April 13, 2018

Instrumental New Age Reviews: Jill Haley-The Waters of Glacier (Music For Glacier National Park)

Release Date: April 2, 2018
Label: Independent

The beauty that mother nature bestows upon is a gift. Many people feel this way and that is why we need to protect our lands and the environments that flourish there. Jill Haley is one of those people that appreciates and celebrates her surroundings wherever she is.

On The Waters of Glacier is her twelve track specifically for Glacier National Park. The area served as great inspiration.

Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, on the Canada–United States border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres and includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This incredible pristine land is one of our wonders of nature that is protected and revered.
The Waters of Glacier was brought about by one simple choice. Jill was looking out the window of her residency there at the park and it was raining. Rather than complain and fall into self-pity she decided to enjoy the blessing of water. This was the beginning of creating some very beautiful music fit for such a grand location. The great outdoors can inspire many things but when you are a multi-faceted artist like Jill, it is literally music to her ears. And now that inspiration and vision are documented on CD with a booklet and some great pictures of the area of the park.

Jill Haley plays the oboe, English horn, piano, and handbells on the album and she is accompanied by David Cullen (guitar), Dana Cullen (horn), Tom Eaton (electric guitar, keyboards, and bass) and the incomparable Michael Manring and his distinct bass playing.

The Waters of Glacier continues a string of recordings dedicated to the environment. I have always enjoyed her offerings not only for the superb music but for the subject matter. Nothing is more precious than our planet, the giver of life. To see all pictures gathered inside the CD for this recording and the music telling each story, well, it was like I took the trip myself. The music is so engaging and picturesque and certainly, that is the intent here. I think Jill really did a great job putting this project together and making an impact on listeners in several different ways. It is emotional because of our ties to humans and the earth and the serenity found within the mountains of Montana and subsequently in the music. The music is alive and as it flows through each track, the feeling of your own personal connection to nature clicks instantly on the very first track then intensifies with each succeeding track.

The Waters of Glacier is a gorgeous representation of new age instrumental music with a divine purpose in mind. It is twofold, the first being the music to calm your soul and focus, and the second the moving sounds and atmospheres that reinforce the importance of national parks and the pristine nature that we can still find. In a world that is polluted and misused frequently, this is a wakeup call to reality. And first and foremost, it is a reminder of where we came from and what our job is as the stewards of this gift of life and beauty that is all around us..

Thank you for the reminder and the wonderful music again Jill.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 13, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:

01. Clouds on Apgar Range
02. Rain on Huckleberry Mountain  
03. Glacial Lakes
04. First Passageway
05. Running Eagle Falls   
06. Falling Gold   
07. Frost Tinged Evergreens   
08. Montana Rivers
09. Ox-Bow Point
10. Ripples on Two Medicine Lake   
11. October Snow
12. Solitude

April 8, 2018

Instrumental New Age Review: Michael Kollwitz-Serenity II

Release Date: April 13, 2018
Label: Independent

Michael Kollwitz is set to release Serenity II. I had a great pleasure last year of enjoying Serenity I.  This, of course, is a continuation of the first set of tracks. So, expect more of the same excellent relaxing music you heard before to be your experience this time around.

Kollwitz is one of the few masters of the Chapman Stick. Tony Levin comes to mind immediately when the subject of the stick arises. The instrument reminds me of the Sitar is some ways. It is a very versatile instrument that has the unique ability to combine the guitar and bass together to formulate one effective sound. Most impressive is the fact that the tracks for Serenity II were written, performed and produced by the artist.

The person that plays the stick must be extremely focused and versatile. Based on what I heard from the first Serenity album and what I am hearing on volume II, Michael is performing at a very high level.

The sixteen tracks offered on Serenity II are crisp and clear. They can melt away stress easily as the artist presents each of the tracks. The consistency is the key to the presentation on this recording. One track flows into the next seamlessly, like it was a force of nature, a normal occurrence. I found that kind of musical command is exceptional with this music.

Because of the way each track unites with the next I find difficult to pick anyone out in particular, they are all exceptional. This is more like one listen then a track by track experience. Although each composition may be dissimilar, the beauty and ease of the Chapman Stick allow such peacefulness with a listener that it becomes one piece of music. For my ears that is a powerful statement to make. It sets me at ease early on and maintains that hold on me until the music stops playing. 

Serenity II is a strong follow up to the first volume. I will be interested to see what direction Michael goes after this release. I would not expect a volume III, at least not without him releasing something that takes the listener in another direction. The thought of that alone peaks my interest. For now, I will kick back and let this music take over and let my worries of the day disappear.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 8, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. The Presence
02. Wrapped In Love 04:14   
03. Climbing The Mountain
04. Clear Passage
05. Live And Let Live
06. The Balance
07. Blue Skies
08. Pure Signal
09. Welcome Home
10. A Greater Purpose
11. One With Nature
12. Shaman's Cave
13. Easy Does It
14. Breaking Free
15. Beyond The Clouds
16. Way Of Knowledge

 

April 5, 2018

Instrumental New Age-Chill-Classical Review: Richard Dillon-Terra Incognito-The Space Between Us

Release Date: February 14, 2018
Label: Independent

Before settling in and taking in Terra Incognito-The Space Between Us, I thought about the three albums I had the pleasure of covering last year.  I got to know Richard through Ring Around The Moon, Irish Mist and The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless. There is a saying…familiarity breeds contempt, in this that could not be further from the truth. Having a comfort zone before I started made it even easier for me to get into my mindset for listening.

Although I do have that zone with Richard’s music, I certainly never know what to expect from him one album to the next. The only realistic expectation I have is that his music will be a great experience from start to finish.

Terra Incognito is unfamiliar territory, a new path or journey one is experiencing. A similar term, Terra Incognita, is in reference to territories that have not be mapped. To put it in layman’s terms, this is the unknown. Like Captain Kirk and his crew aboard the starship enterprise, we embark upon a journey with wonder and excitement, with no prior knowledge of what will come our way.

Terra Incognito-The Space Between Us is everything that I just discussed. Such diversity presented so well deserves a hearty salute and tip of the cap. Richard manages to record 24 tracks and some redux’s with an energy and grace that comes flowing through the music like a steady running stream. 

The colors are changing all the time on this recording. From track to track you just do not know what is coming next. It is like having Christmas at your own private music shop and Richard is the sole proprietor. The reason this recording is so eclectic is that it takes past recordings and weaves them together to encompass orchestration and licensing going back to 1984 all the way to present day.

It is music for movies, documentaries, commercials, just about anything you can imagine. Instrumental music is much more flexible when it comes to using it for various media purposes. I really appreciated the ground covered musically and the titles range from “In Search of Chocolate” to “Leonardo’s Flying Machine.” There is no connection whatsoever with those two tracks but yet they find a home here in this collection.

Terra Incognito-The Space Between Us unites us as listeners and human beings even though it is unchartered territory, our similarities and the world around us is what makes us one planet and one people. It is like taking a “Light of Peace” to heal us and help us to grow in many ways. The universal healer and language of music once again can be the answer.


5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 5, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. Whalesong (Redux)
02. Green Flash (Redux)
03. The Space Between
04. Dust Devil
05. Ice Dancer (Redux)
06. Color Me
07. In Search of Chocolate
08. Leonardo's Flying Machine
09. Beside Still Waters (Redux)
10. Papillon (Redux)
11. Lead Kindly Night
12. It's All Right (Redux)
13. Cars
14. Voyager
15. Into the Mines
16. He Leadeth Me Beside Still Waters (Redux)
17. A Different Time a Different Place (Redux)
18. Light of Peace (Redux)
19. Goodbye for Now
20. Sea of Forgetfulness
21. Ha Long Bay
22. Missing You
23. January Moon (Redux)
24. I Could Care Less



April 2, 2018

New Age World Review: Darlene Koldenhoven-Chromatones

Release Date: June 1, 2018
Label:TimeArt Recordings

It is a pleasure once again to have the opportunity to cover the musical journeys of Ms. Darlene Koldenhoven. It was nearly a year ago that I was introduced to her fascinating Color Me Home CD.

Now Chromatones has arrived. I figured it would be hard to top the previous release, however after 3 tracks I got the feeling that she has set the bar even higher. The new age and world elements come together in an explosion of sound and bright colors, painting your consciousness into the music effortlessly.

There are a number of important contributors from the New Age community that help to make this a great listen. Steve Shepherd (engineer, mixer, sound effects), Joanne Lazzaro (flute, alto flute, piccolo), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Al Jewer (English Horn), Tom Scott (clarinet), Wouter Kellerman (flute, bass flute), and there are many more. This is like having an all-star musical team to back her on this recording. And of course, the shining star of the show, Darlene, who not only composes, produces, arranges and engineers the tracks, she provides piano, keyboards, synths, and the Native drums and shaker.

The first track that really moved me was “Red Savannah.”  Its complexities and textures are like an intricately woven patchwork quilt.  The selection of instruments and the mix of them makes for an outstanding listen from the very first note to the last. 

“Native Bloom” with its earthy tones, rhythms and select instruments like the Native Flute make you feel like you stepped into a time capsule back to the time when our first Americans inhabited the land. It’s a strong yet beautiful reminder of how important these gifted people were and how their influence and heritage shaped our nation. I would advise putting your headphones or earbuds in and sitting back and letting the music form the thoughts and images in your mind’s eye. It is so healing to hear this music and it is presented exceptionally well.

There is so much to offer on Chromatones and I only scratched the surface of what is in store if you get this music (you can pre-order it April 25th). I think Darlene Koldenhoven has hit a high watermark with this recording. As I said about Color Me Home, I think this will be in the running for a Grammy. This is music for the heart, soul, and mind of any listener. 

For my ears, this kind of music and the quality of the production serves many areas in the world of media including soundtracks for nature specials, movies or sound bites for commercials, or for the most important audience, for those looking for solace and healing.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 2, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks: 
01.Golden Dawn
02. Morning Dew
03. Red Savannah
04. Swans on the Seine
05. Terra
06. Native Bloom
07. Vibrant Worlds
08.Chromstones
09. Prism
10. Painted In Time
11. Waltzing in Planetary Time

April 1, 2018

Instrumental New Age Chill Review: 7and5-The Lost Voice

Release Date: March 30, 2018
Label: Independent

The name 7and5 (John Nixon) came from the fact that all musical notes can be expressed within an octave on a piano as 7 white keys and 5 black keys. That is the explanation I received from John Nixon over 3 years ago when I covered his album Themes For A Grey Day.

So, you probably got the hint that 7and5 is a keyboard player. Well, now you know if you didn’t. So, one day after its release I am listening to The Lost Voice. Now I remember why I enjoyed his music so much.

I got one step “Closer to Heaven,” with the atmospheric and intriguing opening track. I think we all get closer to the heavens when we let the music do all the work. For 7and5 it has been a musical evolution since the beginning when his first release In A Moments Time came out in 2006.  

7and5 is a clever composer and musician. It is not always the easiest thing taking highly technical music and giving it rhythm and purpose. That is exactly what he does on The Lost Voice. The cover is very interesting and thought-provoking, which is yet another aspect of artistry that I appreciate. Some artist will tell that there is no meaning to the cover on the CD and say “I thought it was a cool picture.” I do not think that is the case here. 

What you see is a pure white phone on what appears to be on the white sand of a beach. The main message here is the cord connecting the phone has no end to it. There is a voice, it is connected but for now, it is just lost. Perhaps the music will elevate the voice’s purpose so it finds its way home? Are the cords end at the beginning of the water's edge or at the skyline? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the answer is that we are all connected to Mother Nature and the significance of the cord leads back to the ocean from whence all life came from. Are we a lost human race looking for our way home?

Ok, that is a lot of thought about one picture, I know. That is positive proof that images can be powerful and when you combine images and sound you can find your way home. You find your “Presence” is necessary to receive the messages inside the music. That makes sense to me because I let the music envelop me, which allows relaxation and complete freedom of thought and expression. That is what the listening “experience” is for me. It is different for everyone.

I know one thing for sure, The Lost Voice is a very good album. Once again, this kind of music reminded of some of my favorite ambient and atmospheric bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. The elements of simplicity with the piano combined with the synths and computer-generated sounds is like the meeting of the best of both worlds. It takes vision and intelligence to stand alone and create music like this. It all flows together from one track to the next like our brain synapses growing with each thought. The more you use it the stronger and more useful it becomes.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 31, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Closer to Heaven
02. Life at Once
03. Father
04. Mi Deh Yah
05. Glistening
06. Blue Flame
07. Open Up
08. Presence
09. Winter Frost
10. Heart to Heart
11. Man Plans, God Laughs
12. Distant Memory
13. Wavecrest
14. Epilogue


March 29, 2018

New Age Instrumental Review: Emilee Hartley- Illuminate

Release Date: December 8, 2017
Label: Independent

Emilee Hartley started playing piano at 4 years old. She soon realized as time passed and her love for it, became an expression of thought, forms, and sounds. Not unlike a painter, a musician has an idea in their mind before music is created.

Emilee has a fascination with light and nature and its effects on the surrounding areas. She has some favorite places and decided to create music to match those fond memories and how each one was dominated by light.

That kind of observation is very astute and interesting at the same time. With all of those thoughts, feelings and different shades of light, Illuminate was born. So, the title befits the artist and the one who painted those images through the ivory keys is surely illuminated. To notice the distinctness of different shades of light in such a manner I find not only observant but spiritual and blessed to do so.

There is something about stand-alone piano music that allows more focus and serenity to take hold quicker than music that is more complex. That is not to say the complex music does not have great value. Simplicity rules with new age music, influenced by classical as a foundation to work from. Although there is plenty of classical music that is complex and intense that was created by some of the great composers. With that thought, you can hear that in music from people like Ms. Hartley. She and many others like her tip their caps to the composers of days gone by and shape and mold their compositions into something new and refreshing.

Emilee’s music is like “Raindrops on the Lake,” or in your mind if you will.  Either way, it is a song that goes to the heart and spirit that will engage you and keep you until it stops. That is a relational experience when you take a deep dive into the music. You first learn a bit about the artist and what compels them to make this music in the first place, then you have a jumping off point that you did not have before you started. It all makes perfect sense to me.

I have to say that not only do I love Emilee’s music, I think the choice of titles is perfectly matched with each track. Take “Serene Sailing” for instance, I imagined feeling a warm summer breeze hitting my face as I sailed along the waters. For me personally, anything to do with water - a brook, pond, lake or ocean, equal serenity and a oneness with mother nature. That was easy for me to assimilate those feelings and atmospheres while listening to that track. 

If you enjoy piano music, particularly solo instrumental, this is a gem of an album. Have a listen and let it Illuminate your life!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 29, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Raindrops on the Lake
02. Prelude to Dusk
03. Shimmers
04. The Unicorn (Enchanted Forest)
05. Lunae
06. Path of Shining Lights (Enchanted Forest)
07. The Abandoned Castle
08. Chasing Sunbeams
09. Morning Twilight
10. Amare
11. Serene Sailing
12. Turning of Time
13. A Night of Winter
14. Journey

 

March 12, 2018

New Age Instrumental Review: Lynn Evers Yew-Sunset Breeze

Release Date: March 1, 2018
Label: Independent

Lynn Evers Yew has just released her newest offering titled Sunset Breeze. The recording’s production values are outstanding, making it a listen beyond reproach.

My immediate thought was how a Sunset Breeze feels against your face. I think it becomes even more eventful when you are at the ocean watching the sun go down on another day.

The one factor that I can relate to the most with a recording like this is the intentional simplicity. I think the focus is prevalent while listening to music with just one instrument. The piano is the key to opening the door to any avenue one wishes to take. To be more specific, it is a tool to either relax, meditate or have played in the background while you are doing something else. You could say any music serves that purpose however that would be a generic outlook on what you can actually discover “inside” the music.

I also can feel the profoundness of Lynn’s music and how relates to life itself, in an all-encompassing way. The rhythm of the compositions is akin to the heartbeat of a human, an animal, all life that abounds through Mother Nature.  That is quite prolific in terms of how music can be perceived and or interpreted.

Music such as this is a universal language. It has no boundaries or preconceived lines in the sand per say. That does not imply that it is homogenized, however. Piano music can take many different forms and create atmospheres depending on the listener's mood, temperament or expectations. So many different factors come into play prior when listening to any new age instrumental track, particularly piano based.

Sunset Breeze is designed and created for the soul seeker, the contemplator, the lovers of life. Whatever applies to you, there is something that you can picture in your mind while listening to the music of Lynn Yew Evers. The beauty of the CD cover becomes evident once you hear the music. 

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 12, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. The Dancing Doll
02. Ocean Wind
03. Sunset Breeze
04. Oriental Moon
05. Soaring
06. Sunset Breeze
07. Where Do I Go From Here
08. Without Words
09. You Are The Promise, You Are My Home
10. Reminisce
11. Khai Qin's Song
12. Heim Angelus
13. A Walk In A Chinese Garden
14. Prelude in D Minor