July 12, 2018

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Matthew Mayer-Beautiful You

Release Date: August 31, 2018
Label: Independent

Close to the end of summer days, Matthew Mayer will help you enjoy what time we have left before the leaves start turning again. 

Beautiful You is similar to the changing of seasons, the cyclical synchronization of nature. This music is simply piano and a man playing it from his heart and soul, in sync with his feelings and imparting that through the ivory keys. What a gift to be able to share.

The cover of the album seems a bit whimsical, like a Disney film or something similar. I think the tones and colors used with artwork are meant to have a calming effect and the images immediately set you at ease. This sets you up nicely for the music. Keep in mind this is interpreted through my eyes and thoughts. Every listener will develop their own thoughts and images as the 12 tracks play.

Instrumental piano music will always hold a place in my heart. When I hear music like this it transforms my day and evening. I do usually listen at night, however, as the day rolls off my shoulders and any stress or care I may just melts away, like the sun melts away the snow. I find myself in touch with who I really am because the anxiety is gone and there is nothing clouding my thoughts and feelings, it acts as a cleansing of sorts.

You may ask, how does music do that? When the music is presented thoughtfully, with purpose and elegance like this, the Beautiful You can then come out.  Think about that for a moment, give this music a listen and see what happens.

I can only comment on music this way if it moves me. Beautiful You was able to do all the things I have mentioned and once again, the music reminded me of my humanity and why I am here. My gift is my words, but I don’t have that without the music to help express what I feel. It’s so simple, and I am grateful every time I am able to write about another person’s art, this music is no exception. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 12, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Raindrops of Amor
02. Fly Little Bird
03. You Are Enough
04. A Modern Introspection
05. Beautiful You
06. Of Haunt and Hope
07. Broken Mirror
08. 8Bill Next Door
09. Tranquility
10. Ordinary Way   
11. Dreams VII   
12. In Spirit
 


July 8, 2018

Guided Meditation Review: Lucinda Clare & Yuval Ron - Voyage Through The Chakras (2 CDs)

Release Date: June 15, 2018

The Chakra system represents one of the great gifts from ancient India and yogic culture. Originating from Sanskrit, the sacred language of ancient India, the word Chakra literally translates as Dzwheeldz. Each Chakra functions as a vortex of spinning energy influencing the physiological and neurological systems in the body. (Excerpt from the label site http://mettamindfulnessmusic.com/chakrasalbum.html )

Life happens and brings us gifts when different causes and individuals paths intersect. That is exactly what happened when Meta Mindfulness Music, Yuval Ron (instrumentation) and Lucinda Clare (voice on CD 1) pooled their resources and created a two-CD set titled Voyage Through The Chakras.

My focus is the music on CD2, which is all the backing music on CD1 while Lucinda guides you through the selected meditations. I use the music to guide me to another place and always have. In this instance, I find it much more interesting to hear both sides of the project and one separate part or parts. Lucinda is A well-known actress and Yuval Ron is an award-winning musician, lecturer, and author. When you are invited to play your music for the Dalai Lama you have reached an apex in your career! What a great honor. I read from a book that quotes the Dalai’s inspirational words of wisdom for every day. I have found it enlightening and so very simple and true. 

As it mentions on the one-sheet that came with the Voyage Through The Chakras CD, this is music for the soul. I honestly believe all music is for the soul - to heal it, energize and just put a smile inside you.  Music, good music, is the path to better wellbeing.

Yuval Ron is a multi-talented artisan and he has many friends that help him with the amazing soundtrack to the heavens that awaits you. You will hear Gongs, Oud, Cello, Bansuri Flute, Jaws Harp, Flugelhorn, Sitar and Glass Harmonica, the list is quite extensive. It is literally like walking into a different world, all created by sounds, chanting and then some necessary focus and concentration by the listener is the only requirement. With those thoughts in mind prior to listening you will hopefully discover your own nirvana. There are even detailed instructions on the label website if you want to find out more prior to listening (take a few minutes to look at the video provided here as well).

Voyage Through The Chakras opens the door and it is up to you to walk through and discover what you came for.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 6, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
Disc 1:
 

01. Root Chakra Guided Meditation
02. Sacral Chakra Guided Meditation
03. Solar Chakra Guided Meditation
04. Heart Chakra Guided Meditation
05. Throat Chakra Guided Meditation
06.Third Eye Chakra Guided Meditation
07. Crown Chakra Guided Meditation


Disc 2:
 

01. Root Chakra (feat. Kenneth Goff)
02. Sacral Chakra (feat. Pandit Nayan Ghosh)
03. Solar Chakra (feat. Dennis Karmazyn)
04. Heart Chakra (feat. Shye Ben Tzur)
05. Throat Chakra (feat. Andrew Carney)
06. Third Eye Chakra (feat. James Hood)  
07. Crown Chakra (feat. Brien Engle)

July 4, 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

 

July 3, 2018

Instrumental New Age/Piano Review: Lynn Trudeau-Fellowship of Solitude

Release Date: July 20, 2018
Label: Independent

I I had the distinct pleasure of covering Lynn Trudeau’s Shifting Sands last year. Her piano playing is superb and I looked forward to hearing what else she could create on the next release.

Well, that time has arrived, the new recording is titled Fellowship of Solitude and it is due out July 20, 2018.
The title is the first thing that really grabs you, and that is a good thing before you settle in and listen to a new album. I can only speak for myself, but that is the best way to start in my estimation. The wheels inside your head are already turning.

My first thought was, where is there fellowship in solitude? After a few moments of thought, it came to me rather quickly…the fellowship you can experience is with yourself, nature or a higher power. All of these instances, to me, relate to a non-cluttered spiritual state that heals and refreshes. That is not a state that is easy for some folks to arrive at, including me. This is the kind of music that is a marvelous tool to reach a higher state of consciousness.

Music like what is offered on Fellowship of Solitude is always a welcome addition to my collection. Lynn Trudeau is a master of the ivory keys. She is one of the many I have encountered over the years. If you are not into listening to this kind of music I suggest you give it a try, particularly if you desire some time to wind down and find a new frame of reference, the music!  It does tend to put a different spin on life (no pun intended there).
If you are spiritual human being with the intention of finding a space in time that will recharge your spirit, relax or meditate, this is the kind of music that can be your partner in reaching your goal.

Lynn Trudeau serves as the unspoken guide or spiritual teacher if you will, on her latest offering Fellowship of Solitude. You will have to find exactly what the title of the recording means for you by taking a non-judgmental dive right into the music. Title of the recording means for you by taking a non-judgmental dive right into the music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 3, 2018

 
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01.  Fellowship of Solitude
02. Traces of Daylight
03. Land of Forgotten Dreams
04. Call of the Owyhees
05. Love Leaves a Memory
06. What Hides in the Dark
07. Afternoon Reflection
08. The Time Machine
09. Peace in the Midst
10. Left Behind
11. Life is in the Journey
12. Purple Fog



June 14, 2018

Instrumental Piano Review: Edo Sanz-Self-Titled

Release Date: April 1, 2018
Label: Independent

I have covered a lot of new age music. That is putting it in its simplest terms. There is more to it of course and that is how I am able and willing to cover one piano based instrumental album after another.  That thought brings me to the latest release by Edo Sanz, a self-titled instrumental montage covering 13 tracks.

I can dub this as instrumental piano music but it is much more than that. I heard classical, new age and so many paces and rhythmic changes that this listen kept me engrossed throughout.

Edo is a very talented artist, I stress the term artist. Each track is an artistic impression set to music. It makes you look at the title, the meaning and how the music can fit that description. Instrumental music has a way of becoming more cerebral than a track with vocals added. At least that is how it works for me.

The opening track “The Alien's Dream” is a profound statement. It brought me images of a ballerina or hundreds of butterflies flitting around in an open field. These images are tucked away in our subconsciousness just waiting for something to coax them out and bring them to life. Good instrumental music accomplishes that.

The most intriguing tracks for me where “Muñeca de Trapo” (Rag Doll) and “Per l'acqua” (For Water). I immediately want to find a translation and then see how it can relate to the track. I take it on as another artistic and cultural aspect in music yet to be discovered. Every musical genre has a culture attached to it, and this music is no exception.

I applaud artists like Edo Sanz for putting himself out there offering an entire album of just him and his piano. It takes confidence, the willingness to take the risk and most importantly, pure talent. This is the kind of talent that one is blessed with upon their first breath and continues to blossom with each passing year. 

This self-titled piano excursion is diverse and filled with many colors, moods, and atmospheres. You have my promise it will keep you entertained from start to finish.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 13, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



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May 19, 2018

Instrumental Ambient Review: Jon Durant-Parting Is

Release Date: January 18, 2018
Label: Alchemy Records

When I heard the name Jon Durant it made me think, I know that name. I also felt like I had heard a similar sound somewhere. That is quite likely however as it turns out when I had the muzikreviews.com site running, one of my staff covered the Colin Edwin and Jon Durant release Burnt Belief. That was in December 2012.

