Showing posts with label Ambient. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ambient. Show all posts

Instrumental Jazz-New Age-Ambient Review: UMA-Wishing Well

Release Date: July 16, 2021

Label:  ‎ myndstream

Website: https://www.alekseisaks.com/uma/ 

http://robertjyrjendal.com

UMA are the project of two Estonian musician’s guitarist Robert Jürjendal and trumpet/corno da caccia player Aleksei Saks.

The duo came together at the beginning of 2007. The name UMA comes from the South Estonian Seto dialect and it means ‘own.’

The cover of Wishing Well, their latest release, gives a potential listener a soft and pleasing image before the music starts. Imagery is everything, particularly with instrumental music. Even though most listeners will see their own pictures in their mind’s eye, the soft blue color and singularity of the tree on a hill and its shadow on the ground brings you instant solace. The gentle guitar and horn are all these two gentlemen need to create a delectable array of sounds.

Now the idea from this point is to offer a selection of tracks to take that one image to the next step in the process. This is exactly what Robert and Aleksei do with the offering of 10 beautifully done tracks. The music has many elements that intersect including jazz, smooth jazz, new age, ambient, and all of them blended into each individual track. The combination is very effective and quite pleasant.

As you move from track to track the horn and guitar lead the way as well as the unique corno da caccia which is a piccolo horn. If you have any interest or particularly enjoy any of the genres that are part of this music, you will most definitely appreciate what you hear on Wishing Well.

This is duo is very skilled and precise in their presentation and the flow, overall sound, and engineering values of this recording are superb. Sometimes when you put on certain music, it is exactly what you need to hear. In this case that applied 100% for me on this listen. In fact, I would listen any time of day or evening because this is the kind of music I can appreciate. It is warm, inviting, and most of all, the enjoyment you can obtain from beginning to end is notable.

You can have your own private Wishing Well with a click or the push of a button. As all the wonders of modern technology merge with exceptional musicians, the chances of creating something special are always possible. In this case, it became a reality and I am glad I had the opportunity to discover and enjoy all the amazing music on this recording.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
July 19, 2021

Tracks:
01. Wishing Well
02. Old Diaries
03. Pilgrim’s Path
04. Lightness of the Soul 3
05. Petite Ouverture à Danser
06. Lost A Dream
07. Longing
08. My Days
09. Deep Sea
10. Beyond Skylin


Instrumental New Age /Ambient/Jazz Review: Jeff Oster-Reach

Release Date: October 5, 2018
Label: Retso Records
Three years ago, I covered Jeff Oster’s Next album. If you do a search on my New Age Music Reviews site it will show several other artist reviews as well. The reason is that Jeff is in demand to play on other people’s albums. There is a very good reason for this. He is one of the few Flugelhorn and Trumpet players in the genre that plays a chill ambient type of music that new age recording artists and listeners alike want to hear. He also is able to interject jazz and funk elements into his recordings. Besides that, it is a great partnership. Jeff is masterful with his instruments and with the new album out now titled Reach, he is in great form and so are the folks that accompanied him on the album.

Reach has nine tracks in total and it is a great mixture of sound and textures that will do many things to you while listening including relaxing, feeling energized and wanting to move, becoming contemplative, just about everything one person can think of or do during the listen of one album really. It invites you in at the outset and you never want to leave that “musical comfy chair.”

I love new age music when it combines jazz and world rudiments. “Le Caveau” is a great example of those sounds and atmospheres getting in sync. The music and sound clarity are amazing. The following track “Five Great Mountains” is just hypnotic. Jeff’s horn is superlative and the bass is incredible, in fact, I thought it might be Tony Levin, who seems to show up on everyone’s albums. It is, in fact, Benjamin J. Shepherd, who plays a huge role in the track, and the entire sound of the album actually. His rhythm and musical leadership in the track are exemplary. That kind of preciseness allows the star of the show to shine even brighter, so hats off to Benjamin for doing such a great job with his instrument. Everyone involved in this project is outstanding so I felt the need to list the credits below.

Some of the other instruments on this recording, besides the horns of course, that give it an overall world-jazz flavor, are the Erhu and Indian Flutes. Then there are very calming spiritual tracks like “The Lotus Within.” In my estimation, the reference would be the Lotus flower, a symbolically important aquatic Asian plant also known as the Indian or sacred lotus.  The emphasis is on sacred for this magnificent composition. 

To keep things fresh and on your “listening toes,” Jeff follows those two critical tracks with an upbeat jazz and funk-filled number titled “Troppo Y Boffo.” The Latin percussion and bass pulsate and drive the number while Jeff just glides through with his horn putting the veritable icing on the cake. It is Latin bliss, wonderful and colorful as it gets. This track could find a home on any good (worthy) jazz album.

Jeff Oster puts it all together on Reach. Every track is solid and consistent throughout. The combination of instruments, musical style and artistry of every contributing musician make this album one of the best in the genre this year. This comes as no surprise to me as everything I have ever heard from Jeff has been superlative from his own recordings to being a guest on other recordings. He is in a groove that keeps him at the forefront of the music industry and I can see that influence growing more all the time. In conclusion, I think that he will Reach a much larger audience with each successive release


Artists:
Jeff Oster – Flugelhorn, Trumpet
Ruslan Sirota – Piano, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Robyn Ghosh – Guitar
Benjamin J. Shepherd – Bass
Tamir Barzilay – Drums
Pete Korpela – Percussion
Jenni Asher – Erhu (Track 4)
Ravichandra Kulur – Indian Flutes (Track 9)
Drew Allsbrook – Vocals (Track 4)

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 14, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
1. Onward
2. Far Rockaway
3. Le Caveau
4. Five Great Mountains
5. The Lotus Within
6. Troppo Y Boffo
7. How Familiar
8. Velvet and Smoke
9. The Pink City

 

New Age/Classical/Ambient Review: Karen Olson-SongPath

Release Date: July 13th, 2018
Label: Soundview Records

SongPath is Karen Olson's 8th CD release and is a companion to her soon to be published book entitled, SoundPath: Using the Power of Sound and Silence for Health, Harmony, and Happiness. Notably, SongPath is in the top 10 on four Billboard charts including Classical and #3 as the Highest-Ranking Debut New Age Album so far in 2018.

According to Karen’s website:  She combines her unique background as a Violist, Recording Artist, Composer, Author, and intuitive Holistic Healer, to make a positive difference in the lives of others through interactive programming, events, and concert performances that are fun, inspiring, and transformative.
Karen Olson is a respected healer, practitioner, and musician. With SongPath she adds to her already incredibly impressive resume of releases and has reached the pinnacle (thus far) of her musical achievements for variety, depth, and healing. 

I think after listening to her latest offering I can agree with that statement. I covered A Hero’s Journey in 2016 and was quite impressed. It is nice to find out 2 years later that I feel the same about her music. 

SongPath is very wide-ranging. One of the tracks that caught me completely off guard was “New Ways.” It is an electronic-R&B- rap style song. I think it was titled appropriately considering I never expected to hear such a big change in direction on this album. Olivia Meihofer provides the excellent vocals as she does on other songs as well. I give Karen credit for stretching out musically and taking a chance. I enjoyed the song because it was so different and done very well. I imagine there will be new age fans that will probably not appreciate it but that is ok. All the rest of the album is more along the lines of what you would expect from Karen.

With her “New Ways” you will find “Inspiration” and “Serenity” and an “Adventure” inside the music. All of that is wrapped in a nice package for the prospective listener. 

Personally, if I can find pleasure in any type of music, it is healing. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a certain tag on it for it to work, but that is for me. In this case, the label of new age, classical and ambient certainly fits. What you will discover is joy, healing and quite a range of sounds and styles that would satisfy any musical palette. 

