New Age Meditation Review: NTHNL-Tranquility Studies Vol. 2

Release Date: May 20, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Jacob Rudin is the artist NTHNL(Nathaniel). The title Tranquility Studies Vol. 2 expresses what you will hear in this release, literally.

The artist makes a concerted effort to shoot for "low-alpha" or "high-theta" ((around 7-10 Hz). There are 114 minutes of sound in this recording. Each piece is an exceptional tool to focus and meditate, or if one prefers, relax.

The concept of taking electronics and mixing them with instruments is not anything new. The importance of the sound waves coming in at the 7-10hZ level is critical, giving it a substantial variance from the norm. That is the key to your "focus," and attention span. "Soundbath 1" is just the beginning. The frequencies your brain will adjust to and follow rather quickly, and while remaining in that state of consciousness, you take in the instruments, such as the principal flute, mixed in with the sound waves. It is repetitive, like a constant drone or the sounds a didgeridoo can produce. That mesmerizing Australian instrument can maintain a drone with variations of frequencies. That was the one thing I thought of while reading about how this music was constructed and presented in this way.

There are some natural sounds added in for good measure and to differentiate between everything else that is going on. That element is not meant for a refocus but for you to connect and find identification, make you feel good, or make you smile. I love the sounds of all the birds chirping. It is the sound of happiness in nature. That is my interpretation, and everyone identifies differently with the sounds we can hear during a 24-hour period. "Soundbath Two" ends with the sound of rain, which is synonymous with the replenishment of the earth's plants and the very element that keeps all living things alive.

I am pretty sure with all that there is to utilize that, every listener will find the right track or tracks to combine for their meditative healing sessions. There are six lengthy exercises of frequencies, sounds, and music to choose from. You will listen to what works best for you; how you choose to use it is the most crucial factor in getting the maximum out of this musical exercise.

NTHNL does create a bath of sound, and when you frame it in that context, it shines a different light on what Tranquility Studies Vol. 2 can and will do for the discerning listener looking for solace, comfort, healing, deep meditation, or undistracted relaxation.

All tracks are composed, performed, produced, mixed, and mastered by NTHNL. Once you take in the entire experience, you will be impressed by this artist's all-around talent. The flute, woodwinds, saxophone, and many ambient textures are all that you will find abundant in this musical expression. It's chill, new age, ambient, meditation, and all that combined. Every track is entirely different from the last, so do not expect much of the same. And that is a good thing from my listening perspective.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

August 7, 2022


Tracks:

1.Soundbath 1 23:37

2.Soundbath 2 19:18

3.Soundbath 3 18:28

4.Soundbath 4 16:08

5.Soundbath 5 16:58

6.Soundbath 6 20:30


New Age-Contemporary Review: Darlene Koldenhoven-Traveling the Blissful Highway

Release Date: October 14, 2022

Label:  ‎TimeArt Productions

Website

Darlene Koldenhoven’s instrumental new-age world release Traveling the Blissful Highway, will be another significant achievement to add to her impressive catalog of releases. 

There are several instruments utilized to create the tracks. Darlene is the producer, engineer, composer, and instrumental-vocal arranger. She played keyboards, provided background vocalese and spoken word, added quartz singing bowls, rainstick, shaker, and native drum, and did all the synth programming. It would take a considerable amount of space to list all the rest of the instruments provided by contributors' names that may be familiar to you in the genre, including Charlie Bisharat, Ron Korb, and Joanne Lazzaro to name a few. There are many more as well. I cannot understate the importance of collaboration with so many different instruments coming together in the tracks. Steve Shepherd provided the mixing and mastering, and his work shines from beginning to end.

It is some of the most relaxing and dreamy music you will have the pleasure of enjoying. The first single of the album, "Cheerful Mohana," sets the tone and atmosphere perfectly. The Mohana (Urdu: موہانہ), sometimes referred to as Mohanoمهانو, are Sindhi Mohana tribes called Mohano Mallah Mirbahar Mirani in the province of Punjab. 

I liked the play on the words "Dot Calm," it is a great way to take something that can be stressful or frustrating when things are not working right and flip it to the positive. The internet or dot.com space is a wonderful tool for millions of people. It takes that word and changes everything you think about cyberspace. That is the point here, I believe.

Even the title suggests a change of thought patterns when referring to the highway. The morning or evening commute can be a nightmare. The artwork would mean something entirely different with a view of beauty and colors. That kind of scenery is possible; however, I think you would get the idea here for those looking for another "road." Life can be bumpy and full of unforeseen potholes. This road is in your mind by following the music's power of suggestion. Music so peaceful and a slice of heaven has a way of changing you from the inside out. It starts with audio and vibrations, then adjusts your brain waves, which changes you physically. That is the healing power of music.

"Osmium Glow" (Osmium is a shiny, silver metal that resists corrosion) is one of the most serene and inviting tracks. The combination of instruments is superb (as they are on every track). Lovely piano, synth, violin, and some vocalese towards the end are the perfect complement to one of the more exciting songs. The world elements give it a flavor and spice all its own. If you are in the mood for Celtic influences, then "Highland Mist" will deliver with some alluring flute.

Traveling the Blissful Highway can become a daily trip to your paradise. This music exists to change you on so many levels. Ultimately it will succeed in doing so if you allow it. The key to enjoying any music is letting it envelop you, to be a place where you feel safe and loved, and most importantly, a place you can always go to get reintroduced to some well-needed rest. As always, music can lead us there. 

Darlene Koldenhoven is very talented, and every album I have heard and reviewed is entirely different. It is the fifth release to add to my collection and has already become one of my favorites. 

Being eclectic and using all the tools at your disposal is the way to record such a great album. With the addition of talented friends into the mix, this artist has found everything she needs to continue recording great music for years to come.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

August 6, 2022


Tracks:
01. Cheerful Mohana
02. Time Traveler
03. Jade Dreams
04. Gentle Soul
05. Birds in Paradise
06. Dot Calm
07. Tropical Chill
08. Sweet Peace
09. Osmium Glow
10. Native Star
11. Highland Mist
12. Blissful Highway


New Age Instrumental Review: Peter Kater-Soul Story

Release Date: August 25, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Part of being a recording artist and remaining successful is to move forward in developing a signature sound. In some cases, it is a matter of trying something entirely different. Or what I like to call “thinking out of the box,” which happens to be one of the things I want to do myself. It keeps things fresh and feels like an adventure.

Soul Story is one of those exciting turns in the road that Peter Kater took while playing for people. He would sit down and talk to folks then they would lie underneath his piano while listening to the melodies created while recalling their stories. So then, piano readings were born. The experiences are recorded and given to the folks with the reading. From my point of view, this is innovation and using your instrument to provide people with their Soul Story.

The dance of the solo piano is one of my favorite things to enjoy. I find it one of the best relaxing and contemplative types of music to enjoy. In the case of this album, it holds a special meaning for many different souls. They are also segments of some of Peter’s favorites. In fact, this should make it much more special for the recipients of his piano readings. I would be immensely grateful to have had the opportunity, as I am sure all those people are.

The beauty and simplicity of these tracks are what make them so listenable. When I am feeling stressed and exhausted from the day, the evening arrives, and I can listen to music from artists like Peter Kater to help me feel rejuvenated and hopeful for a new day. I can always count on it to be there for me. Music is timeless; it fills the void of space around us and changes the feeling and atmosphere of an entire room. The power of music goes far beyond what words can say. In this case, it is expertly performed solo instrumental piano played in a very contemporary way with the foundation of new age ideology, the driving force to create it.

The title track I found very moving. It is 4:39 minutes of pure emotion and thought. It is a very effective track; you can feel and process the emotions as Peter’s piano ebbs and tides throughout, connecting you with it every step. Music like that touches your soul, and you realize what a miracle it is that one may convey so much with one instrument and no words. Every track will leave a lasting effect on you. However, I found that one the most moving for me.

Soul Story and its depictive artwork do indeed tell a story, many of them. It will be one of the most beautiful and meaningful recordings in 2022. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening to it quite regularly to finish out your day.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 25, 2022

Tracks:

1.  Starry Night

2.  Touch of Rain

3.  The Path is Clear

4.  Spiral Outward

5.  Find Me

6.  Soul Story

7.  Majesty Falling

8.  Full Circle

9.  United



Instrumental Ambient Chill Review: David Helping-In

Release Date: April 15, 2022

Label:  ‎Spotted Peccary

Website

When I interviewed (included here) David Helping to discuss IN, I knew I would have to wait for the vinyl to arrive. That was over three months ago. The wait was long, but worth it to hear this release in glorious vinyl. After talking with David, I knew this would be a fantastic listening experience.

IN was filled with ambient and chill textures transcending time and space.

I absorbed each track as something new and fresh musically as I made my way through the two LPs. The LPs come housed in gatefold sleeves with all the track listings and credits. Also included was a sheet with the names of the contributors and David’s tribute to each one.

Side A starts with “Waves Dream of Breaking,” and it serves as a grand opener to set the tone. This beautiful and exciting mixture of color and sound was just the beginning but a great start that filled a listener with anticipation for what could be next.

“This Burning Sky” includes wordless chant-like vocals from Nidhi Bhatmuley. It gave the track a world flavor while maintaining its core ambient foundation. “Only What’s Been Taken” is dreamy, layered synths with an interesting backbeat that transitions to a quieter interlude and then back again. Side A closes out.

Side B begins with “Here All Along” which features some nice rhythms, and you find yourself relaxing on a smooth wave of sounds. “Still As Stone” has tinkling bells with echoing notes from the keys layered upon soft synths. Perhaps the mesmerizing effect would make you as still as the track title would indicate. The side closes with “The Bliss You’ve Always Carried” featuring Benjy Wertheimer on the Esraj, a stringed Indian instrument. It looks similar to a sitar but sounds entirely different. It gives the track a uniqueness that others do not have. It runs for 8:01 minutes, allowing the instrument to provide you with a taste of its capabilities and different ranges of sound, which is then enhanced by synths, ambient guitar, and other instruments. Side B closes out.

Side C opens with “Slipping” featuring Miriam Stockley’s wordless vocalizations. This one also runs for 8:01 minutes. It is silky smooth from start to finish with Miriam’s addition. “The Cold Distance Between” could indicate many things; however, the one thing it accomplishes is hypnotic spacey sounds with a sense of drama bubbling underneath. “You Already Are” features Matthew Schoening’s electric cello. A flair for the classical is arrived at with his instrument while adding a feeling of warmth. Side C closes.

Side D begins with my favorite track, “Bending Towards the Night.” It clocks in at 8:21 and resembles a prog rock magnum opus. Eclectic sounds abound and delight straight through every second. It has a purposeful pace bringing me back to the thought that time has no relevance in the space of this music. The track continues to build with color, light, and frequencies that engage the listener. It takes the concept of the day and bends you towards the night. 

The track reminded me fondly of Tangerine Dream (a reference I often make if the music is good enough within this genre). The built-for- soundtrack-music and energy come with “In Waves of Fire.” The curtain closes on this ambient chill journey with “I Too Am Coming Home.” The track has elegance and beauty reserved for prolific instrumental music. In addition, the angelic vocals of Miriam Stockley accompany the music, making an appropriate ending to a marvelous listen.

You will be totally IN the music once you start listening. It will capture your consciousness and revitalize your spirit. The outstanding musicianship and production values make this one of the best recordings I have heard on vinyl this year.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 18, 2022


Tracks:
Side A:
01. Waves Dream of Breaking 07:32
02. This Burning Sky (Featuring Nidhi Bhatmuley) 07:20
03. Only What’s Been Taken 06:26

Side B:
04. Here All Along 06:24
05. Still As Stone 06:11
06. The Bliss You’ve Always Carried (Featuring Benjy Wertheimer) 08:00

Side C:
07. Slipping (Featuring Miriam Stockley) 08:00
08. The Cold Distance Between 05:55
09. You Already Are (Featuring Matthew Schoening) 06:42
10. Following the Lines 05:30

Side D:
11. Bending Towards the Night 08:21
12. In Waves of Fire 05:49
13. I Too Am Coming Home (Featuring Miriam Stockley) 06:44




Contemporary Instrumental Review: Vicente Avella-Physics of Light

Release Date: August 8, 2022

Label:  Pandora’s Boombox Records

Website

Physics of Light is about many things besides what the title would indicate. For Vicente Avella, there is a story behind the music; there always is. If you have a curious disposition and want to know the how and why of a recording, then you will love the story behind the music. 

Vicente recorded during COVID. For most artists, this was a blessing in disguise if it did not affect them in other ways, like contracting the virus or losing someone because of it. It was an opportunity for this artist to do all the recording himself because everything was closed. So, he went to the Boston GP 163 piano to start his process. The piano he had wanted to play to record on for some time.

It was destiny, and Physics of Light was born. Sixteen tracks of instrumental piano music to calm the nerves and refresh your being are now alive and well for everyone to enjoy.

The recording started with some trepidation from Vicente, but he did a fine job and then sent it off to be mastered. And now he has this beautiful recording, knowing he does not need a studio to get an album done. The world works in mysterious ways; there was a roadblock at the time. After further investigation and taking a chance, another door opened. He just needed the faith to walk through it.

What I found interesting was the thought that went into the entire presentation. The artwork Vicente envisioned was to be something that Da Vinci had created. If you are familiar with that, the attained visual is perfect. It had to be scientifically and mathematically correct, so he had it checked by a composition student and now who is also a Physicist. After that, an artist in Italy (of course) was commissioned to take Vicente’s chicken scratch and make it look like a work of Da Vinci’s. Once again, it hit the mark. It was essential to convey the images and thought process encompassing all aspects of light while listening. Then looking at the track titles and hearing how they came out in the audio spectrum is the next step. It is up to you to delve further to compare the similarities or differences between the two ranges.

So, for me, the listener and reviewer, reading about the story was fascinating and made the music more enjoyable and thoughtful. Yes, it is very scientific, and there was a process; however, once you hear the music and its sheer beauty and simple perfection, you will wholeheartedly agree that this makes sense in all its totality.

Sometimes I wonder what else to say about another solo piano instrumental album. The truth is, I always find enjoyment and something new. My fascination with how this all came together and the thought and care that went into making it a “complete” artistic rendering of audio recordings was the key that unlocked my mind. It all connects and makes sense. And to think one man’s fascination with the Physics of Light could create such beauty and picturesque sounds through one instrument. It was a lonely process, but that is the X factor in creating a successful recording. It would be best if you were alone with your thoughts, the process of creation, and no distractions to take you off the course that brings it all home.

Vicente Avella has triumphed over all the obstacles to release one of the most rewarding albums of his career. And for the listeners and followers, this is to be enjoyed for many years. Physics of Light will be your beacon to some well-deserved musical fulfillment and relaxation.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 13, 2022


Track List:

01. LIGHT PARTICLES                            

02. RADIANCE                                       

03. WHERE LIGHT AND SHADOW MEET        

04. ULTRAVIOLET                                  

05. OSCURO                                          

06. RESISTANCE                                    

07. COLOR SPECTRUM                          

08. CLARO                                             

09. PENUMBRA                                     

10. REFLECTION                                  

11. INTERMEZZO                                

12. OPAQUE OBJECT                                    

13. UMBRA                                         

14. INFRARED                                     

15. ANTUMBRA                                  

16. VISIBLE LIGHT 


Award Winning New Age Artists Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer Release New Album “Sanctuary”

In recent years upheaval and uncertainty has become normal for many of us. Our careers, possessions, health, even relationships are more fragile than we realized. More than ever we need that sanctuary, the safe blissful place that can only be found within.

Following on from their previous successful collaborations including “Imaginings” (Winner, ZMR's Instrumental Album of the year) and “Deeper Imaginings” (nominated for both Zone and Independent Music Awards), Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer now bring us “Sanctuary,” nine new pieces borne out of their own - and our global collective need - to heal and re-anchor to our soul's true home in uncertain times. Included is an art insert of poetry focusing on peace, self - acceptance and songs within.

Solo artists each in their own right - multi award winner Adams has 120 million Pandora streams alone and Geyer's singer/songwriter albums have drawn high praise from industry heavyweights including EMI/ Blue Note's Bruce Lundvall, Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil) and multiple Grammy winner Bill Champlin (Chicago, The Sons of Champlin). It was one windy morning in Illinois two years ago which sparked the idea for “Sanctuary.”

In my view this has to be one of the best New Age music releases I have heard for many years… an award winning album of true majesty…. and a multi-instrumental delight!” - Steve Sheppard, One World Music, UK

Elizabeth was meditating in a dark room to stave off a blinding migraine while Paul practiced the breathy Anasazi and Native American flute downstairs. Something about the combination of the wind and the low gentle phrases Paul was playing was curiously grounding and she began to feel better. Wondering what was different about these sounds from other gentle music they'd created and explored, it was the comforting reassurance of a constant low anchor that seemed to be holding the dreamy, soaring, floating textures. Put simply, music that flies without ever flying away.  Music is an incredible medium; it can excite, confront, take us to the edge; equally other music can nurture, comfort and heal. “Sanctuary” is both a powerful grounding meditation soundtrack while equally artistically rich. Adam's sultry electric sitar and other worldly touches and Geyer's distinctive jazz sensibilities on piano and vocal make “Sanctuary” both indulgence for the soul and a perfect healing backdrop for these troubled times.

Here’s what the press has said about “Sanctuary”:

With ‘Sanctuary,’ Adams and Geyer once again prove that they are among this genre's finest artists... the soundscape is everything... beautiful beyond words.” - B T Fasmer, New Age Music Guide, Belgium 

The addition of various other textured layers of sounds like electric sitar, chimes, etc... Elizabeth's wordless background vocalizations. make for a completely immersive experience. I suggest putting this on a loop.” - Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck, New Age Music Reviews, USA

“… soundscapes that draw you in and keep you comforted and relaxed are outstanding... both a salve  for the soul and peace for the mind.” - Clouzine Magazine, United Kingdom   

Using flute, piano and voice, the duo have created nine rich, earthy tracks of ambient and world music that seem to have a life of their own… It is like immersing in waters made of music... Highly recommended.” - RJ Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews, USA

To purchase:
(Apple, Spotify, Pandora etc) https://pauladams.hearnow.com/sanctuary
BANDCAMP https://pauladams.bandcamp.com/album/sanctuary

For more information:
www.pauladams.org  
www.elizabethgeyer.com
https://twitter.com/ppaul3      
https://www.facebook.com/paul.adams.754/
https://www.instagram.com/ppaul3/?hl=en  

Videos:
SANCTUARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyAVinhhYaE
GRACEFUL WATERS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iJLoJD0tsA
AN EVENING’S CARESS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqAlulE42yA

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 1-828-350-8158 (US), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

New Age World Instrumental Review: Vito Gregoli & Ricky Kej-Wild Monsoon

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website: https://www.vitogregolimusic.com/

https://www.rickykej.com/

Vito Gregoli & Ricky Kej combine their diverse talents on Wild Monsoon. This recording comes at you bursting with a world new age color and dynamic that will lift you right off the ground.

Vito has been a multi-instrumentalist for many years, and Ricky Kej is a composer who has made his mark globally. The recording is another incredible album and partnership that will derive plenty of attention from the music community and listeners.

Ten tracks will engage all your senses, and I mean that in a literal sense of the word. The Indian influences are strong; however, the background and music foundation from which both artists are from merge splendidly. It is an East meets West amalgamation that is stunning. Here is an idea of how good this music is. I am listening to it on little speakers attached to my laptop; the sounds fill the room. That says it all about an all-encompassing experience of sound and effect. It would be amazing to think about how this would sound on vinyl or a mobile fidelity audiophile vinyl release. I hope at some point that is a consideration.

Two consecutive tracks just blew me away, "Vana (Forest) 6:41" and "Jharna (Waterfall) 6:09." Note all the references to our environment, from the title to the tracks and the artwork on the cover. It is intrinsic to the music you will enjoy. Ricky is an advocate for the environment and uses all the platforms within his influence to get the message out that we need to heal the planet. The healing must come from within us all for change to begin first. Let's not look to our political leaders and complicated legislation. It will take forever to accomplish and will be watered down with concessions to favor big corporate money and greed. Yes, that is a very political statement, but in my mind and observations, I believe it to be accurate and the one factor that has stopped any progress.

We have the singularity of music to step away from the politics of things, which unfortunately seems to creep into everything these days. All its power, grace, spirituality, and tremendous energy can be absorbed with one listen. From that point of reference, you can propel into a different attitude and use music as your voice. Vito and Ricky are doing that with Wild Monsoon. 

If you consider production values, they are extraordinary. The complexities and nuances of everything that goes into just one track are mind-boggling. Listening to "Badra (Rain) featuring Kimberly Haynes on vocals, is an excellent example. I got chills hearing all the music and her singing so poignantly of returning to nature. Such a prolific statement to make in such an uncertain time we live gives you the energy and hope of that message, and the words and music carry it with a clarity and certainty that I am sure made Ricky smile.

"Baadal (Clouds) 7:56" is the longest track on the recording and one of the most gorgeous and affecting pieces of music I have heard closing out an album. The entire album is the perfect blend of new age and world and sets the standard for consistency and taste.

It is a Wild Monsoon of music that will excite the mind, body, and soul, get the blood flowing, and inspire those who listen on every corner of the globe. It will make us reevaluate who we are and how vital mother earth is to our survival and think about honoring how all living things are connected and deserve our respect. Thank you, Vito and Ricky, for a beautiful message in such incredible music.

Vito Gregoli & Ricky Kej have set the bar extremely high for all releases in the new age world genre that are forthcoming for the rest of the year. I see another Grammy nomination and a possible win for Ricky to add to his collection.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

June 29, 2022

Tracks:

01. Greesham (Summer) 7:04

02. Sheeth (Winter) 6:50

03. Vasant (Spring) 6:36

04. Sharad (Autumn) 6:03  vocals: Kimberly Haynes

05. Mahatma (Vito Remix) 5:35  flute: Wouter Kellerman, sitar:  Paul Livingstone

06. Vana (Forest)  6:41

07. Jharna (Waterfall)  6:09

08. Nadi (River) 6:55

09. Badra  (Rain) feat Kimberly Haynes  6:12  vocals: Kimberly Haynes

10. Baadal (Clouds) 7:56