August 15, 2018

New Age/World Instrumental Review: Marcia Watson Bendo-Woodland Moons

Release Date: August 17th, 2018
Label: Independent

I love it when I am able to read about an artist and all their amazing accomplishments. It gets everything into proper perspective before listening. Then writing about what I heard becomes more meaningful.

Marcia Watson Bendo is a multi-talented artist that is accomplished in many disciplines including the violin and a large selection of Native American Flutes. Picking up a woodwind changed her life and her music.

Woodland Moons is her tribute to that instrument. In her own words, the artist explains what her music stands for…. 

“I strive to artistically create music that resonates with people by expressing an emotion, an image, a story, or reviving a memory.”

From where I sit, that wraps it all up in a nice package and puts a bow on it. This type of music has a magical and mystical essence that cannot be compared to any other genre that is within my realm. I know there is a lot to choose from in the globally connected world we live in, so the choices are made by personal tastes and or a drive for exploration. Back when I was a young teenager I would buy albums out of curiosity. I have not lost that part of my decision-making process I just refined it over the years a bit. In any instance, I would not hesitate to listen to music like what Woodland Moons has to offer. The feeling of discovering something new and stimulating consumed me with this album.

“Berry Moon” for instance, takes the flute and builds all the other instruments around it. The flute playing still stands out however the other music just enhances the entire track. The instrumentations and orchestrations are beautifully done and arranged. This track, in particular, illustrates the pliability of one instrument wrapping itself around everything else to create a bigger sound that reaches the listener. As I always say, it comes across differently for each individual yet it remains universal with no borders. That is the beauty and perfection of music and the one element that will never change. I am very grateful for that.

Even though each song is about a different moon, it most certainly works because of the thought process the artist goes through. We do have many moons that we see in our sky, however, looking at the varying degrees presented here gives it an entirely new flavor. This interpretation is related to nature and our precious mother earth and all it has to offer us. Also, this may serve as a reminder of how we need to take care of our planet and appreciate how it sustains all life.

Woodland Moons is twelve tracks of musical bliss that will serve every listener well. I highly recommend it for relaxing, meditation and for getting a spiritual connection. You can get a greater respect for your inner voice and purpose. If you listen enough, you will honor that inner voice and thank the music for bringing you to that realization.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 13, 2018

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Fallen Leaves Moon
02. Planting Moon
03. Strawberry Moon
04. Midsummer Moon
05. Forest Moon
06. Yellow Leaves Moon
07. Big Bear Moon
08. Snow Moon
09. Crane Moon
10. Maple Sugar Moon
11. Little Bear Moon
12. Berry Moon




August 11, 2018

New Age/Ambient/Electronica Review: David Arkenstone-Colors of the Ambient Sky

Release Date: July 13, 2018
Label: Dream Palace Publishing / BMI

David Arkenstone is about to make the summer brighter with a new release in July titled Colors of the Ambient Sky. He is the author of an astounding 65 recordings!

David is primarily a keyboardist, plays the guitar, mandolin, flute, cello, percussion, and many other instruments. He utilizes all the tools of the music trade, including the computer to provide orchestrations that provide beauty and texture. On this album it is all David, there are no guest musicians. You soon realize what an amazing accomplishment this album is once you hear it for the first time.

If you look closely at the CD cover it is like lying on the ground looking up at the treetops and star-filled skies. The music fits well with the album cover. It takes you to a higher place of consciousness like the one beyond the treetops. What you hear is music that could easily be used for soundtrack or other media deliveries, but more importantly it gives you an outlet for relaxation. As the artist suggests, it is like dreaming with your eyes open.

I have been hearing much more of this type of ambient music lately and have thoroughly enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, it has prompted me to seek out other similar artists. Tracks like “Blue Lightning” reminded me of one of my favorite Tangerine Dream albums titled Le Parc. Colors of the Ambient Sky has pleasing spacey and relaxing ambient sounds with the hints of technology swirling around it. For me, there is just enough of all of that Colors of the Ambient Sky to keep me interested and quite satisfied.

I would expect Colors of the Ambient Sky to be one of the more popular releases of 2018 in the ambient and new age genres. I really appreciated the overall consistency and textures of the music from track to track. I was envisioning an artist painting with many different colors and taking the time to put them in the right place on the canvas to create another masterpiece. I felt like it was ear candy that was transformed in my mind’s eye into colors and images. For my musical tastes, this is the kind of experience I truly enjoy. I do not go into a listening experience with anticipation, it would ruin the birth of new thoughts and feelings it could possibly create. That is a good policy for any listener actually.

As the closing track “Ascension” brings the curtain to a close, you realize just how positive and uplifting a musical journey can bring. Your skies will be colored with a broad musical brush that will touch you in so many ways. That is all any listener could ask for.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 11, 2018
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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks: 
01. Parallel World
02. Red Sun
03. Starlight Starbright
04. Darkness Descending
05. Rainbow Galaxy
06. Blue Lightning
07. Lonely Satellite
08. Visitors 


August 8, 2018

New Age/Celtic/Pop Review: Cecilie-Fearless

Release Date: April 27, 2018
Label: Utmark

There is a very good reason why Cecilie titled her debut album Fearless. This young lady has a strong belief that addresses fear and holding back. She believes the following “It’s about releasing, letting go of whatever is holding you back, being present and alive, and listening to the world around you until you find your own personal direction.”

Once you hear her voice you will believe what she believes. Her tasteful folk, pop, new age and Celtic styles are uplifting and carry a message. If you are looking for it or not, the message will be heard and received due her inviting angelic vocals. Her style and timbre reminded me fondly of Candice Night.

This is the kind of music I could imagine in a soundtrack for a movie or one of those great Disney films that deliver a positive message to an audience. This perception came as no surprise after reading about her love for plays like Cats etc. The elements of all the flavors that make this delightful ear candy are the keys to the kingdom on Fearless. This is a time and place created by the artist. The invitation to join her on the journey is inside her then translated through each song. What this woman has to share becomes transparent to anyone within listening range. It is a thing of beauty and a true work of art.

I think what impressed me the most was how each track was different musically and every time it was spot on to match her incredibly gorgeous vocals. Although the subject matter is about life, love and the trials we go through, you will hear sadness but at the time there are the silver linings inside those dark clouds. The clouds turn into a blossoming flower when Cecilie sings and expresses herself in each track.

Fearless is bound to stir your emotions and bring up things from your past and present but it is all good. Her music is healing from my point of view. I hope each and every listener can discover this incredible talent and have the opportunity to get past their own fears and feel the music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 8, 2018

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

July 24, 2018

New Age-World Review: Caro Pampillo-Sindhu

Release Date: September 1, 2018
Label: Independent
Website




Going into my first listen of Caro Pampillo’s Sindhu (her alter ego) , I had predetermined, based on the title and cover art, that this could very well be a meditation album. Well, it is that and a lot more. It is not hard to do that if you have been reviewing new age music for a while and the same would go for the avid listener.

Based on Caro’s website I was given some indication of who she is and what to expect on the new release.

Here is some insight into the artist from her website: As a self-taught musician, she has developed her own unique sound as a composer and a producer, combining her South American roots with many other world influences, live looping her voice and other instruments. Caro’s studies in Buddhist and Zen philosophy and practice of Kung Fu and Meditation led her to the name "SINDHU" (Sanskrit for sea, ocean, river, or water) for her alter ego and this musical project.

I feel this sort of information will enrich the review and make the potential listener’s experience more all-encompassing. That is my vision of the complete listening experience and it also allows me to dig a little deeper and express my feelings on another level that relates to the music.

Just to give you an idea of the world influences on this recording, this is what Caro alone contributed: Her gorgeous vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar, Venezuelan Cuatro, programming, looping, and Tibetan bowls and chimes. She also had some help from other talented people that contributed keyboards, electric guitar, piano, strings, classic and electric guitar, Moog synth, and Theravox and many more. Well, you get the idea; the list goes on and on. Saying this was “World” music is definitely the genre, or new age world to be more specific.

I found the music to be lush, inviting and very complex. Caro’s vocals blended well with the music. At first, hearing her sing in a different language threw me off a bit, however, I was able to focus on the music at hand and the eclectic approach she took. I sincerely appreciate that kind of special touch and all-around talent one artist can lend to a recording session.


I especially appreciated the tracks “OM” and “Har Hari,” which was like listening to a pop tune in a different language (ancient Sanskrit). At that point it really hit me, this one has more crossover appeal than most recordings I have heard this year. Regardless of the language barrier I could relax (this is where your meditation can take place), and let the music flow. You will then arrive at a different level of consciousness. For this listener that means Sindhu accomplished the mission!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

July 22, 2018


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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
 

01. Om Namah Shivaya
02. Om Shanti
03. I Shin Den Shin
04. Om Mani Padme Hum
05. Gate Heart Mantra
06. Nai’a Narayanaya
07. Har Hari
08. OM
09. Signos de Amar
10. Signs of Love

July 23, 2018

New Age Instrumental Review: Peter Calandra-Carpe Noctem

Release Date: August 3, 2018
Label: Pecamusic

Peter Calandra has been one of the more productive artists for several years. It seems like I finish one review than in a short span of time I am writing another one for him. That works for me as I believe he has been one of the most creative and eclectic artisans I have had the pleasure to work with.

I went into this listen of Carpe Noctem (translation Seize the Night) with a lot of anticipation based on the input Peter provided prior to my first experience listening to the recording.

Peter informed me of the following: Carpe Noctem is an album of ambient-sacred-orchestral music. When I was in undergrad school singing in the choir, we performed quite a bit of sacred music with the text in Latin. Music by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc. It was always inspirational to learn and perform this music and it's always been in my mind to write and record orchestral music with the choir. 

This is some of the most moving music I have heard this year in the new age genre and or sub-genres. Peter is the composer and author of all the orchestrations, digital sequencing, synthesizer and the cover artwork. I think it is safe to say that he is a multi-talented artist that brings a lot to the table regarding entertainment value.

What made this Carpe Noctem so special was not only the privilege of hearing it before so many listeners, it was the added bonus of all the Latin interpretations of each track. The cover art is another addition that makes this a complete experience of art, culture, and music. For my tastes that is the ultimate trifecta that makes any listen like a freshly brewed cup of aromatic coffee topped off with creamer and a spot of sugar. If you are a coffee drinker you will be able to relate better to that statement.

Carpe Noctem you could say is religious or spiritual experience, whatever fits your comfort zone or terminologies. Personally, I felt it was both, it negated any voids of my day with exceptional grace and beauty. Peter’s exceptional talents allow him to touch your soul significantly, with a brilliant use of the tools he brings to bear in each track. The use of synthesizers, orchestrations, and a choir creates a gorgeous and powerful combination that will embrace you in so many ways. 

From the opening of “Agnus Dei (Lamb Of God)” to the closing “Spiritus Mundi (World Spirit),” Peter takes you the listener, to a heavenly level of existence that transcends daily life. For this listener, that is all I could ask for is a transitory experience that is pleasant and memorable.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 23, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Agnus Dei  (Lamb Of God)
02. Carpe Noctem  (Seize The Night)
03. Aurora Scanderé (Dawn Rising)
04. Crucifixus  (Crucfixion)
05. Ars Vitae (Art Is Life)
06. Illuminare  (Illumination)
07. Invictus Bellator  (Unconquered Warrior)
08. Mane Pacificae  (Peaceful Morning)
09. Luna Benedictus  (Moon Prayer)
10. Sacrum Spera  (Sacred Trust)
11. Spiritus Mundi  (World Spirit)

 

July 21, 2018

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Michael Bohne-In The Distance

Release Date: July 16, 2018
Label: Independent

Michael Bohne (pronounced Bone) is quite a story. He is, in fact, an inspiration to anyone facing impairment or disability. He has a degenerative eye disease which has left him legally blind. Most of the music he plays he has either created or learned by listening and playing back by memory. So, what I see as one impairment then heightens the senses in other areas of one’s daily existence. 