SongPath is a prolific release from my viewpoint mainly based on the fact the lead instrument is a viola. That my music loving friends is not an easy task to accomplish, yet Karen Olson makes it sound like it is all very natural, with very concise musicianship and a flow that syncs with your inner voice and soul.  That covers it all as far as I am concerned.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 9, 2018

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
1. Ever Peace
2. Why Not
3. Adventure
4. Moving Higher
5. Reminding
6. Inspiration
7. New Ways
8. Gaining Grace
9. Serenity

 

New Age/Ambient/Electronica Review: David Arkenstone-Colors of the Ambient Sky

Release Date: July 13, 2018
Label: Dream Palace Publishing / BMI

David Arkenstone is about to make the summer brighter with a new release in July titled Colors of the Ambient Sky. He is the author of an astounding 65 recordings!

David is primarily a keyboardist, plays the guitar, mandolin, flute, cello, percussion, and many other instruments. He utilizes all the tools of the music trade, including the computer to provide orchestrations that provide beauty and texture. On this album it is all David, there are no guest musicians. You soon realize what an amazing accomplishment this album is once you hear it for the first time.

If you look closely at the CD cover it is like lying on the ground looking up at the treetops and star-filled skies. The music fits well with the album cover. It takes you to a higher place of consciousness like the one beyond the treetops. What you hear is music that could easily be used for soundtrack or other media deliveries, but more importantly it gives you an outlet for relaxation. As the artist suggests, it is like dreaming with your eyes open.

I have been hearing much more of this type of ambient music lately and have thoroughly enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, it has prompted me to seek out other similar artists. Tracks like “Blue Lightning” reminded me of one of my favorite Tangerine Dream albums titled Le Parc. Colors of the Ambient Sky has pleasing spacey and relaxing ambient sounds with the hints of technology swirling around it. For me, there is just enough of all of that Colors of the Ambient Sky to keep me interested and quite satisfied.

I would expect Colors of the Ambient Sky to be one of the more popular releases of 2018 in the ambient and new age genres. I really appreciated the overall consistency and textures of the music from track to track. I was envisioning an artist painting with many different colors and taking the time to put them in the right place on the canvas to create another masterpiece. I felt like it was ear candy that was transformed in my mind’s eye into colors and images. For my musical tastes, this is the kind of experience I truly enjoy. I do not go into a listening experience with anticipation, it would ruin the birth of new thoughts and feelings it could possibly create. That is a good policy for any listener actually.

As the closing track “Ascension” brings the curtain to a close, you realize just how positive and uplifting a musical journey can bring. Your skies will be colored with a broad musical brush that will touch you in so many ways. That is all any listener could ask for.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 11, 2018
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


Tracks: 
01. Parallel World
02. Red Sun
03. Starlight Starbright
04. Darkness Descending
05. Rainbow Galaxy
06. Blue Lightning
07. Lonely Satellite
08. Visitors 


Progressive Instrumental/Ambient Review: Trevor Gordon Hall-Late Night with Headphones Vol. 1

Release Date: August 1, 2016
Label: Independent
Trevor Gordon Hall is a prolific guitarist.  His legacy will continue to grow long after the release of Late Night with Headphones Vol. 1.  His sound reminds me fondly of some of the California Guitar Trio’s work I used to enjoy so much. The variety of sounds and tones afforded the listener make this recording a real keepsake.

“Roots and Branches” is quite a finger picking workout. The sound has a definite jazz flavor to it and is very progressive, shifting and changing every few minutes. The title of the track is a perfect explanation of where the song goes from beginning to end. The focus is the ever changing progression of chords presented by the artist.

“The Comfort of Doubt” is a fast moving track, the drums kick it in to push it all along right from the start. What I can picture in my mind’s eye is a train rolling down the tracks and finally reaching its destination. The slide work is a thing of beauty and the lightning fast fingers of Trevor keep it going nonstop. It sounds like a real country barn burner that gets you in a very uplifting mood even though the subject is about living on the edge and being comfortable in that frame of mind, at least that is how I would interpret it.

“Embracing the Lack” is a beautifully done tasteful instrumental, the kind that I always love to hear. It reminded me of the phase I went through in the 90s with instrumental surf music (although it does not sound like surf) then moving on to the more complex pieces from the likes of Danny Gatton and similar artists that caught my ear. The melodicism and rhythm in the track is amazing and it’s the kind of music that makes you want to keep hitting repeat. It has a magical aura to it that is irresistible to my ears and I am sure it will be for many others. Again Hall provides some incredibly diverse guitar playing that would grab any aficionado’s ear and hold on until the song was finished.

The closer is “Himinn,” which steps away from the flow of the album and presents another side of the performance with an ambient new age sound that serves as a nightcap. It is that final relaxing number that pulls you into another state of consciousness just before going to sleep. The music is light and airy and it kind of floats you to another place. All of this happens after hearing more upbeat tracks with precise guitar work that got all the good endorphins flowing, then it sets you up to call it a night. It is the perfect ending to an all too short venture into instrumental paradise. I certainly did not want it to end but I guess I will have to wait until Volume 2 arrives.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Roots and Branches, The Comfort of Doubt, Embracing the Lack

Tracks:

1. Uthaf   
2. Roots and Branches
3. Cerebral 3.0
4. She's Almost Here
5. The Comfort of Doubt
6. Embracing the Lack
7. Himinn



Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 8, 2016
Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Instrumental New Age/Ambient Review: Tom Eaton-Abendromen

Release Date: February 8, 2016
Label: Riverwide Records

Abendromen is Tom Eaton’s latest release. The title comes from the Dutch. It is actually two words combined, "Abend" is evening and "Dromen" is dreams. Tom is a very busy producer collaborating constantly with Will Ackerman in his Imaginary Road Studios to help New Age artists find their sound. Somehow he found the time in December 2015 and January 2016 to get this recording completed.

This is an album about dreaming and the different forms it can take on a daily basis. Some sweep you away from reality and some become reality. Listen to the music and create your dreams.

Tom composed, mixed, mastered, engineered and produced the recording using textural electric guitars, fretted and fretless basses, synthesizers and piano miniatures. All the piano, keyboards, guitars, basses and percussion where played by the artist making this a true “solo” work.

The ever important opening track draws the curtain back and sets the tone for any recording. And Tom introduces his style of music perfectly by easing you into his world with “Sunday-Slow Rotations.” It is atmospheric and features ambient textures with keyboards floating on top, promoting the traditional day of rest. It is the face of magnificence and elegance found in music all packaged in one track. The elements of new age and classical are injected with some ambient chill to make for delectable treat for the senses. 

Oddly enough “Monday-Midwinter” is exactly where we are at in the northeast. Usually every year we have those nightmare days with the weather but it has been a winter only imagined by those hoping for warming temperatures and a lot less snow and ice. That dream came true. 

“Tuesday-The Compass” is one of my preferred tracks. It reminded me of some of my favorite artists over the years like Tangerine Dream (Le Parc). The dreamy floating on cloud effect is there except the pace picks up a bit more right at the start. There is lovely melody weaved into the fabric of this track. It has inspired me to start listening to some of my favorite music again that I have not heard in so long. Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield come to mind right away. The compass showed me the way.

I think the one track I could relate to most was “Friday-Patience.” The saying T.G.I.F. comes to mind and how you need to be patient and work your way through the day looking forward to the weekend to do what you really desire. It does require patience to make it through to Friday each week, some weeks require more than others. That is how the title hit me and the music felt right as well. The pace is even and peaceful while carrying the hope of a new day right around the corner.

I knew Tom Eaton was an incredibly talented producer and now I know for certain that the music is in every molecule of his being. With Abendromen his gives proof positive that his fingers hold the key to capturing the imagination of an audience in desperate need of unwinding and appreciating a relaxing atmosphere to decompress. It worked for me. 

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Monday-Slow Rotations, Friday-Patience, Tuesday-The Compass

Tracks:
01. Sunday: Slow Rotations
02. Monday: Midwinter
03. Tuesday: The Compass
04. Wednesday: In Stillness
05. Thursday: For Orion
06. Friday: Patience
07. Saturday: Long Lonely Light

Bonus Tracks:
08. Wednesday Night
09. The Eighth Day
10. Saturday Night
 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
February 27, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews