Showing posts with label Write A Music Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Write A Music Review. Show all posts

6/12/2020

Blues Review: Shirley King-Blues For A King

Release Date: June 19, 2020
Label: Cleopatra Records, Inc.
Website 

Powerhouse? Check. Musical family lineage? Check. Try as you might, to find a smoother summer sizzler than Blues For A King, you won’t have much luck. Shirley King, the daughter of famous blues legend B.B. King, arranges a collection of 11 feel-good tracks of classic covers and original pieces. Not much is known of Ms. King personally. She was born in 1949 and unfortunately, most of her adult life remains spotty, other than the fact that she was an exotic dancer since 1969. In 1990 she switched over to the blues and has done her father’s legacy well.

Looking at the artwork for this record, it is simple and colorful. Much like the genre it embodies, the album is bold and captivating utilizing color and animation. Blues finds a way to show the same concepts keeping the lyric structure symbol and coloring the singer’s tone beautifully with the emotion of often strife and trouble.

With two albums under her belt, Blues For A King soars into the stratosphere with songs holding mainly a strong, upbeat tone. Select songs such as “Can’t Find My Way Home,” “Gallows Pole,” and “Hoodoo Man Blues” do carry a more serious, darker sound but, not so much so that it completely changes the mood of the entire record for the listener.

“All My Lovin’” and “Feelin’ Alright” starts the album off as  “good morning world, how are you today?” and “sultry meets self-confidence” songs respectively. How can you not turn the volume up when the singer exudes so much love of life. “I Did You Wrong” is far from wrong at all. It acknowledges the pain the singer caused her significant other, feeling nothing but remorse for her part in a failed relationship. She then wants to reach out somehow to attempt to repair the damage in front of her.

We turn the volume back up to 11 when “That’s Alright Mama” comes blaring on. It’s an ode to what comes through every child vs parent situation, regardless of age, in terms of big decision making. One party might be uncomfortable with a decision like moving on or out, while the other party objects to any notion of the idea. “Can’t Find My Way Home” is calling upon those who live with their heads in the clouds or who might feel superior to other people or a group of persons. In this case, the singer is struggling to focus on the journey back to her home to spend more time searching for something greater than her home, not acknowledging a sense of superiority; rather comfort in simply being a wanderer for the time being.

“Johnny Porter” resembles a lot of a similar story-teller song “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia.” It speaks of a child who is making careless, destructive decisions on the streets. Meanwhile, his mother is worried sick about his well-being. The song is a coming-of-age combined with testing waters theme like no other.

This “Feeling Good” rendition is smokey, intense, and powerful where it often is light, bright and airy. Though, it still manages to keep a positive tone with the obvious lyrics and guitar accompaniment. “Give It All Up” is the honeymoon phase of life. Ready to throw caution to the wind and feel some constant goodness in her life, Shirley King is laying it all down for the one she loves. Then, we arrive at “Gallows Pole.” Another darker song on the record shows how human life can turn into a value for some people, with not a care in the world to rethink their action.

“Hoodoo Man Blues” is a struggle to find out why everything seems to be going topsy turvy in the singer’s world at the moment. She calls out for the Lord but, it seems the message isn’t getting through. Rounding out Blues For A King, a wonderful cover of “At Last,” makes the album shine and feels as though there is peace among the blues.

Key tracks include: “That’s Alright Mama,” “At Last,” and “Gallows Pole.”

Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff
June 11, 2020


Tracks:
01. All My Lovin’
02. Feelin’ Alright?
03. I Did You Wrong
04. That’s Alright Mama
05. Can’t Find My Way Home
06. Johnny Porter
07. Feeling Good
08. Give It All Up
09. Gallows Pole
10. Hoodoo Man Blues
11. At Last 

6/07/2020

Adult Contemporary/New Age Review: Richard Shulman-Life Seasons

Release Date: July 1, 2020
Label: Richheart Music
Website

Richard Shulman has recorded 28 albums and collaborated on dozens more. The soon to be released Life Seasons is the next proper album.

I like the thought of the seasons theoretically and how it fits each individual's age and current life situation. For instance, the winter of your life would likely be your seventies or eighties dependent on your health.

I would consider Life Seasons as a new age album thematically but musically it is adult contemporary with different elements sprinkled in. Richard’s beautiful piano playing takes center stage and he creates each track like the colorful pictures on the album cover.

“Summer Solstice” is performed by Richard’s trio. The lazy season is given the proper treatment with some cool jazz-inflected laid-back sounds. In the same frame of reference “Bohemian Summer” is a nice jazz number to kick off your shoes and soak in. As the notes are created your mind is set at ease, imagine just floating on a soft billowing cloud.

As we move into the changing seasons “Pre-Autumn” segues into “Sweet Autumn.” The tides of the music change with the season as the paces slow down and speed up in different parts of the composition, intimating the real-life changes you can see when nature does its magic. As autumn ends then we go “Spinning Into Winter” with a nice vocal performance from Wendy Jones, to follow is a solo piano performance from Richard titled “Winter Solstice.” His solo playing is very elegant and appropriate for the distinctiveness of the winter season and all its beauty as it covers the mountains and trees.

“Winter Solstice Dream” continues our seasonal walk through one of mother nature’s most celebrated seasons. It is the most prolific track that includes a spoken word performance from Wendy. The dialogue is significant and reflects much more than the actual season. It goes beyond relating to us as humans and how we translate mother nature’s work. The track runs for 9:52 with a backdrop of Richard’s tinkling ivories leading down the path of realizations as the spoken word continues telling a fascinating story. It is an exceptional track and presented beautifully.

The cycle continues with “Hope for Spring” and the beginning of the thaw with “Early Spring.” Richard’s piano is alive and thriving with exuberance and a consistent rhythm.

Now that I have heard all of the piano instrumentations, I have the belief that the foundation of this music was derived from classical and morphed into a new age, contemporary, and jazz leanings type of listening. All of it made for a perfectly enjoyable listen from beginning to end.

Life Seasons
is quite the journey, offering each listener a taste of every season through the eyes and hands of many talented artists through the piano and other assorted instruments. Everything that went into this recording is just as dissimilar as all the seasons. That is the one element that I found the most interesting and relatable. Of course, every listener will find something different and that is what makes it so unique and special to those that choose to listen.

The personal for this diverse musical collection includes:


The Trio:
Richard Shulman - piano, all compositions and arrangements,
Zack Page - bass on all except #8,10, 13.
Rick Dilling - drums on all except #8,10,13

Vocal Quartet:
Wendy Jones - soprano #4,7,9,10,13 and flute on #7
Paula Hanke - alto #1,4,9,13.
Sherman Hoover - tenor #4,9,13.
Bob Bencze - bass/baritone #4,9,13.
Ron Clearfield - cello #1,7


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 5, 2020


Track List:

01. Life Seasons - 5:00 - vocal feat. Paula Hanke
02. Summer Solstice - 4:40 - trio
03. Summer Night - 4:02 - trio
04. Bohemian Summer - 4:13 vocal quartet
05. Pre-Autumn - 5:13 - trio
06. Sweet Autumn - 4:33 trio
07. Spinning into Winter - 3:30 vocal feat. Wendy Jones
08. Winter Solstice - 3:39 - solo piano
09. Velvet Shoes - 3:22 - vocal quartet
10. Winter Solstice Dream - 9:52 - spoken word feat. Wendy Jones
11. Hope for Spring - 5:20 - trio
12. Early Spring - 5:36 - trio
13. The Fairy of Mystery Blue - 3:14 vocal quartet



Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

5/29/2020

New Age Vocal Review: Prem Vidu-Encounter – Medicine Songs from Ma

Release Date:  June 4, 2020
Label: Independent
Website

Prim Vidu and his newest offering Encounter – Medicine Songs from Ma was a pleasant surprise for my new age tastes. Normally the vocals I hear on releases are some background embellishments. This however is all vocals with the traditional instrumentation you would come to expect from a new age release.

I had no idea what I was in for with this album, I just trusted that Prem was a new age artist looking for an opinion on his music. Well he asked the right person and everything does happen for a reason. This is Prem’s first release and everything was composed and performed by him and his team. Besides singing he plays a multitude of instruments. It is quite impressive as this album is his first and an independent release. This is about belief in your life, love, gratitude and the pureness of one enlightened soul.

Some of the instruments used are nylon guitar, shakers, kit acoustic guitars, electric guitars, mandolin, piano, synths, fretless bass, flugelhorn and trumpet. And that is the short list!

To create an album with all vocals and to have that new age color, depth, and meaning, you need all the right instruments. Based on what I heard, things were done properly and Prem and his fine team of musicians pulled out all the stops and present one beautiful recording.

The one and most important instrument is Prem’s vocals. I found an immediate attraction to his warmth and flowing vocalizations. The lyrics are from the heart and soul of a man that has found his true path through the music and spirituality. Prem says “"There is no shorter umbilical to your soul than singing!" How that rings so true for me and I am sure countless others that will enjoy Encounter – Medicine Songs from Ma.

At this particular moment in time I feeling some back pain and, in the music, and words of Encounter – Medicine Songs from Ma I found comfort and healing sounds. Although I must admit some of the lyrics are not understood because they are not in English, however that did not matter. Prem’s voice is so inviting and smooth that you just go with all the flow. The instrumentation is certainly quite excellent, which helps to get you at your comfort zone.

There is plenty of variety musically which keeps your interest besides the digging down deep lyrics presented on this amazing group of tracks. Anyone that can appreciate our humanity, spirituality, a variety of instruments, and incredible vocals, well, that about says it all doesn’t it. This is thoughtful words set to a magnificent array of instrumentation! You need to hear Encounter – Medicine Songs from Ma.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 27, 2020


Track List:
1. Holy Divine Mother
2. May I Have The Strength
3. Cancel The Show
4. Oh Your Glory
5. Mighty Presence
6. Floating
7. Your Love Heals Me
8. Everything That Is Here

 


Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

5/27/2020

Rock Review: Airborne Toxic Event - Hollywood Park

Release Date: May 22, 2020
Label: Rounder Records


Being a sucker for what I'll coin as Literary Rock, I eagerly anticipated this latest Airborne Toxic Event release, Hollywood Park. The album is a soundtrack to founder Mikel Jollett's recently released memoir focusing on his experiences growing up in an infamous cult and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. If the book is as powerful as the soundtrack, we're in for a great read.
It's worth noting that the band takes its name from a 1985 postmodern novel called White Noise, which centers around a chemical spill that forces the citizens to face their mortality and learn to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around them. 


The sonic experience involves a back-and-forth between propulsive anthems and subtle, evocative piano ballads. "Come on Out" is one of the album's real treasures. With a driving rhythm and deep, resonant vocals, it captures the thrill and angst of youth, all the while steering the listener boldly toward a new future.

As the album progresses, the songs slowly become stripped of their production and presumption. They become more personal. "The Common Touch" features Jollett in a folksy singsong number, which feels as if he's about to lighten the mood and then heads in a different direction.

With our heads soaked up in alcohol, one hand on a cigarette. I swear I still got some good moves left. I've been fifty-eight since I was twenty-three. I got sixty-nine problems but one ain't me.

In addition to "Come on Out," the standout track to me is "All These Engagements." The lyrics are rife with veiled allusions of deep and dark childhood trauma, which has followed the protagonist has carried with him all his life. It starts slow as a remembrance and rolls along forcefully building toward an ultimate crescendo of rage. "Common Touch" adds a folksy singalong number to the equation to lighten the mood.  

