December 13, 2017

Instrumental Holiday Review: Michele McLaughlin-Christmas Plain and Simple III

Release Date: November 24, 2017
Label: Independent
Having the opportunity to cover an artist like Michele McLaughlin is always an absolute joy. Her artistry without words via the piano can be an uplifting experience.

Especially for the Holidays we now have Christmas Plain and Simple III. The timing of its release around Thanksgiving was perfect. That is when most folks start looking towards Christmas, going to stores, sending cards and whatever else is their yearly traditions.


Some people struggle with their emotions this time of year. I being one of those people, can certainly appreciate anything original and from the heart. That is exactly what you get when you listen to the tracks on this recording. There is nothing commercial about it and someone on a screen is not trying to sell you something. Yes, there is sweet relief available, just kick back and listen.

The good thing about this collection of songs is the fact that you can recognize them if you happen to have any familiarity with classic Holiday songs. I cannot assume everyone does however a majority of folks that celebrate Christmas sure will. It was nice to hear these songs get new life breathed into them. They all shine like a Christmas tree at night. The shining beacon at the top of that tree in this instance is Michele.

Michele’s effortless flowing fingers lead you down a path of renewal and optimism. Her playing is so fluid and precise. I could not help but feel I was walking down a path of evergreens and watching my breath blow into the cold winter night. The difference here is I am not cold at all, I warm and toasty all over thanks to this beautiful music.

Thank you for lifting my spirits to higher ground Michele. I look forward to volume four next year. As the years continue to pass by quicker as I get older, I realize more and more just how precious life is and how blessed I am. Music like this brings me closer to my maker and remind me from whence I came. I am humbled and appreciative of this blessing of music once again this year.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 13, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
02. Good King Wenceslas
03. What Child Is This?
04. The Holly and the Ivy
05  In the Bleak Midwinter
06. Sing We Now of Christmas
07. Jingle Bells
08. Up on the Housetop
09. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
10. Christmas Canon
11. O Come All Ye Faithful
12. Peace

 



December 11, 2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Matthew Labarge-Spiriti

Release Date: December 1, 2017
Label: Cynelic Gast Music

Matthew Labarge ushered in December with a new set of songs for all the instrumental piano lovers to enjoy. Spiriti is his sixth proper release.

When I saw Matthew’s name come up I found an instant recognition within my memory. In 2013 one of my staff members covered Larkenlyre’s Extraordinary Voyage. I have an amazing recollection of music and I wish I could apply that to daily life with the small things. Music is at the top of list for importance and that is the reason why I remember so well.

Music is my savior, my own slice of heaven on earth that I can turn to time and time again and get the results I am looking for. In the case of Spiriti, knowing what to expect before I started was a bonus.  I knew exactly what I would be looking for. This is music to soothe the mind, body and spirit - the three most prolific parts of what makes us all human.

Somehow, I feel more in touch with who I am and my relationship with humanity when I am “alone” listening to music. Which is kind of a paradox but it works. Matthew has some shorter tracks on this release and some real stretches of ivory wizardry to offer a listener. For instance, the closing track “Love Song” is over 9 minutes long. I do believe there is some magic in this music.

Silence is golden but it becomes an enhanced experience while listening to the singularity of a piano played by musician that is one with his instrument. This music is gentle and expressive in the same breath which I ultimately find very attractive.

Matthew’s Spiriti is a man channeling his own spirit to his fingers directly to our senses. It is such a gift to play music in such an emotive way. It moved me gracefully and effectively, something I have learned to respect and appreciate more over the years. This is 12 tracks yet it is so seamless that it felt like one ever changing piece if music. This music offers healing sounds for those in need and simple relaxation and enjoyment. It is all dependent on your needs and it just may help you along your way to a new day.

4.5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 11, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Spiriti
02. Entrance
03. Each Quiet Sound
04. Between the Stars
05. Children's Song
06. Breeze from the Courtyard Garden
07. Bells and Dwindling Light
08. Six Hundred Years
09. Elegy
10. Kindness
11. Weightless, Timeless

12. Love Song
 

December 6, 2017

Holiday-Folk Review: Blackmore's Night-Winter Carols

Release Date: October 6, 2017
Label: Minstrel Hall Music

Blackmore’s Night is ready to usher in the Holiday season with their latest release Winter Carols. They do it all like nobody else and that one factor makes it more intriguing. The perspective listener has an opportunity to enjoy some seasonal music in an entirely different way.

This band has had me mesmerized since day one. Richie Blackmore’s incredible guitar and his wife Candace Night who sings like an angel every step of the way, it just sweeps me away. Her voice is so warm and positive you cannot resist smiling and tapping your feet to all their music.

For me it takes awhile to get into the spirit of the Holidays every year because of the overuse of commercialism pushing over eating and over spending. I can forget about all that and focus on the music and those I love. I get there with a little help from these wonderful musicians delivering their very special music into my home. I have a lot of different emotions this time of year for many different reasons. Music helps me to smile inside and heal any hurt I may be feeling while thinking about those I have lost over the years.

This two CD set is a great way to kick off the Holiday’s and it did just that for me. Blackmore’s Night has a special blend of rock, folk and Celtic that takes the nod from some ancient tunes.  What is the best part of that? It is putting their own flavor and spin on the tracks and taking you on quite a musical journey to enjoy. They create a lot of their own music however they have reworked some from songs that were written centuries ago as well.

If all this great music was not enough, Candace sings “Christmas Eve” in German, and perfectly I might add. This is a band of musical perfectionist that know how to get it done in one take. If you listen to tracks from “Live from Minstrel Hall” you hardly can tell the difference between the polished studio work and live recordings. Of course, the live music allows for some interesting improvisation on more than one occasion. I have had the pleasure of seeing them live and it is truly an incredible experience.

Blackmore is a real craftsman and a master of the six-string. His acoustic playing is perfected and beautiful. Every once in a while, he cuts loose on the electric guitar reminding everyone that he can still rock if he chooses to. I always have enjoyed this music and prior to this band Deep Purple and Rainbow, in fact I still enjoy it all. 

Winter Carols is not only a worldwide tribute to Christmas it is a portrait of musical history intermingled with modern technologies. It is everything that I could have asked for to persuade me into the joy and love of the upcoming Holidays. I have a lot to be grateful for and that includes amazing music from one of the best bands in the world.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 6, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Tracks:

CD 1:
01. Deck the Halls
02. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
03. Oh Christmas Tree
04. Hark the Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful
05. I Saw Three Ships
06. Winter (Basse Dance)
07. Ding Dong Merrily on High
08. Ma-o-Tzur
09. Good King Wenceslas
10. Lord of the Dance / Simple Gifts
11. We Three Kings
12. Wish You Were Here
13. Emmanuel
14. Christmas Eve
15. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

CD2:
16. Hark the Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful (Live from Minstrel Hall)
17. Emmanuel (Live from Minstrel Hall)
18. We Three Kings (Live from Minstrel Hall)
19. Ma-o-Tzur (Live from Minstrel Hall)
20. Good King Wenceslas (Live from Minstrel Hall)
21. Christmas Eve (2013 Version)
22. Christmas Eve (German Radio Edit)
23. Christmas Eve (English & German Radio Edit)
24. Christmas Eve (English Radio Edit)



November 27, 2017

Acoustic Instrumental/New Age Review: Camille Nelson-Lead Me Home

Release Date: August 18, 2017
Label: Stone Angel Music

Camille Nelson’s recent release is hard to put into a neat little box. Some music is actually like that and not very memorable. With Lead Me Home she plays the acoustic guitar and violin. She offers a multitude of colors and flavors for a perspective audience.

This music is atmospheric and something you may here as the soundtrack to Western type of movie. It does cover a lot of ground including spirituals, roots, blues, folk and new age. 

That kind of eclectic selection for one album holds a listener’s interest from start to finish. It certainly did the trick for me.

Camille and her many talents will keep you spellbound. This is a complete soundtrack, one that could fit into any listener’s lifestyle or musical preference. It is like getting in an easy chair and just letting your hair down for a while. Music such as this prompts this kind of feeling as the movie in your mind flickers away. Additionally, if you want to empty your mind this can be accomplished as well.

Some of the highlights for my ears was the outstanding picking on the acoustic guitar and the slide playing. The slide of course gave the tracks a definite blues and roots feeling to them. I could picture rustic scenery, or a cowboy riding into the sun setting off in the distance (like one of those old Clint Eastwood movies). That is what this music did for me. Everyone is different and for my tastes and interpretations that is the movie that I could see in my mind.

Camille Nelson is the kind of talent that could get noticed by more than one industry and I look forward to what she will create next. Lead Me Home should make plenty of ears perk up along the way before she decides to go back into the studio again.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 27, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. Amazing Grace
02. How Great Thou Art
03. Nearer My God to Thee
04. Be Thou My Vision (feat. Alex Sharpe)
05. Adelia
06. Be Still My Soul
07. Israel Israel God Is Calling
08. Come Come Ye Saints (feat. Steven Sharp Nelson)
09. Lead Me Home
10. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
11. Patterns of Light
12. Count Your Many Blessings




November 25, 2017

Ambient Instrumental/New Age/Meditation Review: ANAAMALY-Urban Metta, Vol. 2

Release Date: December 8, 2017
Label: Heart Dance Recordings

The new ANNAAMALY (Phil Strickland) release Urban Metta, Vol. 2 is due out on December 8th.  It gives the perspective listener some great advice. I just had to take this off his site and share it to start of my review Also note the detailed information provided in the track listing.  This validates my belief that every track has meaning and a story to tell. If it is instrumental like this music, you have to listen very carefully. 

For maximum listening pleasure:

Dear Listener –

Please know that Urban Metta, Vol. 2 was specifically designed to be experienced with hi-fidelity stereo headphones and the SUBPAC S2 or M2 Tactile Bass Systems (visit www.SUBPAC.com to learn more). For the true immersive, vibrational full-body experience, I highly recommend that you use both when listening, if possible. Please contact me if you have questions before purchasing a SUBPAC or stereo headphones.

I sincerely hope you enjoy Urban Metta, Vol. 2 and thank you for listening!!
Peace & Blessings,
ANAAMALY

My introduction to this music was in April this year and I was swept away by the grace and vibrations that this one singular artist could create. On Urban Metta Vol. 1 I received further evidence of the healing powers of music

So now we continue this ambient, new age and meditation outing on Urban Metta, Vol. 2. At times music comes into a person’s life exactly when they need it. This applies to an awareness of that need or a totally random moment in time. The listening of music is spontaneous, it usually is not a planned event, with the exception of radio stations that do that with a preprogrammed computer.  That is a world that is quickly evaporating with the advent of streaming internet radio stations and phone apps. Uninterrupted bliss is what I call it. The point I am making here is that music such as this, is something everyone needs. For me today, I am just wrapping up working very hard for the last 5 days so I could have some time off to enjoy the Holiday. Here comes the deep breath, a sigh and then another exhale and some of the most beautiful ambient sounds to give me peace and some grounding to mother earth. For this listener this is definitely about decompressing, being around those I love and appreciate and reconnecting with my higher power. It is about being grateful and happy that I am still here.

So, what does all this have to do with this music, or any music for that matter? It is everything for me as I am sure it is for many others. In this new age community, we all seek the same thing. There is the healing power of music, the vibrations that can change our brain patterns and with that, our overall attitudes. It has been proven in scientific studies and there are professionals that administer music to patients requiring music therapy. I think it is our own personal slice of heaven and artist like ANNAAMALY are gracious enough to share their gifts of creativity through the music on Urban Metta, Vol. 2.

Make sure you check out Urban Metta, Vol. 2 for yourself and let the artist know what his music has done for you? Namaste.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 25, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:
 01: I Am Ready to Forgive (4:44) - soft reflective pads slowly drift, blending perfectly with an array of high vibrational sounds. Perfect for day-dreaming and being at peace with all that is. Release…

02: I Am Inspired by Possibility (6:35) - heavy rain, soft round bass merge with warm pads and bell like mallets, providing the perfect backdrop to your moment of full awareness. Imagine…

03: I Am a Co-Creator (5:55) - grounding bass, floating pads, rain, and electric circuitry combine to form a planetary and cosmic experience. Recharge your spiritual batteries. Receive...

04: I Am Light & Love (6:25) - peaceful and playful ambience that heals the spirit each time you hear it. Drift away with ocean waves, soft mallets, and chimes that breathe mindfulness into your present moment. Unwind…

05: I Am a Reflection of You (6:37) - angelic pads and strings sway over grounding bass and healing elements that steadily unfold. With each breath, you rise above the murkiness of your mind and allow your senses to become unaware of your surroundings. Accept...

06: I Am Fully Present (5:55) - peaceful and spacious palette of sounds that leave plenty of room for you to let your thoughts gather or disappear into the ether. Ocean waves and grounding synths create this calm abode. Smile…

07: I Remember My Purpose (6:09) - expansive, refreshing, and light. A heartfelt sonic oasis of soft rain, ocean waves, emotional pads and calls from the wild that communicate a message of truth and spiritual healing. Renew…

08: I Give My Truth (6:35) - an ambience of rain drops, Tibetan bowls, warm pads and bass create a slow healing vibe that anchors you into the energy of the earth, allowing your mind to calm and thoughts to dissipate. Ground…

09: I Affirm All That is Good (6:41) - distant vocals, warm and bright choir and angelic pads create nourishing energy while soft stereo rain and deep bass help to ground and heal you. No anticipation or expectations, just be and enjoy the moment. Awaken…

10: I Radiate Healing Energy (6:41) - a perfect ensemble of pads, grounding bass, chanting, and elements of nature that embody the sound and vibrations of compassion, healing, and love for all beings. Refresh…

11: I Have All That I Need (6:09) - elements of water and ocean life combine with emotive strings, piano, and grounding bas
s to create a peaceful floating oasis for deep self-introspection. Soar…

November 14, 2017

New Age-Pop-Neo Classical: Unleashed Dreams-Dare To Dream

Release Date: September 1, 2017
Label: L.Walker International Ltd. Paddisongs Publishing Ltd.

Neoclassicism was born in Rome in the mid-18th century and it is still alive and well today. One look at the cover of the recent Unleashed Dreams recording Dare To Dream brings many different images together. Like the canvas of a great artist, the colors flow and merge to create thoughts and images where modern and times past intersect.

Looking at the art work on the cover of this CD invokes deep thought meditation and as it pulls the thoughts and vibrations from the mind of the subject (as on the cover) ...the words and music tell a story of love and inspiration.

The two anchor artists are Lindsey Gaye Walker (singer/songwriter, lead and background vocals) and Sean Michael Paddison (composer, songwriter, producer, pianist, background vocals and instrumentation). They have a few friends that join in this celebration of life and triumph as well. Every contributor made a difference and put their own stamp on this project.

This was a nice and welcome change from the norm for this listener. 99% of the new age music I listen to is instrumental, which I love, however hearing these amazing vocals and music come together was a special treat. The meaning of it all is so uplifting and spiritual. All I could think of when I looked at the cover was Michelangelo and The Sistine Chapel ceiling. What a miracle all of that artistry was and the miracle of this music and the images took me there. That my good people is a gift that multiplies for those that choose to listen.

Dare To Dream was like a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine that put a nice cap to the end of my day. The fact that I had a chance to listen, feel and let the music move me to write these words was yet another miracle. A higher power channeled within can bring change through music.

The mixture of vocal and instrumental tracks keeps it all interesting and thought provoking. Yes indeed, music is defined perfection in motion. With that I leave the rest to each individual listener.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 13, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Deep
02. Dare to Dream
03. Resonance
04. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
05. My Sacred Inner Child
06. Riding the Winds of Change (Instrumental)
07. Trust (And Let Go)
08. You Give Me Strength
09. A New Day
10. A Journey Within (Instrumental)
11. Onward to Glory
12. Moonlight Waltz (Instrumental)

 

November 9, 2017

Instrumental Solo New Age Review: Masako-Piano Sanctuary

Release Date: September 21, 2017
Label: Masako Music

Masako’s music is different than any other instrumental solo piano music I have heard. She creates a wonderful new age sound that could be compared to others in the genre but it is distinct and her own as well. It will all make sense once you listen.

With Piano Sanctuary, an aptly titled project by the way, she takes you on a course of enlightenment through 12 tracks. Her clarity and fluidity on the ivory keys is an awesome thing to listen to.

What strikes me the most about this music is that each track is very melodic and full of warm textures and rhythms. Every bit of it comes from deep within the soul of a true artist. 

Piano Sanctuary in a literal sense can be achieved through listening to this solo piano music. It is meant for the new age music genre and it easily crosses over to contemporary instrumental and classical. So, in other words, this music is so powerful and singular that it can touch the hearts of many without having to categorize it. 
 
There are no boundaries to overcome, all you have to do is listen and you will decide what it can do for you. This was such an enjoyable experience for me that it flowed steady like a clear running stream and before I knew it, the music stopped. Even though those warm and fuzzy feelings felt like they would end, they did not. The sounds and ambiance of the tracks on this recording allowed me to stay at peace and keep that feeling.

That to me is a huge accomplishment in a world filled with a multitude of distractions and things to do within a 24-hour period. Time goes by quickly however when I get in a groove and listen to music like Masako’s, time stands still. So, in essence, this music was everything and more than I could expect in one sitting.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 8, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. When You Were Little
02. Ragrima
03. The Bird and the River
04. Midnight Sun
05. Central Park Retreat
06. A Tale of Lonely Otter (Piano Solo Version)
07. Sailing
08. The Land We Called Hope
09. The Lost Estate
10. Koto (Japanese Ancient City)
11. Frozen Quarry
12. Tender Stories