December 19, 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Lawrence Blatt-Emergence

Release Date: March 11, 2014
Label: Independent


Produced by Will Ackerman of the incomparable Imaginary Road Studios and written by Lawrence Blatt, Emergence is an album that will keep you company for many long hours. It is an album filled with images of the natural world in all of its wonder. Patterns. Diverse and seemingly simple, they can create masterpieces of form and function. Such is the case with Emergence. Artists involved in this project are: Lawrence Blatt (guitar, accordion, mandolin), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Lila Skylar (viola, violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Sam Bevan (double bass), Jill Haley (English horn) and Richard “Gus” Sebring (French horn).

“Emergence” is the title track to the album. It features violin and guitar movements that evoke images of a new seedling bursting forth from the cocoon of mother earth. The trembling growth of a frail tulip as it stands straighter each day and turns its face to the light. One day at a time it grows stronger until it stands tall away from the green stems and leaves, bursting into burgeoning crimson glory. Violin and guitar dance as the repeating majesty of life and finally death and renewal comes again and again. Beauty. Grace. Life.

“Gar Du Nord” is the third piece on the album and it struck me utterly when first I heard it. Double bass, cello, viola, violin and guitar twist and undulate in chord progression and scale theory to craft a spiral of thought provoking effervescence. 

“Poloyne” is a pulse pounding dance that could be the background to a well-crafted romantic drama. Eyes meet across the room. Hands join as two flames connect on the ball room floor. Sweeping movements bent on seduction win the increasingly rapid beating heart as the tempo increases. Violin and guitar create passion with flamenco influences. A powerful piece filled with evocative imagery.

“Green Corn” is the last piece on the album and has a combination of French horn, guitar and violin. Truly artful, this is a tale that unwinds into wide open spaces and the freedom of land and prosperity. Jaunty and full of life, this track is as regal as it is masterful. The American Dream of land, independence and prosperity. This is our land. Green corn and fields of plenty…

Lawrence Blatt has succeeded in comforting the savage beasts in my household. Even as the thunderstorm rages outside, the soothing tones of Emergence have brought the canine residents of my abode into happy slumber. (Thank goodness for small miracles!) The exploration of patterns and progression of chords has truly crafted each work into a snowflake like accomplishment. I find it amazing that no written music was given to individual performers, letting them rely on music theory and the talents that come from deep within. This is a project all the participants should be very proud of and is one that will be in my collection for a very long time to come. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Emergence, Gar Du Nord, Poloyne, Green Corn

Tracks:
01. A Promise in the Woods
02. Emergence
03. Gar Du Nord
04. Walking Among Tulips
05. Passing Up Bridges
06. Entering the East Gate
07. The Place Where Monarchs Go
08. Poloyne
09. Where the Pines Once Stood
10. Say Hello Again
11. Illuminations
12. Green Corn


DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer

December 19, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



December 16, 2014

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Dulin-My Beloved

Release Date: January 20, 2015
Label: Indie

Michael Dulin has released several recordings over the years but never one as personal as My Beloved. It is his special ode to his wife.

Dulin’s style is flowing and purposeful and it always has been on all of his releases. He is an extremely talented pianist that is adept at translating his feelings through the ivory keys.

Each track focuses on an enduring love and the beauty and passion that it can bring in a couple’s life. Relationships are a work in progress and too many people run away at the onset of difficulties. This is a testament to his commitment to marriage and his wife.

“Beloved” is the most poignant and meaningful to the artist and as a listener I can understand why. Its sheer beauty and magnificence transcends all barriers and time becomes merely a concept to ponder.
“Devotion” has a title alone that supports the meaning of holy matrimony. It is the perfect follow up to “Beloved.” It goes hand in hand with the meaning and purpose of this recording.

The album closer “Rhapsody” exudes clarity and beauty with a definite accent on the different colors a musician such as Dulin can create within the music. The pace creates joy and peace but it maintains an energy and buoyancy that closes out the album with strength and definition.

Michael Dulin has produced a brilliant palette of tasteful instrumentals that brings one instrument to the forefront without a single distraction. The only focus is the piano and I found it very enjoyable and quite amazing how one remarkable instrument can convey so many emotions and a lifetime of love and devotion.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Beloved, Devotion, Rhapsody

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

December 14, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

December 9, 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Kathryn Kaye-Patterns of Sun and Shade

Release Date: January 1, 2015
Label: Independent

Kathryn Kaye is a composer, organist and pianist. She has been classically trained but draws from her experiences in jazz, folk music from the Appalachian Mountains where she grew up and crafts music both simple and evocative. Each piece is created with feeling and always leaves me longing for more. The album was recorded at Imaginary Road Studios and was recorded and mastered by Tom Eaton. Contributing artists include Gus Sebring (French horn), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Tony Levin (Chapman stick), Tom Eaton (percussion, accordion, bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Will Ackerman (percussion), Charlie Bisharat (violin) and of course the talented fingers of Kathryn Kaye (piano).

In her newest album, Patterns of Sun and Shade, Kathryn again pulls her imagery from nature and paints an audible picture of landscapes adrift in light and shadow. This album has a lighter feel than her first three, and has a lot of imagery of leaves, forests and trees. Just the kind of place I love to be…

“Elk Creek in the Fall” is the second track on the album and features Gus Sebring (French horn), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Tony Levin (Chapman stick), Tom Eaton (percussion), Kathryn Kaye (piano) and Eugene Friesen (cello). Effervescent, this piece is a tapestry wound together to seamlessly create a vision of backwoods Kentucky and the glorious forests that grace the land. Sweeping piano sequences are paired with the cello, horn, percussive elements and the Chapman evoking a lush composition of harmony and light.

“Willow Waltz” is a tender piece that urges me to close my eyes and walk through the lit path into the forest, surrounded by the majesty of color and the changing seasons. No matter the day, the crisp scent of autumn burns down the back of your throat and the smoky ghost of burning leaves fills the air. It is a time of change. The willow trees are a bountiful and grace filled oasis inside the woods. They bend and sweep, whilst other trees reach for the sky, determined to shed their seasonal colors in a riot of burnt orange and flame yellow. The willows dance under the sky and your fingers intertwine with the long and sinewy branches. Pieces and artists heard on this track include Kathryn Kaye (piano), Jill Haley (English horn), Tony Levin (Chapman stick) and the legendary Will Ackerman on percussion.

“Patterns of Sun and Shade” is the title track to the album. When you look into the trees and squint your eyes, what do you see? Little patterns of light and dark-the shady places and the kiss of sunshine beaming through the leaves. That is the essence of this piece. Light peeks through finely veined leaves illustrated by the skillful playing of Gus Sebring (French horn), Jill Haley (English horn), Tom Eaton (bass) and Kathryn Kaye (piano). 

Since the first time I heard Kathryn Kaye’s work, I fell in love with her vision of nature via sound and substance. Well placed fingers on the keyboard, combined with a love of the natural world and her home in the woods of Kentucky show just like the dappled light through a bevy of leaves. The fellow artists she chooses are her branches and the tree is firmly planted in the ground. This album was soothing and hasn’t stopped playing since I received it and won’t be any time soon. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Elk Creek in the Fall, Patterns of Sun and Shade, Willow Waltz

Tracks: 
01. Julia's Eyes
02. Elk Creek in the Fall (feat. Gus Sebring, Jeff Haynes, Tony Levin, Tom Eaton & Eugene Friesen)
03. The Hills That Lead Me Home (feat. Jill Haley, Gus Sebring & Tony Levin)
04. Something Like a Dream
05. Festival of Leaves (feat. Tony Levin, Gus Sebring, Jill Haley & Jeff Haynes)
06. Willow Waltz (feat. Will Ackerman, Tony Levin & Jill Haley)
07. Adrift in Fading Light (feat. Charlie Bisharat, Tony Levin & Jeff Haynes)
08. Mom and Pop's Waltz
09. Tiny Sliver of a Moon (feat. Charlie Bisharat & Tom Eaton)
10. Patterns of Sun and Shade (feat. Gus Sebring, Tom Eaton & Jill Haley)
11. Distances

 
DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer

December 9, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



December 5, 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: John Otott-Colors

Release Date: November 3, 2014
Label: Indie

I think John Otott has been referred to as an emerging artist. I am officially stating that he has arrived with Colors. The cover of the album is a mirror into the soul of the artist and within the music you will find yourself everywhere amongst the 13 tracks.

For creating music without words I really do not know how much more beautiful and prolific it could possibly get. Otott’s brilliance shines brightly in every track and when the music starts and “Tesoro” begins, you know you are in for a lot of special moments. The track was featured on our sister site RateThe Tracks.

If you are interested in getting a look inside some of these compositions I would recommend checking out http://www.johnotott.com/music-store/colors/.

John takes elements of new age and classical music and brings forth all the magic through his fingers seemingly without effort. We all know and recognize putting together an album is quite a project and I am not taking away any of that hard work and the trials one goes through but it all sounds so flowing and easy. 

“Song of the Willows” brings you closer to nature, its heaven and earth merging in the music. I found it so moving, I was feeling happiness and sadness then joy all at once with the ebb and flow of those ivory keys and the atmospheric sounds that weaved themselves into an unforgettable tapestry of sound and wonder. How one instrument can create so many textures and moods amazes me.

“A Memory” is an emotionally moving piece taking you through the life of John’s mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. John explains that he conveys all the emotional highs and lows one can go through watching a loved one overtaken by such a life stealing disease. Even with all the sadness the artist finds the light at the end of the tunnel were his music is the only release, then finally acceptance arrives and you move on to the next track. I was forced to take stock of my own life and realized how much I have to be grateful for after I read about what the song meant, then it hit home one step further.

John Otott’s piano improvisations are a gift from his soul to his listeners. When I take in this type of music the only thing I can think of is that when my time comes to leave this planet I think I will hear this kind of music playing as the angels invite me to join them. Music is the closest thing to heaven we have here on earth and Colors is another brilliant reminder of that.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Tesoro, Song of The Willows, A Memory

Tracks:
01. Tesoro
02. The Wind Song
03. Illusion
04. Colors
05. The Journey
06. Song of the Willows
07. Interlude
08. I Will Sail Away
09. A Memory
10, August and Life
11. Santa Cruz
12. An Evening Thought
13. Soaring
        

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

December 5, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

December 3, 2014

Track Stream: Kathryn Kaye-Patterns Of Sun And Shade

Kathryn Kaye's music is highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike. The new release Patterns Of Sun And Shade, due out January 1st 2015, is destined to bring more accolades to the artist.

I thought it was appropriate to introduce the beautiful title track to an audience anticipating more of her wonderful sounds of grace articulated through the ivory keys.

Sit back, relax and enjoy "Patterns Of Sun And Shade," it is most certainly a spiritual experience that will lead down the path of enlightenment.

MuzikMan Rating 5/5 

More About Kathryn Kaye:

http://www.kathrynkaye-music.com

Kathryn continues to work with Will Ackerman and several other outstanding musicians, including Tony Levin (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Tony Bisharat (violin), Jill Haley (English horn), Jeff Haynes (percussion), and Gus Sebring (French horn). Heavy as a Feather and What the Winter Said, her next two albums, reached #2 and #1 on the Zone Music Reporter charts. Heavy as a Feather was nominated Best Instrumental Piano Album of 2012, and What the Winter Said won Best Holiday Album for 2013. Her fourth album, Patterns of Sun and Shade, will be released January 1, 2015.

November 30, 2014

New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Hoppé and Harold Moses-Serenity

Release Date: May 13, 2014
Label: Spring Hill Music
Michael Hoppe Website

Michael Hoppé is a talented composer, artist and musician. A Grammy nominee, his work has been heard on television series (The Sopranos and more) and is regarded highly by Jane Goodall, Sarah Breathnach (Simple Abundance) and Robert Cooper (Emotional Intelligence) among others. His work has earned him several platinum and gold records and Hoppé is also the founder of InterConnection Resources and a senior executive for PolyGram, securing such talents as The Who and ABBA in his long and distinguished career.

Harold Moses is an educator, composer, master violist, harmonic theorist, recording artist and works for Harmonic Research and Design specializing in vibrational health and wellness devices. 


In Serenity Harold Moses performs on the viola and Michael Hoppé delights us on the keyboards. Each piece is recorded in one sitting, letting each artist wind around the other in perfect symmetry. Each track is matched to a month in the year, each a reflection on the essence of each month. The first track is “Serenity I” and with fragile and elegant musings, the strings and keys come to flagrant life. Poignant and effervescent this piece will stir your soul. Having never encountered a Michael Hoppé album previously (living in a cave I think) my ears sighed and my heart just smiled. This is how music should be. It is the epitome of relaxation. If anyone has ever thought of the humorous but heartfelt phrase, “serenity now” you need to check out this album. It is just that. 

March swings in with wild tumultuous vigor in “Serenity III,” like a breath of storm on the horizon, waiting to pelt you with shivering rain. The tension is palpable and the feelings evoked, raw. Longing and bliss at the vibrant heart of this piece pulse and throb for a romp through windswept fields, weather whipping your hair about your face in a frenzy of activity. Joy in the act of living, even as the rain stings your skin in its veracity.

“Serenity X” has to be my favorite on the album. The scent of autumn crisp in your nostrils as October sets in. Burnt Orange and blustery winds lead you into the colder seasons of the year. Oh so brief, but so powerful.
December greets us in “Serenity XII” with an almost “Taps” finality. The year is winding to a close and the soulful fragile moments sprung from the echoing viola and keyboard call forth memories and thoughts of faith and family. Edgy and at the precipice of new beginnings, this piece leads right into the New Year with “Serenity XIII” a delicate and touching piece that is exquisite in its beauty and serene in its majesty. Beauty in the fresh breath of a new start, this piece winds up the album with a bittersweet and haunting melody that will make your finger itch to hit the replay button.

Michael Hoppé and Harold Moses have created something here that goes beyond words. These thirteen improvisations are truly masterful and each is paired with its own haiku by Brett Brady. If you could reach into the heavens and pluck down a ray of the essence of life, love and the reflections of what it means to be human and alive then here you have it. Tender and evocative, these two artists and composers set about to craft an album in one sitting and they did just that. Five stars all the way and I am forever a fan girl. Serenity Now. Seriously. You can’t feel any other way when you listen to this masterpiece. It is quite simply, bliss.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Serenity I, Serenity III, Serenity X, Serenity XI, Serenity XIII

DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 30, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews