March 28, 2015

New Age Instrumental/Meditation Review: Peter Kater & Michael Brant DeMaria-Heart of Silence

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Label: Sounds True

This is the first collaboration between renowned new age recording artists Peter Kater and Michael Brant DeMaria. Both men have carved out their own niche and are well respected in the genre. The combination of piano and flute coexist with a purpose and meaning on the new release titled Heart of Silence.

The duo refers to the eight tracks as sound poems. Kater’s elegant piano coupled with DeMaria’s Native American flutes is a step into solace and grace found beyond daily life and our surroundings. The tracks invite your soul to find the peace waiting to be discovered, it’s yours for the taking if you let this music look inward. Just relax and let it take you over. This is excellent meditation music however I found it quite enjoyable to listen to without any particular focus, I just took it all in with the realization that I could enjoy it for no other reason than letting the vibrations and sounds soothe my weary mind and give my soul a sense of calm and peace.

DeMaria was inspired to go in this direction after his mother nearly died in his arms. While that is a very sad event in a person’s life I am sure he saw the beauty and acceptance of moving on for his beloved mother and also how blessed he was to be there for her. Life and death is a process we all go through but it is our choice which road we take and how we either embrace each phase of our existence or turn away and refuse to acknowledge the spirit within us all. Most certainly the love a child has for a mother is something special and a connection like no other for all living creatures. I think DeMaria opening himself to that experience allowed this amazing music to be created and has prepared him for when that day arrives when his mother decides to move on. He decided to use a deep base flute that provided a drone like sound comparable to a didgeridoo. That sound projects beautifully and provides a foundation for the rest of the music to gently float over the top like clouds moving across the sky or a hot spring bubbling beneath the surface. It was a choice that was initiated by DeMaria’s experience while his mother was going between the spirit world and her existence her on the physical plane. When he closed his eyes while holding his mother he could see a light and a deep oooommmm sound, a drone if you will. That is how this all came about. He is blessed with the comfort of knowing that his loved one will indeed pass on to another beautiful existence.

I found “Tender Heart” as the most exceptional track. It is moving and spacious as a clear night glittering with thousands of stars. The music is pure like the earth and sky above and the sounds and textures in the track made me feel closer to Mother Earth. We are all here to honor our place on this great planet. All eight tracks are beautiful and serve a higher purpose and all you have to do is listen and find out where it will take you. Each track blends into the next making it a complete and satisfying journey of sounds and atmospheres.

This is the kind of music that is for relaxation, meditation, reflection, recharging yourself and realigning your purpose and meaning. Life holds many gifts for us all but at times we are pulled away from what is right in front of us with our busy lives and pressures of work and all the noise and chatter that can swallow us up if we let it. I choose to survive the day and then let music from CDs like Heart of Silence remind me of who I am and what is really important. Without words music can carry a very powerful message and I am thankful I was able to hear it and grateful for some insight into the lessons presented to one man.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

Tracks:
 1. Heart of Silence
2. Radiant Dawn
3. First Breath
4. Holding Space
5. Tender Heart
6. Timeless Echoes
7. Midnight Dreaming
8. Awakening

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

March 28, 2015

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

March 24, 2015

New Age Instrumental Review: Ryan Stewart-One Journey

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Label: Ryan Stewart Music

Ryan Stewart was given the gift of music by his mother. At the age of thirteen, she passed away from breast cancer and the event has forever left a mark on his soul. In One Journey, Stewart’s third album, he explores the continuity of human relationships. Not the type you find online where everyone is so focused on technology, but the kind of real connection you get with the people that make an impact on our lives. This songwriter and composer has a gift of emotional resonance that fluttered through me with every song. Guest artists on the album include: Monte Belknap (violin) and Nicole Pinnell (cello). Stewart has composed works for documentaries and many others.

“Under the Willow” is a meaningful piece for Stewart for multiple reasons. It was inspired by his childhood memories at the ages of twelve and thirteen. He would lie underneath a very particular willow tree and dream. Soft and melodic, the song drifts in like a cloud, swiftly changing to the poignant tones of a violin. The Celtic overtones in the piece bring harp and the beautiful vocals of Stewart’s daughter Aysia. His daughter was the same age as he was when he first found the willow tree so getting her involved in the project was especially meaningful. Wind instruments flex and merge into a composition that is truly breathtaking. Buoyant and full of wonderment, this piece is for all the dreamers out there reaching out to find the deeper things in life.

“Winding Road” begins as a piano sequence and continues as such. The imagery invoked is walking along a well-trod path, as your mind works out the troubles of the day. A steady melody, the piece keeps time as you make your way. With anything, you do not walk your path alone. There are loved ones that fall into step beside you and though the way may wind and at times be unclear, the journey is part of the process.

“Coming Home” is a joyous composition. A cornucopia of sound, this piece encapsulates the joy you feel as you stride across the doorstep of the place you call home. Violins, percussion and multiple instruments swirl together to create an uplifting feeling that is truly infectious. It is bending down to enfold your puppy in your arms after a long day at work. It is the twinkling eyes of your daughter as she meets your gaze or the unconditional love of your spouse. But most of all, it is musical symmetry and the artistry of Ryan Stewart and the gifted musicians that helped to create this piece.

Our life journey is one filled with opportunity and people who make a difference by word and deed. Ryan Stewart found such a person in his gifted mother, a musician who instilled in him a love for the craft. Today he spends time with his family and is thrilled to compose and perform music for multiple outlets. Each song on One Journey is like a vanilla cupcake and a cup of your favorite tea. It just goes down smooth and you never want it to end.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Under the Willow, Winding Road, Coming Home

Tracks: 
01.When We Met
02.Here and Now   
03. Brighter
04.Under the Willow
05.Innocence
06.Old Friend
07.The Portrait
08.Happy People
09.One Step Closer
10.Windows of Time
11.Winding Road
12.Our Story
13.Coming Home

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
March 24, 2015          
    
Review Provided By New Age Music Review

March 20, 2015

Instrumental New Age/Classical Review: Christine Brown-Souvenirs

Release Date: August 21, 2014
Label: Key Image Music

Christine Brown’s releases go back to 1997. Souvenirs is her tenth proper album.
Right from the first track “Rhythm of the Rain” I could tell that her music would evoke a strong sense of emotions and deep feelings. Although this can be positive or indifferent depending on whom you are, I can honestly say that I believe it will heal you regardless of what emerges while listening. The rhythm she captures is life itself, a heartbeat, a breath of fresh air, or morning dew dripping off a leaf. It is so quiet and delicate yet if you listen very carefully those sounds will surround you in the great outdoors. This album touches upon the beauty and wonder of nature and more.

Christine’s love for the piano started at a very early age and it’s obvious that her love has blossomed into something very special. Her gift is evident on every track of Souvenirs. The combination of classical and new age sets the stage from the outset and what the artist presents is a literal open canvas of life set to music. You are the canvas and her piano paints the broad strokes across the vast horizon of life and emotions.

“Prelude to Sunrise” is as beautiful as the event itself. Christine’s fingers glide across the keys effortlessly as she ushers in a new day full of warmth and light from one of God’s greatest gifts, the giver of life our sun.

“Aqua Abyss” has a dark and pensive side yet it allows the beauty of the music to peak around the corner and invite you in. It is a surprise turn of events on this album and actually sounds like something that could be part of a dramatic stage play like “Phantom of the Opera” or something of that nature. As the track moves on towards the end the abyss turns into a pool of freshly fallen rain. It is one of my favorite tracks because I did not expect that particular pace or harder emotional charge to come forth. The ending was perfect and it brought everything back into balance. Certainly it must have been difficult to play and then the transition towards the end was such a change it really keeps you on your toes!

Every time I hear this type of music it heals me. I was in much need of healing when I listened to this, fighting off a flu that would not go away. It made me focus on the beauty of the music and the powers that are evident in my inner soul. That is not something I think about when I am not well. Healer heal thy self indeed. Thank you for the push in the right direction Chris.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Rhythm of the Rain, Prelude to Sunrise, Aqua Abyss

Tracks:
 

01.Rhythm of the Rain
02.Souvenirs
03.Shiver
04.Prelude to Sunrise
05.Chasing the Moon
06.Aqua Abyss
07.Silver Lining
08.Silhouette
09.Traveling Dreams
10.The Hour Glass
11.Morning Grace
12.Stepping Stones
13.Guardian Angel
14.Cashmere Clouds
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 20, 2015

March 18, 2015

Featured Track: Fiona Joy-Invisible Train

Fiona Joy has enjoyed tremendous success as a pianist and producer. She joins forces with renowned  producer/engineer Cookie Marenco for her first solo piano album, Signature – Solo, originally recorded in hi-resolution for the audiophile market and one track is presented here in MP3 format for the masses to enjoy.

"Invisible Train" is one of the tracks on the new release. The piano dances and swirls around you and it becomes easy to picture a sleek train rolling down the tracks of your mind. The key is that it's visible only to you, it is what the music can create for only you.

Fiona's fingers bring joy, wonder and the mystery of heaven all at the same time. One listen to "Invisible Train" and you know that she has once again created some magic!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck Rating 5/5


More About Fiona Joy:

http://www.fionajoy.com

About the Album: Signature – Solo

With this new album, Fiona Joy explores the idea of maintaining magic in our lives, even when life itself gets in the way. Her wistful vocals and passionate piano sing to that small place in everyone’s heart, the place where fairytales linger, and where we find the strength to meet reality with grace. From the delicacy of “Little Star”, the complex rhythms of “'Ceremony”, the sophistication of the title track “Signature” to the deeply emotive solo version of “Grace”, Fiona's writing has been called a cross between George Winston's simple melodies and Ludovico Einaudi's musical sophistication. A solo piano album for the discerning listener, performed on an impeccably-refurbished Steinway from the 1800s and produced by Cookie Marenco for Tiny Island Music (a division of the Blue Coast Music Group).

March 16, 2015

New Age Instrumental Feature: Ryan Stewart-Under The Willow

With Ryan Stewart's new album One Journey there are many others wrapped up inside. Upon closer inspection of the word One you find so much more. The many things that are important to us and make life worth living.

"Under The Willow" is but one chapter in that book of life. The beautiful music formulated with piano and the addition of simply angelic vocals will bring you peace and instant contentment.

The visuals in the video are a good depiction of what the music is trying to say.

Sit back and listen to this slice of heaven now! 

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck 5/5




More About Ryan Stewart


Ryan Stewart’s passion is music. He has come a long way from the child who was expected to practice the piano before playing with friends, or the teenager who spent his lunch hour playing the piano on the stage at his local high school. Stewart has now fulfilled a third album release “One Journey”, a collection of 13 original compositions ranging from piano solos to fully painted orchestral works.

Raised in Salt Lake City, Stewart says his mother is his inspiration. A classically trained pianist herself, she wanted to share her love of music with her children. Sadly, she passed away from breast cancer when he was just 13. Stewart says this was a poignant moment in his life and he realized the gift she had given to him. He said, “As a teenager I missed her and I would sit at the piano and play and think about her.” His father encouraged him to continue to pursuing his talent.

After graduating from high school, Stewart was awarded a full-ride scholarship in music to the University of Utah. He perfected his piano skills as he studied, played and taught piano lessons. He especially enjoyed teaching students with an affinity for composition and song writing. Although Stewart eventually left the music department and pursued a career in computers, he never lost his desire to compose and play the instrument he loves. Today, his spare time is spent with music, and his passion has become something his wife, Cindy, and their two daughters cherish when spending time together..

Ryan’s greatest ambition is to combine his love of computers with music to create compositions for the entertainment industry, particularly in film. He has a gift for orchestrating just about anything, beginning with a concerto he wrote at the age of 17. He has composed and arranged music for film documentaries, Cellist Stephen S. Nelson (The Piano Guys), Paul Cardall, Facebook, several dance studios, and several others.

March 7, 2015

New Age Instrumental/Classical Review: Philip Wesley-Transcend

Release Date: September 5, 2014
Label: Autumn Music Productions

Philip Wesley trained to become an athlete. When he was twenty he realized a new passion and thus began his journey on a path less traveled. One of the New Age industry’s top performers (Billboard Magazine, CD Baby, iTunes), he can be heard on Pandora and other internet radio providers. Seven albums into his career, Wesley hasn’t stopped to look back. Transcend is an emotive and impactful album full of the expressive solo piano we have come to expect from this master of the keys.

“Less Traveled” is stalwart look into the mind of the artist. Introspective and at times crisp and brooding, this piece delineates a conscious decision to do what the heart commands, no matter the outcome. With strident and piercing melodies, this title should come with an exclamation point on board. This is the athlete speaking. You have to persevere to get anywhere in life, especially when the road isn’t paved with roses. Sometimes you get dirt roads with potholes. The trick is not just the end result; it is the lessons learned along the journey. 

“Unbridled Spirit” awakens with a tentative piano sequence, the keys dancing beneath Wesley’s fingertips completing the essence of spirit he alluded to in “Less Traveled.” To walk a road that is hard, you must have spirit and not be afraid to scrape your knees. The most important lessons are typically hard won. With elegant composition and melodic style, this piece paints brush strokes across the sky and screams out a victory dance.
“Moonlight and Jasmine” is a fragrant piece that brings to mind romance under the stars. Tender and alluring, the solo piano creates a theatrical soundscape that lets my imagination take flight. A gazebo under the stars…a young woman dances with her love. Round and round they go, never ceasing even when the music stops. All to the scent of jasmine and the lunar glow of a breathless moon. 

“Haunted Past” in some ways reminds me of the movie The Secret Garden. A stone wall surrounds the hidden place of joy and tragedy, never to be seen again. Brick by brick and note by note the walls grow higher. Then, an unexpected guest finds the key. Sanctuary for all becomes not just a haunted past but the bare bones of a bittersweet future. Some ghosts want to be found if only to whisper goodbye. Take a moment to listen to this remarkable piece and perhaps you will hear yours…

Philip Wesley has a remarkable talent and I feel privileged to spend time with his music. It unlocks the whimsical parts of me and lets my imagination wander down his musical path. Both a teacher and an inspiration for all who want to learn more about piano, this artist is truly an inspiration and I look forward to listening to all of his works and am marking him as a must have for all future releases.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Less Traveled, Unbridled Spirit, Moonlight and Jasmine, Haunted Past 

Tracks:
01. Less Traveled  
02. Unbridled Spirit
03. Transcend  
04. Captivated
05. Distant Memory
06. Moonlight & Jasmine
07. The Chase  
08. Union  
09. Courage to Change
10. Haunted Past
11. Wanderlust
12. Gypsy
13. Echoes Through Eternity

Dana Wright Senior Staff Writer
March 7, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

February 25, 2015

Track Feature: Philip Wesley-Union

Philip Wesley's "Union" is the meeting of a man and his piano and how the sounds produced through that instrument can create beauty and reverberate in the human spirit.

This song will touch your soul in some way, and that is exactly what the artist wants to do. His goal is for people to listen and Transcend any problems or obstacles one may have in their lives through his music.

MuzikMan Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


 

More About Philip Wesley:
http://philipwesley.com

Philip Wesley’s music has been featured in radio, TV, film and print. It can be found on many of today’s most popular platforms including Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. His music continues to dominate his genre of ‘New Age’ music and reached #1 on the iTunes charts, The Top 100 on Amazon, Best Seller at CD Baby, and most recently #12 on the Billboard Charts (New Age Catalog Chart) Charting with ‘The Piano Guys’ and ‘Jim Brickman’ The music reviewer ‘Reviews New Age’ recently called Philip
’s album Dark Night of the Soul one of the “50 Greatest New Age Albums of All Time.”

Transcend is Philip Wesley's 7th solo piano album and is about overcoming problems and obstacles in life. Not just overcoming them, but rising so far above and beyond them that they seem insignificant and a distant memory. This album is also about having the courage to change, to face and overcome your fears, and pursuing the people, places, and things in life that captivate you.

A dynamic album with a rich, dark ambient piano sound. Ranging from contemporary/new age to classical crossover. An emotionally powerful album from start to finish.