March 29, 2017

New Age-Classical Review: Nancy Shoop-Wu-Rainbow Road

Release Date: January 13, 2017
Label: CD Baby
Nancy Shoop-Wu shows you the way to Rainbow Road, the title of her most recent recording. If you follow the road that leads to the rainbow you will discover a wealth of beautiful music.

Nancy takes her violin and turns it into a magic wand with a combination of new age and classical instrumental tracks (except for track 8). She calls Hawaii her home, the island of rainbows. Her inspiration is derived from her home and the driving force is the memory of her father, whom she lost at the young age of 12. There is nothing like a deep enduring love to give you the courage and energy to strive forward regardless of any road blocks.

On Rainbow Road Nancy creates a masterstroke of violin music accompanied by some well-placed piano parts and other instruments. The other instruments are the desserts after the full course meal. Her playing is graceful and moving as it could possibly be for a violin taking the lead on a song. 

Every track is like a rainbow of colors and as picturesque as the island she lives on. This is “make you feel good all over music.” Although this is primarily an instrumental recording Nancy exercises her voice on “Carry Me Home.” I must say that her vocals are as gorgeous as her violin playing. The title of the song and the words are a strong statement from a voice that cannot be ignored and the same can be said for the music itself. 

New age and classical are not strange bedfellows there are intrinsically linked, taking the same foundation to build a tower of sound and delight for any one that appreciates music. Additionally, music that is spiritual in nature and relaxes and soothes the soul is something everyone needs every day, whether they realize it or not. It has helped me for years; it makes me appreciative of the arts and all the joy they bring to us all. Music is a gift from the heavens I have no doubt and Nancy Shoop-Wu is one of the angels that is delivering it on Rainbow Road. She is “Lele Noa” (English translation is Flying Free) on this excellent recording!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 29, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. Rainbow Road
02. Pulelehua (Mountain Butterfly)
03. Lei Hoku (Star of Love)
04. Sunrise over Haleiwa
05. Always in My Heart
06. Lullaby
07. Waimanalo
08. Carry Me Home
09. Beautiful Mana'o
10. In Your Eyes
11. Ma'noa Rain
12. Lele Noa (Flying Free)


March 26, 2017

Instrumental Meditation Review: Anaamaly-Urban Metta Vol. 1

Release Date: April 21, 2017
Label: RS Promotions/Heart Dance Records

Phil Strickland is a Phoenix-based recording artist who records under the pseudonym, Anaamaly.  In the video provided the artist introduces his new album Urban Metta Vol. 1. He came from a different genre as indicated by the title however what he does is take all of his knowledge and influences from a different world and creates another.

His desire to make music that was beautiful and a backdrop to his wife’s yoga classes became a reality once Urban Metta Vol. 1 was completed.

I was watching a documentary on musical artist Sheryl Crow and she said that music changes the molecules in your body. I believe this to be true, otherwise how else could you explain the waves of good feelings and emotions a person can have when music is played? It also can change your brain waves, and most certainly the music of Anaamaly does that. Another point of interest is the fact that you do not have to be familiar with the sounds to have a reaction. It works that way for me, particularly with any kind of instrumental music created to connect you to a higher level of consciousness. In addition, it surely can bring you there if you are in an unbalanced state of being.

I do not think there are a lot of us on this plane of existence walking around on higher level of consciousness. There is too much noise and interference to allow that to happen on a large scale. If I ever figure out a way to change that I will be sure to share it readily with my brothers and sisters that enjoy this kind of music. Something prolific must happen on a global scale spiritually for things to change. Music can help or literally lead the cause.

Urban Metta Vol. 1 is recorded by what you would call a non-traditional musician and Anaamaly is the first person to tell you that in the provided video. He comes from a world that is high tech, utilizing beats and electronic sounds that are computer generated. This is very common however for one person to take many sounds created in a digital world and to make it all a work of art is another mountain to climb. This process takes a lot of talent and artistry and cannot be underestimated.

I appreciate the value and presentation of this recording. All the mystical sounds and whirling and whooshing of the synths that take you away, it is like being swept off the ground and floating away on a cloud of relaxation. There is simplicity in the purpose yet the music is a complex combination of emotions and textures packaged into one bundle for you to unfold and absorb.

Every listener has a different vibration and aura thus the music will take on colors that only that individual can see and feel. That is the beauty and gift of instrumental music meant for meditation or for the background for a yoga class.  When a group of people must concentrate, and go inward to attain a level of the spirit to achieve a physical and mental balance that yoga requires, music can be a great tool.

Regardless of what you want to do with the music it does offer a healing process that is either conscious or on a subconscious level and for this listener that is wonderful thing.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 26, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:


01. I Stand in My Own Power
02. I Walk Through the Fire
03. I Live in the Current Moment
04. I Embrace All Wisdom
05. I Love Unconditionally
06. I Am Grateful For...
07. I Am Lighthearted
08. I Am Perfect Either Way
09. I Am Awakened
10. I Am Surrounded by Abundance
11. I Am Healed on All Levels



March 16, 2017

New Age/World Review: Darlene Koldenhoven-Color Me Home

Release Date: April 21, 2017
Label: TimeArt Recordings

The list of credits for Darlene Koldenhoven on her upcoming release Color Me Home is mind boggling. She is credited with Producer, vocalist, pianist, composer, lyricist, vocal and instrumental arranger, keyboardist and solos, programmer and engineer, Native drums & shaker, album notes and a coloring book.

Yes, that is not a typo, a coloring book. A very interesting and fact filled booklet comes with the CD and many pictures that can be colored in. This package is quite unique. I have seen a lot things over my 19 years of reviewing music but this is something special and a pleasant surprise. The pictures in the book are very intricate and personally I would not attempt to color them in fear of ruining their beauty. I am sure there are people out there that will feel entirely different.

I understand there are adult coloring books now selling like hotcakes now because people use it as an exercise in relaxation. So, you take that and add the music of Ms. Koldenhoven and you have a potent combination of serenity and spirituality all in one package. The artist grew up encouraged in an environment to color while listening to music. So, everyone that purchases this CD has an opportunity to color Darlene home, hence the inviting title.

I must say that I thought there was not much uniqueness left in the music industry but this recording and packaging puts that thought to rest.
Along with all the talents that Darlene brings to the table she had 16 guest artists along for the journey. I will not go through the roll call in case I forget someone so I will leave it to you readers to do your research if you feel compelled to do so. Let’s just say the people involved are prominent musicians in the new age community.

Darlene’s voice is that of an angel and it is operatic at some points. Her range is phenomenal. And the music? It is incredibly beautiful … filled with textures, colors and all sorts of atmospheres that make your mind wander into dreamland. The combination of vocals and instrumentation is superbly placed within each track. It takes true artistry and natural talent to create such a diversified recording and so many worldly new age flavors. I particularly appreciated the native drums and sounds that made me feel one with humanity and mother earth. It always has that effect on me and it feels warm and real. Who wouldn’t want to listen to music that makes you feel that way?

I can say with certainty so early in the year, that Color Me Home should be up for a Grammy. With all things considered and the work and craft that went into this music, I certainly think it deserves all the consideration for awards of recognition. You be the judge and let me know what you think after you stream the player and watch the video provided for your preview.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 16, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. First Light
02. The Pleasure of the Mourning Dove
03. Kalahari Calls
04. Song of the Swans
05. Eternal Love's Song
06. Indian Summer
07. Embracing This Moment
08. Ode to Our Orb
09. Until
10. Open Skies
11. Color Me Home 



March 10, 2017

Instrumental New Age-Classical Review: Keith Gehle-Space and Time

Release Date: June 15, 2016
Label: Independent

Keith Gehle is a classically trained guitarist. From my experience listening to those that come from that realm, it does make a difference and has a very positive effect on the music presented. Everything started with classical music. There is always that foundation from which everything is born and then a wellspring of creativity is then realized. Many different genres have sub genres however classical remains the rock that holds it all together.

With Space and Time Keith Gehle practices that very principal of building from a core foundation with great success. It is like taking a book filled with blank pages and populating it with images, thoughts and atmospheres to create the all-encompassing work of art. This process can only be imagined through each individual artist and then translated to the strings of a guitar or any other instrument. 

If you are familiar with the famous instrumental by Mason Williams titled “Classical Gas” you can hear the potential to create something like that on this recording. Keep in mind that song is unique and played at a very high level of proficiency. Even though most of Keith’s music comes at you in a leisurely pace, I can still envision him playing a song like that. His fingers do all the talking and invite you to let your mind do all the walking. Walking in a relative sense…in sync with the music as it pulls you in and influences a good feeling and sense of wellbeing.

Each track melts into the other seamlessly. There are 11 tracks in total on Space and Time and each one is a gorgeous representation of the new age and classical genre meeting half way to create a successful marriage of sound.

“Walking” was a favorite among an entire album of favorites. There was not one track I could not appreciate. The simplicity, delicacy and arrangements were superb.  “Walking,” which I mentioned previously had an impact because of the title and what it implies. It is like taking that inner journey yet floating along on your feet to another destination with complete satisfaction and joy. Although in this instance it was a mental exercise, I can see myself listening to this music walking, sitting or driving. This is what I can get from one track by looking at the title and listening to the music and putting the two together. I then find a relation or common ground through my own thought process and spirituality. There are no instructions or preconceived ideas to expect before playing this music, just turn it on and let the process happen.

Thank you, Keith Gehle for the nice walk and the atmospheres you created along the way.


5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 10, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01.  Waiting for the Sun
02.  Lavender Sky
03.  November Memories
04.  The Escaping Light
05.  Thanksgiving Day
06.  Tone Poem No. 6 (Space and Time)
07.  Girl on a Swing
08.  Walking
09.  My Setting Sun
10.  Cooper’s Creek
11.  Tone Poem No. 2 (Stars of the Desert Sky)

 

March 6, 2017

Instrumental New Age/Ambient Review: Stephen Peppos-Leaving Terra Firma

Release Date: January 8, 2017
Label: Sonic Bear Music

Leaving Terra Firma  is the fifth studio release for Stephen Peppos.  He has also produced over 2000 tracks for his original music libraries, composed national TV jingles, and worked with some of the best music library companies in the world. To say that the man has talent and experience is an understatement.


The recording came out at the beginning 2017 and it offers a listener an opportunity to escape the everyday life syndromes we fall into at times.  Life can be routine, boring or utter chaos, and regardless of the state we are in now, we do need help to refocus or just get some “me” time. The time to center, relax and drift off into another reality empties out the mind and the soul, which brings a sense of calm.

Leaving Terra Firma not only suggests that we leave the ground it helps you to do so for your own wellbeing. Stephen orchestrates the soundscapes that are created then you gradually find yourself falling away into the ambient textures and layers. I would classify this music as ambient however the new age qualities are very strong as well. The lure and power of the spacey sounds and orchestrations are as inviting as they could be. There is a different place that awaits us when we leave this earth and perhaps this a preview of what it will be like.

Although the 13 tracks are dissimilar, the ultimate result is they all have the same effects and results. The subtle nuances of the keyboards are heightened by the supporting orchestrations and instrumentation. The universal language of the soul coincides with the music. This is not coincidental; it is a fact and if you listen to this entire recording you will realize the importance and relevancy of what artists like Stephen Peppos accomplish with his music.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 5, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Leaving Terra Firma    
02. Magnetic Fields    
03. Vita Secundom Vita    
04. Everlast    
05. Sea Of Joy    
06. Translucence    
07. Praesentia Animi
08. Moth On A Purple Flower
09. Affluere (Adrift Toward)
10. Amor Dei
11. To See
12. Finalis
13. Cold But Warm Peace
 

March 2, 2017

New Age Instrumental/Meditation Review: Tom Grant-Sipping Beauty

Release Date: April 7, 2017
Label: Nu-Wrinkle

Tom Grant has over 40 years invested in making music. His latest upcoming release is titled Sipping Beauty. If you happen to be in the market for eclectic music, then this can be your ticket to ride. Taking a journey with music is the only way to travel. They key here is to sip the beauty and enjoy it and not take it all in with one swallow.

Those of you that have a propensity for piano based music will find a lot to appreciate on this recording.

“Feathers Falling Up” was one of my favorite tracks. I am sure I heard the distinctive bass playing of Michael Manring. Have you ever seen a feather go up instead of down (when there is no wind of course)? That would be magical just as the track would lead you to believe. Besides, what is music if it doesn’t have some magic and wonder around it to engage a listener and challenge the imagination?

