May 1, 2021

Instrumental-World-New Age Review: Bill Leslie-Celtic Peace

Release Date: May 1, 2021

Label: Independent

Website

 

After reading about every track on the new Bill Leslie album Celtic Peace, I could feel what the meaning of the lands he visited in Scotland meant to him. It was a means to end and how this recording came to be. This is what he has endeavored to do to reach an audience ready and willing to listen to the music inspired by that majestic land. After reading about the tracks, you can flip over to the back panel where there is more to read about this project and the message that many musicians have been conveying since the pandemic became a reality in the world.

Bill Said:
Celtic Peace is a product of the pandemic. Finding refuge in my music studio I wanted to create a work of beauty to help diminish the darkness of 2020. I would validate those feelings and say he has succeeded in just that and bring some light into everyone’s lives. Music is like the light at the end of the tunnel we are traveling through. Each individual is experiencing different things and an array of emotions that can be overwhelming, particularly to those that have lost a loved one to the scourge of Covid-19.

I have heard this from many artists over the last year. Some have used their music to find their way to the other side after getting the virus. In many ways, the music is as much a savior as it is for the creator as it can be for a listener needing their spirits uplifted. Today I attended a wake of a good friend that we lost much too soon. It has been very difficult to grasp the finality of this, when it was only a few months ago I was enjoying the company of that individual. I have let this music flow through me and let my inner voice and spirit guide me through my thoughts to find some healing.

Bill is the creator and producer of the twelve tracks on this worldly instrumental adventure with a solid foundation in the new age belief system and the underlying spirituality of it all. Many recording artists in the new age community are inspired by the beauty of nature that surrounds them. Bill has done exactly that by returning to the lands of his ancestors and finding quite a bit of inspiration to create another instrumental masterpiece full of joy, sadness, and beauty. At times you can hear all of those emotions within one track on Celtic Peace.

Every track on Celtic Peace not only served the purpose of being so cinematic, but I could also see the land in my mind’s eye even though I have not visited there. Yes, the power of music once again had its magic working on me right from the first track all the way to the end. I can envision this music to have many great uses for listening enjoyment, healing, or for a soundtrack to a documentary on Scotland. It would be perfect for that and I would not be surprised to see that happen.

The piano, flute, violin, oboe, Celtic whistles, guitar, and the gorgeous orchestrations provided by the creator of this recording make for a very effective mix. Every track holds the wonder and beauty of that ancient land called Scotland. America is a baby in comparison to all of the histories that are found overseas. How does one person encapsulate the grandeur and natural beauty of such a great land? If you have all the tools to translate it with your track names, visuals, and the proper instrumentation and production, and the talent of Bill Leslie, then it can and will be accomplished. All of that was fully realized on Celtic Peace.

Thank you, Bill Leslie, and all of the contributors of this amazing work, of audible art that is Celtic Peace. It came to me at the right time to give me the peace that my soul so desperately needed today. May all you seeking the same find it within in this great music!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Review Founder
May 1, 2021

 

Track List:
01. Iona
02. Ben Nevis
03. Grace in Stone
04. Celtic Peace
05. Golden Eagle
06. Planxty Irwin
07. Glencoe
08. Eastern in Edinburgh
09. Foggy Dew
10. Scottish Lullaby
11. Storm on The Buren
12. Skara Brae


April 25, 2021

Contemporary Instrumental-New Age Reviews: Omar Akram-The Light Will Come

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Label: Twinbrook Entertainment, Inc.

Website

 

As my life goes by quicker with each passing day, month, and year, I find the addition of music is a quintessential element of my happiness. It brings forth the best in me and makes my heart smile. If it does not manage to do that I will not listen again. This is where the importance of all instrumental music plays such a definitive role in accomplishing changing my thought process, attitude, and overall mood and perception of the world around me.

So, what does that have to do with the new album release from pianist Omar Akram titled The Light Will Come you may ask? My answer quite simply is everything. This music is beautiful and full of rhythms that are easily assimilated and catchy while remaining different as you go from track to track. In the same instance, all ten tracks have a similar effect on you, the listener. This is piano-based instrumental contemporary music with a new age foundation in regards to the presentation, meaning, and pace.

It has become apparent to me over the last year in particular, that the presenting artists of this genre all have a commonality and purpose. And that my fellow listeners are to heal you in some way, shape, or form, however you perceive what you are hearing, in the end, we all hope to gain something from this experience. I am selfish in the sense that I have certain expectations and needs at the outset of listening and writing about this music. In all actuality, this is not much different than someone listening for pure enjoyment, but I have a dual purpose, and that is for my overall mental, physical, and spiritual health. I then attempt to convey what I can to potential listeners what they would hope to gain from listening. And the bottom line is it has to be excellent music and hold something extraordinary that clicks something inside me that propels me to write these words.

I do have difficulty at times identifying certain tracks as exceptional when the entire album is. In this case, that is exactly what happened with The Light Will Come. It does happen enough during the course of my listening journeys; however, I will say that the all-important first track has to catch my ear and get me focused as well. And the first and title track did exactly that, launching me into that “zone” where expressiveness becomes the key element in putting it all into words that everyone can understand. Once again, this is not that much different than just giving the music a spin for the enjoyment of it with no commitment attached, with the exception of what you are wishing to gain with one listen. The ultimate purpose for the recording artist is to garner emotion, then getting a reaction from a listener. This music is like a river of feelings the runs right through your heart, soul, and then to the brain for the last process of interpretation.

If I was asked to pick favorite tracks I would have to go with “The Light Will Come,” for starting things with energy, “Pressing On,” whose title alone held a lot of meaning for my life and the drive I have every day to keep learning and moving forward in a positive direction. And finally, the elegance of “Caught Dreaming,” and how it changed so much, and the lovely interludes of the singularity of the tinkling ivory keys that are added within the song.

The flow and rhythm of The Light Will Come is exceptional and the main reason I was able to connect to it so quickly. The fingers of Omar Akram are gifted with translating what his heart and spirit are conveying through the music. I heard that message from beginning to end and it will make you look at each title to see if it all makes sense. It did for me, and I hope it does for everyone that listens, and if you take the time to listen then The Light Will Come shining through, just in different intensity for each listener.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

April 23, 2021
 

Track List:
01. The Light Will Come
02. For George
03. Hear My Heart
04. For Merry
05. Waterfall
06. Since I Met You
07. Wish I Could See You
08. Pressing On
09. Caught Dreaming
10. New Morning Sun
 

April 19, 2021

New Age Instrumental Review: Dyan Garris-Orenda: Breath Of Angels

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Label: Journeymakers, Inc

Website

Dyan Garris is set to release her fourteenth proper album titled Orenda: Breath Of Angels.

Looking at the title, the first thing I needed to do was endeavor to find what Orenda was. Fortunately, that was provided by the artist.

From the Urban Dictionary:  Orenda is "a supernatural, divine force within every human being. Always omnipresent, it empowers people to change the world in a positive, loving way. It is also the energy that effects change in one's own life.”

From Wikipedia:  Orenda /ˈɔːrɛndə/ is the Iroquois name for a supposed spiritual energy inherent in people and their environment. It's an "extraordinary invisible power believed by the Iroquois Native Americans to pervade in varying degrees in all animate and inanimate natural objects as a transmissible spiritual energy capable of being exerted according to the will of its possessor."

Now I am off to a good start on this audio journey. The cover image projects exactly what it needs to. It’s soft and very spiritual and angelic of course. If you look at both interpretations of Orenda there are similar meanings, however what I think Dyan is projecting through her music is peace, serenity, love, hope, and ultimately a meditative and healing experience listening to her music. If that force is present then all of those things can happen.

If you are part of the new age community and are into this genre of music, Dyan is not hard to find. Besides being a fine musician that enlightens her listeners, she writes reviews regularly for her contemporaries on Zone Music Reporter, and most recently launched her radio station called New Age Notes. So, to say the least, she is multi-talented and offers so much to others. She is one of our gifts that all of the music community can thank the heavens for.

I had previously covered two of her singles “Every Time You Breathe” and “Forest Whispers.” I completely enjoyed that experience. Now I had the opportunity to settle in and take an entire album in. Dyan allows us to get outside ourselves, and become willing to remove the thoughts and distractions of the day, and focus on the beautiful music she provides on Orenda: Breath Of Angels.

The primary instrument from which each composition is created then performed is her keyboards. For those of you that want to be informed of what equipment she used to record, there are three configurations of keyboards including the Korg Triton Extreme, Korg Krome EX, and Yamaha MOX8. In addition to all the amazing sounds, you will hear the very popular in demand Rebak Eden, who provides the ethereal wordless vocals to give it that special heavenly touch.

What is there not to like on Orenda: Breath Of Angels? The answer is nothing. All ten tracks were wonderful and gave me such solace and regeneration of my mind, body, and spirit, that it was over before I knew it. That is a good thing from my viewpoint, if the music is good then it goes by fast. The sounds while electronically generated, are amazing, to say the least. The combination of all the keyboards and additional instruments makes for a classic contemporary new age music album that will be a joy to hear. It is, as I always say, a great healing tool and will help you get into a meditative state. If you seek relaxation, meditation, either deep alpha or minimal to focus, it works.

If you are ready to take flight on the wings of an angel, then Orenda: Breath Of Angels will make a path of restoration that you will want to visit more than once.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 19, 2021

Tracks:
01. Every Time You Breathe (3:34) (feat. Juliet Lyons, VOX and Sherry Finzer, flute
02. Another Place (3:32)
03. Forest Whispers (5:20) (feat. Sherry Finzer, flute)
04. Orenda (2:59)
05. Moonlight Breeze (6:30)
06. Gentle Traveler (5:05) (feat. Rebekah Eden, VOX and Tony Garviz, guitars)
07. Water For The Soul (Remix) 2:56)
08. Timeless Traveler (6:21) (feat. Rebekah Eden, VOX and Sherry Finzer, flute)
09. Home (Remix) (5:19) (feat. String arrangements by Louis Anthony deLise
10. 5th Eye Trance (5:27) (feat. Rebekah Eden, VOX)

Total run time: 47:23


All music written and performed by Dyan Garris


April 18, 2021

Classical Instrumental Piano Review: Charles David Denler-Portraits In Season Live

Release Date: April, 9, 2021

Label: Independent

Website

My love for music goes back to when I was a child. It has been an exponential growth since then to the present day. My listening is broad and continually evolving. In the context of evolution, Charles David Denler has shaped and molded a previous version of Portraits In Season, virtually released as a synth instrumental suite which premiered on November 30, 2015, with the Boulder Philharmonic. The latest release that came out this month is Portraits In Season Live. Charles plays acoustic piano and is accompanied by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

The end result is absolutely stunning. When I hear music like this, I hear the “truth.” To illustrate that further…I hear how all music was founded, via the great concertos and genius of Bach et all. Although it all started hundreds of years ago and even though it has evolved immensely, musicians continually reach back to the essence of that music to become inspired either reproducing it in their own image and creating it with their own personal stamp or taking their own creations and building on them as Charles has with this new release.

I imagine the synth version would have been enjoyable as well. Even though I do not have that to compare to this newer version, my appreciation is beyond words (which I am never short of when it comes to music). The one factor that came as a surprise was the length of these tracks. I believe the simplicity of the acoustic piano as a lead instrument and the embellishments of a live orchestra changes everything. With that in mind, your expectations may be a bit beyond the process here and what was intended for a listening audience. And while this recording moves along quickly from piece to piece, my appreciation and wanting to hear more was magnified. This could have easily morphed into a magnum opus and a lot of improvisation. That was held in check and what you get is the absolute beauty of the piano and a magnificent orchestra to make each track a thing of art to be admired.

As one track was flowing into the next, it did feel like a suite in two parts as presented. It is similar to opening a book and reading through each chapter. The difference was the embodiment of an aural escape rather than a cerebral journey through the reading of pages. One can become detached in many ways through the sound of music. For myself, I felt an overflowing of gratitude and a reverence for all music and from whence it came. Individual perception is the freedom of music and you choose what path to take upon listening.

The theme of nature is always a celebration of our connection to mother earth and all its inhabitants. I get this from much of the music I hear and actually do not think we hear it enough. As a civilization that looks bound to destroy the beauty and bounty of our planet, we need the calmness and inward thoughts that music can engage and help us to realize. While this sounds philosophical and as a belief system, and it is, I look at it for what it represents, the reality that needs our attention before it's too late.

Portraits In Season Live is an elegant representation of all the things that are quintessential to the human spirit and life itself. This is music unencumbered by computers and technology, a presentation that is live and spontaneous, and subject matter that we all should hold dear to our hearts for our continued existence here on the globe. I would like to thank Charles David Denler for such an engaging recording and triggering all of my thoughts and feelings on how connected we all are to our planet and the music that can sing us a song without words, the truth.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

April 17, 2021

 

Tracks:

 

SIDE ONE: Portraits In Season Suite for Piano & Orchestra:

I. Season's Overture II. Return of Spring III. Woodland Flowers of June
IV. Mid-Summer's Intermezzo V. Autumn's Last Leaf VI. A Winter's Memory
VII. Season's Finale

SIDE TWO: Seasonal Variations for Solo Piano:

Spring Variation: Spring Meadows • Summer Variation: The Water Garden
Autumn Variation: Leaf on the Wind • Winter Variation: Winter’s Repos

 


April 9, 2021

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Timothy Crane-Halo

Release Date: January 22, 2021

Label: Independent

Website

 

As we work our way back to some kind of normalcy after the worldwide devastation of Covid, who do we have to thank for surviving it, keeping a job, and getting vaccinated? Timothy Crane knows all the angels that sacrificed all of their time and lives to help others. In dedication to that special group of people in healthcare or any other industry, he has dedicated his most recent release Halo. And for those of you, and there are many, that lost a loved one or are digging out of a hole financially, there is hope in the music and love and help from so many giving people and institutions, so let the music direct you to that.

My last encounter with Timothy’s music was in 2017 with

The Fall of a Sparrow. Three years is a good stretch in between albums from an only listening perspective. I of course enjoyed the last piano-inspired journey and would expect nothing less on this listen. The expectation of hearing something I know I will enjoy is comforting and having that link and or familiarity with an artist. It is that much more natural to let yourself melt into the music. It is a mind, body, and spirit melt if you will.


As I was looking through the tracks my attention was drawn to “The Boxer.” Ahh…instant recognition to Simon and Garfunkel. This was a great choice and addition to anyone’s list of tracks. The interesting part will be his take on that track.

The album starts off most beautifully with “Waterfall Secrets” and sets the tone and atmosphere just right for the rest of the tracks. The title track “Halo” clocks in at 9:50 and is absolutely gorgeous. I kept getting the chill you get when something really strikes you as special, a moment in time that is captured directly from the aural soundscape that is surrounding you. This is something that happens often enough but I still consider it special, a blessed moment to remember. This is a prolific track and it surely came from the heart and soul of a gifted artist.

As listeners and seekers of a natural therapeutic, we all must remember the healing power of music, especially the instrumental variety with the foundation of a new age mindset and a contemporary approach and classically influenced sound. This is Contemporary New Age Instrumental or for those of you that prefer brevity, instrumental piano will do. It is all of those things but much more can be held dear to your heart if you believe why the artist created this music and appreciate who he dedicated it to.

Many of these tracks have a mesmerizing effect like the first two. Then with the third track “The One About Light,” fits the description perfectly. It has a light and airy feel to it. I felt waves of happiness and the coolness of air against my skin on a hot summer day. Something that could happen on an evening walk, which is very simple and normal, yet something recognizable, enjoyable, and appreciated even more now because of this music engaging me with those thoughts.

Those are just a few of the things that can happen for you if you are an attentive listener and let yourself flow along with the music, taking the journey, your own film flickering through your mind’s eye. It is a beautiful thing isn’t it now?

Getting back to “The Boxer,” it is done with great care and a wonderful tribute to the original. I found myself singing along to it. It is an epic track full of the right amount of emphasis and a musical statement that deserves all of the accolades for being so spot on and moving. This was an unusual treat, being a Simon and Garfunkel fan from way back, it was easy for me to appreciate. These piano instrumental-based albums do not have covers like that included normally. It was a definitive step away from the norm but it also showed the diversity of Timothy’s abilities to jump from one type of style to another with ease.

I must also mention the superb orchestrations on these tracks. One of the good examples is “Cards.” It sounds like a stirring movie soundtrack or something that would accompany a nature or wildlife documentary with majestic mountain peaks, flora and fauna, and the great creatures that inhabit those environments. It is so inspirational and uplifting, as a matter of fact, Halo is exceptional in that frame of reference in many instances during this recording.

Halo will be a great addition to any music collection. It is music for any setting and not just for something nice to have to play in the background, this is music that will lift you up and keep you there from beginning to end. If you are not listening and paying attention to all of the sounds and vibrations emerging from your speakers you would have lost the entire meaning of this album. When it was over, I had one succinct feeling, gratitude.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 7, 2021
 

Tracks:
01. Waterfall Secrets
02. Halo
03. The One About Light
04. The Boxer
05. Cards
06. Uberchic
07. Southern Steps
08. Chelsea Walk
09. Tenants of the Heather
10. Covenant
11. I-70 Sojourn
12. Solaris


April 5, 2021

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Louis Anthony deLise-A Gift of Moments

Release Date: April, 16, 2021

Label: Bocage Music

Website

Life brings us A Gift of Moments each day. Louis Anthony deLise believes that deep down in his soul and he is releasing a collection of ten tracks with that very descriptive title. This creation was very personal for him and he poured all of his thoughts, feelings, and emotions into this recording. I would have to agree, after listening to these tracks that is true.

For every listener that will hear this music, there will be a different storyline going through their minds. Like a motion picture unraveling bits and pieces of life both happy and sad. This music is quite beautiful and compelling. The piano is such an intricate and precise instrument and it sounds that way in Louis’s hands. Those talented fingers transform his creations into the purest form of musical expression.

