Showing posts with label Stephen Peppos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephen Peppos. Show all posts

3/06/2020

Rock-Pop Review: Bob Jones, Louis Jones, Stephen Peppos-50/80 50 Years in 80 Minutes

Release Date: December 23, 2019
Label: Sonic Bear Music
Website

Interview With Band Is Included Below!

How does a group of musicians put 50 years of music into a single CD that lasts for 80 minutes? Just ask Bob Jones, Louis Jones, and Stephen Peppos. The title 50/80 50 Years in 80 Minutes lets you know straight away what you are in for.

On a separate note, I have covered several of Stephen’s New Age keyboard instrumental projects over the years and consider him to be one of the finest performers of instrumental music that I have heard.

This all started in the 60s when three boys in High School put a band together and then started writing and recording. One of the configurations was Stephen Peppos & Jones Straightjacket Band (tracks 1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 14, 19, 22, 24). There are extensive liner notes included with the CD so you get the whole story.

The 25 tracks cover a range of pop and rock that are indeed retro and if you listen intently you can identify which decade that they fit into. For instance, “High School Years #2” sounds very 60s and “Too Much To Bear” has some good guitar licks that reminded me of the late 70s to early 80s period. Then “Lalena” has a psychedelic trippy 60s Top 40 sensibility. These songs sound good enough to have been spinning regularly on radio stations and in fact, some did on a local level with station WKLX out of Virginia. “I Gotta Sing My Song” was one song that radio DJ Mike Deeson liked. To me, it felt like something that would have gone well with 70s TV shows like Love Boat or the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Only those old enough to remember will understand where I coming from once, they hear the tracks.

One of the tracks on solid ground that is good for any era is ”A Christmas Carol.” It features great vocals and some jangly acoustic guitar lines. Seasonal music does not define a period so when you first hear it, it fits no matter what.

As you make your way through this ambitious compilation, you realize why it took 2 years to get it all together. The variety is quite interesting. Form a Christmas song to the lyrics “Hell no we will not fade away” on “Boomers Anthem,” which is a recent recording from 2019, is accompanied by appropriate guitar lines and inspirational lyrics for all the rockers out there. For me that was one of the standout tracks and my favorite on the entire recording.

Influences from the Byrds To Paul Simon to Cream pepper all of these recordings. You get the feeling of originality bursting through with authority to more obscure live recording snippets on “Look Through Any Window.” “Kicks” is all 60s and one of the best tracks on the CD. It was a hit in 1966 for Paul Revere and the Raiders. The fact that they covered it so well was an indication of their all-around talent.

At first glance when you see 25 tracks you may think “Wow this is a lot of music” and it is a double album. The truth is they go by very quickly because some are short snippets of recordings to go along with other full-length tracks that cover some ground musically.

When I heard the first few tracks, I was thinking that I was not too crazy about them, just my opinion, and it does not mean someone else would not like them. But it just keeps getting better and you realize the entire point of this compilation. That thought was fleeting and forgotten in a matter of minutes.

50/80 50 Years in 80 Minutes is jam-packed with musical diversity and a snapshot of history over a long period. This group of young men had the talent to record all this music and although they did not become stars on a national level, they certainly showed that their talent could have taken them places most bands dream of. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. All of that aside, this is a valid musical statement showcasing the talents of the three main men involved.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 28, 2020


Review Provided By MuzikMan.net
 



4/14/2019

Instrumental Ambient/New Age Review: Stephen Peppos-Deep Listen

Release Date: January 15, 2019
Label: Sonic Bear Music

Atmospheric and ambient music can be used as a tool for any type of focus or mindset.  It takes a talented artist like Stephen Peppos to create music that allows that process to happen. I got a good taste of his capabilities two years ago on Leaving Terra Firma. With a title like that it would certainly indicate that the music allows you to leave the earth, you stand on. The music backs that thought with conviction.

Deep Listen is another foray into the ether that will satisfy anyone that is looking to meditate and have a spiritual and perhaps an out of body experience. This music is very spacey but smooth and relaxing at the same time. Its calming effect works well on a tired soul, bringing solace with synth and keyboard sounds, and at times, the sound of the ocean waves hitting the shoreline. That is exactly what you will find on “Aural Mists.” 

The track is a solid 9:07 minutes of music meets natures blissfulness. The sound of waves alone is a wonderful thing however if you add the right sounds with your music, a beautiful marriage is consummated and you the listener are the recipient.  It is like a blossoming flower feeling the first rays of the new day sun.
I really like the title of the CD because what you take is a “deep dive” right into a Deep Listen. The cover is very inviting and the colors are immediately soothing to the eye. It unconsciously connects with your mind to set you up for the musical journey. Fans of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Jean Michel Jarre will love this album. I personally enjoy all of that music so it was easy for me to get swept away by this recording and find a meaning that made sense and felt just right.

The masterwork is “Algorithm” which runs for 12:56. By definition, an “Algorithm” is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. Our brain functions like a computer when necessary so why can’t this music be something to process and calculate? In a sense that is what I am expressing with my words. And it just made me think in those terms by saying the word.

Right away the title implies something scientific and hi-tech. Is it thinking man’s music? I guess it depends on who you are what your interest is and what exactly challenges your mind. I do not feel challenged listening to this track in particular, it has the same purpose and effect on me like all the others. I think something needs to be said for taking a track and spreading out the composition with some diversity in sounds and textures. This is the mark of a true artisan, a craftsman of his trade. Stephen is able to make this a real masterpiece of ambient nuances that weave together and make it whole.

In the end, Deep Listen lives up to its name and gives the listener 1 hour and 18 minutes of musical chicken soup for the soul. It is one recipe that you will be reaching for more than once to chill and let the day just melt away.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 14, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Twilight
02. Break of Dawn
03. Tonality  
04. Aural Mists
05. Wide Open
06. Awake
07. Transmogrify
08. Vivid
09. Algorithm
10. Breathe




3/06/2017

Instrumental New Age/Ambient Review: Stephen Peppos-Leaving Terra Firma

Release Date: January 8, 2017
Label: Sonic Bear Music

Leaving Terra Firma  is the fifth studio release for Stephen Peppos.  He has also produced over 2000 tracks for his original music libraries, composed national TV jingles, and worked with some of the best music library companies in the world. To say that the man has talent and experience is an understatement.


The recording came out at the beginning 2017 and it offers a listener an opportunity to escape the everyday life syndromes we fall into at times.  Life can be routine, boring or utter chaos, and regardless of the state we are in now, we do need help to refocus or just get some “me” time. The time to center, relax and drift off into another reality empties out the mind and the soul, which brings a sense of calm.

Leaving Terra Firma not only suggests that we leave the ground it helps you to do so for your own wellbeing. Stephen orchestrates the soundscapes that are created then you gradually find yourself falling away into the ambient textures and layers. I would classify this music as ambient however the new age qualities are very strong as well. The lure and power of the spacey sounds and orchestrations are as inviting as they could be. There is a different place that awaits us when we leave this earth and perhaps this a preview of what it will be like.

Although the 13 tracks are dissimilar, the ultimate result is they all have the same effects and results. The subtle nuances of the keyboards are heightened by the supporting orchestrations and instrumentation. The universal language of the soul coincides with the music. This is not coincidental; it is a fact and if you listen to this entire recording you will realize the importance and relevancy of what artists like Stephen Peppos accomplish with his music.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 5, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Leaving Terra Firma    
02. Magnetic Fields    
03. Vita Secundom Vita    
04. Everlast    
05. Sea Of Joy    
06. Translucence    
07. Praesentia Animi
08. Moth On A Purple Flower
09. Affluere (Adrift Toward)
10. Amor Dei
11. To See
12. Finalis
13. Cold But Warm Peace
 

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