January 12, 2019

Instrumental Piano Review: Faith Angelina-Notes From Zion

Release Date: January 3, 2019
Label: Independent

I had my first introduction to Faith Angelina in 2017. I was provided the opportunity to listen and cover her Reaching12 recording. And yes, that was an indication of her age at the time!

Incredible as that sounds, this young lady is light years beyond other kids her age in maturity as an individual and musician. At the turn of the new year, she has returned with another instrumental piano album titled Notes From Zion. I looked forward to this being instrumental bliss just like the first album, and it was.

Faith is her name and for good reason. She exemplifies what a young lady should be if there was a belief in God, a higher power, and the words of the Bible. Zion was the home of Enoch in the Bible. If you look at the CD cover you can see the beautiful city in the heavens. 

Faith is very advanced spiritually and musically; her music is definitely a gift from heaven. I have no doubt someone like Faith was put her on this earth not to just entertain with music, but to teach with it. She is the master of her instrument the piano, and the listeners are her students. She has to be an old soul, that is all I can say in regards to all of those thoughts and feelings I have about this incredible artist.

I decided to include all of the verbiages that Faith decided to write about each individual track. These are her personal Notes From Zion, in the written form. What you hear her playing on the 12 piano instrumental tracks included on the CD, is in sync with her thought process, faith, beliefs, and distinctive musical ability. All of this is one cohesive presentation. What you witness is a teenager and her instrument sending out a message to the world. If you read the words that go with the tracks it becomes even more powerful, meaningful and clear. An active listener will catch on to all of this very quickly.

The music that is created on Notes From Zion is a threefold process made up of musical notes, words of wisdom, and a spiritual journey to those open to stepping through that portal. It is door waiting to be opened. It all worked so very well for me, it clicked in a short time span. I hope everyone that listens to this project is able to see the light shining through. What an amazing gift to share with the world.

Top of the Mountains - Throughout the scriptures, God has spoken to prophets from the top of the mountains. Whenever I look at the majestic mountains around my home, I think about God looking down on me and wonder how I am measuring up.

Notes From Zion – I try to write music that invites the spirit so that it is easy to meditate and escape from my troubles. In this song, I hear the inspiration from heaven.

Baby Faith – When I was little, everyone called me Baby Faith. It is kind of how Faith works for everyone. Just like I have been growing and maturing, our Faith grows and matures as well if we work at it.

Kolob Canyon – Kolob Canyon is part of Zion’s National Park and named after where God dwells. Sometimes I long to feel closer to God.

Snow Canyon – Snow Canyon is a beautiful state park in St. George Utah that my family loves to go hiking in. The red rocks are inspirational and memorable. The music almost writes its self.

The Living Planet – Sometimes I just pause and sit in amazement at the beauty of this earth and the variety of life around me.

Ensign Peak - This is a mountain peak overlooking the Salt Lake valley where I live. I love hiking to mountain peaks to get a change of perspective on the world I live in. I believe it is only through constantly looking at life through different lenses and perspectives that we truly grow.

Flowing Waters – There is nothing sweeter than the peaceful feeling that comes from an answer to a prayer. We wait patiently for answers and when they come it is like flowing waters of revelation.

The Narrows – The Narrows is a famous hike in Zion’s national park through slot canyons. The majestic views of the stone walls surrounding you create a mixture of thoughts and emotions.

Finding Your Why – Having a purpose and knowing myself is the key to happiness. Throughout this last year, I have found what I believe to be one of my callings in life.

Angels Landing – One of the most famous places in Zion’s is Angels Landing. My dad and brother hiked up there and back while filming. I am afraid of heights and don’t think I can manage this one by myself because of the huge cliff drops. I tried to capture their experience and set music to the video.

This is the Place - There is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home. This is a song about finding a place of peace within and knowing that I am on the right track with my life.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 12, 2019
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:
 
01. Top of the Mountains
02. Notes from Zion
03. Baby Faith
04. Kolob Canyon
05. Snow Canyon
06. The Living Planet
07. Ensign Peak
08. Flowing Waters
09. The Narrows
10. Finding Your Why
11. Angels Landing
12. This Is the Place

January 8, 2019

Instrumental Piano Review: Renee Michele-The Space Within

Release Date: January 1, 2019
Label: Independent

I  think one of the best things about an artist recording their album in Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios is all the standout musicians involved. 
On Renee Michele’s The Space Within she is afforded the expert assistance of Ackerman and Tom Eaton. For the musical contributors, there is Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn), Charlie Bisharat (violin), and Eaton (bass) and Ackerman (guitar, Hopi drum) respectively.

That kind of position is like going from strength to strength, and one any instrumentalist would like to be in. Although Renee’s piano is standout, the mixture of the additional instruments just enhances the entire recording. Renee is not short on confidence mind you, you can get the album with just the piano tracks if you wish. That says it all for an artist in total control of her own destiny. Just the realization of seeing an artist so empowered gives me a chill. It is a beautiful thing, and believe me, it all comes flowing through like a river that knows exactly where it’s going.

I really appreciate the input Renee provides on the inside cover of the CD. What I found most amazing is how grounded and grateful she is for her creativity and an audience. When she describes the title track and how she could feel like the musician and the audience at the same time, now that is to me is very spiritual. Renee is so unassuming and driven just by the music, which is so refreshing to hear. The combination of an artist like Renee and all the guest musicians makes for a powerful recipe for success.

Each track holds an essential meaning to the artist as if she dug deep down into her soul and let only her innermost spirit and thoughts find a way to speak through her fingers into the ivory keys. I am in awe of that kind of talent and connection one person can have with a higher sense of being. I think it is something all people should strive for, in this case, I think the level is attained with a purpose.

The Space Within or the space you want to change can be arranged by listening to these tracks, all 10, like the commandments written in stone, the music gives you the opportunity to step forward and never look back. Music from an enlightened spirit like Renee Michelle will surely capture your attention.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 8, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. My Angel
02. In the Mist
03. The Space Within
04. Tabula Rasa
05. Aspire
06. Life As a Cloud
07. Montana Breeze
08. The Road Less Traveled
09. Trees of Vermont
10. Communion

 

January 5, 2019

New Age Instrumental-Chamber: Nathan Speir-Searching for Nepsis

Release Date: February 1, 2019
Label: Neptic Music

Nathan Speir is a working man’s artist. He works during the day as an Electrician and makes music when he is not on that job. I personally can relate to that as I have been in the same type of lifestyle for over twenty years now. It is a choice and one that I have found to reap many benefits that I would otherwise never had.

I am talking about the music of course. So, besides the respect I have for indie artists, I can appreciate the whole picture. In other words, I get it. I understand how difficult it is to get balance with two livelihoods and also pay attention to your loved ones.

Nathan has a lot of music out there and Searching for Nepsis will be released in less than a month. The information I received put the entire project in proper perspective: Searching for Nepsis is an acoustic-electric album of ambient chamber music filled with cellos, violin, piano, singing bowls, electric bass, acoustic guitar, some synthesizers, a duduk, and cajon. 

The music is considered to be new age chamber. So, you definitely will hear the strong classical influence that is made up of many small instruments accompanied by the piano. I would not hesitate to add world to the overall genre of this recording, considering the array instruments like singing bowls, duduk, and cajon.

There is a steady drone that is created by the cello on this album in many of the tracks. I think that was brilliantly executed throughout. I actually thought it may be the duduk (which is on one track), which is an ancient double-reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood. It reminded me of a recent album I heard that had Indian music. The drone sound is a point of concentration, like when you meditate, however you are able to hear all the other instrumentation. 

If you enjoy a lot of different instrumentation and some beautiful piano that leads the way then Searching for Nepsis will be a very satisfying listen. “Song Cycle for Creators” is a wonderful example of Nathan’s artistry. It is flourishing with emotions, colors and the grace of the heavens. It comes together in one track like the movement of the planets around the sun, it is a meeting of time and space with a specific reason.

Nepsis is the art of being watchful, and that can come in many forms.  As with any frame of reference, it all depends on you, the one listening to this music. As always, each individual has their own interpretation of what they hear, the artist that presents the music does have a goal in mind.  I would think the main function of this relaxing and contemplative set of tracks would be for you to focus, relax, center yourself and find peace within This can be a significant space in time that pertains to the title of the recording. 

Nathan Speir is an incredibly talented individual that creates amazing music for hungry souls to ingest and assimilate. For this listener, the end result is always positive and energizing. Get your ticket now for the journey.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 5, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
1. As the Sun Set 
2. Into the Night 
3. Forest Lights 
4. Warming Up the Heart 
5. Searching for Nepsis 
6. Stars Float in Shadows of Glory 
7. Song Cycle for Creators 
8. Morning Twilight

 

January 3, 2019

Instrumental New Age-Ambient-Electronic Review: Forrest Smithson-The Accomplished View

Release Date: September 22, 2018
Label: Sphere Music

If you look at the overview of artist Forrest Smithson on his Facebook page it says Soundscapes emerging from the integration of experiential intensities.”


“Lyrical and abstract elements converge to bring forth movement and expression of unity awareness.”

The release titled The Accomplished View has a very strong relationship to the music you will hear. The music Forrest provides for the students of meditation and those on a spiritual path, will understand the title of the recording once the music starts playing. And those of you searching for a new path can find it here within the music as well.

The message here is all about becoming your best self from within, beginning with the music, it is a gestation period before the flower blooms. In other words, when your mind, body, and soul merge into one functional entity. The oneness of self-awareness and the life of one guided by music that takes you to that level of existence can be one interpretation if that fits for you. That is for me and what the music means to me, each individual opens their own personal door to enlightenment regardless of the vehicle used to attain it. I believe this very firmly and have learned so much over the years about who I am and what makes me tick. And along with that train of thought, what makes the inner clock tick too fast, slow or backward. That kind of parallel can be like watching pictures go through your mind, it is a diary of your thoughts and emotions merging with the brain to show you it all in living color.

The music of Forrest Smithson is all of that coming together to intersect with your soul, the prime motivator of all you do, think and feel every day. I call it my higher power speaking to me, the gut level answer whether something is right or wrong. We all have the innate sense of that within is us. This music is a combination of new age, ambient and electronic that soothes your being. The peace you receive will allow you to reach The Accomplished View regarding everything I previously discussed.

Once again, I find myself thinking of the great Jean Michel-Jarre or Tangerine Dream. Those two artists are some of my favorites of all time so my relationship to the music Forrest provides is natural and it feels good. It quickly became right for my listening pleasure and to use as a tool that sends me in a positive direction.

I do not think a listener could ask for more from one recording. To those who know and those that seek The Accomplished View, this is your time to listen.

January 3, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
 

01. Calling Forward
02. Given
03. Indigo Source
04. The Lighted Way
05. Deep Blue View   
06. Tranquility Drops
07. Future Origins
08. Positional Grace
09. Luminous Resolve
10. Knowing in Octaves

 

December 21, 2018

New Age World Instrumental: Mikuskovics Baum-Timeless

Release Date: December 21, .2018
Label: Independent

Mikuskovics Baum has a new release titled Timeless. It is significant that the date of release is the beginning of the Winter Solstice.

I think it is imperative that I took a snippet of information from the artist website so you can understand a bit more about them and their music.

Bernhard Mikuskovics & Georg Baum present sensitive and intimate but yet passionate and wild early European and Indo-European songs, dances and tunes as well as timeless improvisations in a contemporary outfit using vocals, overtone singing, jodeling, harp, guitar, Jew’s harp, bowed psaltery, ocarina, ethnic flutes & instruments.

That is a fair introduction to these two talented gentlemen. There are seven tracks and none under 6 minutes in length. The first track comes in at a substantial 11:36. The harp is a slice of heaven, the sounds that it makes are mesmerizing and quite appealing. When the other instruments are mixed in, or should I say the plethora of sounds, it creates amazing results. I think it is fair to say that the title of this artistry is appropriate. The music you will enjoy hearing is simply put, Timeless.

Timeless is the perfect blend of ancient traditions and new technologies for sound. Taking worldly instruments and using the recording studio’s wizardry is a marriage that works very well. I have had the pleasure of hearing these types of recordings many times now. The combination of new age and world fits like a glove or your favorite pair of jeans, the ones with the worn-out knees so you see nothing but white thread. Now that is pure comfort.  That is the key element here, feeling comfortable with the music. The sounds of so many wondrous instruments make it an easy transition. It is a magic door to open into musical nirvana. You then begin to envision your own personal heaven with the music.

Admittedly there are some instruments listed in the tracks that I have never heard of. That does not phase me, I just endeavor to learn more about what is being presented. The Sruti Box, for instance, uses bellows to create the drone you will hear and the KouXian is a general Chinese term for any variety of jaw harp. So, you not only hear the traditional Jew’s Harp you get different variations and configurations of that type of instrument. I find all this fascinating. There is so much more inside the music than meets the ears (and inner eye). There are cultures, traditions, and endless information that you can be exposed to, all you need is a little curiosity. When one listens to this recording and does some research, not only does it enlighten you, you become well informed with a new-found appreciation of what went into this music and how it was created.

Timeless is beauty, serenity, earthy tones, colors, the sounds and sights of many different peoples of the world coming together, it is like tapping into a global spiritual vein of gold. This is one of the more unique and interesting albums I have heard all year and a wonderful way to close out 2018 and head into the Holidays and bring in the new year. 

I look forward to 2019 with the anticipation of many more journeys offered by so many talented individuals like Mikuskovics and Baum. This is one recording you cannot miss out on if you enjoy instrumental world music with a variety of instruments. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 20, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
 1. Timeless Zenith (B. Mikuskovics / G. Baum)
Bernhard Mikuskovics: Parmupill, Mojave Flute, Native American Flute, Sruti Box, Georg
Baum: Harp

2. Intuition Element (G. Baum / B. Mikuskovics)
Georg Baum: Harp, Celtic Harp, Bernhard Mikuskovics: Sound Bowl, Mexican Log Drum,
Overtone Harp, Overtone Singing, KouXian, Sruti Box, Native American Flute

3. Mirror Ideal (G. Baum)
Georg Baum: Harp, Bernhard Mikuskovics: Dvojacka, Quenacho, Fujara, Jew´s Harp

4. Emotion Trance (G. Baum / B. Mikuskovics)
Georg Baum: Harp, Bernhard Mikuskovics: Sruti Box, Native American Flute, Khomus,
Horn Pipe, Ocarina

5. Life Land (B. Mikuskovics)
Bernhard Mikuskovics: Sound Bowl, Overtone Singing, Sruti Box, Fujara, Quenacho,
Dvojacka, Georg Baum: Harp

6. Endless Ozean (G. Baum / B. Mikuskovics)
Georg Baum: Harp, Bernhard Mikuskovics: Native American Flute.

7. Same Source See (G. Baum / B. Mikuskovics)
Georg Baum: Harp, Bernhard Mikuskovics: Khomus, Quenacho, Mojave Flute, Sruti Box,
Parmupil

December 19, 2018

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Kurt Reiman-North Maple Road

Release Date: September 23, 2018
Label: Independent

Kurt Reiman is a self-made artist. He never had the patience to practice and read music so he listened to his favorite piano composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Billy Joel, Lyle Mays, George Winston, and Dave Brubeck. That is how he learned his craft. That kind of story really makes me think and wonder how someone can pick up how to play a song just by listening. It is a God-given gift that I simply cannot fathom but I sincerely appreciate it.

North Maple Road is the first recording released by Kurt. He is a working man just as are most indie recording artists. Not making enough money to sustain life, the indies are forced to work a day job so they can do what gives them passion. That daytime gig actually sustains the second career (in most cases). The dream, of course, is to remain working in that passion driven art form, whatever that may be. Alas, most of us do not find a way to that path but what keeps it all going is the hunger, the belief that you are actually contributing to the music-loving public and to the greater good of mankind.

Solo piano is beautiful, something that anyone can listen to at their leisure or for meditation or simply focus on one thing that needs more time and clarity. The music is the tool that carves out what we want, a time and place like North Maple Road, a fond memory, a reflection of life, or thoughts that make us smile from the inside out. It is all there waiting for us like an empty canvas waiting for those first strokes from our own personal paintbrush.

I am a New Englander and appreciate the mountains, the four seasons and the beauty that surrounds us. Just look at the cover of this CD, doesn’t it look pure and crystal clear? Don’t you wish you could think that way 24/7? That would be amazing but not realistic. Thankfully we have talented musicians like Kurt Reiman to help us down that path where we can see the light of day and feel hope. Music is so powerful and the simplicity of a piano and how Kurt makes it an extension of his soul and the physical body is a beautiful thing.

North Maple Road is twelve tracks with very meaningful titles. Kurt is a family man and you see it with the track names and feel the love and warmth in the music. He is grateful for everyone in his life and gives credit to his mentors. He knows he would not be at this point in life without all the people that have helped him. We are all the same, we just have a tendency to forget about all that and get on with our busy lives. This music creates a pause and pushes you gently to get in another space, look at the artwork on the cover of the album and think about the title of each song.

So, thank you, Kurt, for pushing me in the right direction and giving me the awareness of everything that your music means and stands for. There is so much inside this music and it is a fulfilling experience to know more about the person that created this work of art and appreciate where it all came from.
 
North Maple Road is an experience, not just another album to “listen” to.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 19, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Sunrise over Narragansett Bay
02. You’re My Friend
03. Push Me Higher Daddy
04. Walk with Me
05. Together and Alone
06. North Maple Road
07. Live Your Dreams My Son
08. I Need to Say This
09. Evening Snowfall
10. By Your Side
11. Stars and Constellations
12. You’ll Always be Here with Me



December 14, 2018

Instrumental Piano Review: Joseph Nimoh-Conversations On Piano

Release Date: October 15, 2018  
Label: Independent

Joseph Nimoh released his third proper album titled Conversations On Piano in October this year. I classified it generically as instrumental piano however it does have many elements that make it what it is. There is classical, contemporary instrumental, spiritual (gospel), new age and even some elements of jazz. So, it is a musical patchwork quilt if you will. Where I am coming from as a listener, this can mean diversity, colors, atmospheres, and tones that are variable in length as well as rhythm.

Joseph started playing piano at church when he was 11 years and from there went to the prestigious Berklee School of music to study piano performance. That alone is an indication of his abilities and the productive road ahead for this artist.

The twenty tracks contained on this recording are meant for relaxation, meditation and hopefully a spiritual renewal. I realize that twenty tracks may sound like a double album but several of the tracks are a bit over two minutes and only two are over four minutes. So not only are the different genres mixed in to make this album enjoyable and fresh, the time spent listening does not go on for too long. So, the opportunity to pause and shift your thoughts in this time and space cut out just for you, the appreciative listener, is afforded generously. Along those lines, I think people that listen to music like this seek it out, they know exactly what they are looking for.

Joseph Nimoh has created twenty tracks of piano bliss. It is a beautiful and enriching solitude that he presents to those who want to hear only instrumentals and no lyrics. This is the kind of format that allows complete focus and the separateness necessary to maintain that state of being. It is just what the doctor ordered, as the saying goes. That phrase is never truer than when you listen to Conversations On Piano. The title certainly suggests that the music will speak to you, I know it does for the artist. He is translating his love for the instrument and sharing his gift with everyone, which is a beautiful thing.

Conversations On Piano can be your personal journey to another realm, a chance to heal and moreover, just relax and listen and feel the warmth and purity of one man’s music gift to the world. Once again, my personal conviction of music being the universal healer to all humanity is solidified by another talented individual.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 14, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Anything For You
02. Beautiful Melody
03. Morning Dew
04. Conversations
05. Distant Land
06. Don't Be Discouraged
07. Happy Ending
08. His Plans Are Sure
09. Like Yesterday
10. Peaceful Melody
11. Silent Prayers
12. Solitude
13. Sunday Morning Pondering
14. Time For Change
15. Where We Are
16. Who's There
17. Not Alone
18. Searching For Answers
19. I am With You
20. Who Will Go