All in all, The longing, anger, and regret are palpable on Hollywood Park. Yet after a close listen, one feels a sense of earned wisdom, a that which does not kill me makes me stronger feeling. What Airborne Toxic Event delivers is a powerful collection of songs that blends rock music with a well-told coming of age story. The result is a highly gratifying listening experience.  

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen




5/20/2020

Jazz Review: John Scofield, Steve Swallow, & Bill Stewart - Swallow Tales

Release Date: June 05, 2020
Label: ECM Records
Website


According to his website bio, Scofield and his music lie “somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B.” John Scofield has, over his 50 years within the industry, played with some of the biggest names in the music industry known to man. One of his biggest partnerships was with the late, great Miles Davis. This duo provided Scofield the capability to flourish from a springboard perspective into the spotlight of Jazz as both an instrumentalist and composer harmoniously. With his latest project Swallow Tales, the 68-year-old has not shown any signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Steve Swallow, one of two partners on this album, is a jazz bassist and composer hailing from my home state of New Jersey,(who knew?) Swallow was one of the first bassists to switch up entirely to utilize an electric bass. Like his teammate, for more than 50 years, Steve has been writing and even educating youth at the Berklee College of Music. At 79, Steve is still contributing to upcoming works including Swallow Tales.

Bill Stewart is the mastermind behind the rhythm and beat of the newest album creation. If not for him, the record might lose a sense of excitement and anticipation that several of the tracks offer. As the youngest of the trio in this group, the 53-year-old collaborates once again with Scofield to impress upon new, upcoming artists incorporating his “polyrhythmic, or layered character” with that of their own new and inventive styles that they might develop in a quest to become a new “great” musician or artist of tomorrow.

In just a basic glance of the album’s artwork, Swallow Tales comes across as something one might listen to on that of the dreariest, dampest of days. Turning on the intro track, “She Was Young” reveals quite the opposite of mindsets. It’s cool, simple, film-like beginning lays the groundwork for an enjoyable nine-and-a-half minute electric guitar getaway. The flicks and picks amid the track keep the listener wondering where he might go next as he eases back into solemn, quiet playing.

“Falling Grace” is more of a somber tune but appealing nonetheless. Its shuffle-like sound and the consistent rise and fall structure throughout the playtime is a fun way to incorporate different techniques through the tracks. “Portsmouth Figurations” brings about a more-defined drum beat to change up the sound-alike chain of the prior two tracks, even if you can spot the differences. Instrumental pieces, often make it difficult to capture what separates one track from another, however, it is very-much still possible to do so.

“Awful Coffee” is most certainly apparent in its more mellow style, especially as the track opens. The track aligns very closely with the design and setup of the album’s artwork, where it might be best listened to within the confines of a darker room or under the haze of a gray, cloudy sky. “Eiderdown” blends quite seamlessly with its predecessor up until about the 2-minute mark where it differentiates with a rumble-like tone and more staccato-type form. The seven-minute tune avails more zig-zag maze imagery than the others heard so far as there does not seem to be one set theme in this track.

“Hullo Bolinas” brings the listener back down from a high of excitement and pop-infused playtime. The more elongated, allegro formation of this track appeals to those who like tracks that are more at ease and with less of an intensity that jazz can often possess. That’s the thing with jazz, it can range from a calm, soothing notion, to a highly clashing, bombastic, and lively sound that surprises the listener at every turn.

Next on the record, “Away” begins its music with an apparent country-like sound, like someone who has lost a love or who has moved away from settings or people familiar and typical to the individual. With every note that is played, your heart feels for when the guitar tweaks and crescendos with each note. The song reminds me much of the Christmas song by The Carpenters, “Christmas Waltz” (“And this song of mine in three-quarter time. Wishes you and yours the same thing too.”)

Rounding out the album, “In F” is a funky, groovy track bound to put anyone who listens in a great mood and get some up off their feet to dance. Its rock-pop vibe carries a difference from the rest of the record which might go unnoticed if you are one who likes to skip tracks or select your favorites rather than listen to the record in its entirety for what it’s worth. Finally, “Radio” keeps with the appeal of “In F” succeeding to send off the listener with a smile and a feel of how each groove and divet of jazz can be peculiar in their own right. Just when you think the artist is going in one direction, he or she takes your trained ear and throws it reverse. And just like everything else, oftentimes it works, and sometimes it misses the mark. Here, Swallow Tales accomplishes the mission of entertainment and experience for the unexperienced musician or just plain music lover.


Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff
May 17, 2020

 

Track Listing:
1. She Was Young
2. Falling Grace
3. Porsmouth Figurations
4. Awful Coffee
5. Eiderdown
6. Hullo Bolinas
7. Away
8. In F
9. Radio

 

5/10/2020

Alt-Blues Review: Mark Lanegan - Straight Songs of Sorrow

Release Date: May 8, 2020
Label: Heavenly

Mark Lanegan comes right out and says it, so don't say you weren't warned. These are Straight Songs of Sorrow. The deep lyrics riding upon guttural resonance evokes a cathartic empathy for the state of the world and the people inhabiting it which is nothing short of beautiful. It may not be the artist's desired effect, but after I put my headphones down, I feel a whole lot better about my own personal lot in life and the future of humankind. I suppose in this respect one could call this a blues album, but the blood mixed in makes it more purple. 

Founder of grunge pioneers and extremely underrated Screaming Trees, Lanagan rides the tailwind of his recent soul-bearing memoir, Sing Backwards and Weep. His book details the youthful search for "decadence, depravity, anything, everything." In it, Lanagan reveals the guilt he feels to this day about the death of his friend, Kurt Cobain. The vocals are reminiscent of classic blues singers yet bent with a blend of dark Iggy Pop mixed with Leonard Cohen, and infused with a twist of Nick Cave.

The distressed sonic texture strikes a chord from which the lyrics jump off and strike a nerve with tales of heartache and sorrow and warning signs of the hard road ahead. The album begins with Lanegan warning listeners not to take his advice. "Suddenly, everything I ever had is on ice. All those who tried to help me scattered like mice. No, I wouldn't want to say."

"Bleed All Over," the song with the most velocity in the collection, still reverberates with a vengeful sorry. "Don't you say it's over… I never wanted to… I'm a bleed all over." On "Skeleton Key," Lannegan laments, "I'm ugly inside and out… Love me, why would you ever love me? No one has ever loved me yet, pretty baby."

On Straight Songs of Sorrow, slow and soulful guitar travels on a gravel road of heavy bass and subdued drums. In the driver's seat, Lanegan couldn't care less what his passengers think. Unburdened by obligation and pretension, the artist is free to express his true self and travel wherever he wants. That is precisely what Lanegan has done, and we're all the wiser for coming along for the ride. 

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen

5/09/2020

Rock Review: Eric Burdon & The Animals-When I Was Young – The MGM Recordings 1967-1968

Release Date: February 28, 2020
Label: Esoteric

When I Was Young – The MGM Recordings 1967-1968 is a 5-disc set covering Eric Burdon & The Animals. Each of these discs shows a pattern. As you stream through the music, the tone and themes overall go from disc one, and five shapes themselves up to be more of a darker sound than that of the other three discs. In ascending order, discs two through four increasingly become a bit lighter with the themes surrounding them. Minus a few extra tracks and one being formatted in stereo and one for mono, the two bookend discs play out similarly. It’s well worth playing on a day of reminiscing or if you might have a grey feeling throughout your day.

Eric Burdon & The Animals came about in 1966 when the actual band The Animals abruptly parted ways, he formed a similar but newer version of the group. It took hold of a Psychedelic rock type of influence rather than that of its former R&B stylings. He possessed a particular skill few in the Rock world could bring to life and not have the message and sound overdone or duplicated.

Disc two still carries a bit of a darker undertone but, generally, The Twain Shall Meet is an album of eventfulness and storytelling. You can feel a sense of wonder and awe in songs like “All Is One,” and “Just The Thought.” The album is rightly titled because it comes off very poetically. However, it also speaks to songs of war and unfortunate sorrow in the song “Sky Pilot.” You get an action-packed album amid this packaged deal.

Everyone Of Us is a blend of items. It contains an instrumental piece, “Serenade to A Sweet Lady,” along with a spoken-word track of “The Immigrant Lad.” It also includes a short story-styled song of “New York 1963 – America 1968.” You can tell by the titles of the tracks, that a lot of historical context surrounds the entirety of this album, and while it may be for a select group of ears (as many may not find the album impactful), it does carry an impressive framework about it.

Think of disc four as the icing on the cake, or the joy and celebration of light after a series of unfortunate events. There’s a common theme of love and its lasting effects both good and bad. “River Deep, Mountain High,” is that excitement burst of how much intensity one’s love could be another while, “Ring Of Fire,” represents how much power and heat can be put into love itself and loving someone, who may or may not return the same feeling.

This album certainly has an eclectic sense of emotion and lessons to be learned. Moreover, it is a great representation of laid back, mellow vibes to give younger listeners a sense of how music can captivate both a message and create an endless earworm to soothe the mind after an eventful day or stimulate the mind to think more introspectively.

Key Tracks: “Monterey,” “A Girl Named Sandoz,” “Year of the Guru,” “Gemini,” “Ring of Fire.”

Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff
May 8, 2020

Reviews Provided By:


Track Listing:
 
Disc One: Winds Of Change (Re-Mastered Stereo Mix)


01.    Winds Of Change
02.    Poem By The Sea
03.    Paint It Black
04.    The Black Plague
05.    Yes, I Am Experienced
06.    San Franciscan Nights
07.    Man – Woman
08.    Hotel Hell
09.    Good Times
10.    Anything
11.    It’s All Meat
12.    When I Was Young
13.    A Girl Named Sandoz
14.    Ain’t That So
15.    Gratefully Dead
16.    Anything (Single Version)

Disc Two: The Twain Shall Meet


01.    Monterey
02.    Just The Thought
03.    Closer to The Truth
04.    No Self Pity
05.    Orange and Red Beams
06.    Sky Pilot
07.    We Love You Lil
08.    All Is One
09.    Sky Pilot (Part One) (Mono Single)
10.    Sky Pilot (Part Two) (Mono Single)
11.    Monterey (Mono Single Version)

Disc Three: Everyone Of Us


01.    White Houses
02.    Uppers and Downers
03.    Serenade to a Sweet Lady
04.    The Immigrant Lad
05.    Year of the Guru
06.    St. James Infirmary
07.    New York 1963 – America 1968
08.    White Houses (Single Version)

Disc Four: Love Is


01.    River Deep, Mountain High
02.    I’m An Animal
03.    I’m Dying, or Am I?
04.    Ring Of Fire
05.    Coloured Rain
06.    To Love Somebody
07.    As The Years Go Passing By
08.    Gemini
09.    The Madman (Running Through the Fields)
10.    River Deep, Mountain High (Single Version)

Disc Five: Winds Of Change (Re-Mastered Mono Mix)


01.    Winds of Change
02.    Poem By the Sea
03.    Paint It Black
04.    The Black Plague
05.    Yes, I Am Experienced
06.    San Franciscan Nights
07.    Man – Woman
08.    Hotel Hell
09.    Good Times
10.    Anything
11.    It’s All Meat
 

5/08/2020

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Yurina Shin-Connections

Release Date: May, 7, 2020
Label: Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 25, 2020

Founder of:

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

5/01/2020

New Age Instrumental Review: Peter Sterling-Sanctuary of Light

Release Date: April 1, 2020
Label: Harp Magic

I have had the pleasure of covering two of Peter Sterling’s releases so far. The 2016 release Sacred Visions and in 2018 Magic Kingdom. Both were filled with beautiful sounds led by his diverse harp playing. Now we have the latest to enjoy titled Sanctuary of Light which is ready to enchant us all that can appreciate new age instrumental music.

For my personal tastes, this music works. I value all music in such a way that there is built-in respect and admiration I have before listening to any artisan’s creation. With that in mind, it opens the mental aperture some more and casts aside any preconceived ideas one may have about what they will be hearing.

Right now, more than ever, we all need healing on some level. The world is in turmoil and distress and the only way to realign mother earth and its inhabitants is to take a collective breath and let the music lead the way. This is why music has been and always will be our savior. That is in effect, a community of unsung heroes as far as I am concerned.  

Peter is saying to us all “Let the light be your sanctuary, you can find it in my music.” While there is always darkness and shades of grey in our world, we can always find the light whether it's through the music, a kind face, or a gentle smile of assurance from a loved one. Yes, this is what this music brings to the forefront of my mind and how it relates to my spirit, consciousness, and attitude at any given moment.

As Peter intimates on the inner sleeve of the CD jacket “This music is dedicated and inspired by the divine light that lives in us all.” I find this to be so true right now. Every day, I am seeing how people are coming together, sacrificing their time, energy, and knowledge to fight the worldwide pandemic we are facing. It so predominant right now in all our lives that I cannot help but talk about it and how this all connects together. I am linked to music consciously and unconsciously. This gorgeous and heavenly sound Peter coaxes from his harp, gives me more awareness of my surroundings and how easily I can become grounded and centered with some help provided by his music.

So rather than mention any particular track on the recording, I prefer to put my attention on the entire project as a whole. I am looking at the big picture right now for all of humanity and the fact that music can inspire me in such a way that my inner spirit and true self is revealed.

Thank you, Peter Sterling, for your artistic genius and contribution to all of mankind with the soothing spiritual sounds provided on Sanctuary of Light.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 3, 2020
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Track List:
 

1. The Light Within
2. Divine Reflection
3. Light In Your Eyes
4. This Path I Walk
5. Forever More
6. Pool of Love
7. Seventh Heaven
8. Shores of Eternity
 

4/26/2020

Metal Review: Exlibris - Shadowrise

Release Date: April 17, 2020
Label: 2020 Exlibris Recordings
Website 

Crank up your radio or stereo and let er’ rip with Shadowrise! The band Exlibris unleashes its latest, six-track album with a blend of rage and power, combined with a melodic body of work; all of which accelerates the band through a momentous round of music.

Coming high off their critically acclaimed album Aftereal, the band leaves no stone unturned in letting rip all efforts fly on their fourth studio album. With the intense vocals of Riku Turunen mixed into the instrumental stylings of keyboardist - Piotr Sikora, bassist – Piotr Torbicz, and drummer Grzegorz “Gregor” Olejnik; a rebirth of heavy metal, or “Hi-octane metal,” or “speed metal”, has also been referenced...is born. One would assume, four albums in, a band starts to either sound repetitive or lose its fundamental uniqueness of sound. Exlibris keeps it polished and the volume past 11 as the album unfolds.

Right out of the gate, “Rule #1” transforms from an intense set up as a trick of a possible light hunter’s battle-themed tune, to then quickly evolving into an intense battle royale. Its powerful guitar-shredding clashing with the main theme of the lyrics to produce a dramatic introductory track proves to energize the listener and excite them for what is to come. As the song continues, it plateaus and slightly builds to heighten the dramatic effect of enticing the listener, only to leave them wanting more with the singer repeating a partial chorus.

“Hell or High Water” intensifies the continuation of the record. It is the fighter anthem, with the strong intensity of the guitar, this song is all about building up and getting stronger with each note that passes on. It connects well also to the beginning of “All I Never Know.” “All I Never Know” starts with great force and then lends itself to mellow out for a good half of a minute in the middle. This is only to follow it through with another short burst of energy, keeping the listener on their toes, and unwinds by mellowing out with the keyboards.

Another instance of a song flowing right into another is that of the title track “Shadowrise.” The song blends the keyboard fadeout in the very beginning and then bursts right into power and might “looking for a sanctuary.” This might imply that everything that lies within the shadows might be in danger or that the shadows may be the danger themselves. Whatever the case may be, it is a clever appeal to combine a lyrical image with the speed and sound of the song at hand.

“Megiddo” comes in with a bang. Rightfully so, aside from Riku’s vocals, this song is 85 percent dedicated to the work and craft of Grzegorz “Gregor” Olejnik. Without him, much of this record, and this song would fail to carry itself as the drum beats are what it is built upon. The speed, the rhythm, and the control of the song carry out only because of Grzegorz.

The final track “Interstellar” is intriguing. Much of the track is spoken word of a speech formerly given by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Anyone born after the early 1990s or, even some just before then, might not even know of this infamous speech proclaiming the great desire of traveling to the moon and through space. It is a great tease in history. Never close your mind to where music could lead you even in secrecy.

Key Tracks: “Hell Or High Water,” “Shadowrise”

Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff

April 23, 2020

Track Listing:
01. Rule #1
02. Hell Or High Water
03. All I Never Knew
04. Shadowrise
05. Megadido
06. Interstellar



4/24/2020

Celtic-Acoustic-New Age Review: 2002- Celtic Fairy Dream

Release Date: April 24, 2020
Label: Real Music

When you go to the 2002 website the new release Celtic Fairy Dream is introduced as a relaxing, soothing, nurturing music for peaceful rest and sleep. Celtic Fairy Dream is a collection of timeless songs from ancient lands. Harps, flutes, piano, and subtle orchestration accompany delightful lyrics in Gaelic, Welsh and English. That puts it all into proper perspective for any potential listeners.

There is much more to this family’s music, however, Pamela, Randy, and Sarah Copus are the contributors to this lush soundscape. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. In this case, what you hold within your mind’s eye may be different for all us, but what you hear is musical perfection with vocals that sound like they are coming straight from heaven.

The one thing that remains consistent throughout is Sarah’s incredible vocal talent. She is growing into the music with each release and mother and father have let her walk the path as they provide all the gorgeous layers of sounds for her silky sweet vocals to gloss over the top. She shines like a bright star on the verge of bursting into a supernova. I am hoping I have the opportunity to witness that event as time goes on, as each passing year will lend the experience and maturity to her vocal expertise and approach.

Sarah’s angelic vocals are the focal point of this album but she has the best support possible with her veteran musician parents. It is a beautiful thing, this amazing family and all their talents coming together as one musical energy. I am sure that there will be the third generation of musicians and vocalists someday but I am sure mom and dad are in no rush for that!

All ten tracks offer the listener a real music experience coming from three spiritual beings wishing to pass it on to humanity. They have been doing this for so long, I could not imagine another result than absolute bliss perfected in the studio.

Besides all of the excellent vocal tracks, there is an instrumental titled “Genevieve's Waltz” that puts the spotlight on the excellence of their musicianship. I am so glad that they did this track so listeners can realize the immense talent that these folks have, then to have a daughter with a voice like an angel, it completes the partnership.

Celtic Fairy Dream
takes their music to yet another level that so many people will most certainly appreciate. I would love to hear this album on vinyl someday, it would be amazing, not that it isn’t already. I am a firm believer that LPs give music a different dimension. This recording is well suited to be spinning on a turntable.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 10, 2020
 
Track List: 
01. Castle of Dromore 5:00
02. The Green Fields of Autumn (Coinleach Glas an Fhomhair) 5:43
03. Dream(Suantrai) 5:07
04. South Wind 5:06
05. David of the White Rock (Dafydd y Garreg Wen) 4:41
06. Close Your Eyes (Dun do Shuil) 6:12
07. She Moved Through the Fair 5:59
08. Genevieve's Waltz 5:16
09. Little Bird (Einini) 5:41
10. Across the Waves (Trasna na d'Tonnta) 5:15



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