May 10, 2019

Instrumental Review: Gerhard Daum-Songs Without Words

Release Date: April 26, 2019
Label: Tonework Records

The last time I heard the sweet sounds of Gerhard Daum’s guitar was in 2017 on Rural Renewal with his guitar and string ensemble. At the end of last month, he released Songs Without Words. The title says it all right? Well, not quite.

Gerhard’s guitar playing is outstanding and that did not come as a revelation considering his last effort was a 5-star outing. I decided to just call it instrumental in regards to genre. He covers some ground so making it all inclusive was the best route to take.

You will hear some biting rock and blues licks along with some electrified cinematic jazz moments (‘Told You So”). “Gentleman’s Way” really caught my ear, its upbeat and consistent rhythms and timings made it an instant favorite. “Gold Rush” was another ear catcher, it sounds like a made for TV soundtrack or commercial, actually anything cinematic that needed some added color or depth, then this track would add those elements to it and make it all complete.  “Timeless” was superb as well, another one for the highlight reel. One even better for the film industry would be “Walking On Clouds,” with its orchestrated layers and excellent reverberating jazz-inflected guitar notes.

To be perfectly honest, what is there on Songs Without Words not to like? I loved the entire album. Although I am partial to guitar-based instrumentals, I do require a high standard of listening pleasures and strong production values with everything I hear. This recording gets an A+ in every category and is an absolute joy to listen to.

I am sure Songs Without Words will easily find a home with the contemporary instrumental, jazz and easy listening stations streaming all over the globe. It has that durable crossover appeal because Gerhard goes from strength to strength so seamlessly, mixing all the genres. Every additional instrument to the guitar is just the proverbial icing on the cake. There are many great moments to enjoy on this album night or day, it all fits just like a glove to complete your day with a smile in your heart.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 10, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks: 
01. Berlin Song
02. Talking Softly
03. Gentlemen's Way
04. All That Matters
05. Gold Rush
06. Timeless
07. Holding the Dream
08. Going My Way
09. Told You So
10. Walking on Clouds
11. The Early Passion

12. My Foolish Heart
 

May 5, 2019

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ed Blumenthal-The Late Train Home

Release Date: June 3, 2019
Label: Independent

Ed Blumenthal is a Chiropractor by trade. His was no different than many married folks trying to make a life for his family. His work became demanding and his children needed his time as well. Little time was left for him to play the piano. In fact, it took him nine years to return to the ivory keys. As if by some magical instance or the hand of God, Ed learned how to play the piano without being able to read music. He is self-taught and took videos of his hands creating the basis of some tunes. Further down the road, his wife took the tapes and converted them over to DVD, and he was able to relive his videos playing.  As fate would have it, a cello player named Eugene Friesen, thought the music needed accompaniment. To make a long story short, Ed ended up in Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio to record The Late Train Home. That is the music you will hear on this recording.

In a literal sense, the album is late in coming but it finally made it home. Ed and his music are The Late Train Home. The cover of the album is a view from the train with a beautiful sunset and the crescent moon right above it. We can all be passengers on that train and while we are all traveling down those tracks of life on our journey, we can sit back, breath deep, knowing and trusting that everything is going to be ok. We are here for a reason and to meet our destiny. Ed’s most certainly met his and part of the path he took led to ten tracks on this instrumental piano recording. Some folks may not agree but I look at this as contemporary instrumental music, particularly with piano, as a sub-genre of new age. It is easy enough for relaxation and meditation, so it qualifies as far as I am concerned.

Ed’s piano is like waves and ripples of sound that glide over your body, touching every sense you have, bringing to life awareness of your being and spirituality. In my world, any good music has that capability regardless of the genre. The rolling piano and rhythms are what mesmerize me and carry me away from where I am and where I need to be at that moment in time. Take for instance the title track, it is a captivating and poignant track that has character, purpose, and it tells the story of an artist reaching his destination. Music does speak to us in many different forms. For my ears, I get what the tracks and the title of the album mean by first understanding where the artist is coming from and where they are going. Then I look at the images presented and it all falls into place. That is for me from my vantage point and hopefully in sync with what the artist is trying to convey.

You must look beyond yourself and inside the music to find the answers you seek. When looking through the eyes and soul of another, or in this case the music which equates to those two elements, we see a reflection of ourselves in some shape or form that makes perfect sense. That is what The Late Train Home did for me but the train home was on schedule and arrived at the destination right on time.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 5, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Who Knows
02. The Roads Imagined
03. We Walk On
04. The Hands We Hold
05. Along The Way
06. The Late Train Home
07. Always Waiting
08. Until Then
09. The Sea Sings
10. For Us

April 24, 2019

Ambient-New Age Review: Dan Palladino-Pastoral Memory

Release Date: February 2, 2019
Label: Independent
Dan Palladino is no stranger to recording music. His debut in the new age/ambient genre just arrived in February this year. Pastoral Memory is seven tracks born out of the art of improvisation.

 
Dan uses a blend of acoustic and electric guitars over the top of synth harmonies that breath in and out to create a fluctuating and soothing effect. Music like this is like an animate object taking form in your mind’s eye. One of the best examples is the lead-off track “Rising.” It is the ultimate musical exercise clocking in at a plentiful 10:15.

Some of this music can be used for focus and meditation. You will hear a steady tone throughout parts of songs like “Thankful,” which is another generous portion of Dan’s art at 5:13 then it nicely segues into “Joyful Cleansing” yet another space in time that allows for focus and relaxation, giving the listener 8:48 minutes. Dan uses the guitar for consistency with a steady picking while you hear the movement of water. Then another seamless segue goes right into “Passing Storm,” with rain and thunder, as the synths add an additional layer of texture and ambiance. As the storm passes the birds are happy again tweeting away and it blends right into “Aftermath.” So now you are seeing the logical progression of the music in the titles and the purposeful transition from one track to another.

The addition of the synths is essential in making this an ambient treat for the ears, mind, and body, which for this listener, equates to a happy soul. I for one really appreciated how all of this was arranged and titled. It all made sense to me and did arouse my internal receptors to all the sounds and vibrations.

Six out of the seven songs are given plenty of time and space for the creator of the music and the appreciative listener. For a debut in this genre, this a stunning group of tracks brilliantly composed and exercised by Dan Palladino. One other point is the cover, the cool color of blue water and the white clouds set you at ease and set you up nicely for what you are about to hear on Pastoral Memory.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 24, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
1. Rising
2. Thankful
3. Joyful Cleansing
4. Passing Storm
5. Aftermath
6. Yesterday’s Dream
7. Counting Stars

 

April 20, 2019

New Age World Instrumental Review: Jonny Lipford-Migration

Release Date: May 1, 2019
Label: Independent

If you look up Jonny Lipford on Spotify you will see quite a collection of album releases. In fact, I was quite amazed at how much music this man has out there.

On May 1st Migration will be available. Those who appreciate new age and world music with the flute or a genuine combination of both will appreciate the nine tracks for your listening pleasure.

You will hear Native American flute, Mojave flute, Mayan harmony flute, Irish flute, Persian flute, and Bansuri. That is quite an array of flutes giving each track an identity, sound, and texture that distinguishes itself as a standalone artistic achievement. I do not know any other way to put it.

For Jonny, this is a Migration of sights and sounds from track to track. As the birds fly in their patterns it shows nature taking its yearly course. In this instance, this artist follows his instincts and creates something truly beautiful. I really enjoyed the entire album but with the way it ended was what really just swept me away. There is 9:13 minutes of amazing enchantment that awaits a prospective audience. A nice touch is appropriately adding the chirping birds with about 2 minutes to go before it closes out.  Poetry in motion through music, what a wonderful artistic expression.

The purity and earthy tones are what bring me into each track and hold me. I am touched by the sincerity of the recordings and the heart and soul that went into making such an impressive group of tracks. It was like opening a book with an interesting cover then turning each page (or track) and reading another story. That, my music loving friends is a great example of the power of music, tones, vibrations and the honesty of an artist painting and picture we can all step into and make our own. 