Tom Grant’s pedigree is an impressive one, playing with some of the jazz greats over the years such as trumpeter Woody Shaw and sax players Joe Henderson and Charles Lloyd, are an indication of his abilities. And that just names a few. His experience in the jazz realm can be heard in his music. That is but one element that you will hear. There are touches of ambient, new age, world, well just about everything under the musical sun you could think of for instrumental forays on one album.

“Wrapped In Love” with whispers and steady breathy background vocals reminded me of the 10cc classic “I’m Not In Love.” I am sure it is coincidental the word love is in the title of the track and I happened to relate it to that one song. 10cc happens to be one of my favorites so it was easy for me to find something in common with the track. I do what everyone else does while listening, I relate it my own life experiences and the different music I have enjoyed since arriving on this planet.

“Arms Wide Open” was another one that got my attention and touched me. The piano is so elegant and inviting along with some strumming jazz guitar fills and some carefully placed acoustic guitar picking lines. The sounds are accented with the culture of Spain. The music comes flying off the fingertips of the creator crafting the sounds, lighting up the song like firefly’s in the night sky.

Even though you can classify this music as new age instrumental and meditation music it is far more than that. The different flavors and colors that interweaves into each song gives it a strong crossover appeal. If you’re a musical purist in any sense of the word you will not appreciate Sipping Beauty. However, if you go into this with your eyes and ears opened wide ready to receive a constant flow of change and transition, then you will absolutely love this album as much as I did. And remember if it doesn’t hit you right upon the first listen, try it again and sip it a little at a time, and you will then discover the beauty waiting for you inside the music.

When the student is ready the teacher will show up, just listen.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 28, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews
 
Tracks:
01. Petrichor Perfume
02. Sun-Kissed Beings
03. Sipping Beauty
04. Feathers Falling UP
05. Wrapped In Love
06. Sighs n' Whispers
07. Arms Wide Open
08. Desire Unspoken
09. Moondrops
10. Where Time Disappears

February 22, 2017

Instrumental New Age-Classical-Jazz Fusion Review: Psychic Equalizer - The Lonely Traveller

Release Date: January 20, 2017
Label: Milvus
Website


Hugo Selles provides much of the instrumentation on The Lonely Traveller, from his Psychic Equalizer project. Along with a host of other musicians Selles performs on piano, keyboards, and synths; electric and classical guitar, drums, and vibraphone. He has also composed two movie soundtracks along his journey. Selles has been a student of music and has attained degrees and a wealth of practical experience.

This is expressionism to its fullest extent. The musical canvas provided is as diverse as the people on the cover of the album. Of course, this the whole point. There are no barriers creatively while creating a crossover sound that is bound touch many listeners. The music touches upon the spectrum of the human condition while growing up. The meaning, moods and atmospheres could easily reflect the many changes we go through in life.

The Lonely Traveller stirs the musical pot with new age, classical, jazz, and rock. I think it’s a wonderful thing that one man could add each layer of musical parts to each track and successfully create a cohesive entity.

A few of the tracks are workouts such as “Lovers Meet,” “Mezuz,” my favorite track and “An Ocean of Changes 1-1V,” which is literally filled with so many changes it is hard to keep track. Bordering on Acid Jazz/Rock, it is a wall of sounds. “An Ocean of Changes V-V1” is lot shorter and palpable for the average listener. Keep in mind however this is not music made for the “average” listener. This is a thought provoking mind expanding journey. A journey that I think you will find quite incredible knowing one man created it on his own.

The Lonely Traveller comes up in iTunes as Unknown Genre, now that is befitting what this music offers the listener looking for originality. I think any artist would take that as a compliment. The music cannot be categorized because it stands on its own as a work of art and sincere craftsmanship. There is true talent at work here and to think this is only the beginning for Mr. Hugo Selles.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 22, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Mezuz
02. An Ocean of Changes (I-IV)
03. The Lonely Traveller
04. Lágrimas
05. Adrift
06. Peña Labra
07. Flying over the Caucasus
08. Lovers Meet
09. A Collection of Marbles
10. An Ocean of Changes (V-VI)
11. A Visit to Adelaide
12. Nørrebro
13. Never Lose Hope (Bonus Track