June 25, 2019

New Age Meditation: Vickie Dodd & James Hoskins-Found Sound

Release Date: May 31, 2019
Label: Right Brain Records

Vickie Dodd & James Hoskins decided to explore some new territory with the art of creating music that heals. They accomplish this through 8 tracks on their release Found Sound.

Vickie is well versed in the difficult art of throat singing. She not only does it well, but she is also able to command a 4-octave range that covers more than throat singing. Her voice is the main instrument on this project and the cello playing of James Hoskins certainly lends another interesting and pleasant layer to each track. Both artists experts in their field, they are able to record something very unique and expressive that is well equipped to reach an audience eager to receive it.

I had no idea what to expect going into this and I found it to be interesting, different and something that separates itself from what other recording artists are doing today. At times Vickie’s tone is like a didgeridoo, which is fascinating and quite difficult I would estimate. At times it was like something you would hear at a Native American Pow Wow. Quintessentially, what you could anticipate hearing is a meditation album that creates a drone through voice and instrument, which is perfect for focus and the eventuality of meditation, dependent on what level of attainment you may be at of course. The cello does provide music as you would recognize it, just in an entirely different format.

For this listener, it is therapeutic to listen and write about the music as I listen. That is a complete experience for me. When I first started writing reviews I would listen to the album once or twice then sit down and write. What new age, meditation, and relaxation recordings have done is allowed me to reach another level of musical interpretation from me to you with the words you now read. That realization came several years ago however I thought it would be a could analogy to use for this particular album called Found Sound.

Quite literally, I found my way through the sound, and I usually do. So, with that, I invite other listeners to engage themselves down this enlightening path to see what they can find and come to realize about who they are and what direction to go. It is not complicated at all, just hit play and listen then nature will take its course.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

June 25, 2019

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Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
1. Frequencies of Unconditional Love 05:23
2. Remembering We Are 06:14
3. Forgetting We Were 03:06
4. Thread of Intention 06:37
5. Sublimation of Chance 02:43
6. Matter at Hand 04:58
7. Being Restored 04:01
8. Flower of Bliss 10:02
 



June 20, 2019

Instrumental Piano Review: Michele McLaughlin- Memoirs

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Label: Independent

Memoirs will be the fourth album I have had the opportunity to enjoy by pianist Michele McLaughlin. Her reputation in the music community is a stellar one and with the latest release, that kind of positive support and feedback will continue to grow.

The first track is a powerful musical statement. Michele works hard to relay a message to her listeners on “Thankful” You can actually feel the word expressed in the music. Without the human voice to express itself, there are many other ways to do so, particularly through the arts that are visual and audible. 

Talented piano players like Michele take a blank canvas and let their emotions and spirits flow through the ivory keys. I am continually amazed at how beautiful and meaningful this instrumental music can be. Michele is one of those players that gets your attention and holds it with a variety of tempos and rhythms.

One of the more breathtaking tracks in “Northern Lights.” Her playing is exemplary. The pace at which she hits the keys is incredibly fast then within the blink of an eye she changes the entire track into a softer melodious passage then it closes out with an attention-getting deep bass tone. To really appreciate such complex piano playing you have to pay attention to all the layers of music being created and the varying tempos that allow it to change so fast. The transitions Michele makes in her music can be quite a display of technical and innate sense of musicality.

So once again, the brilliance of Michele McLaughlin comes shining through her music with energy, poignancy, grace, and beauty. At times all of those elements are combined to give you a wall of sound that is difficult to imagine with one piano. She does it all with tastefulness and precision on Memoirs.

Memoirs is another triumph for Michele McLaughlin and she has set the bar another notch higher for her contemporaries.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 20, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Thankful
02. Pure Joy
03. Dark Moon
04. Triumph
05. Little Love
06. My Life with You
07. Beneath the Surface
08. Alone
09. Winter
10. Northern Lights
11. Peace
12. Dismissed


June 12, 2019

Acoustic Instrumental World Fusion Review: Perpetual Motion-Dance of Two Souls

Label: Independent
Release Date: June 1, 2019

2.5 years ago, I discovered the group Perpetual Motion, thanks to the introduction of Josie Quick. Josie is a fabulous violin player with a stellar reputation in the New Age and music community as a whole. Her partner is Tom Carleno the six-string bandit that populates their Latin World Fusion sound. There is a lot of music on the new release that will find its way to world, jazz, Latin and new age streaming stations.

I covered Rear View and enjoyed every minute of it. So, there is no reason why Dance of Two Souls would not be the same experience. And just so you know, it was also a very enjoyable experience that was as memorable as the last release.

The music on Dance of Two Souls will make your body move, your heart smile, and your soul feel as light as a feather. In other words, you will be swept away most pleasantly by this recording. Along the way, you hear jazz, Latin, and acoustic splendor unfolding all at once within each song.

Even though the music is acoustic (not electric with lots of noise pinning the VU meter) it does pack a potent amount of energy, color, sound, texture, and range of vibrations that you will recognize from beginning to end. It is a non-stop musical serendipity. 

Tracks like the world infused “Diabla” and the incredibly rhythmic and soulful “Where Does The Time Go” which is something I seem to say every day in this phase of my life. Just wait, it will happen to you too. The good news that Josie and Tom impart upon us is that time moves constantly, only our perception of it varies. And that is so true, it is relative to one’s own world.  This is the pièce de résistance of the entire album, its progressive, rapidly moving (there is that time thing again), with a lot of instrumentation going on. It is without a doubt my favorite track on the album, very cool. Now let’s remember that pièce de résistance refers to the chief dish of a meal or an outstanding item or event: showpiece. The entire recording serves as a showpiece two this two great talents coming together and “Where Does The Time Go” is their showpiece.

This is clearly the Dance of Two Souls in complete joy, and, we the listeners are the fortunate recipients of that absolute musical focus. Whether you want to glide around a room, tap your feet or just kick back and take it all in, this album is a superb way to allow yourself that space in time for a little of your own musical nirvana delivered courtesy of Josie Quick and Tom Carleno.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 12, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Sunsplash
02. Diabla
03. The Happy Song
04. Déjà Vu
05. Dance of Two Souls
06. Troublant Boléro
07. Dos Gringos
08. Viaje del Corazón
09. Swinging Cats
10. Summertime
11. Where Does The Time Go?
12. Esmeralda
13. Por Causa de Você

 

June 8, 2019

Instrumental Ambient Review: Jon Durant-Alternate Landscapes

Release Date: May 3, 2019
Label: Alchemy Records

My introduction to Jon Durant came in 2018 when he released Parting Is. His unique use of guitars I found to be very intriguing. 

Alternate Landscapes is along the same path but an expansion of what he was doing on the last release, this time with the use of synths. The music is ambient and electronic with Jon’s cloud guitar signature driving the compositions.

I made sure to include the track times because without that as an indicator people would assume that this was EP. That could not be further from the truth as the shortest track is 6:56 and the longest rolls in at 20:32.

After looking at the track titles I had to wonder what each one meant. The only one I recognized was “Aragon.” Have a little fun and look up all the track titles to see what they mean. I can tell you this, they are all destinations. Speaking of going somewhere, you are probably wondering where this music will take you. All this music has a destination as indicated by the track titles; however, I do believe that is up to each individual listener.  So, before you give this music a listen, stop, think, then decide how you will use this music as a tool to achieve your own destination.

I really cannot qualify this music as new age, perhaps a sub-genre thereof would be the best way to put it. It is atmospheric, dreamy, and billowy like a cloud. It pulls you out of one space and puts you in another rather quickly. At times it gave me the feeling of being submerged in water and thus that “floating” weightless feeling of mind, body, and soul. It can be a beautiful thing if you can let the music work its magic.

I would think that the folks that work in film making should take a good look at what Jon Durant can offer for soundtracks and effects for all sorts of films and documentaries. This music is Alternate Landscapes in a definitive sense, musically of course. Most listeners that enjoy ambient or new age will really appreciate this release.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 8, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
 
1. Systravatn 15:56
2. Aragon 6:56
3. Ciel Du Cheval 20:32
4. Dinkelsbül 15:11 



June 3, 2019

Instrumental Piano Review: Milana Zilnik- Notte

Release Date: June 1, 2019
Label: Independent

According to the discography on Milana Zilnik’s website, on June 1, 2019, she will release her 13th album titled Notte (which means night in Italian). That is a very impressive library of recorded works. And the fact that I am not familiar with her work gives me pause to wonder why! Well, I am here to help those of you who are in a similar point in time I am and to take some time to listen to this music.

The artist decided, with the encouragement of her husband, to challenge herself and record a minimalist album. She is accustomed to making more complicated and colorful music. Do not be discouraged by that statement as what Milana has to say on the 12 tracks encompassing this ambitious effort is quite a lot. Not mention not uttering one word.

Stepping away from your comfort zone is difficult. It can be in any situation like work, or something that triggers those good endorphins. Music, really good music, should put you in your comfort zone. And why wouldn’t anyone want to do that? We can thank the artist for putting her best foot, or should I say fingers, forward on Notte.

Notte takes the listener through 12 hours of specific times, feelings and atmospheres. Each track intends to deliver a lapse of time and music to relate to the time (8 pm to 7 am) and title. The desire to see this to its completion was a success in every way. 

The minimalist approach is nothing new to these ears, especially when it comes to piano music. I hear a lot of it and I must say that I always enjoy it to the fullest extent. If it reaches out and touches my soul in some way it was a success from where I sit. For me personally, this has been an incredibly busy and at times very stressful time in the daily work setting. Having music like Notte to listen to is a very therapeutic exercise for me. The focus one can put on just the piano and the sounds emanating from it, can ease the mind which in turn slows the heartbeat, which then equates to a placidness that cannot be found during the course of a day, at least not for me. I am sure there are many people out there experiencing the same things on a daily basis. So, it is what you would call a healthy escape valve that I have access to any time I want it.

Notte is the right time to heal and regenerate our blood cells, minds, and attitudes for the following day. With the help of one very talented, not to mention brave, musician named Milana Zilnik, you to can attain a different state of mind and fulfillment.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 3, 2019

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. 8PM: Shadows
02. 9PM: Sunset
03. 10PM: Twilight
04. 11PM: Calmness
05. 12AM: Midnight
06. 1AM: Longing
07. 2AM: Echoes
08. 3AM: Silence
09. 4AM: Dreams
10. 5AM: Quietude
11. 6AM: Reflections
12. 7AM: Dawn


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