October 18, 2017

New Age Review: Rachel Lafond-Wandering Soul

Release Date: May 15, 2017
Label: Independent

Rachel Lafond released Wandering Soul in May of 2017.

This is piano only music, based in the foundation of contemporary instrumental and classical. It emerges as a finely presented new age sound.

Rachel’s singularity is her greatest asset on this recording. Likewise, her intent is to reach each “individual” listener is successful. This individualism makes total sense, it fits the entire presentation. While it is created for the masses, what you see is the artist on the piano alone.  And upon further inspection, there is a mirror image of her looking out the window, subtle yet effective. What happens is we get a window into a Wandering Soul. A mirror image of her soul wandering from her physical body tells the story before you even hit play.

This is a story played out on the piano with insight and depth. The kind of emotion and soul searching that you can find within this music, it is part and parcel of what get with this CD. The melodic tempo of the tracks has a hint of sadness, yet the energy and joy of discovery enters the equation. This is when the wandering comes to end as the soul is finally “Finding Home.”

After listening to this kind of music for many years now I find it fascinating how the titles coincide with the music and can make sense. All you have to do is let it sweep you away, like a broom sweeps away the dust and then particles float into the air, so can you. A billowing cloud of sound and texture transports you as you become the story. The music can lead you down that path to instant gratification. This is the kind satisfaction you find without a price tag on it, free of any sort of remorse afterwards. From the beginning to the end, this is a real spiritual kind of recognition.

That is the beauty of music like this. Solo piano played with such grace and preciseness is resilient, timeless and moldable to each listener. What a wonderful gift that Rachel is sharing. I for one certainly appreciate it, every track. It helped me to center and relax like I need to… and just like everyone else does. Give it a try you will be glad you did!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 18, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Whisper In The Mist
02. Kingfisher   
03. Why We Wander
04. Ember Warmth - Twin Peaks
05. Redemption   
06. Spinning In The Sun
07. Wandering Soul
08. Nikko River
09. Mystery Of The Moor
10. Wandering Soul
11. Finding Home



October 10, 2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Dan Chadburn-Held In The Light-Solo Piano Improvisations

Release Date: September 15, 2017
Label: Independent

Held In The Light-Solo Piano Improvisations is a 13 track instrumental new age solo album from Dan Chadburn. Just about a year ago I covered his 2016 release Beyond Words.  

I find music such as this to be so relaxing and comforting any time I listen to it. There never is the wrong time to listen to beautifully played music, particularly on the ivory keys.

Indeed, the piano is the tool which Mr. Chadburn uses to soothe your soul. At the risk of sounding redundant in what I say in my reviews…I reiterate the importance of music, the universal healer, and the reason it should be part of our lives on a daily basis. Frequently as possible I might add!

We need a oneness and commitment to mankind around the globe, especially now. Music without words (or beyond) is critical in the aspect of just “listening.” It’s not unlike listening to your inner voice or a power that is higher than yourself really. Everything else comes afterwards, and hopefully what arrives at the doorstep of your inner being is peace and healing. This is the blessing I receive while enjoying the simplicity and focus of the music that Dan Chadburn creates. 

Simply put, listening to this is like being Held In The Light. 

It is not difficult to notice the transitions and improvisations that are created in these tracks. And I know from my own viewpoint and listening experience it is because there is one instrument to focus on. Granted, sometimes we all want much more than that however each recording does serve its own purpose. I think in this instance Dan Chadburn serves his purpose and gives a listener a chance to reflect on their self, surroundings and anything else that needs attention and thought. Complete focus, even mediation is achievable while taking in Held In The Light-Solo Piano Improvisations.

This is completely enjoyable experience from start to finish that I recommend highly.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 10, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Breathe on Me, Breath of God
02. Be Thou My Vision
03. Amazing Grace
04. Wondrous Love
05. Love Divine
06. Were You There
07. Lo, How a Rose
08. Breath of Life
09. Morning Has Broken
10. Refuge
11. How Great Thou Art
12. Beautiful Savior
13. Held in the Light

 



October 4, 2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Michael Kollwitz-Serenity

Release Date: September 1, 2017
Label: Independent

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Michael Kollwitz has a large body of work that includes 21 recordings. This collection of gorgeous sounds is his first journey into the age of new age music. It is aptly titled Serenity.

Michael’s artistry comes in the form of sound waves, vibrations and beauty with the Chapman Stick. It is a very unique and mesmerizing instrument to say the least. I have associated it mostly with Tony Levin over the years and now I can add another master to list.

Michael had the great fortune of being tutored by the creator of the stick Emmett Chapman. What a blessing that was for us all. Now to hear the result of 40 years of hard work is just an amazing musical trip. 

I have to say I have never heard the stick played like this. It truly is amazing. It’s like listening to a guitar and bass at the same time. He definitely has perfected the virtuoso abilities of his chosen tool. Actually, the artist likes to call it the piano and guitar playing together. If you listen you can hear that similarity. The give and take of one instrument answering the call of another. I am not quite sure how his fingers accomplish all of the amazing sounds you hear on Serenity. I can tell you one thing, it is the only instrument he needed to record this sublime group of tracks.

The sounds resonant from the tip of your toes, to your heart, then to the mind. The triangle of mind, body and spirit surely find Serenity through these 14 tracks.

With the all of insanity of this world going on around us in these times, we must have refuge. We all need a place to unwind, center and gather our strength for a new day. With the music of Michael Kollwitz you become engaged and surrounded by the beauty of the sound. It will pull you in without effort and before you know it you it you will have reached a higher consciousness with a smile on your face. I can already see you smiling now! This is a must have for any lover of the guitar, bass or any stringed instrument for that matter, don’t miss it.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 4, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Mountain Sanctuary
02. Mystic Vista
03. Greatest Possible Gift
04. The Four Pillars
05. A New Life
06. Best of Everything
07. Joyful Reunion
08. Simple Pleasures
09. Warm Lasting Embrace
10. Never Alone Again
11. Quiet Full Moon
12. Higher Power
13. The Seven Canyons
14. No Hurry No Worry

 

September 25, 2017

Contemporary/Classical Instrumental Review: Faith Angelina-Reaching 12

Release Date: August 19, 2017
Label: Independent
A young lady by the name of Faith Angelina has so much talent to offer the world. At a very tender age of 11 this amazing child wanted to end her life. I simply cannot fathom that.  However, my own daughter was on a path of destruction when she was 16 and almost died starving herself (you can get her story here).  Personally, I am a recovering alcoholic going on 35 years now so I can relate so much to these feelings that take a person to a dark and lonely place.

Faith Angelina is now 12 years old and her album Reaching 12 is a beautiful tribute to her path leading to a full enriched life via the ivory keys. 

Music is the universal healer and it can accomplish amazing things. I did not realize what this CD was about until I opened it up and read the liner notes. I found an immediate connection to this young lady and it made me very emotional. What turned it all around for her was the music and for me as a listener, based on my own life experiences, I was able to rejoice in her triumph.

Reaching 12 is a story that celebrates her life and how she overcame the negativity and turned it all around. Again, I can relate to all of this in so many ways. The path to your answers are always within, sometimes they are locked away so tight they are hard to reach. With the realizations of the love and energies that surrounded her, she found her way back. What better way to convey this journey than through music?

This music is beautiful and flowing like a stream of life gaining momentum with each successive track. Without words the story comes alive. There is so much more to this than the music. Although it is the focal point of one’s experience you have to look beyond all that. You must read the heart wrenching letter to her mother and the explanation of each track.

Faith Angelina can help so many others through sharing her story and music. Through this music she found another purpose and a God given talent to share with the world. What a blessing you are Faith. Your story and music are amazing!

Through these wonderful melodies, this bright young talent transmits a powerful message of hope and healing.

5/5 Stars

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

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Run with the Wind
02. Sunday Morning Rain
03. Easter Lilies
04. Finding Hope
05. Lost
06. Seasons
07. Eye of the Storm
08. Abuelita
09. Chasing Rainbows
10. Sunny Day
11. Saying Good
-Bye
12. Twelve


September 21, 2017

Instrumental Ambient Review: DLAIVISION-Sign of Us

Release Date: December 5, 2016
Label: 2016 DLAERS

The first track on DLAIVISION’s debut album Sign of Us gave my ears the proceed with caution notice. I found out quite quickly that was a false alarm. As the timeless saying goes - you cannot judge a book by its cover, you need to open it and look through the pages!

The change I experienced happened very quickly. I took pause because I do understand why any artist wants to open the curtain to their album with some bounce and energy.

“Dreams” kicks things off with quick moving electronica dance beats.  In some cases, depending on the way it is mixed, and the amount of changes a track like this goes through, I either find a groove I like or I don’t. I decided I was not interested in hearing more of that and as I went from track to track, I heard many changes and strokes of diversity. It was an amazing change of mood and thought patterns for me. That is exactly how it all started, so wait if you happen to feel the same way for some reason, you need to keep listening. This recording just keeps getting better and better. I have learned over the years to keep and open heart and my mind will follow. It works.

As this album progressed I could appreciate the all-around talent DLAIVISION has. Dlaivison Ribamares Silva was a musical child prodigy that appreciated classical, prog, electronica and many different technologies. Bending and molding technology is not easy. Taking cold, inanimate digital electronics and making it sing for you is real talent. And an appreciation for that talent was just kicked up a few notches after hearing this music!
There are many great tracks but the one that just swept me away and picked me up off my feet was “Amazon.” The artist cleverly interspersed sounds of the incredible Amazon jungle and made the track a visual masterpiece of sound. As a matter of fact, his website is quite beautiful and engaging as well. Check out Amazon here http://www.signofus.com/en/amazon.html

This is soundtrack music, whether it be film, a visit to the planetarium exploring the stars above or just an audio cinematic experience that is uplifting and awe inspiring…you cannot help but walk away reenergized and a feeling of positive surrounding your aura.

Sign of Us is an ultra-cool listening experience that offers a visual one to go along with it. I love the music, the concept, and the beauty and simple presentation of the website. It all fits together nicely. Someone in Hollywood needs to discover this man now.

I could not go wrong hearing music that reminded me of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk etc. If you gave Beethoven or Bach a synthesizer this is what it would probably sound like.
The first thing you will want to do after hearing this is turn someone else on to it and that is exactly what every recording artist wants to hear.

Produced and composed by Dlaivison Ribamares Silva
Instruments used in the tracks of Sign of Us:
Synthesizers: Roland SH 201 and Memory Moog.
Plugins: Ominisphere, EDNA, Kontakt, Liberis, CineSamples, Komplete, Battery.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 21, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Dreams
02. The Wind's Valse
03. Belle   
04. Calyx   
05. Horizons
06. Heroes
07. Angels
08. Amazon   
09. Sinus
10. The Journey


September 14, 2017

World-Rock-Celtic Review: Blackmore's Night-To The Moon And Back-20 Years And Beyond...

Release Date: August 11, 2017
Label: Minstrel Hall Music

I have been listening to Ritchie Blackmore play guitar since the 70s. He was always one of my favorites and so were his bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. I believe he made even more prolific music after moving on from DP.  Rainbow was an amazing project with a string of great albums, and the beginning of his change in direction. So, what happened after that? If you are a fan you know the answer.

It is hard to believe that this much time has already passed.  To The Moon And Back-20 Years And Beyond… is the quintessential career retrospective for the band.  The 2 CDs are comprised of 26 tracks, bonus tracks, recent versions of older tracks and a bonus video.

You get the whole package, all the goodies wrapped up in a nice tight little package. And if you are a big fan that owns all the releases, it helps you appreciate the band’s accomplishments even more. It is also a reminder of how much great music this amazing group of musicians have produced over two decades. And that does not include several tasty DVD sets.

Great players like Blackmore have always surrounded themselves with a stellar supporting cast and this band is no exception. And yes, they are unique in a typically watered down repetitive pop hit culture. They are and always will be light years ahead of that curve. That is the very reason I was attracted to them so strongly, and of course all the previously mentioned reasons. 

This band plays music that takes you back in time, way back, hundreds of years. Blackmore and his mates offer up a lively combination of world, rock and Celtic music that would tickle any music lovers fancy. The musicianship is impeccable and his wife, the beautiful Candace Night, has the voice of an angel. That all combines for a stunning combination of sounds and visions of days gone by, when the knights of the round table ruled in ancient castles (where by the way they like to play concerts) and Robin Hood was stealing from the greedy rich to give to the poor. 

The band dresses up in period clothing and their audience members are glad to oblige. A concert from Blackmore’s Night (which I have attended) is something special. It’s like being serenaded at the Renaissance Fair by some of the greatest musicians in the world. It truly is a multi-dimensional experience that you need to experience at least once. Listening to the music will give you a good idea of what to expect. It is carefree, relaxed and sometimes their music just plain rocks. That is fine with me when Blackmore pulls out that white electric guitar and gives it a workout.

When you are finished listening to To The Moon And Back-20 Years And Beyond… it will feel like the title was a good description of the uplifting this music can give you. If you have not heard this music this it is a great starter set. If you are fan like me, you will love it without question.


5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 14, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Tracks:

Disc One:
 
01. Shadow of the Moon
  02. Spirit of the Sea
  03. Renaissance Faire
  04. Play Minstrel Play
  05. Under a Violet Moon
  06. Spanish Nights
  07. Fires at Midnight
  08. Ghost of a Rose
  09. Cartouche
  10. Village Lanterne
  11. The Circle
  12. 25 Years
 13. Dandelion Wine
 14. Home Again (Live)

 
Disc Two:
  

  15. I Surrender (Bonus Track)
  16. Moonlight Shadow (2017 Version)
  17. Somewhere Over the Sea (2017 Version)
  18. Writing on the Wall (2017 Version)
  19. Coming Home (2017 Version)
  20. Ghost of John (Bonus Track)
  21. Minstrel Hall
 



September 12, 2017

New Age Instrumental Review: Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster-FLOW

Release Date: October 6, 2017
Label: LMB Music

Sit back and let the music FLOW. That statement could not be supported in a more creative way than on this recording. Four accomplished musicians got together to create something very special.

Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster, all well know names in the new age music industry, combined their skills and experience to produce 11 tracks of outstanding instrumental music. There are several other contributors as well to make this entire effort a reality.

I think what I enjoyed the most about listening to FLOW was how that title fit so well. This is eclectic and very tastefully done. Because of the blend of musicians contributing to this project you get a little bit of all of them, and the end result becomes greater than the sum of its parts. A team effort if you will, is what makes this music so different from track to track.

If it’s Will Ackerman or Tom Eaton’s guitar and the production values they bring to the table or Jeff Oster’s gorgeous trumpet or flugelhorn calling out for an answer, this music beckons you to partake in the experience.  And Tony Levin, the most incredible and diverse bass player on the planet, is on the recording. He has become the resident bass player at Imaginary Road Studios, and god knows how he does it with all his other projects and live appearances on his schedule. All of the people involved seem to be in an endless cycle of creativity that has blessed us all for several years now.

The beauty of FLOW is the fact that individuals that have perfected their own sound and created their own legacy and styles have compromised that individuality to become one unit.  This is a unit that has a spiritual connection and purpose that is undeniable.

If you listen, feel and absorb the FLOW, you will come to your own understanding of what was accomplished on this album. Let the river of sounds and textures take you away for a while, I can guarantee you will be back for a second trip down the stream.

Note: You can have the rare opportunity to see all of these artists together at Carnegie Hall on October 6th! Tickets Here.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 12, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Arrival
02. Whisper Me This
03. Flow
04. Free Ascent
05. Waiting for Sunshine
06. Waters Gather
07. And the Sky Was
08. A Night In Nocelle
09. Tenth Life
10. Rest Now My Friend
11. For Rosita & Giovanni