May 19, 2016

New Age Review: Seay-In The Garden

Release Date: June 1, 2016
Label: Tuscan Sun Music

Seay (pronounced say) brings her love for music and the environment to the recording studio with In The Garden. With her voice and a host of talent contributing to the effort such as Wouter Kellerman, Rickey Kej, Jerry Watts and several others, this is a lush tribute to our planet.

Earthy tones and sounds dominate as Seay adds her deeply expressive vocals. The mix of earthy drums with keys and strings make for the fullest expression that one can imagine. The very first track sets the precedence and message right away with “Beautiful Earth.” While most of the music I have the opportunity to review is instrumental, and I have a preference for that actually, this recording made me forget about that and I fell right into it with joy. The one thing that made it easier for me is what the premise of the album is. This is about mother earth all the beauty and miracles she gives us every day. And most importantly how sacred the earth is and how we should cherish and protect our life giving planet.

“Oceanus” is reminder of from whence we came. We are bodies made of 75% water and all life begins in the ocean. The sounds of ocean life is present and the music is layered with keyboards and delicate sounds of stringed instruments then textured to perfection with Seay’s fertile vocals. The tide is strong while voice and music combine to pull you into another world far below the land where you live. A new appreciation can be found envisioning this journey and yet another reminder of how important it is to keep our oceans clean and teaming with life so that we may continue to live in sync with the incoming and outgoing tides of the powerful bodies of water that surround our lands. The end of the track Seay says “Thank you Ocean,” and you can hear the sound of whales speaking to each other. It is thing of beauty that you will not forget.
Many new age artists are using the vehicle of music to make a strong statement in support of the environment. It is the most impactful and touching way to deliver a message and more likely than not people will listen. It encompasses not only a message but music that attracts the mind, body and spirit in the most delightful way. Our planet and all life are sacred.

“We Are One” most definitively puts everything in the right place. The idea of all life as an integral part of mother earth is a fact and we must respect that. One beating heart and rhythm that works together, it is the daily miracle that we take for granted and music such as this brings that thought into proper light and importance. We are indeed one entity living together bound to each other for our very existence.

I did not know what to expect with this music but had a very nice introduction to the artist. She was kind, thoughtful and so respectful of my position in life. I am sure that Seay would be a pleasure to meet and discuss her music and the environment. How it all ties together would be different for each individual but we all cannot deny the common denominator, life and the earth fit together like a hand in glove.

In The Garden is a triumph for the artist and being alive on this great planet. The message is clear, concise, and delivered with so much elegance and distinction that you simply cannot ignore it.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Beautiful Earth, Oceanus, We Are One

Tracks:
01. Beautiful Earth
02. Dream
03. Oceanus
04. In the Garden
05. We Are One
06. Hearts Afire
07. Anima Mundi
08. The Golden Spiral
09. I Will Love You Still
10. Seraphim (Breath of the Angels)
11. Full Moon Sonata
12. Into the Blue (Oceanus Reprise)


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
Founder of:
May 19, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


May 16, 2016

New Age Instrumental Review: Alexi Musnitsky-Zia

Release Date: December 14, 2015
Label: Independent

Alexi Musnitsky has been playing piano since he was four years old. His album Zia is his debut released last December. The seven tracks offered on this recording are simple and beautiful compositions, a total exertion of passion and grace.

Solo piano can be relaxing and tranquil and Alexi embraces that atmosphere and flow with each track. “Sparkling Heart” is a perfect example of that flow and heartbeat of the music emanating from his fingers to the ivory keys.

The everyday complexities of life just roll of your back and fade away listening to these tracks. Each one effortlessly follows the next leading you down the path of tranquility. Music like this is a spiritual experience for me. It is easy for me to forget the worries and stresses of life once this kind of music begins. There is one thing to focus on, the piano and how it speaks to you, pulling you out of any inner and external turmoil you may be experiencing into the bliss; it is as simple as that.

Although there are only seven tracks, they embody an artist at work. His heart and soul is pouring into this. Also there is not one track under 4 minutes, in fact the final track “Dream Catcher,” clocks in at 7:08. So there is more than enough to take into consideration within the seven tracks on this album.

This definitely can be “The Quest,” as the track introduces those thoughts and feelings. The delights of some nice instrumental music are yours if you so choose. It is a blend of contemporary, classical and new age wrapped nicely into one package. That may sound a bit complicated but it is everything but that.
The music of Zia will touch your soul and warm your heart. Let your ears listen and your spirit unfold, the music will lead the way. It most certainly worked that way for me while taking this in.

Alexi Musnitsky is an extremely talented solo pianist with a bright future ahead. I look forward to hearing his next release.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Sparkling Heart, The Quest

Tracks: 
1. Zia
2. War of Love (feat. Eugene Friesen)
3. Sparkling Heart
4. The Quest (feat. Eugene Friesen)
5. Light Will Lead the Way (feat. Eugene Friesen)
6. Mile of Life (feat. Eugene Friesen)
7. Dream Catcher (feat. Eugene Friesen)

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 16, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

May 12, 2016

New Age/Meditation Review: Silvia Nakkach- Liminal

Release Date: March 25, 2016
Label: Vox Mundi Records
Grammy nominated artist Silvia Nakkach has been delighting audiences with her unique blend of soul healing music for more than 30 years. A skilled composer, teacher, author, instrumentalist, performer and vocalist, she is renowned all over the world for her ability to twist many genres and make them her own, giving them a unique twist. Liminal, her fourteenth album is just that. Splashes of color on the canvas of human emotion, this album draws its breath from classical, New Age, Indian Ragas (Hindustani music) and World Music spinning magic with each well-defined track. Credits for this album include Todd Boston (producer), David Darling (cello), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Val Serrant (percussion, voice) and of course, the extremely talented Silvia Nakkach.

If I tried to pick a word to define this album it would have to be masterful. Each track, from the first to the last has its own unique flavor and story to tell. The vastness of space in all of its forms seems to be a theme in Liminal, but one that is handled very well. How does one perform the intricacy of a ray of light or a dust mote? You listen to this album and Nakkach will show you. Every note. Every harmony.

The first piece, "Liminal Clouds" is an auditory journey through the reaches of time and space. Close your eyes and feel the electronica whispers as they blend with the mounting tension of voice and the multi-layered instrumentation. Ambient music, sacred chanting and a blur of sound flows over you as the vast echoes of time and space drift in a journey that never ends.

"Liminal Glow" is a spell that weaves over you. Whispery voices chant and coax you to the edge of your seat and ambient waves and the sounds of bells and birds float through the air. Percussive elements add to the tension. Just a glimpse for the listener into the wild unknown with promises of enchantment bursting from tender moments of sound and substance. This track is one of my favorite ones on the album. Colors whirl and electric energy fans out around you with sacred fire and glittery moments of secret dreams held tight in your hand. Never let it go.

"Liminal Moon" is the final track on the album. Whispered voices and the gorgeous sound of the flugelhorn pervade the sacred spaces of this amazing composition. The moon gazes down on the workings of the world, ever watching. Staid and solid in a world on fire. Humanity drifts like the currents beneath the all-knowing luminous presence. I didn't want it to end.

Silvia Nakkach is a Grammy nominee and it is easy to see why. Her compositions shoot straight to the heart of the human condition, bringing Eastern and Western sound and multiple genres to spin and weave the pattern the Fates have created for us all. There is an elemental beauty in each well-honed composition. Each contributing artist has proven their merit by this exquisite work. I highly recommend it.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Luminal Clouds, Liminal Glow, Liminal Moon

Tracks:
 

1.Liminal Clouds 05:20   
2.Liminal Beauty 08:46
3.Liminal Motion 06:16
4.Liminal Space 06:52   
5.Liminal Light 05:50   
6.Liminal Rays 03:11   
7.Liminal Glow 05:45   
8.Liminal Dream 06:11   
9.Liminal Moon 05:10

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
May 9, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews



May 2, 2016

New Age Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Where Butterflies Dance

Release Date: June 3, 2016
Label: Orange Band Records

Where Butterflies Dance is Ann Sweeten’s twelfth album. The title is such a great fit for the music presented on this album. If you listen to her hands glide across the keyboard it is not hard to envision butterflies flitting about.

If you take the time to read the inner sleeve notes of this CD you will find that this music is dedicated to the butterflies, specifically the Monarch Butterflies. They are on the brink of extinction because of pesticides destroying the milkweed plants which are their source of food and reproduction. After reading all of that information it certainly puts a different spin on the music you are about to hear.

Creating a vision through music without words surely is a process and more difficult than one could imagine, particularly those of us that are not actually recording the music, just listening. We have the easy job.
I make no mistake about letting people know how much I admire and appreciate instrumental music. The more I listen to it the more I understand how amazing it is. It is not unlike an artist taking a blank canvas and painting a striking picture to be admired by everyone that has the pleasure to see it.

Ms. Sweeten takes you on a journey through 10 tracks focused on her love of the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Her staunch support and respect for those two factors are the driving force of the music that she creates.

Ann’s piano playing is gorgeous throughout this album, that is the best way to explain it. There is a flow and natural rhythm like what mother earth so generously gives us all. A heartbeat of life that pulsates, ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea, the music will capture you as you fall into it without even knowing it. That kind of experience is indeed magical like all of the miracles of life around us. Most importantly it is a reminder that we need to respect all life and not let corporate greed extinguish it for their profit. 

Each track follows the next in natural progression. One track is not more important than another because they become intrinsically linked like it was meant to be. For that specific reason I need to acknowledge the entire album as one entity not just a few significant tracks, I want to bring attention to it all. 

If you enjoy instrumental music and most particularly piano based tracks, you will love Where Butterflies Dance. It can be enjoyed by just sitting back and listening, meditation, focusing or just decompressing at the end of the day. For those of you that happen to have a stressful commute to and from your place of employment this music would be a great tool to avert the stress associated with that travel.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

Tracks: 
01. A Trace of You
02. Broken Wing at North Light
03. Elysian Fields
04. Love Among the Ruins
05. Veil of Tears
06. Morning Mist at Chimayo
07. Sateo
08.The Hanging Road
09. Where Butterflies Dance
10. Migration

 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 2, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

April 28, 2016

Adult Contemporary/New Age Review: Elizabeth Geyer-The Bridge

Release Date: February 22, 2016
Label: EG Music
Website


Elizabeth Geyer invites you to join her on a journey seven years in the making. The renowned trumpet player turned flugelhorn turned vocalist has released a very personal album titled The Bridge.

Make no mistake about it Elizabeth still plays all of those instruments including the piano. You are probably wondering how someone that recorded instruments changed over to vocals? Well as she notes, “I had to find my voice.” Lord have mercy, did she ever.

The Bridge is aptly titled as this lady gathered up all her courage and crossed that bridge into unknown territory. I am here to tell you it was a successful trip. Her voice is beautiful, inviting and warm. She commands a song, she owns it, with an innate sense of melody and lyrics this performer knows how to put together a story in a song and make it all believable.

Another multitalented individual in his own right, Paul Adams, produced, engineered and mixed the album and was kind enough to introduce this amazing talent to me. In addition he played guitar and all the instruments that Elizabeth did not.

“The Bridge” opens the curtain, which is the most important track on any album as it sets the tone for everything else and the fact that it is the title track is all the more poignant. The instrument that is the key to these tracks is the piano, it lays down a solid foundation to build upon. The notes float off her fingers like the petals of a flower coming in for a soft landing on the morning grass. It is tasteful and a perfect lead into the rest of the album and the literal “bridge” to the rest of the story.

The more I listened to this album the more I realized what a great soundtrack it would make for a movie, when in fact it the artist playing her own movie for us to hear through music and words. I must say even though the piano is the most important instrument on this album the horns come in a close second. The brass gives it some nice smooth jazz tones while the piano has a more contemporary feel to it with influences drawn from classical and new age blending nicely with all the other elements presented.

One of my other favorites was the heartfelt track “The Jewel.” The song is too one very special person in the life of an artist going through change, stepping through the fear with courage and getting on with what her heart desires. We all need special people in our life for support, to lean on once in a while and mainly believe in us no matter what. That is what I heard on the track and I will leave it up to the listeners to decide what it means for them.

It is my practice to choose three key tracks but to be perfectly honest I could have easily chosen any one of  the 13 offered on this album and would have had plenty to say. It is all very good. But “Postcards from Paradise” I felt was a prolific track with the perfect ambiance added to accompany the wonderful voice of Ms. Geyer. It made me feel tingly all over like I should be talking a walk on the beach at a favorite vacation spot.

With The Bridge Elizabeth Geyer has triumphed in every way possible. As far as this listener is concerned it is a perfect 5/5 stars!

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: The Bridge, The Jewel, Postcards from Paradise

Tracks:
01.The Bridge
02.Waterfalls and Rainbows
03.Goodnight Romeo
04.Home
05.Perfect Life
06.Rain Falls
07.The Party
08.The Jewel
09.I Weep
10.Postcards from Paradise
11.The Wall
12.Place to Fly
13.Rose

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 28, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


April 24, 2016

Instrumental New Age: Jeffrey Seeman-Everything In Between

Release Date: December 1, 2015
Label: Harpeth River Records

Jeffrey Seeman grew up listening to the greats and cut his teeth working at the Ludlow Garage, a literal garage turned performance hall. As part of the Crew, his passion for music became ingrained and he has been playing ever since. A part of the band Wheels, Seeman's desire to play was put to the test as life took him away from his dream, only to bring it back again later in life. Seeman began to make videos of his work and shared them with the legendary Will Ackerman, who suggested they make an album. Everything In Between is the result of that effort.

The first song on the album is "Five Days Old," a strumming piece composed of layers that float over one another. Delicate percussion, multi-instrumentation and a solid guitar base provide a strong foundation for this song as it drifts and glides through every well-crafted note.

"Let's Go" is a buoyant journey filled with jazzy elements, horn, percussion and of course a very spirited guitar. This piece is a crawfish boil in full rapture mode. Joyful gatherings of friends and family captured in a moment frozen in time, filled with all the bumps and dips that make up our lives.    
"Point Well Taken" is a plucky piece with earthy movements, fingers sliding across strings in perfect style. A jazzy horn accompaniment joins the fray, bringing the song to a bit of a climb. Pick after pick and slide after slide, this strident composition is a thought provoking melody. It is the last song on the album and may just influence you to hit the play button one more time.

Jeffrey Seeman has spent most of his life in pursuit of music, either by working in a club or by picking up his own guitar. Working with Will Ackerman of Imaginary Road Studios, this album is a realization of a dream. When the album came out, Ludlow Garage opened back up once more allowing Seeman to trace back the roots of his musical journey. Some places are more than a beginning or and an end. They are an impetus for a life well lived, and each track on Everything In Between gives a little window into the life of a man who finds joy in the simple things. This album is a great listen and I highly recommend it.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Five Days Old, Let's Go, Point Well Taken

Tracks: 
1. 5 Days Old
2. Acadia Walk
3. Michael's Journey
4. Ever Present Always
5. Southern Night In The Woods
6. Let's Go!
7. My Grand Gift
8. Jackie's Grace
9. Point Well Taken

 
DanaWright, Sr. Staff Writer
April 24, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

April 20, 2016

New Age Instrumental: Laima Gaizutis-Simply Beautiful Collection II

Release Date: April 28, 2016
Label: Independent

Laima Gaizutis has an interesting and inspiring life story. The roots of success in early America are due to many immigrants bringing their talents to this country. In more modern times Laima’s parents immigrated to Cleveland from Lithuania and that is where she began her lifetime love affair with piano. 

Simply Beautiful Collection II encompasses eleven instrumental tracks with varying degrees of pace and styles. Once you listen to the album you would have to agree that the title is quite appropriate.

Track 4, “I Missed Laughter Most,” I found filled with twists and turns unlike the previous three tracks. The first few tracks set the ambiance and mood if you will while this track offers a sudden change of pace with elements of jazz stirred into the mixture for a bit more color.

After that variance of sound and texture Laima brings back the softer soothing sounds with “Sunlight.” It’s like the light of the new day gently hitting your face as you draw open the curtains in the morning. The small miracles of everyday that we tend to take for granted take on new meaning and importance while listening to this eye opener.

The Holidays are special times for people of all walks of life around the world. One of the most special is our holiday in America we enjoy called Thanksgiving. It is time to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon us and our loved ones. The track “Thanksgiving with You” could hold a multitude of meaning however it is does point to a single person in this case and the gratefulness found in the elegant piano of Laima and the layer of electronic keyboards it seems to glide over to give it an airy spiritual feel. We all have so much to give and be thankful for and this song a beautiful reminder of that.

Laima Gaizutis is certainly a gifted individual and piano player, her emotion and sincerity are realized through the keys of her instrument. The examples I gave are just a few of the instrumental delights you will find on this recording. The only track that seemed out of place, while named properly, was “Penny Arcade.” The music was the right fit but not for this album. Two of the most important tracks are the opener and curtain closer. In this case Laima hit the mark when the curtain opened and everywhere else in between but keep in mind this is my opinion and a matter of what I would expect in a recording such as this but some folks may find it as a pleasant surprise. Even so I loved 10 of the 11 tracks; they put the spotlight on some very talented fingers and a person that is in touch with her inner spirit with the gift of translating that to something beautiful with sounds.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: I Missed Laughter Most, Sunlight, Thanksgiving With You

Tracks:

 01. Whispers
02. Midnight
03. Touched
04. I Miss the Laughter Most
05. Sunlight
06. Long Summer Night
07. Stillness
08. Thanksgiving with You
09. Lilting
10. An Angel's Dream
11. Penny Arcade

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 20, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews