “Finding Home.”

After listening to this kind of music for many years now I find it fascinating how the titles coincide with the music and can make sense. All you have to do is let it sweep you away, like a broom sweeps away the dust and then particles float into the air, so can you. A billowing cloud of sound and texture transports you as you become the story. The music can lead you down that path to instant gratification. This is the kind satisfaction you find without a price tag on it, free of any sort of remorse afterwards. From the beginning to the end, this is a real spiritual kind of recognition.

That is the beauty of music like this. Solo piano played with such grace and preciseness is resilient, timeless and moldable to each listener. What a wonderful gift that Rachel is sharing. I for one certainly appreciate it, every track. It helped me to center and relax like I need to… and just like everyone else does. Give it a try you will be glad you did!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 18, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Whisper In The Mist
02. Kingfisher   
03. Why We Wander
04. Ember Warmth - Twin Peaks
05. Redemption   
06. Spinning In The Sun
07. Wandering Soul
08. Nikko River
09. Mystery Of The Moor
10. Wandering Soul
11. Finding Home



9/12/2017

New Age Instrumental Review: Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster-FLOW

Release Date: October 6, 2017
Label: LMB Music

Sit back and let the music FLOW. That statement could not be supported in a more creative way than on this recording. Four accomplished musicians got together to create something very special.

Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster, all well know names in the new age music industry, combined their skills and experience to produce 11 tracks of outstanding instrumental music. There are several other contributors as well to make this entire effort a reality.

I think what I enjoyed the most about listening to FLOW was how that title fit so well. This is eclectic and very tastefully done. Because of the blend of musicians contributing to this project you get a little bit of all of them, and the end result becomes greater than the sum of its parts. A team effort if you will, is what makes this music so different from track to track.

If it’s Will Ackerman or Tom Eaton’s guitar and the production values they bring to the table or Jeff Oster’s gorgeous trumpet or flugelhorn calling out for an answer, this music beckons you to partake in the experience.  And Tony Levin, the most incredible and diverse bass player on the planet, is on the recording. He has become the resident bass player at Imaginary Road Studios, and god knows how he does it with all his other projects and live appearances on his schedule. All of the people involved seem to be in an endless cycle of creativity that has blessed us all for several years now.

The beauty of FLOW is the fact that individuals that have perfected their own sound and created their own legacy and styles have compromised that individuality to become one unit.  This is a unit that has a spiritual connection and purpose that is undeniable.

If you listen, feel and absorb the FLOW, you will come to your own understanding of what was accomplished on this album. Let the river of sounds and textures take you away for a while, I can guarantee you will be back for a second trip down the stream.

Note: You can have the rare opportunity to see all of these artists together at Carnegie Hall on October 6th! Tickets Here.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 12, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Arrival
02. Whisper Me This
03. Flow
04. Free Ascent
05. Waiting for Sunshine
06. Waters Gather
07. And the Sky Was
08. A Night In Nocelle
09. Tenth Life
10. Rest Now My Friend
11. For Rosita & Giovanni

 


8/09/2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Holland Phillips-Under A Second Moon

Release Date: August 25, 2017
Label: Ageless Records

Around the same time last year, I got some music in from Holland Phillips. I had the pleasure of hearing and reviewing his Circles of 8 recording.

It is now 2017 and Under A Second Moon is getting set to arrive on our doorsteps.  Where Holland began his first journey he now continues, well in fact he never stopped. He just kept creating and recording. Again, he decided to concentrate on harmonics and vibrations. The results are superlative once again!

The production values are top notch and the use of keyboards and synths are brilliantly utilized by this creative maestro. Holland is not only a musician but an author as well. This is an outlet, a place where anyone can escape to. If its fantasy or real, or just a space in time to occupy for you to recharge your batteries, it is available through this music.

Each track seemingly blends into the next, gently beckoning your soul to participate in this atmosphere of sounds, textures and wonderlands of the mind. And most importantly it belongs to you the listener. Here is your chance to create your own little slice of heaven through music.

I believe Holland is an excellent composer, a multi-talented artist that can paint a picture visually with either words in a book or through his fingers into the instruments he uses.
I found Under A Second Moon to be a very pleasant listening experience and just as enjoyable as last year’s offering.  This a coloring book for the soul, the music are your crayons and you are the book. The title track was the one song that cemented the concept and meaning of this project for me, it colored my heart and mind. Adding the saxophone (Paul Christensen) was the finishing touch. And this was at the midpoint of the recording and I was already thinking that it could not get much better. That track was hard to top however the consistency and quality of the music held up as the stories weaved their spell throughout each succeeding track.

Each track was a different shade or color, a variation of moods that danced with the music. It all made me feel invigorated, joyous and glad to be alive. I do not always feel that way so once the magic of music casts its spell and it won me over again. Interesting enough “Long Way Home,” reminded me of early progressive rock or even band’s like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. I would really like to hear more of that style on the next album.

Thanks again for the trip far away from stress and worry Holland, your creative genius soothes my soul and wets my appetite for your next project.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 9, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Out of the Frying Pan
02. Taking the Road Not Taken
03. A Moment in Time
04. Possibly Maybe
05. Under a Second Moon
06. Love Comes Gently
07. Long Way Home
08. Deepening Skies
09. Looking Back
10. It Comes to This       
11. Fairytale Nights 

 

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