May 19, 2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Gina Lenee-Red Diamonds

Release Date: April 7, 2017
Label: Independent

Red Diamonds is Gina Lenee’s 7th studio album. 

Here is some essential information from the artist website to get an idea of how effort went into the recording and who contributed…

Red Diamonds was produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton and engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton. Featured guest artists appearing on the album are Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Marc Shulman (electric guitar), Premik Russell Tubbs (EWI and sax), Tom Eaton (fretless bass, guitar, vocals) Will Ackerman (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Noah Wilding (vocals).

The status quo for Imaginary Road Studio is to bring in the best group of musicians to help each artist create their own musical masterpiece. This was no exception to the rule as superb musicians gathered to create Red Diamonds. The collaborative effort brings out the best in everyone. The goal and result is always the same, to create music with a purpose and vision.  I think this was accomplished successfully and the passion and storytelling in the ivory keys comes flowing through Gina’s soul. The entire album sounds like an invitation to a romantic getaway. And whatever you consider romantic becomes real while listening to these tracks.

The English horn, violin, cello, sax and flugelhorn lay down a bed of textures and colors that Gina takes full advantage of. Some of the subtle vocals added were a real nice touch on tracks like “The Moment” and “River.”  The angelic and trance like female vocal persuasions are just right, like the proverbial icing on the cake as it were.

Listening to Red Diamonds was like free form artistic expressionism in motion. The canvas in this instance is you, the listener. As Gina paints the music with broad strokes, it eases you into your own comfy chair that lives inside your mind and soul. This is not a physical object; this is something that is esoteric. I have always felt the need to express the spiritual power that music possesses and ultimately that energy translates to a healing for this listener. If you have not found that place yet I would advise listening to this music and use it as a guide to get there.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 17, 2017May 19, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks:
01. A Thousand Days Without You
02. Soulmates
03. Carry Me Away
04. The Moment
05. River
06. Red Diamond
07. The Beautiful, the Broken
08. Art of Life
09. What No One Knows
10. Forever
 

May 8, 2017

New Age/Contemporary Instrumental Review: Timothy Crane-The Fall of a Sparrow

Genre: New Age/Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 2017
Label: Independent

This is my first exposure to Timothy Crane’s music. The Fall of a Sparrow is as prolific as it may sound. It can be a cross reference to many instances in life if you think about it for a moment. Leonard Cohen came to mind when I looked at the title. I am fond of his poetic music and was saddened by his passing. In this case that was a fallen sparrow for me.

Timothy is an expert with the ivory keys and the additional instruments added to the mix play an important role as well. The viola for instance is like the violin. It provides a certain melancholy and atmosphere that accentuates the pace of the piano and the mood that is being projected onto the listener.

The orchestration of the tracks is a good mix and the opening track “Albion” is an electrifying way to get a listener’s attention. I felt uplifted by the richness and images of the track. It truly was an epic beginning to a very strong recording.

I look for the flow and consistency in an album and The Fall of a Sparrow certainly provided me with what I was looking for. The music swept away any possible mood I was in and put me in a different space.  I simply fell naturally into it without a thought. The flow of rain, snow, or a river is a natural occurrence and my belief is that instrumental music such as this should be the same. I believe it fits that description.

In the 15 tracks on The Fall of a Sparrow Timothy proves to be a virtuoso leader. While his piano takes charge it also allows the other aspects of the music to blend in nicely. Like a musical blender each ingredient is added to formulate the final product.

This is a beautiful soundtrack to relax and take your personal inventory to. It allows an individual to focus entirely on the sounds being absorbed and yet it leads you to introspection and reflection through your soul. As dreams are the window to the soul, so is music if you can let happen, it is as right as rain.                             
      
The Fall of a Sparrow is the closest thing to musical perfection one could hope for.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 8, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. Albion
02. Come Holy Spirit
03. The Sound of Snow
04. To Rise and Go
05. Father and Son
06. Alone
07. Star Cross Moon
08. The First Day
09. Festival De Musique
10. Slowly Awaken the Dawn
11. The Fall of a Sparrow
12. Promise
13. Daniel's Dream
14. Chansonnette
15. At Home in the Garden

 

May 3, 2017

Classical/Jazz Review: Alan Storeygard-Jazz Meets The Classics

Genre: Jazz/Classical
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Label: Church Jazz

Alan Storeygard is a pianist, composer, arranger, and family doctor. Some of the musicians that have been inspirational to him and have influenced his music are Ramsey Lewis, Dave Brubeck, and Oscar Peterson.  Is it unusual to find someone in the medical profession that doubles as professional musician? I would say it is not a common occurrence but certainly one that is not unusual in indie music. It is also very common in the indie world where an individual holds a steady day job and has a secondary passion that is pursued. I get it because I am one of those people that leads a double life.

A passion can drive you, commit you and enable you to accomplish things you never thought were possible. Anyone that is fortunate enough to be in that frame of mind and reaches their goals is blessed. Secondly those that share that passion with others understand they are very fortunate and remain humble. This is what Alan Storeygard does on his fifth release titled Jazz Meets The Classics.

The piano is the perfect instrument to present a classical piece and when it intersects with jazz it is reborn into a different musical universe. This does not dismiss the very foundation that allowed this all to happen though. I came to realize over the years taking a deep dive into several genres, that classical music is the progenitor of all music.  Everything has started with it and the influences are found in every genre one way or another. Jazz is a cousin that took that foundation of sound and redesigned it with different tempos and flavors. What Alan does in the nine tracks presented here is illustrate that with some superlative piano arrangements. By maintaining the classical building blocks then rearranging and cross pollinating it, a jazz flavor emerges. It works very well and to be honest I absolutely loved it.

I do not think you can look at a diverse individual like Alan Storeygard and paint him into a corner. Not only because of his eclectic approach to life but how he takes that journey into the music.  He creates a unique blend of sounds while incorporating musical traditions. He gives the due respect to his influences and the masters that have come and gone and injects new blood and a personal passion that is beyond reproach.

Jazz Meets The Classics was a refreshing look at time tested musical genius interpreted by a free spirited and creative individual not afraid to step beyond any boundaries. With that attitude he opens new doors to a listening audience that otherwise may pass on classical music. This was a well thought out project with some excellent musicianship to drive forward some new ideas. It all reached its fruition, providing a result that is very satisfying.

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 30, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
1. Prelude in C-Sharp Minor (feat. Eric Chesher)
2. The Moldau Symphony (feat. Danny Fletcher)
3. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
4. Ballade 1 in G-Minor / Nocturne 2 in E-Flat / Waltz 6 in D-Flat
5. The Star-Spangled Banner with Italian Ending (From "Nessun Dorma")
6. Second Piano Concerto (feat. Eric Chesher)
7. Allessio's Song (From "The Tales of Hoffmann")
8. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
9. First Piano Concerto (feat. Eric Chesher)

April 24, 2017

Instrumental New Age Review: Tony Chen-The Mighty Heroes (英雄神威)

Release Date: March 24, 2017
Label: Tony Chen Music

Tony Chen puts things into proper perspective on his website regarding his new release The Mighty Heroes. He says it in such an elegant and distinct manner that it needs to be heard.

Chen: This album comprises creations from 2014 to 2016, encompassing a variety of styles that reflect the path I have walked during this time. You will experience melodies and musical arrangements from both East and West, taking you to different realms.

 I could not have said it any better than the artist. Tony is not a newcomer; this is his fourth release. The title of album is a direct reflection of the music. It all sounds so grandeur, proud and cinematic. I would put the emphasis on cinematic as I could see it easily being a movie soundtrack to an epic film. Well at least the first three tracks paint that kind of picture in your mind’s eye. 

"The Mighty Heroes, "Memory of Time-Space" and "A Merry Pace" are befitting their titles. All three get the listener excited and mesmerized, as one would be watching a fast moving and important scene in a movie. I do not want to put Mr. Chen’s music in a box and call it soundtrack music but it sure would make a great backdrop for the right motion picture. And that is not all, “Will You Hold My Hand?” walks down a different path of peace and beauty, the parallel world of the previous tracks. This provides a listener with a definitive change of pace and an understanding of the abilities of the artist to be diverse and expressive as much as one can from one track to the next. Tony has the talent to pull off the big changes with his keyboard prowess.

The music on The Mighty Heroes lends itself to the human condition and the many changes one can experience during a 24-hour period. The textures, atmosphere and colors created expresses everything the artist indicates on his website and as I noted.

The many flavors of cultures worldwide are touched upon, the far east, our western hemisphere and the traditional music combined with the elements of new recording technologies initiates the formation of each track.

I appreciated the value and worldliness that the artist could convey throughout his music. Our world becomes one when we listen to music. The internet can have the same effect on us all just as the music does. With all the negative things that go on in our world and a tool like the internet to reach a wider audience we have the artistry, pageantry and good vibes of music from people like Tony Chen that can change things for the positive. 

Although I appreciated the slower paced and more simplistic tracks and always do, I enjoyed the faster paced and more picturesque tracks on offer in the collection even more. It reminded me of some of the greats that came before Tony like Vangelis. If you like a mixture of instrumental music with a contemporary approach and new age foundation, then you will enjoy what The Mighty Heroes delivers.


4.5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 24, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. The Mighty Heroes
02. Memory of Time-Space
03. A Merry Pace
04. Will You Hold My Hand?
05. A Nostalgic Melody
06. Glorious Celebration of Heaven & Earth
07. Flower Scent
08. Taste Asia - Delicious Chinese Cuisine
09. Heavenly Elegance
10. A Nostalgic Melody (Piano Solo)
 

April 17, 2017

New Age/World Review: Monk Party-Silence Flooded Trance

Release Date: August 27, 2016
Label: Purity Productions

Monk Party are a father and son duo Pragunya and Nelson Myers-Daly. They follow the Sri Chimnoy school of thought. Chimnoy held public events such as concerts and meditations on the theme of inner peace while advocating a spiritual path to God through prayer and meditation.

Silence Flooded Trance is their second release. Since I have decided to take a deeper dive into this type of music I have come to the realization that it has no bearing on what language they happen to be using when singing. It is the music that carries the weight of their message on a universal level. There is a reason it is labeled as “World” music. This gradual belief that has come to life for me is once again the proof that music has no lines in the sand, no boundaries to consider. The only boundaries that have been in place my entire life where self-imposed. Now I am listening like an open door that brings about endless possibilities for spiritual and personal growth.

There is a purposeful slow pace to this recording and it is a simplistic scaled down sound with a focus on some gorgeous harmonizing from the synchronized father and son team. Their vocals are most definitely one of the featured instruments with this presentation.

I found this music very spiritual and relaxing. It is a tool to be used as you see fit. How this tool fits you can be something very personal and the only way to find out is to listen. That is the beauty and freedom of music, and that is a guarantee every time you decide to listen.

Silence Flooded Trance gives you some insight into what you will hear on this album. You will be in silence while listening and then find yourself in a trance flooded with gentle and warm sounds. In total, this is exceptional music that is divinely inspired.

If your mind is open and your heart true, then proceed to give this album your full attention. You will have a sense of calmness and oneness with the holy spirit in short order. It is a refreshing break from daily life that comes filled with tasks and energy sapping situations at times. This is a chance for renewal of mind, body and spirit.

For those of you that are curious the artist was kind enough to provide some translations of some of the tracks.

Track 1: Aum Shivaya Namaha -
I prayerfully bow
To the Lord Shiva,
the Silence-flooded Trance.

Track 2:
Immortality-Light 

Track 4: Sabar Katha
Inside the deep heart of the blue sea you shall find me /
I prayerfully bow
To the Supreme Lord
who pervades the entire Universe. 

Track 6: Aum Sate Namaha
I prayerfully bow
To the One who is Infinity’s pure existence

4/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 17, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
1. Aum Shivaya Namaha
2. Sabar Katha  
3. My Sweet Lord's
4. Inside The Deep Heart
5. Jedin Ami    
6. Aum Sate Namaha
7. Bahudin Pare
8. Ami Kandibona
9. Sabiy Madhur

April 11, 2017

New Age/Contemporary Instrumental Review: Richard Dillon-The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless

Release Date: March 17, 2014
Label: Independent
Richard Dillon is a firmly established artist with 8 previous recordings behind him. The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless was my introduction to his solo piano journeys.

Piano music is one of the most relaxing and mind emptying music I know of. I am the type of listener that is open to hearing just about anything. A lot of what I enjoy is very complex however on the other end of the spectrum I have a tremendous love for simplicity and pure beauty.

What I discovered on The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless is everything I enjoy about an instrumental new age/contemporary listening experience. The pace and approach is gentle yet inviting. It kind of feels like you are in slow motion falling into a bed of feathers or floating on a cloud. You can visualize these things just as you start listening and it’s not hard to make it all real with the help of this beautiful guide we call music. This can be your own “Chicken Soup for The Soul,” or your “Chop wood, gather water” kind of outdoor spiritual connection that the people who founded this great land of ours had.

As the title indicates this can be directed at children and adults alike. Regardless of age, we all do respond to colors, aromas and sounds. I think music has the power to create different experiences for the senses and it can be used for meditating or just to have on for some nice background music because it does not demand your attention or sound intrusive, it puts you at ease and relieves tensions. There are all sorts of therapies and drugs out there for relief of many problems and ailments but the one thing that remains more powerful than them all is music.

When I listen to music like The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless I am inspired to write about all these thoughts and feelings that the music helps me to realize. It is engaging as a lively conversation, although it is best to have it on an internal and spiritual level if you need healing. I am far from being listless but if you are this music will remove that condition in relatively short period.

One track seamlessly flows into the next like water from the roots of a tree to the leaves, bringing life and color to them all. Unequivocally music can have the same effects and meaning to a listener ready to receive it.

The Land of Nod Lullabies for the Listless is unencumbered art in motion, it is one man and a piano bringing these beautiful sounds to life with keystrokes that are channeled through him. I am continually amazed at these gifted individuals that bring me such peace and joy. This is musical perfection; a once empty canvas is now full for all to enjoy.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 11, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. The Land Above the Sky
02. No More Tears
03. Jouet Triste (Sad Toy)
04. Rocking Chair
05. Kainehe (Whispering Sea, Rumbling Sea)
06. Marmalade Skies
07. Sea of Forgetfulness
08. La Luna (The Moon)
09. Looking Glass River
10. My Bed is a Boat
11. Shadows on the Wall
12. Papillon (Butterfly)
13. The Land of Nod
14. Moonrise
15. Sleepyhead



March 29, 2017

New Age-Classical Review: Nancy Shoop-Wu-Rainbow Road

Release Date: January 13, 2017
Label: Nancy Shoop-Wu, Lei Hoku
Nancy Shoop-Wu shows you the way to Rainbow Road, the title of her most recent recording. If you follow the road that leads to the rainbow you will discover a wealth of beautiful music.

Nancy takes her violin and turns it into a magic wand with a combination of new age and classical instrumental tracks (except for track 8). She calls Hawaii her home, the island of rainbows. Her inspiration is derived from her home and the driving force is the memory of her father, whom she lost at the young age of 12. There is nothing like a deep enduring love to give you the courage and energy to strive forward regardless of any road blocks.

On Rainbow Road Nancy creates a masterstroke of violin music accompanied by some well-placed piano parts and other instruments. The other instruments are the desserts after the full course meal. Her playing is graceful and moving as it could possibly be for a violin taking the lead on a song. 

Every track is like a rainbow of colors and as picturesque as the island she lives on. This is “make you feel good all over music.” Although this is primarily an instrumental recording Nancy exercises her voice on “Carry Me Home.” I must say that her vocals are as gorgeous as her violin playing. The title of the song and the words are a strong statement from a voice that cannot be ignored and the same can be said for the music itself. 

New age and classical are not strange bedfellows they are intrinsically linked, taking the same foundation to build a tower of sound and delight for any one that appreciates music. Additionally, music that is spiritual in nature and relaxes and soothes the soul is something everyone needs every day, whether they realize it or not. It has helped me for years; it makes me appreciative of the arts and all the joy they bring to us all. Music is a gift from the heavens I have no doubt and Nancy Shoop-Wu is one of the angels that is delivering it on Rainbow Road. She is “Lele Noa” (English translation is Flying Free) on this excellent recording!

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 29, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

01. Rainbow Road
02. Pulelehua (Mountain Butterfly)
03. Lei Hoku (Star of Love)
04. Sunrise over Haleiwa
05. Always in My Heart
06. Lullaby
07. Waimanalo
08. Carry Me Home
09. Beautiful Mana'o
10. In Your Eyes
11. Ma'noa Rain
12. Lele Noa (Flying Free)