For these ears Migration was a journey to complete peace and happiness. Now only if I could hold that feeling 24/7, now wouldn’t that be amazing to reach a level of spiritual attainment like that? This music and other similar recordings could help us all on our way to that level of existence.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 20, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:
 

01. Fly in Beauty
02. Hunt of the Nighthawk
03. Emerging Vision
04. Migration
05. Masked Ibis
06. At First Light
07. Wisdom in the Wing
08. Poet's Awakening
09. Peace Within

 

April 14, 2019

Instrumental Ambient/New Age Review: Stephen Peppos-Deep Listen

Release Date: January 15, 2019
Label: Sonic Bear Music

Atmospheric and ambient music can be used as a tool for any type of focus or mindset.  It takes a talented artist like Stephen Peppos to create music that allows that process to happen. I got a good taste of his capabilities two years ago on Leaving Terra Firma. With a title like that it would certainly indicate that the music allows you to leave the earth, you stand on. The music backs that thought with conviction.

Deep Listen is another foray into the ether that will satisfy anyone that is looking to meditate and have a spiritual and perhaps an out of body experience. This music is very spacey but smooth and relaxing at the same time. Its calming effect works well on a tired soul, bringing solace with synth and keyboard sounds, and at times, the sound of the ocean waves hitting the shoreline. That is exactly what you will find on “Aural Mists.” 

The track is a solid 9:07 minutes of music meets natures blissfulness. The sound of waves alone is a wonderful thing however if you add the right sounds with your music, a beautiful marriage is consummated and you the listener are the recipient.  It is like a blossoming flower feeling the first rays of the new day sun.
I really like the title of the CD because what you take is a “deep dive” right into a Deep Listen. The cover is very inviting and the colors are immediately soothing to the eye. It unconsciously connects with your mind to set you up for the musical journey. Fans of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Jean Michel Jarre will love this album. I personally enjoy all of that music so it was easy for me to get swept away by this recording and find a meaning that made sense and felt just right.

The masterwork is “Algorithm” which runs for 12:56. By definition, an “Algorithm” is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. Our brain functions like a computer when necessary so why can’t this music be something to process and calculate? In a sense that is what I am expressing with my words. And it just made me think in those terms by saying the word.

Right away the title implies something scientific and hi-tech. Is it thinking man’s music? I guess it depends on who you are what your interest is and what exactly challenges your mind. I do not feel challenged listening to this track in particular, it has the same purpose and effect on me like all the others. I think something needs to be said for taking a track and spreading out the composition with some diversity in sounds and textures. This is the mark of a true artisan, a craftsman of his trade. Stephen is able to make this a real masterpiece of ambient nuances that weave together and make it whole.

In the end, Deep Listen lives up to its name and gives the listener 1 hour and 18 minutes of musical chicken soup for the soul. It is one recipe that you will be reaching for more than once to chill and let the day just melt away.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 14, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Twilight
02. Break of Dawn
03. Tonality  
04. Aural Mists
05. Wide Open
06. Awake
07. Transmogrify
08. Vivid
09. Algorithm
10. Breathe




April 13, 2019

New Age World Vocal Review: Juliet Lyons-The Light Within

Release Date: May 10, 2019
Label: Mystic Voyager Music

Juliet Lyons looks like quite the diverse performer based on the discography listed on her website. I did not need to see that to be impressed with her music and vocals. As soon as the first track started, I was spellbound.  

The Light Within is a collection of ten tracks with Ms. Lyons’ gorgeous vocalizations accompanying all the music, which ranges from New Age and Meditation to World and a mixture of all three. The combinations are very effective and soothing and her angelic voice leads the way as the various instruments are introduced throughout each track. 

The songs come as advertised on the album cover songs for Yoga, Healing and Inner Peace. Juliet wrote all the songs and performed on the Native Flute and Piano. Ricky Kej contributed keyboards and programming on the opening track “Lokah Samastah” and Ron Korb made a guest appearance on the recording as well, playing flute on “Eternal Now.” Both of those tracks are excellent.  The opening track is fantastic, full of positive energy and light. It serves as the perfect introduction to a very consistent listen. “Eternal Now” is also exceptional, I found it inspiring and uplifting.

