February 1, 2016

New Age Instrumental Review: Kathryn Kaye-There Was A Time

Release Date: February 1, 2016
Label: Independent
Website: http://kathrynkaye-music.com/
Buy Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kathrynkaye5


Solo piano music can be soothing  and anything Kathryn Kaye records certainly has that effect on you. With There Was A Time she puts together 10 gorgeous tracks of keyboard heaven.

"Learning To Waltz With Clouds" was my introduction to the new release and also featured on our Rate The Tracks site. It made me feel that I could get in sync with the clouds above and move and float right along with them. For my ears this music translates to something more than an auditory experience, it is a form of divinity that calms and centers me and that is exactly what I need on a daily basis.

Tracks two and three carry some sadness with them. “Arise” and “Bittersweet Goodbye” have a certain melancholy atmosphere but in the same instance reflect a beauty and elegance a piano can easily portray if played by the right individual. In this case all of the above applies and they pull you in and keep you as you make your way through the recording.

Much of new age instrumental music I have the pleasure of hearing is directly connected to Mother Nature and this album is definitely one of those fine examples of getting in touch with our life’s essence. “Shadow of a Bird in Flight” is one track that brings you to the great outdoors and can have you imagining yourself walking along a sundrenched trail and seeing the shadows created by the branches of trees and the passing movement of our winged friends. I can appreciate any music that takes me out of my current environment, puts me in touch with another reality, and reminds me of who I am and the true inner spirit of us all. That is the music’s intent and purpose as far as I am concerned yet it can mean something entirely different for another listener and that is the beauty and freedom of what good music can offer

“Spring Snow” is another track that brings into light a season of prolific change and if you are living in an area that takes you through all four seasons, you can easily relate. I know from my own environment that snow in spring is entirely different than the snow that falls in January. This snow has a purpose, as the temperature begins to rise, it slowly melts away bringing the promise of green fields, blooming trees and flowers, giving the once dormant life a nudge to awaken and says hello! So perhaps for each individual this concept can apply to your life, if there is something that needs to change or be renewed this track and the progression of the music take you through that transformation. The flow of life itself and nature is translated through Ms. Kaye’s fingers in the most poignant way.

There Was A Time is a fantastic journey through the meaning of life and our surroundings. If you enjoy any kind of instrumental music for the sheer enjoyment of listening or the ensuing effect it can have on your mind, body and spirit then I highly recommend listening and paying close attention to each track, you will be glad you did.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Learning To Waltz With Clouds, Shadow of a Bird in Flight, Spring Snow

Tracks:
01. Saro Remembered
02. Arise
03. There Was A Time
04. Spring Snow
05. Wind In The Aspen Grove
06. Shadow Of A Bird In Flight
07. Revival
08. Learning To Waltz With Clouds
09. Bittersweet Goodbye
10. Darkening Skies

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
February 1, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

 

January 22, 2016

New Age/ Piano Instrumental Review: Joe Heinemann-Gratitude

Release Date: January 15, 2016
Label: Independent

Joe Heinemann has been dipping his toe into music since the young age of seven. Studying everything from jazz to classical and dance music, he has progressed to solo piano. This new album is all about leaving something behind. To explore new horizons and know that what you've accomplished is what you were meant to do. It is a theme that resonates with a lot of artists, writers and composers and with this album, the desire is well met. 

Gratitude brings us a look at the tender emotions that make up life and living and the knowledge that in one breath, it could be gone in an instant. "Lenape" is the first song on the album, and begins with tender strokes along the piano keys. Each touch of the finger brings meaning and introspection. We are alive. We breathe. We feel-even when it hurts. Strings slide along and whisper sweet nothings alongside the piano movements, crafting a sweet melody that haunts the soul and draws us into the album.

"Sign of Spring" is one of the flagship tunes on the album. It begins with a poignant glimpse into a brisk spring morning, full of hope and expectation. Rain splashes down on the fresh green stalks of grass, each bursting with life. Each keystroke is implemented with a purpose, plodding and well thought out. It is an awakening of the earth and the soul.

"Gratitude" is the title track on the album and a very apt song title. Meaningful keystrokes illustrate emotion, highlighting our inner lives. Gratitude comes when you appreciate the world around you. It is in the small things. The simple act of giving, a lick from a dog who loves you, a tender glance between husband and wife. It is the air we breathe and the essence of our being. With every keystroke, Heinemann illustrates why it matters. To have gratitude is to appreciate life in all of its foibles and idiosyncrasies. To be fully aware that we aren't perfect and to be loved in spite of it.

Joe Heinemann has created an album filled with blissful moments. For days I've listened contently writing while my dogs huddle around my feet in abject happiness. There is joy in the little things and today as rain clouds tease me with the promise of a dark afternoon for writing and thought, I'm grateful for this music and happy canine companionship. Heinemann takes our longing, our late nights and our solace and wraps it up in one neat little album. Every note is right on. Every emotive melody there for us to relish over and over again. And I have-and will again. This album is a must have if you enjoy a quiet interlude away from the world.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Sign of Spring, Gratitude, Lenape

Tracks:
 01.Lenape
02.Enduring Hope
03.For Satie
04.Sea Dream (Away)
05.Sign of Spring
06.Longing
07.Solace
08.My Song (Carried Along)
09.Gratitude
10.Golden Waves
11.Late At Night
 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
January 22, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews





January 20, 2016

Instrumental New Age Review: Robert Linton-Beyond The Clearing

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Label: October Moon Records

Beyond The Clearing is Robert Linton’s third studio release. My introduction to Robert was the track “Aside the River Bed.” It was featured on our Rate The Tracks site. His delicate guitar playing led me along the river and I felt like I was there, one with nature.

If music moves you enough to be picturesque then it is doing what intends to. Instrumental tracks must create something other than an auditory experience for the listener. Without words there is no story right? This is not always the case when someone knows how to deliver a message with music alone. Mr. Linton accomplishes this with a flair and excellence on Beyond The Clearing.

“Lingering Rustle” certainly holds a meaning. It is a sound, perhaps a feeling one has, something is moving and trying to tell you something. That lingering could be a feeling you have internally, whether it’s an urging, a rumbling in the stomach or just a voice within giving you direction. That fact that it is lingering indicates that it will not go away unless addressed. This song is very gentle in its approach and Robert
paints the sky with the gentle pastels of his decisive guitar lines. Other instruments come into the picture and are then sprinkled in ever so slightly to accentuate the atmosphere and sincere feeling of the track.

As always I leave the interpretation of each song to each individuals own perception. I look at the CD cover, the title of the track and listen intently then put all of that together as each track develops and then I start feeling certain things and begin seeing a movie unfold in my mind’s eye. This can only happen with exceptional music and this album passed the test.

The title track is always significant and the artist holds up his end of that expectation with “Beyond The Clearing.” Once again gentle acoustic and melodic guitar lines whisper on the wind as it swirls around your being you begin to feel like you are melting into the scenery unfolding in your mind. It is the very essence of beauty and perfection much like the natural surroundings that Robert is standing in the middle of on the cover of this album. A man, his thoughts and his guitar take the barren hot desert and turn it into his own personal heaven. What was once looked at as a desolate and lonely place blooms into a haven of peace and solitude that a spiritual individual can appreciate and want to return to.

Beyond The Clearing is a work of art that an artist with a clear vision of what he wanted to present to a listening audience. The sheer beauty of one instrument leading you down the path of completion and satisfaction is what awaits you inside this music. The sounds and colors that paint this musical canvas are bright with life and the promise of a new day. What more could one ask from a recording?

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Aside the River Bed, Lingering Rustle, Beyond The Clearing

Tracks:
01. Aside the River Bend
02. Gathering over the Surface
03. Lingering Rustle
04. Shadowing the Hillside
05. A Distant Storm
06. Beyond the Clearing
07. Stretching Across the Horizon
08. Amid the Stillness
09. Beneath the Cloudless Sky

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 20, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



January 14, 2016

Instrumental New Age Reviews:Raphael Groten-Journey Home

Release Date: July, 17, 2015
Label: Silent Wing Records

Raphael Groten takes the six string acoustic guitar and turns it into a magic wand on his recent release Journey Home. 

The first track I had the pleasure hearing from this talented man was “Sweetness,” which is included here and it was also a featured track on our Rate The Tracks site.

This album gets in touch with our natural surroundings and with the most important element, the giver of life and water. “Black River,” “Waves” and “Ebb and Flow” (the ebb and flow of life?) are three that will push you in the right direction or downstream if you will. Music, water, all-encompassing nature, this is life and everything in existence.
Groten has complete command of his instrument. As he becomes one with nature so he does with his guitar. This music soothes the soul and calms the frazzled nerves. It is so simplistic and straightforward that it becomes easy to assimilate and picture each title in your mind’s eye. One has to be quiet internally to meditate and center and this music serves the same purpose if you let it.

Also the four sequential “Journey” tracks serve a higher purpose. As you take in nature and all its beauty it is a journey with facets and twists and turns like the imaginary river you are walking along or just sitting peacefully by. The first is “Journey Home: Awakening” followed by Breath, Echoes and then Arrival to the destination you seek.
It all makes perfect sense and is pieced together with logic and purpose. If you really listen to the singularity of Groten’s guitar it will all come together for you. It certainly did for me and when I listened and looked at all the track titles and how they progressed it was like putting on a perfect set of new shoes. 

I really enjoyed every track on this recording, however I listed the key tracks for their significance in title, besides the fact that they were all stellar compositions of beauty and grace.

Raphael Groten chose the right people to work with that would understand his music. Will Ackerman is a fine guitar player and producer himself so it is not hard to imagine why this project turned out so well.

Journey Home can hold different meanings for everyone but I know one thing for certain, if you like solo acoustic guitar music you will love this album! It is perfect just the way it is.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Sweetness, Journey Home: Awakening, Ebb & Flow

Tracks: 
01. Sweetness
02. Black River
03. Waves
04. Journey Home: Awakening
05. Journey Home: Breath
06. Journey Home: Echoes
07. Journey Home: Arrival
08. Ebb & Flow
09. Grandpa's Hands
10. Rest
12. Truth
13. Be
14. Sweetness Reprise


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 14, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

January 11, 2016

Instrumental New Age Review: David Lindsay-Nightbound

Release Date: November 6, 2015
Label: Fallingfoot Records
With simplicity there comes beauty, spirituality and peace. David Lindsay released Nighbound late last year and with that music, his acoustic guitar to be more specific, he created 13 tracks of pure instrumental tranquility.

With the help of stellar artists such as Tony Levin and Jill Haley to name but a few, and the amazing talents of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios, another masterpiece was created for the lovers of new age instrumental music.

The music is a exquisite combination of acoustic, instrumental, new age and classical. All of these genres find a way of enhancing the other and the sounds you will hear are like watching butter melt on a hot dish of your favorite food. The ambiance and texture delights the senses and the very spirit you hold within. One track leads to the next inviting you on your own personal journey, as you ride the wave of sounds you will be instantly relaxed and motivated to hear it all.

The album opener is “Bright Stars,” which is self-explanatory. The music is clear and bright like a winter’s night sky and the light of the brightest star gets your attention instantly. Lindsay’s acoustic guitar reels you in and keeps you focused on what you are hearing without ever letting go. That is the goal of every artist, if that is accomplished then the mission is complete. The first track is the most important one for any album as it sets the precedence for the listener. In this case that point is proven with authority.

“Nightbound” is the all-important title track and it an essential part of any release. It starts off very slow and methodically to make you pay attention so you will anticipate how it develops. After about the 2:40 mark it starts to change in pace, it picks up and moves in another direction as the cello is introduced and some percussion. As each instrument comes in it adds more depth and color to the track making it sound like a potential soundtrack to a film or video - or if you wish thoughts that may be going through your mind. I appreciate the way the song provided a very purposeful introduction to set you up for a climatic ending. Even though this is graceful and thoroughly relaxing music it still provides a listener with a storyline and the hope of change in a musical sense. It does not disappoint at all.

“What The Wind Said” is another track that got my attention, at first simply for the title as it sounds so very mystical and spiritual. After listening, that train of thought was indeed confirmed. The guitar is delicate and steps lightly as it leads you to the whispering wind with strokes of the strings that help you envision what the title is saying. Just like a cool breeze brushing up against your face it speaks to you and invites you along for a journey of the soul.

For a wonderful musical experience that will leave a lasting impression and uplift your spirit I would highly recommend listening to Nightbound.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Bright Stars, Nightbound, What The Wind Said

Tracks:
01. Bright Stars
02. Dreamwalk
03. A Boy and a River
04. Nightbound
05. Ila’s Lullaby
06. Vermont
07. Unspoken
08. Bluewater Beach
09. What The Wind Said
10. Nocturne
11. Vanishing Point
12. Protectress Moon
13. Bright Stars Reprise


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 11, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews






 

January 10, 2016

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Tim Neumark-Moments-Solo Piano, Op. 7

Release Date: October 1, 2015
Label: Independent

Moments is Tim Neumark’s seventh album release. A solo piano endeavor, this album looks at the small but important moments in our lives that can often go unnoticed. The conversations had between father and daughter or millions of tiny occurrences that we take for granted while they are happening, only to remember them fondly later when the moment has passed-in some cases, forever.

“Beauty” is the first track on the album and it immediately garnered my attention. The steady and heartfelt playing is an emotive experience that captures the love the artist has for his wife and daughter. Poignant and rife with appreciation for the women in his life, Neumark crafts an eloquent portrait of his loves, one keystroke at a time.

“And Then” is the second piece on the album and it struck me for the somber and thoughtful tone. It wasn’t until I read the inside notes on the cover that I realized why. It is the story of a woman who had talks with her father over the phone that always included “and then?” When her father died, she missed those dialogs. My father wasn’t a part of my life growing up. I treasured the moments when we reconnected and had those same kinds of phone conversations. I grew to know him again and when we finally got to reconnect for real it was amazing. To lose him so soon after that broke my heart. It was the talks that connected us and started it all. This song illustrates the stirring of emotions from bitter to sweet and all the echoes of emotions in between. It is truly the small moments that matter in very big ways.

“Eight-Paw Waltz” brings us to the food bowl. Oh yes. The fun moments where furry paws dance and twirl all for the love of kibbles and crunchy bits. This fun little song was written for the moments of doggie appreciation and canine food induced bliss. I have a pack of my own and to observe the delight and anticipation on my furry kids’ faces when they know it’s time for a cookie or their breakfast is one of the highlights of my day. Every keystroke is an ode to puppy-dom and the tromp of four legged feet and the joy they bring to us each and every day.

If you are searching for an album that reaches into the real moments of our lives then you have just found it. In between the big events there are the small ones. These are the ones that matter and the ones most easily taken for granted until they are gone. A conversation with a loved one, a goofy doggie smile, a few seconds of a dream before it is taken from you or even the consideration of memories that may have been. All of these things are part of our lives. The key to it is to appreciate what we have-and who we have- while they are still with us. Take a moment and listen to this amazing walk through the hidden corners of our lives…you might just find yourself hidden within the notes.

5/5 Stars
Key Tracks: Beauty, And Then, Eight-Paw Waltz

Tracks: 
01.Beauty
02. And Then
03. Little Renée
04. Daughters
05. Waiting for Ella
06. Eight-Paw Waltz
07. 11 Seconds
08. Double in the Sun
09. What If
10  Meditation: Remembrance
11. The Orange Bridge
12. You Are Here
13. Beginnings (For Orchestra) [feat. Doug Hammer]

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
January 10, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



December 22, 2015

Holiday/New Age/Classical Review: Jennifer Thomas-Winter Symphony

Release Date: November 20, 2015
Label: Tickled Ivory Music

Jennifer Thomas is a talented multidimensional artist. She is a composer, pianist and violinist with a lot of respect coming from her peers in the industry. With Winter Symphony she takes tradition and several genres and creates a magnificent soundtrack. The album is titled appropriately as it is a shimmering and magical journey. At times certain parts did remind me of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I knew after hearing the first track that this recording was going to be prolific and moving.

The curtain opens to a spectacular unraveling of sound and color with “Angels We Have Heard On High (feat. The Ensign Chorus),” and the chorus indeed sounds like it was heaven sent.

The brilliance of “Carol of the Bells” opens the door to the Holiday with parts of a legendary track that come alive with cascading piano and orchestrations. Classical and New Age music merge with tradition for an entirely new universe of music for a listener to enjoy.

As an individual that gets inundated with Holiday music every year it becomes harder and harder to get my attention and any particular release to make a lasting impression. I have been fortunate this year to hear several great unconventional recordings that gave me a new perspective and outlook on this special Holiday season.

“Ice Dance” is a musical ballet with the grandeur of orchestrations, a choir and Jennifer’s tinkling and alluring piano strokes. It is quite beautiful…you can envision a lone ice skater joined by others as the song reaches its apex then winds down like a snow globe in your mind gently bringing it back to the singularity of purpose this dance represents.

As mature and distinct as this music is it can most certainly bring to light the child inside all of us. Remember when you were the wide eyed little girl/boy full of the wonder of Christmas morning? It is all here for you to absorb and hold in your heart for as long as you wish or to listen to again and again.

Winter Symphony needs a stage with actors to play out the parts of this engrossing musical story. I would not be surprised to see it all come to life on a stage or on the screen someday soon. If that does not happen I will surprised. There is so much going on in this music, it makes you feel alive and grateful for life and all there is to enjoy. The power of music proves once again that it can heal and change an attitude within minutes. The spirit of humanity and the holidays are alive and breathing in this music, do not miss it!

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Carol of the Bells, Angels We Have Heard On High (feat. The Ensign Chorus), Ice Dance

Tracks:
01. Angels We Have Heard On High (feat. The Ensign Chorus)
02. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
03. Carol of the Bells
04. Alleluia (feat. Felicia Farerre & The Ensign Chorus)
05. Ice Dance (feat. The Ensign Chorus)
06. I Saw Three Ships
07. Breath of Heaven
08. Theme from Home Alone (Somewhere in My Memory)
09. What Child Is This (feat. Taylor Davis)
10. Silent Night (feat. The Ensign Chorus)
11. Winter Symphony
12. O Holy Night


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
December 22, 2015
Provided By New Age Music Reviews