Showing posts with label World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World. Show all posts

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

 

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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)

 
 

10/25/2019

Latin-World-Rock Review: Santana-Africa Speaks

Release Date: June 7, 2019
Label: Starfaith, LLC

Santana is back at it, with their newest album Africa Speaks. This one features the incredible vocals of Buika, who helped co-write all songs on the album. Aside from the obvious rock genre, this album includes jazz, blues rock, and African roots. Everything about this album screams “take me to the Sahara.” If you’re a fan of Santana, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of the songs. For those who aren’t familiar with the band, don’t let the title throw you off. This album kicks ass.

The first track is called “Africa Speaks,” and it is an anthem. It starts with a spoken story, which is common in African culture. The bongo drums and chanted vocals are clearly what has given this album its African influence. Buika takes over with her otherworldly vocals. Something about the smooth transition between each note is mesmerizing. “Yo Me Lo Merezco” has a 70’s open road rock sound, like a Latin Woodstock sort of song.

There are also songs on the album that aren’t so heavy with African elements. “Blue Skies” starts as an easy-going song. It instills that hazy, looking up at the clouds feeling. Then after the four-minute mark, it pretty much just becomes instrumental. The guitar solo is great and all, but I think the song would have been more cohesive without it. “Breaking Down The Door” gives us more classic Santana vibes. There are more Latin sounds in this song with the horn section, smooth electric guitar, and Frenchy-accordion. These songs aren’t super “lyric-driven.” Most of the lyrics get lost under the instrumentals. It also doesn’t help that the Buika isn’t singing all the songs in her first language.

The album ends with “Candombe Cumbele,” which is another song with strong African elements. Buika’s vocals are incredibly rich and raw. You can tell that there is hardly any vocal processing on her cuts. The African influences are a cool idea for a rock album, and Santana nailed the concept. There’s something that draws the ear in when listening to music from a different culture. Santana brings a new flair and style to typical rock music. I think this album could even be liked by younger listeners. With all the remakes going on, I think that Disney needs to collaborate with Santana on a new Tarzan soundtrack. It would be a nice way to expose that younger audience to Santana’s music. That’s just something I would love to see happen, but who knows, Phil Collins might already have a claim to it. With Santana being such a well-known band, you might have already heard the album. Maybe you’re just here to hear someone else’s opinion, but in the off chance that this is news to you, go check out Africa Speaks. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Lily Clark – Berklee College of Music Intern
October 20, 2019


Reviews Provided By:
Rate The Tracks

Tracks:
01. Africa Speaks
02. Batonga
03. Oye Este Mi Canto
04. Yo Me Lo Merezco
05. Blue Skies
06. Paraísos Quemados
07. Breaking The Door Down
08. Los Invisibes
09. Luna Hechicera
10. Bembele
11. Candombe Cumbele

 

11/23/2018

New Age-World-Electronic-Meditation Review: Rigzin-PROTECTION ~ A Ceremony of Protector Prayers

Release Date: November 9, 2018
Label: Rigzin Music
I had strong feelings that I was about to embark on a music spiritual that I would never forget before listening to the recent Rigzin release PROTECTION ~ A Ceremony of Protector Prayers.

I received a gift last Christmas, a book titled 365 Dali Lama Daily Advice From The Heart. I have faithfully read these passages every day and it most certainly has piqued my interest and changed my outlook on life. This is the path I have been on seeking spiritual enlightenment through New Age music. I have had some amazing music to listen to over the last three years and it just got more interesting when I received the third release in a sacred trilogy from Rigzin. If anything, it has increased my knowledge and curiosity about the practice of Buddhism.

Rigzin has dedicated her life to the practices of Tibetan Buddhism. She had trained intensively to sing the prayers of elaborate ceremonies, during her traditional 3-year retreat, which now stands at more than 30 years ago.

So where do I begin with such a unique artist and the messages she is imparting upon the human race? This is not a simple task but then again what good is a listen if it does not present a challenge and time to reflect?

This work of musical art can be described as new age, world, meditation and electronic. Each track delivers all of those elements in a most prolific and thought-provoking way. One of the lines I heard loud and clear was “Love will defeat hate.” I like that line and I believe it holds true and will be the world’s saving grace if we only take heed. 

There is so much going on with this recording, at times you just cannot put it into words. There is chanting and worldly sounds and electronic textures and above all, a rhythm flowing through this music that is inherently spiritual and pure. That is something I find very appealing and can find some guidance from within. This music will speak to your soul. If you are a spiritual individual you will find great value in this music. I really enjoyed the complexity and all of the tools used to make something ancient and trusted into a more relatable, listenable, and then freshly interpreted, for a person of today. You could call it a spiritual morphing.

The tracks that had the most impact on my mind, body, and soul (through the ears) were “Bodhicitta,” “Prophecy” and “Wrathful Guru.” These tracks are epic translations of spirituality driven by the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. The messages are clear and concise and they will make you rethink everything, I can promise you that. You may already agree and be aligned with these thoughts and beliefs and came to a realization long ago about where you stand spiritually. Even so, this will still call out to you to reaffirm and possibly bring to light more of what you need. 

The music of PROTECTION ~ A Ceremony of Protector Prayers drives and steers the words and feelings straight to your heart, even if you do not understand the language of chants, somehow it all it works and very well at that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 21, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Call to Awaken 01:16  
02. Buddha 00:53  
03. Red Lotus Dakini 03:46
04. Prophecy 03:12
05. Wrathful Guru 03:30
06. Protection 06:11  
07. Vajrasattva 08:15  
08. Kilaya 06:42
09. Protectors of the Land 10:40
10. Heart of the Lotus 07:28  
11. Bodhicitta 04:58

 

7/04/2018

Instrumental New Age/World/Jazz Reviews: Erik Scott-A Trick of the Wind

Release Date: August 10, 2018
Label: Erik Scott Music

Erik Scott is an incredibly talented bass player. He is true to his art form in so many ways. He continues with his string of solo releases with A Trick of the Wind

Previously I had the distinct pleasure of covering Spirits (2014) and In The Company of Clouds (2016). On A Trick of the Wind I heard a similar mix of new age, world and jazz, which I absolutely love. The mixture is superb and Erik’s bass playing is outstanding as usual. 

To put it into the most logical terms, I think Erik ranks up there with Michael Manring in the new age genre and on a larger scale, with Tony Levin. He has been around as long as those two marvelous players. That about says it all from my perspective.

The nine tracks encompassing this recording is indeed a prolific gathering of music. There is a constant flow of change and unpredictability, which I genuinely appreciate. I get bored very easily, especially with music that has no spark or change throughout it. This is never a problem with one of Erik’s albums.

“Ghost of Storyville” adds a little spice of jazz injections that is just enough to push it over the edge into a “worldly” sound. I do believe that taking any other instrument than the guitar or the keyboards as the lead instrument can be risqué at best. You had better be a complete master with whatever instrument you plan on introducing as the lead. There is no issue for Erik as the lead with his music. There is just enough ambiance and textures added with other instruments that allow him to keep bass in the forefront of the music. Not only that, he demands your attention and his sound is distinctly his own. This is where audiophiles and other musicians separate the men from the boys. 

I found “The Invisible Wand” storybook enchanting. The addition of the female vocals keeping time and a rhythm made it that much more special. If the voice is right for the music it then becomes another instrument. In this instance, it most certainly applied.

I always have to give a nod to the artwork on the album. The cover is self-explanatory. The satin-like red cloth is “A Trick of the Wind.” Notice the way it looks like a ghost behind the text with Erik’s name and the title of the album? I got what it was saying quite quickly and my eyes were attracted to the cover immediately. That is a good thing, so good job with that part of the presentation Erik!

“Born Dreaming,” which is a great title in any case, is a fantastic representation of the music that Erik does the best. It is flowing, bright, attention-getting, and the beauty just abounds from start to finish. If I had to pick one song that says Erik loud and clear it is this one.

Every track is a slice of the artist and for me, it was like saying hello again to an old friend. Two years is too long to wait for your phenomenal music Erik! You bring all listeners a sense of spirit, strength and hope with your sounds. You may see another album of the year from ZMR with this one.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 4, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:
1. Wings
2. The Wind Sings A Strange Song
3. The Ghost of Storyville
4. A Trick of the Wind
5. Solooka
6. Wing and a Prayer
7. The Invisible Wand
8. Born Dreaming
9. A Child Remains

 

5/10/2017

Rock-Blues-World Review: Santana-Lotus (Hybrid SACD)

Release Date: January 6, 2017
Label: Audio Fidelity

I want to start by saying that I am big fan of Santana and most of his musical output. I have a lot of his catalog at my immediate disposal. I have also been one of those people that believe his earlier lineups were the most original and progressive. I personally enjoy the first three albums the most, which enabled me to appreciate everything that came after that in different ways. With a new set of ears and looking inward spiritually, I would consider what he was presenting. When he started getting more commercial is when many people may have lost interest. I think I have heard one album that I thought was mediocre in over 30 years, so not a bad track for my listening tastes. This is my preference and opinion of course. To each his own as they say.

Anyone familiar with Santana knows about Lotus. As notated on the Audio Fidelity site: Lotus is a 1974 live album by Santana, recorded at the Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Osaka, Japan in 1973. It was originally released in 1974 as a triple vinyl LP in Japan only. 

A little history regarding the release as follows:

The first U.S. release was in 1991 as a 2-CD set. Lotus has been re-issued on vinyl in the Netherlands and on CD in Japan in 2006 as a 3-CD set. It was also re-issued as a 3-LP set in the U.S. in 2013, and as a 3-CD hybrid SACD with seven previously unreleased bonus tracks in 2017 (a very high priced set). So, it is safe to say this recording has gone through several iterations since its inception a and has stood the test of time as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. 

Now we have the superb version issued by Audio Fidelity, a two-disc Hybrid SACD that brings the concert to life with a crisp robust remastered take on the legendary performance. Santana Mark II was a continuation of the Mark I sound that was a melting pot of Latin-World-Rock-Blues-Jazz Music.  It was extremely innovative and one of the progenitors to the World Music that would arrive in the future. Some of the players switched seats however their sound remained intact and this release proves out that fact repeatedly.

Santana has influenced many musicians over the years however it is the early distinctly original rock fusion he presented that paved the way too many inroads into music then and today. I got into the early Santana music after I had already absorbed Return to Forever, Al DiMeola, Jean Luc-Ponty etc. So, for my journey it was a logical transition and very enjoyable I might add. 

Santana was like Hendrix, melding several genres and effects and taking his six-string to new heights. You could only experience that in a live setting and Lotus captures some incredible moments that were never reproduced again. His sound is very distinct and you know it when you hear it.

Audio Fidelity has been one of the anchor labels for special edition CDs and LP’s for many years now. This is the second run of the Lotus Hybrid SACD, which comes as no surprise. They release great titles with unmatched packaging and sound. As always I suggest getting your copy before they disappear.

Whether you’re a musician, producer, collector or audiophile, there is something here to appreciate for everyone. Lotus is a truly iconic release honored in the most prolific way possible by Audio Fidelity.

The Lotus Santana Line Up Included:
    Carlos Santana – lead guitar, Latin percussion
    Leon Thomas – maracas, vocals, Latin percussion
    Tom Coster – Hammond organ, electric piano, Yamaha organ, Latin percussion
    Richard Kermode – Hammond organ, electric piano, Latin percussion
    Doug Rauch – bass
    Armando Peraza – congas, bongos, Latin percussion
    José "Chepito" Areas – timbales, congas, Latin percussion
    Michael Shrieve – drums

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 10, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Tracks:

Disc One:
 

01. Going Home
02. A-1 Funk
03. Every Step of the Way
04. Black Magic Woman
05. Gypsy Queen
06. Oye Como Va
07. Yours Is the Light
08. Batuka
09. Xibaba (She-Ba-Ba)
10. Stone Flower (Introduction)
11. Waiting
12. Castillos de Arena Part 1 (Sand Castle)
13. Free Angela
14. Samba de Sausalito


Disc Two:
 

01. Mantra
02. Kyoto (Drum Solo)
03. Castillos de Arena Part 2 (Sand Castle)
04. Incident at Neshabur
05. Se a Cabo

 

10/05/2016

New Age/Classical/World Review: Rebekah Eden-Rowing in Eden

Release Date: March 28, 2016
Label: Path of Gold Records

Rebekah Eden’s release this year is a made for movie soundtrack.  Rowing in Eden is 12 tracks of new age music backed with classical vocals. There are also some elements of world influences in her music that make it that much more compelling.

Her tracks were being considered for The Hobbit movies however they never made it to the final production. After hearing what she has to offer I must say it is a shame they did not follow through. Her voice is the most powerful instrument on the recording and everything else, to coin an old phrase, serves as the cherry on top of the ice cream. There is a gorgeous addition of a 41-piece Czech Orchestra to her amazing voice as well. Not to take anything away from other critical parts of this music that makes it complete, I am just amazed how clear and stunning her vocal talents are.

“A Message From The Stars” is superb way to open the curtain and eventually close it with a different version of the song. I like the transitions in the track with both songs and the second version, the impactful closer, is a heavenly melding of many voices. It will give you a greater appreciation for the ultimate instrument, the vox humana.

Rebekah recognizes her influences and shows that in the most prolific way with covering Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble’ On” (from Zeppelin II) and more specifically Robert Plant’s strong influence. She does this song in her own way and I have to say I found it quite fascinating. This one would have been perfect for one of The Hobbit movies. Her operatic vocal style just soars over the music and every note as if the song was written especially for her. That pretty much says it all considering it is a cover.

“Light of Destiny’ is a very stirring track. Rebekah’s vocals are angelic, rhythmic, and it gave me a chill, the good kind that makes you realize you are feeling something spiritual and special. These are the moments I cherish when listening to music.

More and more I am hearing a fantastic combination of instruments found in new age, classical and world music. The amalgamation is spectacular and all three genres are so closely related it sounds like everything comes to together to form one powerful style that cannot be denied. Artists like Rebekah Eden are leading the way, blazing a path for others to follow. Rowing in Eden is one of the better examples I have heard of genre mergers this year, predominantly one that included vocals.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Ramble On, Light of Destiny, A Message From The Stars (Virtual Choir)

Tracks:
01. A Message From The Stars
02. Iachtach / Prince Caspian's Prayer
03. The Wind
04. Ramble On
05. There And Back Again
06. Light of Destiny
07. The Two Trees
08. A King's Farewell
09. In The Days 
10. Wild Nights
11. A Message From The Stars (Virtual Choir)
   
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 5, 2016
Founder of:




9/30/2016

Instrumental New Age/Jazz/World Review: Lawrence Blatt-Longitudes & Latitudes

Release Date: August 9, 2016
Label: LMB Music

When I saw that Lawrence Blatt’s latest release Longitudes & Latitudes was produced by Will Ackerman it totally made sense. Ackerman is a great acoustic guitar player that I have enjoyed over the years particularly when he was running his Windham Hill label.

Right from the outset of this album I could hear Ackerman’s influence however now he is more of an influence on the production side of the house. Tom Eaton is the engineer on the album as well, a consistent partner of Ackerman.

As stated on his website Lawrence often plays in an open tuning to create a nice rhythm then adds the other instruments. It is a very effective combination. He plays electric and acoustic guitars and synthesizer (and like any good musician has many to choose from). Many of the guests appearing on the album help to make this journey complete including Ackerman and the marvelous brass of Jeff Oster. Because of the diversity offered on the album it is clearly an instrumental foray into new age, jazz and world.

The percussive elements on the track “Ima” along with various earthy tones, switch the albums path to a worldlier flavor when prior tracks were bubbling over with a definite new age/jazz flavor and inspiration. The beauty of many of the recordings I have heard this year pay tribute to Mother Earth and that is the route Lawrence took as well on several tracks. With 15 tracks there is plenty to process and it’s a beautiful thing.

“Upon Griffy Lake” carries a gorgeous melody with the equally attractive female vocals of Noah Wilding. The lady seems to call out to you from beyond as the music lets you float to your destination via the acoustic and electric guitar lines of Lawrence. He uses a intriguing and impactful combination of acoustic and electric instruments with the young lady’s voice serving as an instrument as well. It is one my favorite tracks. So much beauty and gracefulness packed into one song is hard for the mind, body and spirit to miss.

The other component I recognized on this album is the excellent restraint exercised when needed to accentuate each instrument allowing for the best compliment to each. Each track moves from strength to strength.

“Noches de Barcelona” is full of the embodiment that is Spain and the video with the track is beautiful. It was featured on our Rate The Tracks site and is provided here as well.  We have also included a preview of the album with a video and a Soundcloud stream so you can get a good idea of what this talented artist can offer.

This is 5-star recording session that is both relaxing and exciting at the same time, not an easy task to pull off. It is all done extremely well and the tastes of genres is most appealing including the mixture of them all in one single track.

Add Longitudes & Latitudes to your list one of the very best instrumental recordings of 2016. It’s not hard to do if you appreciate new age, jazz or world or all three combined, the choice is obvious so give it a good listen!

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Ima, Upon Griffy Lake, Noches de Barcelona

Tracks: 
01. Two Shades of Sunshine
02. Longitudes and Latitudes
03. A Place in Your Heart
04. Hyde Park Bench
05. Open Fields and Running Water
06. Two Steps Down the Line
07. I.M.A.
08. Morning in Beerse
09. Upon Griffy Lake
10. The Places Left Behind
11. Park Lane
12. Noches De Barcelona
13. Flying over Ellis Island
14. Slow Walk Past the Bank
15. Over the Rainbow

 


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 30, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews





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

10/08/2015

Instrumental/Electronic Review: AeTopus-When

Release Date: Sep 10, 2015
Label: 12ton Productions

Bryan Tewell Hughes is the man behind the music and the name AeTopus. Last month he brought the world When. I featured the track “Burst” on the Rate The Tracks site. That was the beginning of my journey with Hughes.

His music has many colors and textures. It is like watching ice cream melt in your mind’s eye. The music reveals layer after layer, as if the ice cream had a different flavor underneath each layer that melted away. That is the beauty of any music; you can use your own correlation when listening.

I was mesmerized by this album When. I had to listen several times with great joy to what I was hearing and absorbing and then translate it into something that made sense (on an individual level rather than all inclusive). I like the way each track starts so simply then continues to build into something wonderful…like an artist taking a blank canvas, starting with an idea then assembling it into an explosion of colors and sound, this is what Hughes accomplishes on this recording.

“Gather” sounds like it could be a soundtrack to a movie. I can envision a group of people on a long sojourn to their destination when I hear this track. Keep in mind this my own personal vision. Or it can be more on the lighter side of the spectrum of emotions and meaning, like taking a hot air balloon ride along a massive mountain ridge. The point is, it all means something and you can let it happen. Thoughts, feelings and the inner spirit “Gather” to form a medley of life.

“Protean” has a mystical and magical feel to it. The subtle percussion elements and keyboards blend into an alluring mixture. It is like the unknowns of the jungle and all its dangers beckon you to explore and then ask you to trust every step you take. I found “Apostasy” to be similar with the pace and atmospheres. Again here is the cinematic reference…it is like an intriguing soundtrack to a movie playing frame by frame inside your head.

This music speaks to me and says let the music lead and your heart and soul will carry you to the destination you seek to arrive at. That is comparable to life itself and all its challenges staring you in the face and then in the music you find the grace and solace to handle it all calmly.

The most important factor is the way the artist utilizes various forms of keyboards and synthesizers. The combination of ambient, electronic, new age and world is a mixture that works very well within these tracks. It is a purposeful focused work of art. The fun part is you get to hear it all like it’s a work in progress, the curtain rises and the show begins! So it is up to you When you decide to listen!

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Burst, Gather, Protean

Tracks: 
01. Hypersuns
02. Sashay
03. Hindsight Axiom
04. Gather
05. Dubious Numbers
06. Protean
07. Apostasy
08. Neverwheel
09. Quietus Est
10. Burst
11. Metanoia
12.Sage

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
October 8, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



8/06/2015

Jazz World Fusion Review: Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann-Beyond Borders

Genre: Jazz World Fusion
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Label: UMP Records

Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann have released a jazz world fusion album that reminded me of why I fell in love with jazz back in the early eighties listening to Al DiMeola, Jean Luc Ponty and Stanley Clark. Those artists showed me the way and invited me to explore a complex genre of music that offers a journey that never ends. 

With Beyond Borders, one of many releases that this duo has brought to the masses over the years, they have reestablished their place in the world of music. Several songs on Beyond Borders are tributes to jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Beatle George Harrison.

I do not use the term world lightly; if you look at the fascinating and expressive cover it says it all for these artists. To me, the cover conveys that we are one people on this vast globe and music can unite us. So, let’s try to make our own music as a sentient race and make this a better place to live. This of course leaves the door open to your own personal interpretation and that is the beauty of such a stunning work of art as portrayed on the cover of this CD and all the music that it contains. As quoted from the artist page “Beyond Borders is considered their “Magnum Opus” featuring a collection of songs composed over a 40-year span of creative output, dedicated to the belief that music has the power to uplift the human spirit and be a catalyst for change in the world.” I think that puts it all into a proper perspective.

The term jazz world fusion comes into perfect focus with the opening track “Ciao Bella” (which was featured on Rate The Tracks). In Italian it translates to "Hi/Bye Beautiful," and what a hello it is. The first time I heard the sitar in popular music was back in the 60s when George Harrison introduced it into The Beatles music. I cannot say it is an instrument that fascinates me like some others however in this particular case I was amazed how beautiful and appropriate it sounded in “Shanti Om,” the dedication to Harrison and Shankar. It is one of the best tracks on the recording. The myriad of instruments employed throughout this project make it one of the more eclectic listens of the year.

There is something to take into account regarding the flow and energy in life, it is crucial to the balance of the body, mind and spirit. With that in mind I realized after a few listens to this captivating album that this brought this concept to the forefront of my consciousness.

“White Cloud Black Thunder” is another prolific change during the course of this album. It is a reminder of from whence we came and encourages us to honor our Native American brothers and sisters that gave us so much while receiving so little during the development of our great nation. It serves as a rain dance of life with tribal beats and chants accompanied by music that will mesmerize you.

For this listener Beyond Borders was like a guide to syncing my soul with my surroundings and finding more appreciation for the beauty of the human spirit and how Mother Nature can be one with us. The key is that we honor her rather than interfere with that delicate balance and synchronicity that is necessary for a spiritual partnership, one that has always been there. All of that and more can be discovered in the music, it invites you and cajoles you into a perfect blend of sound and textures that bring you to another place that is pure and feels right. In essence everything about this release reaches Beyond Borders, in fact any lines in the sand or self-imposed restrictions melt away, they all disappear after one listen. Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann have created a masterpiece of jazz world fusion that will surely receive high praise for quite some time.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Ciao Bella, Shanti Om, White Cloud Black Thunder

Tracks:
01. Ciao Bella
02. Fear Not Fear
03. Unidad Anthem
04. Unidad
05. Wherever You Are
06. Shanti Om
07. White Cloud Black Thunder
08. There's Always Hope
09. Love Letters (The Story of Abelard & Heloise)
10. Fun in the Sun
11. Unidad Epilogue

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder
August 6, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



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