November 28, 2016

New Age/World Review: Micki Free-The Native American Flute as Therapy

Release Date: October 28, 2016
Label: Mysterium Music
Music created by those who have mastered the Native American Flute are in command of something very special. The Native American Flute as Therapy by Micki Free is clear about what you are getting right from the start. This is a guided meditation by the artist Micki Free with the sounds of the flute, running streams, and a guide to another state of consciousness, including a short explanation of each track telling exactly what certain elements can accomplish.

For instance, the track “Lavender Kiss,” goes through a short dissertation on the uses of Lavender and what it can treat, depression and anxiousness to mention a few. I found the entire presentation as one of the most original and different I have had the pleasure to enjoy and experience. “Lavender Kiss” is not a typical track however; the flute is consistently soothing and leading the way, while the other instrumentation is an acoustic guitar and organ. It is like modern rock interspersed with the flute. Two worlds intersect nicely to allow a crossover audience to consider listening.  I personally appreciated the track quite a bit. The title track serves as one of the keys to unlocking the gifts in this music as well.

Based on my past experiences listening to any new age or world music, I would have to say that this unique. That is not a word I use lightly or very often when discussing music that I listen to. I thought the sound of running water was a bonus to the sounds of the flute. That is one sound that always soothes us. It is from where we came and eventually return. Your spirit will connect with this music quite quickly if you allow it to happen. For me, it was a natural transition.

I listen to a lot of music every year in the new age and world genre and The Native American Flute as Therapy by Micki Free will be an experience you will not forget and certainly will have a reason to revisit.

The package comes with 2 CDs, a video DVD, an extensive behind-the-scenes booklet, and a generous helping of music and meditations.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Lavender Kiss, The Native American Flute As Therapy

Tracks:
 01. White Candle Light
02. The Healing Bath
03. Lavender Kiss
04. The Native American Flute As Therapy
05. Positive Energy
06. Feet & Toes
07. Essential Oils
08. Jasmine Rain
09. Sacred Sage
10. Heart Release (Peregrine Lane)
11. Down By The River
12. BONUS MIX: Heartbeat Meditation Yoga Mix
 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 28, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 23, 2016

New Age Instrumental Review: Karen Olson- A Hero’s Journey

Release Date: August 28, 2016
Label: Innerview Records

Karen Olson has released a new album titled A Hero’s Journey. Most recently I featured a select track on my Rate The Tracks site. “Inner Wanderings” was the stream provided. And that served as a taste of what was available on the full recording. The track suggests the human condition and what we find when we look inside for the truth. 

The main instrument is the viola throughout this extraordinary recording. Admittedly, featuring a stringed instrument as the lead would be and is most difficult. Ms. Olson accomplishes this with a distinctness and quality that is exemplary. High praise goes to her collaborator Crispin Barrymore as well for helping to make this project what it evolved into.

I particularly enjoyed the use of the layers of keyboards to accentuate and put an exclamation point on her musicianship.

My three favorite tracks came in succession “Life Force,” “Inner Wanderings,” and Heaven’s Gate.” They seemed intrinsically linked to each other and the titles certainly got my attention. This music serves the listener well as it is meant to. It is soothing, contemplative with a hint of sadness and then there is hope and a shining bright light at the end of the musical tunnel. Karen Olson has a multitude of talents that she brings to bear. It is all on display on 11 tracks that are presented here.

This can be your journey or A Hero’s Journey. Whatever the music can provide you at any time day or night, it has the power to do so. With such clarity and command Karen Olson brings her music to you with grace and the knowledge of an enlightened spirit willing to share her own glimpse of heaven.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Inner Wanderings, Heaven’s Gate, Life Force


Tracks:
 01. Horizon's Calling
02 Life's Persuasions
03. Promising Hope
04. Still Crying
05. Dream Quest
06. Facing Fear
07. Going Beyond
08. Life Force
09. Inner Wanderings
10. Heaven's Gates
11. Epilogue

 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 23, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 15, 2016

Instrumental Jazz/World Review: Pablo Embon-Funky Side of The Road

Release Date: December 19, 2016
Label: Independent


The last album I heard from Pablo Embon was The World Within back in March. It rapidly became the most read review and remains at #1 on my Write A Music Review site. So, at this point my expectations are already set, I expect more of same…great music, quality sound and a good mixture of genres. So now we have the arrival of Funky Side of The Road coming out in December. It lived up to my expectations in every way possible.