Some examples of the poignancy and conviction of his instrumental journey are “All Alone.” You feel the singularity of that coming through the music. It sounds sad and beautiful at the same time, and because of that, it will trigger your inner thoughts and emotions. It pulls you into the frame of mind that it should…sad, reflective, relaxed, meditative, any one of these is the human condition that obtains amplification in the music. That is a truly amazing talent to do that and to convince a listener of that raw emotion flowing through the fingers of the artisan, then delivering it with such grace and impact.

As it turns out that is but one example of many excellent tracks on A Gift of Moments that will touch your soul, bring a tear to your eye, give you the warm and fuzzies, just about any reaction one would be able to give listening to such emotive and artistic compositions. This is music that is enjoyable at anytime and anywhere because it gently invites you in and before you know it, you are swept away by all the magic and the kind of mindset it seamlessly puts you in. You can hear and envision “The Ripples In The Pond” and know you have had a great experience that brings you “At The End of The Tunnel.” These track titles are your lead-in to metaphors reimagined by the music to feed your mind, body, and soul.

I can only speak for myself, but this is exactly the kind of thing I look for when I hear contemporary instrumental music with a new age approach and style. It must demand my attention, relax my mind, and give me back the serenity that I know can be found inside me, sometimes I just need some help to dig down deep, then let the walls melt away, and become part of the song I am hearing. This can be your time to receive A Gift of Moments. The best part is there are many wonderful moments and it’s not fleeting, that is mission accomplished from where I sit.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 5, 2021 

Track List:
01. A Gift Of Moments
02. Always In My Heart
03. A Time For Peace
04. All Alone
05. The Heart Of An Angel
06. In The Before Times (February 2020)
07. Gentle Heart
08. A Song For My Children
09. Ripples On The Pond
10. At The End Of The Tunnel





March 18, 2021

New Age Reviews: Lia Scallon-Return of The Star Elders

Release Date: March 21, 2021

Label: Sounds of Sirius

Website

There is a prophecy that speaks of a Pleiadean spaceship that came to Earth a long time ago, leaving behind a special device to be activated at a predestined time. The Aboriginal Elders refer to this device as a “Magic Box,” and say it is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. This event will ignite a fundamental change in all people.


Musicians are the unsung heroes of our society and particularly in this time of great need, they all come through for us. They spread the positive and shine a new light on our lives.


Things of this nature are either taken to heart, completely ignored, or taken with a grain of salt. This is all dependent on your systems of beliefs or what you know as truth in your life. What you have to decide is where you fit into this belief.

One part of me says it’s a lot of hope and it may be true and the other half wants me to believe there is such a thing and it will actually happen and the world will change. Lord knows we need some kind of change after what we just experienced in 2020. So, in conclusion, my belief is that anything is possible and there is a vast unexplored universe with billions of planets out there that could actually help us to heal and heal our planet.

So on to this spiritual journey with Lia Scallon titled Return of The Star Elders subtitled On The Cosmic Wings of Song. There are nine tracks on this recording are composed with Lia speaking and singing in a different language. That fact usually does not steer me off of my goal, listening and absorbing the music and the message held within for me to discover. This process usually happens in a matter of minutes and I am off on my journey. I must say that the key to going into music with this subject matter or unfamiliar language requires an open heart and mind. Because of being open to any possibilities, I am able to achieve this state even though there is doubt tucked away in the corners of my mind. I can get past that quite readily just listening to all the sounds and letting it take me over. Once again, opening my mind and exploring the possibilities.

All the track names are ancient references so if you are not familiar you will have to do some research to put it all together. My only regret listening to this beautiful music is that I could not understand the words. Even so, I see the titles of the tracks and get the idea of what is being projected here. This is cosmic, spiritual, and all about how the stars and planets in our solar system have a significance in their movements, in this case, the Winter Solstice on December 21st. The Solstices are significant every year marking the change of seasons and the rotation of the earth around the sun.
 
Return of The Star Elders holds a lot of meaning for many reasons and the music is what I would expect from Lia and her vocals are always so beautiful, making the way for yet another great listening experience that provides hope, relaxation, and the ushering in of new age for the earth and all its inhabitants. If we all believe then it can and will happen, let the music lead the way!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

March 18, 2021

Track List:
1. Call from the Heart  
2. Arrival of the Star Elders
3. Mayan Star Majesty   
4. Tibetan Skygods    
5. Isle of the Druids  
6. Uluru Galactic Portal   
7. Ancient Kachina Wisdom   
8. Return to Lemuria  
9. The Rising of Isis