October 17, 2018

Acoustic Instrumental Review: David Lindsay-Last Passing of Summer


Release Date: October 10, 2018
Label: Fallingfoot Records

It has been two years since the music of David Lindsay came back into my world. My first taste was Nightbound. With the Last Passing of Summer David went into Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios to create some more magic. The consequences of going into that studio are nothing short of magnificent for any artist. On hand were several talented artists besides Ackerman and multi-instrumentalist and co-producer/engineer Tom Eaton.

The woodwinds of Jill Halley, cello of Eugene Friesen, the violin of Charlie Bisharat, the percussion of Jeff Haynes, vocals of Noah Wilding, and the electric guitar, cymbals, keyboards, piano of Tom Eaton are major contributors to the overall sound and textures of the music. All of the musicianship is outstanding on this recording, so expect a quality listen.

Once again as it was two years ago, simplicity is the concept here. David’s guitar is gentle yet inspiring. The music will resonate with you if you afford it a bit of introspection into the cover art and the track titles. Nature is an ever-changing occurrence and with that thought, the guitar playing can ebb and flow in the same way. If you listen to Last Passing of Summer you find that to be very true.

“Through The Fields” is one of the more rhythmic tracks and it serves as the quintessential acoustic guitar track. David’s guitar continually builds in the track and gets stronger with each change of pace. I found that my senses were aroused by this music. Most of the tracks are very relaxing and hold their own however this is the one track that really stood out for me.

“Sorrows of the Moon” was special because Will Ackerman played lead guitar. It reminded of the Windham Hill days and the music that influenced my tastes in music so much. “Chandos Lake” was another track with an upbeat feel to it and well played. 

So, what you get is the simplicity and beauty of the acoustic guitar that is accentuated with numerous other instruments that create a blanket of sound that the main instrument float over nicely. And yes, that explanation is as nice as it all sounds folks.

As another season is ushered in, David Lindsay gives us the colors and sounds to match the season on the Last Passing of Summer.  Acoustic instrumental music does not get any better and this album is highly recommended.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 17, 2018
 
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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. For Joni
02. Blue Skies
03. To The Sun
04. Look To The Sky
05. Through The Fields
06. Reverie
07. Last Passing of Summer
08. Sorrows of the Moon
09. Chandos Lake
10. Still Point
11. Night Vision
12. The Wind Shapes the Pines

October 14, 2018

Instrumental New Age /Ambient/Jazz Review: Jeff Oster-Reach

Release Date: October 5, 2018
Label: Retso Records
Three years ago, I covered Jeff Oster’s Next album. If you do a search on my New Age Music Reviews site it will show several other artist reviews as well. The reason is that Jeff is in demand to play on other people’s albums. There is a very good reason for this. He is one of the few Flugelhorn and Trumpet players in the genre that plays a chill ambient type of music that new age recording artists and listeners alike want to hear. He also is able to interject jazz and funk elements into his recordings. Besides that, it is a great partnership. Jeff is masterful with his instruments and with the new album out now titled Reach, he is in great form and so are the folks that accompanied him on the album.

Reach has nine tracks in total and it is a great mixture of sound and textures that will do many things to you while listening including relaxing, feeling energized and wanting to move, becoming contemplative, just about everything one person can think of or do during the listen of one album really. It invites you in at the outset and you never want to leave that “musical comfy chair.”

I love new age music when it combines jazz and world rudiments. “Le Caveau” is a great example of those sounds and atmospheres getting in sync. The music and sound clarity are amazing. The following track “Five Great Mountains” is just hypnotic. Jeff’s horn is superlative and the bass is incredible, in fact, I thought it might be Tony Levin, who seems to show up on everyone’s albums. It is, in fact, Benjamin J. Shepherd, who plays a huge role in the track, and the entire sound of the album actually. His rhythm and musical leadership in the track are exemplary. That kind of preciseness allows the star of the show to shine even brighter, so hats off to Benjamin for doing such a great job with his instrument. Everyone involved in this project is outstanding so I felt the need to list the credits below.

Some of the other instruments on this recording, besides the horns of course, that give it an overall world-jazz flavor, are the Erhu and Indian Flutes. Then there are very calming spiritual tracks like “The Lotus Within.” In my estimation, the reference would be the Lotus flower, a symbolically important aquatic Asian plant also known as the Indian or sacred lotus.  The emphasis is on sacred for this magnificent composition. 

To keep things fresh and on your “listening toes,” Jeff follows those two critical tracks with an upbeat jazz and funk-filled number titled “Troppo Y Boffo.” The Latin percussion and bass pulsate and drive the number while Jeff just glides through with his horn putting the veritable icing on the cake. It is Latin bliss, wonderful and colorful as it gets. This track could find a home on any good (worthy) jazz album.

Jeff Oster puts it all together on Reach. Every track is solid and consistent throughout. The combination of instruments, musical style and artistry of every contributing musician make this album one of the best in the genre this year. This comes as no surprise to me as everything I have ever heard from Jeff has been superlative from his own recordings to being a guest on other recordings. He is in a groove that keeps him at the forefront of the music industry and I can see that influence growing more all the time. In conclusion, I think that he will Reach a much larger audience with each successive release


Artists:
Jeff Oster – Flugelhorn, Trumpet
Ruslan Sirota – Piano, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Robyn Ghosh – Guitar
Benjamin J. Shepherd – Bass
Tamir Barzilay – Drums
Pete Korpela – Percussion
Jenni Asher – Erhu (Track 4)
Ravichandra Kulur – Indian Flutes (Track 9)
Drew Allsbrook – Vocals (Track 4)

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 14, 2018

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Tracks: 
1. Onward
2. Far Rockaway
3. Le Caveau
4. Five Great Mountains
5. The Lotus Within
6. Troppo Y Boffo
7. How Familiar
8. Velvet and Smoke
9. The Pink City

 

October 11, 2018

New Age Contemporary Instrumental Review: Acoustic Ocean-Blue Moon Rising

Release Date: September 9, 2018
Label: Natural Health Source Publishing, Natural Health Source, Inc

Acoustic Ocean is the collaboration of two veteran musicians and recording artists, Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan. The music of Acoustic Ocean reflects the musical and healing arts backgrounds of the artists as well as the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, which helped to inspire the music. After a successful touring career that spanned 20-years, Morgan and Phelan relocated to Hawaii to pursue careers in the healing arts. (Past Tense Excerpt from Artist Website). 

Blue Moon Rising is the most recent release and the first since the passing of Peggy. The album is dedicated to the memory of Peggy Morgan, Bette’s music partner of 40 years, and to Nancy Phelan, her mother.

Bette is joined on Blue Moon Rising by Kay Aldrich, on cello. Additional instruments, played by Bette, augment all the arrangements. The music is very earthy and pure. The acoustic instruments are wonderful and used with just the right instances within each track. The use of the ocean hitting the shore adds to the natural sounds that are presented.

The acoustic guitar is the primary instrument. It is played flawlessly and with the addition of the cello, you get a new age world classical sound that will please anyone’s musical palette. If you are into relaxing meditative music you will love Blue Moon Rising. The layers of guitar work are exquisite.

One look at the cover of this recording sets you at ease and gives you the thought of inner light, spirituality and the connection we have with mother earth. The ocean is the most prolific thing to human life because that is where all of life came from. And purposely the name Acoustic Ocean falls in line with that thought process not mention that is exactly what you will hear on Blue Moon Rising. There is an ocean of acoustic sounds all melded together to create a musical nirvana for the soul. The eleven tracks offered the listener, flow together seamlessly and hit you gently like an ocean wave on a warm summer day.

What is there not to like about any of this? I appreciate what has been presented here and the meaning of the music along with the heartfelt dedication from the artist. It all goes hand in hand.

Here is a passage from the artist website that ends this review in a thoughtful and spiritual way:

The moon is associated with women’s mysteries, intuition, and the divine aspects of the sacred feminine. Some modern magical traditions associate the Blue Moon with the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a woman’s life.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 11, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)
02. Blue Moon Rising
03. Recalling Beauty
04. Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair
05. Spirit Awakening
06. Lotus Petals Falling on the Pacific
07. Love Is a Force Field
08. The Silent Storm
09. Sweet Mana from Heaven
10. Shadow Dancers
11. All Things Made New

October 8, 2018

Track Review Feature: Khyaam Haque-The Raging Sea

Release Date: September 21, 2018
Label: Independent



Khyaam Haque is a pianist and composer based out of Chicago, Illinois and primarily composes classical, new age, and electronic music. His inspiration transpired from the cinematic moments of his own life experiences. (the excerpt is taken from the artist website)

Minutiae of an Iridescent Mind is the latest release from Khyaam Haque. The focal point is the first single from the album titled “The Raging Sea.”

Knowing very little about some of the artists I cover makes it an intriguing experience. What I found listening to “The Raging Sea” was that once again, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to discover yet another compelling artist.

I certainly was left wanting for more after I heard “The Raging Sea.” The track is very atmospheric and it builds as it goes along, kind of like a wave that turns into an entire sea raging crashing against the shoreline. Khyaam’s piano is beautiful and when he adds a layer of synthesizer it gives another feel and tempo. That additional layer, for my ears anyway, made it more exciting and eventful.

Once you hear “The Raging Sea” I have no doubt you will want to hear the entire album Minutiae of an Iridescent Mind.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 8, 2018

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

October 5, 2018

New Age Instrumental-World Review: Peter Sterling- Magic Kingdom

Release Date: October 1, 2018
Label: Harp Magic Music

It has been two years since I covered Peter Sterling’s superb Sacred Visions. I am more than ready to go on another magical musical journey, on to the Magic Kingdom. Or as I like to refer to it as “Peter Magic.”

Magic Kingdom is the following musicians:  Peter playing keyboards, harp, recorder, Freenote chime, Peruvian wooden flute, and percussion. Richard Hardy is on Irish Pennywhistle and Soprano Sax and Anthony Mazzella on Guitar. The album was recorded in Sedona from 2017-2018.

I have concluded after several years of listening to various incarnations and fusions of new age music that the combination of world and new age is the most interesting and colorful listen I could hope for. It is always different and just about any instrument can serve as the lead if the mix is right. Peter’s main instrument is the heavenly harp. It is so precise and delicate, and it easily mixes with the other music and sounds provided on Magic Kingdom

Peter defines the term indie musician and the do it yourself attitude that is so strong amongst the folks that make up that culture and work ethic. It takes tremendous dedication, commitment and talent to produce a recording such as Magic Kingdom.

The blend of instruments is simply sublime and the few tracks where you hear some vocals it is impressive as well. The vocals are an instrument as far as I am concerned and it is quite evident when listening to the tracks that provide that. The closer and title track “Magic Kingdom” and “Tomorrow’s Child” are two fine examples of world-instrumental new age with just enough vocal styles to make it a meditative piece that you want to hear more than once. “Over the Bridge” features a sweet child’s voice, contributing to the purity and innocence of this listening experience.

“Everlasting Love” starts off with Peter’s harp inviting the rest of the instruments into the mix then a jazzy tone comes alive with some soprano sax. I love that combination absolutely, it always works for me. I do love jazz so that makes the transition that much more delightful for my ears. 

So, in the end, what I got to enjoy was another musical stew brought to a simmer by many talented artists. Make sure you listen to Magic Kingdom and let it bring you joy and good vibrations, it is there waiting for you now.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 5, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

October 3, 2018

Contemporary Classical Instrumental Review: Dulce Joya-Reality of Dreams

Release Date: September 8, 2017
Label: CD Produktion und Vertrieb

Dulce Joya is an accomplished pianist from Cuba. She started her studies of the instrument at age 6. It looks like the early start and all the hard work has paid off for this artist in many ways.

She released Reality of Dreams a year ago. This is my first opportunity to hear Dulce’s music. I must say that I am very impressed with the talent I heard on all 12 tracks of this recording.  I find great joy in discovering artists I have not heard before.

If you stop and think about the title for a moment it becomes clear what the artist is conveying to you. Your dreams do become reality, and the reality of those dreams are communicated through the music you will hear on this recording.

I have heard countless piano instrumental albums and it takes a lot at this point for me to become interested and stay focused. I am not saying that I do not enjoy most of what I hear, it just has to be excellent to make me feel like I just had a great musical experience.   

This is definitely contemporary classical that could easily cross over to new age as well. The new age genre has become very interesting over the years and many of the sub-genres have found a way into the ever-broadening classification as well. This is one album that anyone that appreciates new age would love, I have no doubt.

So, after listening to Dulce’s music I felt very positive and refreshed. Her music is crisp, pinpoint and mesmerizing. Every track is intriguing and full of emotion. This is music that could easily be a soundtrack for a film. It is a quality listen from start to finish.

Perhaps one of the better examples of a story set to moving instrumental music is “Shadows of my Soul.” It builds and builds as the track gets deeper into movements that are pulsating with life and anticipation. It runs over six minutes and what Dulce accomplishes in that timeframe is a brilliant exhibition of musical transitions within one song.

“Call of the King” was another one of my favorites. The title is perfect. The ivory keys and Dulce’s talented fingers introduce a grand marching of the king’s entrance. It was a very picturesque track. 

Those are a few tracks that really hit home with me, I really loved the entire album though. Every composition is beautiful and something I would enjoy hearing any time of day or night. 

As I listened to each track my interest grew and I was fascinated with all the progressions that Dulce went through in every track. Even without any accompaniment, I was completely engaged with her music. That says it all for me and the music presented on Reality of Dreams

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 2, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Romantic Power
02. Call of the King
03. Lights and Shadows
04. Sad Moments
05. Magical Ride
06. Pride of Love
07. Shadows of my Soul
08. Stormchild
09. Winter Dreams
10. Bleeding Heart
11. Fallen Angel
12. Goodbye
 



September 29, 2018

Instrumental World-New Age Review: Doug Hammer-Celtique

Release Date: September 21, 2018
Label: Dreamworld Productions

Doug Hammer must be an old soul. To write instrumental songs about ancient lands and fisherman of the world, you have to dig down deep. You have to get the feeling of a place and time, then look inside yourself where that spark can turn into a flame. I think Doug does that with his music. Keep in mind that every track has double meanings and it ends like it starts, an unbroken circle. That will give you something to ponder while listening.


Celtique is dedicated to all fisherman that have risked their lives for our survival. There are 15 tracks to enjoy on this release. I found it most interesting just how many albums were released on September 21st this year. I think there is a connection with that date, being the introduction of another season is significant and the new music ushering us in. I notice subtle nuances like that but to me there is nothing subtle about it. And here is why - it's also a Celtic Holiday called Mabon, a mid-Harvest celebration. There was a fact I did not know so thank you Doug!

The perfect track to encapsulate the feelings, atmospheres, sights, and sounds that this music delivers to you is “Wind and Waves.” The music is like the wind blowing against your face and the rhythms and force of the sounds are like waves combing across your body, making their way inside to your heart and soul. Suddenly you realize that this man and his piano has put you right where he wanted to.

I think an album cover sets the tone and atmosphere of what you are about to hear, and with an entirely instrumental album, it is absolutely key. The flavors of the world are what this artist is all about, and the title (and fonts) tell you where you are about to arrive. Every album is a celebration of a place or timeframe. For my listening experience, the time is now, however, I am able to go back as far in time as I wish because this kind of music allows it. The intrinsic element of instrumental music is the focus it provides, not to mention how intensely focused the person presenting the music must be!

The way Doug plays those ivory keys is something to behold, his sound is so full and alive. One would think just one piano could not tell such an interesting story but he gets it done. It actually sounds like more than one piano at times, which is quite amazing.

That, my music loving friends, is the power of music. Celtique is an awesome expression of art. The talent it takes to create a recording like this is beyond my comprehension. To be a listener and feel the music like it was intended is something special. That is all any recording artist could ask for.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 27, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Celtique (Daybreak)
02. Through the Mist
03. Wandering Path
04. Crumbling Wall
05. Ancient Stones
06. She Beckons
07. To the Sea
08. Wind and Waves
09. Calm Water
10. Safe Harbor   
11. Voices of the Past
12. Golden Land
13. Moss and Earth
14. Journey Home
15. Celtique (Twilight)