What I really can appreciate in the music industry is artists helping artists. That is exactly what Jon does on his own Alchemy Records. Who understands a musician more than one of their own? Today this is commonplace and it should have happened eons ago. With that being said, Jon knows how to create some of his own significant pieces of music as well.

Parting Is (such sweet sorrow?) the latest release by Jon. It came out in the middle of January 2018. He uses no synths on this recording (you could have fooled me), which I found quite astounding. 

Jon uses a broad selection of PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitars which includes an electric 12 string, cloud guitar, Koll Tornado fretless guitar, Klein electric guitar, and the Spector Fretless bass. With this amazing array of electrified guitars, the talented Mr. Durant takes guitar-based music to another place. It is like taking a journey into unchartered waters or space beyond our own galaxy. As this artist explores these new soundscapes you will find yourself wondering how this was all this was accomplished on Parting Is. I believe the cloud guitars are the instruments that create the synth sounds, that just makes sense to me.

When you look at the cover art of this recording you wonder what Jon is trying to convey. I think most artists are sending a message with the cover art although some just like using certain colors or a fancy image they saw. As simplistic as this image seems it does tell a story, a developing story. I see peacefulness that has an impending change, the calm before the storm? Parting Is what? Perhaps parting from the serene colors that the picture shows and the grey (area?) clouds signaling that the rain is coming or a violent storm. But there is light shining through the darkness which gives you hope. Is this a reflection of life itself? We can see things are looking terribly dreary then suddenly a light comes shining through to cast out the darkness and bring things back into focus. This my own personal musical hypothesis, surely everyone would have their own.

I really enjoy the process that an artist can present with art and music. The music on this nine-track CD is beautiful, elegant, haunting, and most importantly, full of musical emotion and colorful imagery. This music lives and breathes and tells the story, but the best part is it can be your story, just look a little further, inside the music…

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May. 18, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Clouds in Advance
02. Open Window
03. Travels Within
04. The Room Where She Waits
05. Before the Rain Falls
06. Evolve in Place
07. Ecliptic Shadows
08. Returning to the Departure   
09. Willamette Fog


May 15, 2018

New Age-Classical Review: Christine Brown-Ascend

Release Date: October 1, 2017
Label: Key Image Music
It has been 4 years since I had the opportunity to enjoy writing about a Christine Brown recording. I covered Souvenirs in 2014. Looking back into the archives I see that I was ill at the time of my first listening experience and her music helped me get in a positive frame of mind and get well again.

Ascend was released in October of 2017, which now seems ions away with the warm weather upon us in May. As people find ascension in life it can come in many different forms, and it also can be disguised as something else that is happening. Even the definition of the word can take different forms such as to move upward, to slope upward, or to conduct nerve impulses toward or to the brain.  

I think in this case those definitions can apply to all fourteen tracks offered on the recording. The beauty and simplicity of solo piano music is something special. I look at it as an uplifting and pure representation of an instrument. The ivory keys in the right hands can bring heaven to earth and peace to one’s soul. I realize that is a prolific statement to make about music however that is the way I truly feel.

Ascend had a positive effect on me. The nerve impulses to my brain engaged my thought process and released all of those good endorphins.  I liked the way Christine explained the process of making the album. She stated in one passage in a sentence in the liner notes “Creating music is a beautiful and evolving process. Each piece develops through many stages, slowly transforming until each song is ready to be released, just like the life cycle of a butterfly, until it finally emerges from the chrysalis.”

That is a brilliant comparison to one of the miracles of nature. This is an accurate statement to make, in my opinion, about the birth of a track from start to finish. I have always looked at the creation of each track as a bit of a miracle, and those that are able to create on such a level are the blessed that walk this great planet of ours.

If you want to Ascend from daily life, relax, absorb, reflect and heal, music can get you there, just let it take you. Christine Brown will gently push you there if you cannot just fall into it and be swept away like some fortunate listeners. This is a journey and one that can be therapeutic in several ways. Ascending from self, sidestepping the ego of our humanity, and letting the music take over is the best choice you can make. Look what happened when Christine let the music flow through her fingers…

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 14, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Ascend
02. Love’s Legacy
03. Magic Carpet
04. Gravity
05. Closer
06. Forest for the Trees
07. Ivory Wings
08. Lotus Breeze
09. Floating Colors
10. Soar
11. Cherish
12. The Departure
13. Amethyst Sky
14. Safe and Sound