Juliet has a very flexible vocal style that could probably fit into any genre actually. The music is quite amazing throughout the run of this album, in fact it serves as the perfect complement to that gifted voice from the heavens that you will learn to love very quickly. You just can’t have one without the other, its kismet, a marriage of sound and voice that will give you happiness deep within your soul.

Let The Light Within shine brightly with a little help from the recordings of Juliet Lyons. I found it a natural course of events listening to this music and all the wonderful feelings and peace I felt. Music is a powerful tool, and it’s refreshing to see it being used in such a positive manner. The tools and gifts of god were put in good hands when Juliet Lyons found her path. Once you hear this music you will be thankful as well.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 13, 2019
 
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Lokah Samastah (ft. Rupesh Menon)
02. Om Shanti
03. Flow
04. Calm
05. Dawning Equilibrium (instrumental)
06. Stillness (ft. Judy Kang)
07. Eternal Now (ft. Ron Korb)
08. Heal You
09. The Light Within (ft. Judy Kang)(instrumental)
10. Shine

April 10, 2019

Instrumental New Age Review: Robert Linton-Adrift in Wonder

Release Date: April 5, 2019
Label: October Moon Records

My introduction to Robert Linton’s acoustic guitar music was three years ago on Beyond The Clearing.  Adrift In Wonder is the newest offering from the talented guitarist.

The recording was mixed and mastered by Corin Nelsen of SycroSonic Productions. If you are familiar with the new age genre you will recognize some of the people that contributed to Adrift In Wonder and come to an understanding of why it is such a pleasing listen.

The violin (Sara Milonovich), English Horn (Jill Haley), Cello (Eugene Friesen), Electronic Wind Instrument and Alto Flute (Premik Russell Tubbs) add an exceptional layer of sounds to Robert’s acoustic six-string journeys.
The collaborative spirit they have in the new age culture is very effective for all involved. These are busy musicians contributing to so many of the releases that come out, with responsibilities of their own recordings as well. It is an “everyone gets a slice of the pie” mentality that anyone in a business should be taking a good look at.

Listening to this music really does have the Adrift In Wonder effect on you. It is the perfect music for simple relaxation or meditation. Robert’s approach is consistent and he sustains the warmth of his guitar throughout the recording, which I naturally appreciated. I work in a highly stressful day job and this music takes the edge off and sets my soul at ease, and gives me a renewed sense of hope and strength I cannot find anywhere else.

The importance of music to our world goes beyond words and music without the words most certainly can say a lot and have an impact. It is artists like Robert Linton taking one instrument then bringing in other equally talented artists that know how to present their music. This is a spiritual path for the artist creating the music and very special listening experience for his audience. 

I really appreciate guitar-based albums and in particular acoustic undertakings that have to work harder to get your attention. Adrift In Wonder opens a pathway to a “Gentle Descent” as you are “Weaving Through the Waves” of sound and beauty presented. I highly recommend this album to those seeking tranquility and regeneration of energy and spirit. Synchronicity with the music can be accomplished quite quickly, all you have to do is pay attention to what you are hearing.

A+ musicianship and production set Robert Linton apart from those aspirant folks looking to complete the same experience with the gratifying results that all listeners and he will surely enjoy.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 10, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:

1. Gliding the Current
Robert Linton(Guitar), Sara Milonovich (Violin), Jill Haley(English Horn)

2. Weaving Through the Waves
Robert Linton(Guitar), Premik Russell Tubbs(EWI.. (Electronic Wind Instrument)

3. Traces of Reflection
Robert Linton(Guitar), Eugene Friesen(Cello)

4. Gentle Descent
Robert Linton(Guitar), Sara Milonovich(Violin)

5. Sifting Through Daydreams
Robert Linton(Guitar), Premik Russell Tubbs( Alto Flute), (EWI.. (Electronic Wind Instrument)

6. Casting in the Afterglow
Robert Linton(Guitar), Eugene Friesen(Cello), Jill Haley (English Horn)

7. Murmur of Chimes
Robert Linton(Guitar), Premik Russell Tubbs (EWI.. (Electronic Wind Instrument)

8. Adrift in Wonder
Robert Linton(Guitar), Eugene Friesen(Cello)

9. Hovering in the Sun Rays
Robert Linton(Guitar), Sara Milonovich(Violin)