Some of the tracks serve as a good jam session and others have more middle of the road run times. The mixture of jazz, rock and world is very enticing to a listener seeking a variety of sounds or all of them combined. Pablo keeps it fresh and moving from start to finish on this recording.
There is a lot to take in amongst the 12 instrumental tracks on Funky Side of The Road. The operative phrase that is best suited to encapsulate this project is “variety is the spice of life.” Pablo puts ample amounts of spice in his music to give it a life all its own.

“Midnight Blues” reminded of me of a favorite album from the Al Di Meola Project titled Soaring Through A Dream. That was also the year I saw him in San Francisco playing cuts from that album. The track is atmospheric and landing right in the middle of jazz and blues. They are in the same family traveling the same road but take different exits if you will. There is nothing more powerful in a listening experience than validation and familiarity with other favorite artists. It is like being in the here and now and looking back to the past all at the same time.

The tastefully done “Misfortune” has a late night smoky club vibe to it. Delicate and pronounced keyboards make their entrance and pull you away into dreamland. Not quite the funky side until the next track starts. 

The playful and provocative “Naughty Lucy” sounds a little Steely Dan goes to the carnival and never gets off the ride. Or better yet, you the listener has a free pass to stay on and you decide to get off (when the track ends!). The carefree playful mood of the track puts a smile in your heart and gets your feet tapping or doing an outright dance on floor, whatever comes first, it works on you and gets you up and out of your seat.

“Our Last Dance” seems like it would be a fitting way to close out the album because of the track name alone. However, this is not the case here, Pablo keeps you guessing and more importantly entertained throughout the run of this album. This one is more of a traditional jazz number that is as smooth and pristine as a shiny new car on the showroom floor. It hollers out to you and invites you to sit down and take a test drive.

Funky Side of The Road is indie music at its very best. A multitude of talent is presented and you get a front row seat to some tastefully done tracks, some have a slower pleasing pace while others grab you and take you for jog around the block and keep you energized. When all is said and done you just heard a very solid and entertaining album full of instrumental jazz and world music.
I took more than a test drive I was there at the starting gate and went to the finish line listening to a fine group of tracks presented by one multi-talented artist.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Midnight Blues, Naughty Lucy, Our Last Dance

Tracks: 
01. Is that You?
02. Golden Peak
03. 2222
O4. Wedding Day
O5. Green Lizard
O6. Our Last Dance
07. The Time Has Come
08. Naughty Lucy
09. Misfortune
10. One Day Left
11. Midnight Blues
12. Fools Game (Unplugged)
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 15, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 12, 2016

Holiday Instrumental/Acoustic Review: Tom Caufield-I Heard It Was Christmas Day

Release Date: September 6, 2016
Label: Bohemian Embassy

Hearing Holiday music is reserved for the season in which it is celebrated right? Well that is not always the case. At times there is that rare recording dedicated to Christmas classics that can be listened to at any time of year. Tom Caufield’s I Heard It Was Christmas Day happens to be one of those albums.

Caufield easily strums and picks his way into your heart and mind with expert six-string playing. He creates superb textures and intimate sounds that draw you in and keep you.

“I Heard It Was Christmas Day” has a prolific name and the kind of diversity in playing that I found very impressive. Along with Tom’s playing there are some bells jingling in the background that sound like a horse drawn sleigh. It all created a picture in my mind, like a classic Norman Rockwell painting set to this most beautiful and tasteful music.

“Silent Night” was always a song that gave me chills and touched my soul. Tom’s playing is well thought out and tastefully done. Like gentle falling snow with the North Star shining brightly in the sky; his notes hit your consciousness and put you right in the manager with baby Jesus. 

Acoustic music with such intricacies and simplicity is difficult to make into something memorable as this album. Tom accomplished this with little help of other instruments besides his guitars. This has a lot going in the background of each track however his guitar is right out front and that is what your senses key in on. If there ever was peripheral hearing like there was sight (like a quarterback seeing the entire field) then this would be the time to use it.