Interesting enough is the fact that Michael listened to a lot of hardcore and progressive music, he’s stated that My Chemical Romance is the rock band most important to him. What you will hear on In The Distance is a complete paradigm shift, an instrumental piano group of tracks. What I gather from the title is directly related to Michael’s eye site. Things may look off in the distance but his music is as close to him as it can be. His gifts are translated through those beautiful ivory keys on the piano.

Michael’s sound is fluid, purposeful and very classically influenced. I think what we term as “New Age” is very close to being classical however it is flexible enough for other influences to find a home in that foundation. There are many great rock albums over the years that were backed or even interpreted by classical music. After all, that is where all our music is derived from so it does make sense you can either add it to your basic sound or branch off. It is like an ancient oak or sequoia tree with incredibly strong roots and many branches.

Some tracks are in constant change and rhythm, which I really appreciated. Then others with a prolific title like “Fading Memories” tell a story, one that pulls on your heartstrings and has a hint of sadness. Inside that sadness, there is still joy and elation to be found in those memories. It made me look at my own life and gave me so much gratitude to be alive and listening to such beautiful art translated into a musical form. This is the path of one man that serves as an inspiration not only to other musicians but to all of mankind, and living proof that any impairment one may face, it can be overcome with excellence in many other areas of your life.

The talent of one man, Michael Bohne, showed me all of that in one listen without saying a word. That my music loving friends, is the power of music, the kind of music that comes from deep down in the soul. That is music that moves me and I find instant recognition with. I hope those of you that have taken the time to read this review will also listen and find the joy and emotion I did with In The Distance.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 19, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. When the Time Comes
02. Regarding Stonehenge
03. Solar Flare
04. Never Looking Back
05. Descent
06. Phantoms Along the Shore
07. The Wolves' Den
08. Disconnected
09. Taking the Scenic Route
10. Fading Memories
11. When the Stars Disappeared






July 12, 2018

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Matthew Mayer-Beautiful You

Release Date: August 31, 2018
Label: Independent

Close to the end of summer days, Matthew Mayer will help you enjoy what time we have left before the leaves start turning again. 

Beautiful You is similar to the changing of seasons, the cyclical synchronization of nature. This music is simply piano and a man playing it from his heart and soul, in sync with his feelings and imparting that through the ivory keys. What a gift to be able to share.

The cover of the album seems a bit whimsical, like a Disney film or something similar. I think the tones and colors used with artwork are meant to have a calming effect and the images immediately set you at ease. This sets you up nicely for the music. Keep in mind this is interpreted through my eyes and thoughts. Every listener will develop their own thoughts and images as the 12 tracks play.

Instrumental piano music will always hold a place in my heart. When I hear music like this it transforms my day and evening. I do usually listen at night, however, as the day rolls off my shoulders and any stress or care I may just melts away, like the sun melts away the snow. I find myself in touch with who I really am because the anxiety is gone and there is nothing clouding my thoughts and feelings, it acts as a cleansing of sorts.

You may ask, how does music do that? When the music is presented thoughtfully, with purpose and elegance like this, the Beautiful You can then come out.  Think about that for a moment, give this music a listen and see what happens.

I can only comment on music this way if it moves me. Beautiful You was able to do all the things I have mentioned and once again, the music reminded me of my humanity and why I am here. My gift is my words, but I don’t have that without the music to help express what I feel. It’s so simple, and I am grateful every time I am able to write about another person’s art, this music is no exception. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 12, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Raindrops of Amor
02. Fly Little Bird
03. You Are Enough
04. A Modern Introspection
05. Beautiful You
06. Of Haunt and Hope
07. Broken Mirror
08. 8Bill Next Door
09. Tranquility
10. Ordinary Way   
11. Dreams VII   
12. In Spirit