The best thing about this music is that is relaxing and it sets your mind at ease. As the guitar flows, so does your feelings pushed along by the music. 


“God Rest You” is a brilliant track. You would never believe it was a Christmas while listening. It comes across more like a soundscape for a good western or some desert scenery. At around the 2 minute mark or so the song shifts so you get a taste of the original melody. I really appreciate the transitions in this track and I thought it was brilliant. It was country meets holiday and they get together for an old fashioned Christmas set to some incredible acoustic music.

There was a lot to like about I Heard It Was Christmas Day and not a thing to complain about. Musical perfection is difficult to arrive at. It seems the more I hear recordings like this I am becoming more convinced that it entirely possible. This album has the full respect and appreciation of my diligent ears and I think many other listeners will feel the same way.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: I Heard It Was Christmas Day, Silent Night, God Rest You

Tracks:
01. Joy To The World
02. Hark On High
03. Carol of the Drum
04. What Child Is This?
05. I Heard It Was Christmas Day
06. Silent Night
07. God Rest You
08. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
09. Aude Lang Syne

 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
Founder of:
November 12, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 7, 2016

New Age/World Instrumental Review: Joseph L Young- Ethereum

Release Date: October 2, 2016
Label: Independent

I listened to Joseph L Young’s Ethereum several times and in different ways. Joseph is a world master with the flute and he plays keyboards as well. To say he is multi-talented is the proper explanation to be sure. 


I was very intrigued while listening to this music through my speakers however once I heard it through my iPod and ear buds the effects were more impactful. This is new age and world music intersecting to become one powerful entity.
I felt as if I was right inside this beautiful space that the artist had created with his music. There are several factors that come into existence when you are in this frame of mind. On a personal level, I was going through some emotional and physical pain and I needed some relief. The opportunity to take another road presented itself and I took it.


Ethereum opened the gateway to healing and a meditative state where all my difficulties no longer existed. It was like a higher power focused in on me and waved a hand to change everything. The earthy tones that emanate from the native wooden flute and layers of gentle synthesizer, is like taking the best of the old and new worlds to another level. I think Mr. Young found a level of magnificence that comes by being tuned in to your surroundings and a strong spiritual connection. This I believe is an energy source that drives and inspires you. I have found this to be realized in many different stages of life and in my own personal development. In this case, it was relating to music which can be a most useful tool to open a door to get to the other side.

If you seek a better space, a different mindset or just casual relaxation through sounds then I would highly recommend Ethereum. The trade-off is more than fair; your complete undivided attention to the music and the gift of enlightenment is received.

Artists such as Joseph L Young know how to do it all. The process of writing, recording and producing an entire album is major accomplishment. If you have a multitude of abilities that you bring to the party to reach that goal, well that is just amazing. 


Listen to the sounds of the magical and mystical flute provided by one of the best, bliss is guaranteed.


4/5 Stars

Tracks: 
01. Wavelength
02. Ethereum
03. Shimmer
04. Boundless
05. Illumination
06. Past Lives
07. Entangled
08. Drift
09. Free
10. Crystal Sunrise
11. Flirting with Fireflies
12. Sapphire Moon

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 7, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 5, 2016

Instrumental New Age Review: Rachel Currea-Walking To You

Release Date: July 16, 2015
Label: Rachel Currea Music, Inc.
Rachel Currea is an accomplished pianist. A passion for playing her chosen instrument began at the age of 11 and it has not diminished since. Luckily for all of us appreciative listeners, she continued down a path that led to musical creations. As many people on this good earth, the artist suffered a tragedy and through that came out stronger on the other side to bring healing music to all of those that seek it.

Walking To You has 16 picturesque tracks, a literal canvas of musical beauty that you can absorb and process into something positive and refreshing.

To pick just a few tracks as key listens as I normally do, became more difficult the more I heard this album. Every track seems to flow into each other, intrinsically linked and tied to the other to completion then on to the next phase of musical diversity and development.


Walking to You represents a beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon, or a morning flower opening to the new day sun. Everything about this music, at least for these ears, is a renewal of the soul, feeling at peace and one with my surroundings. In normal every day circumstances I find that awfully difficult to achieve.

The music needs to be simplistic, something that goes straight to your auditory senses and translates to your life experiences, feelings and emotions. So basically, what Rachel does is just that by providing simplistic yet appealing music that feels like a load just melted off your back and made you light and carefree. With the passing of time I am beginning to realize that music such as this is heaven sent, a gift from a higher power into the fingers of the artist.

Stressed? Overworked and tired? This is the exact prescription to change those feelings, a pause that refreshes, and I do not mean coffee or a soft drink, this is art in motion. A young lady named Rachel Currea lays her heart on the line for all to see. I like what I translated through her music. This stunning combination of contemporary, new age and classical music merge to give nothing but pleasure and all you must do is listen. One woman, a piano, and some good melodies and pace changes is what makes this album so good. It is like watching a ballet in your mind’s eye as the dancers change and move to all the music. Prolific music brings thoughts and feelings on the same level. 


Give it a listen and see for yourself.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

Tracks:

01. Walking to You
02. Song Without Words
03. Sarah's Dance
04. Abundance of the Heart
05. Evening Joys
06. Forever
07. Reconciliations
08. Hear Me Now
09. It'll Be Ok
10. Once Upon a Time
11. The Crossing
12. Waltz in E Minor
13. Night Butterflies
14. Celestial Dreams
15. Starlight Lullaby
16. Hymn to the Holy Spirit (Piano Solo Version)



Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 5, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

November 1, 2016

Instrumental New Age Review: Steve Rivera-Dividing The Darkness

Release Date: October 12, 2015
Label: Steve Rivera Music

Music without limitations or barriers will be successful. This kind of approach and mindset is very positive and it garners the attention of those within range. I am glad to be one of those listeners.


Steve Rivera is one such artist that has earned his place in the genre of new age contemporary music. He accomplished that with his first release titled Dividing The Darkness.

Steve likes to call his music restrained simplicity that is emotionally moving. I don’t think I could have come up with a better phrase to explain what this music is.

The piano playing of Mr. Rivera is superlative and his accompaniment with a violin interspersed and weaved so delicately in the tracks gives it another layer grace and outright beauty. 

Everyone needs to find their way home in some fashion, whether it be a long road trip, a walk in the woods or simply a reference to a soul that needs comfort and a place to feel wanted. Thinking in another way would be when our lives come to an end on this earth and how we need to find our way home. It can mean many different things dependent on who you are and where you are in life’s path. So, it is rather appropriate that the album opens up along those lines with “My Way Home (feat. Charlie Bisharat).” The lead off track is crucial in setting a precedence for the entire album and that is certainly accomplished with this lovely instrumental.

“Skyward” caught my ear and engaged my senses. The rhythm of the piano is one of consistency and a constant unraveling varying degrees of the human condition found in the music. The changing tempos and the additional violin and background vocals makes it sound as if it was delivered right from heaven’s gate. The music gave me a much-needed pause and touched my soul while initiating a healing I desperately needed. Tracks like this flip a switch in me and I can hear and feel the joy and sadness of what the music is saying. This music is so beautiful it was like a transference of consciousness, taking what the artist offered me while listening.

“The Ancient Road” set my mind wandering about the history of mankind and what would happen if there was such a road that led to a path where all things live in complete harmony and joy. The piano leads you down a path that becomes your own reality via the music. This is a process I have enjoyed through music my entire life however when it is instrumental music it makes that much more my own. This is one of the longer tracks on the album and I appreciated the layers of sounds, like it a woven tapestry just for me.
I find it no coincidence that I preferred the longer tracks. This music is so pleasant that you don’t want it to stop. The prolific fingers of the artist are charged with all sorts of energy and emotion that can be truly appreciated by anyone wishing an auditory therapeutic process.

Dividing The Darkness is just that, if there is any darkness around you either on physical or spiritual plane then this music will divide it and separate it with its everlasting light of hope and faith. Once again it felt like a spiritual experience that I needed to have and it was delivered so thank you Steve Rivera.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: My Way Home, Skyward, The Ancient Road

Tracks: 
1. My Way Home (feat. Charlie Bisharat)
2. This Ancient Road
3. Help Me to Listen
4. Skyward
5. Beautiful Years
6. So Quickly Gone (feat. Will Ackerman)
7. Delicate Force
8. Valley of Light
9. Skyward Coda

 


October 31, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews