Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Lynn Tredeau-Many Branches

Release Date: October 6, 2023

Label: Independent


Lynn Tredeau's latest release, Many Branches, serves as a reflection of herself through the music. It is her ninth proper studio album.

If you happen to be looking for "Sunshine Tomorrow," you will likely find the orchestration of the keys on Lynn's piano. That track is one of twelve that will set you at ease and let the day slip away into the night.


For some of us, it isn't easy to clear our minds, put the day behind us, and find complete enjoyment after punching the clock. Because we can be so busy with work, we may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep to get needed rest. What is there to turn to find that release point and re-energize?


As you get into a comfortable space in your home and position yourself for optimal relaxation, the music encourages you to do what you need to absorb it fully. An artist's stream of consciousness is entirely different from everyday folks. As they follow their hearts and spirits, the music is created and performed, and then, after many months in the recording studio, comes the addition of other instruments; however, in this case, that was unnecessary. It is Lynn and her piano alone. Then, the final mastering. A process I cannot comprehend. I do appreciate what each artist goes through to bring such grace and beauty. Lynn has done that consistently over the years.


I did notice a particular atmosphere running through each track. Every track has a purposeful pace and mood. I heard a sadness that was hard to define (it was a mirror of my soul at the time). The tracks sound like love songs to me, but they come filled with color and ambiance that radiate hope, which, in the end, removes that feeling of sadness I felt while listening. While all that was true, I felt everything I heard was beautiful.


The one thing a listener needs to remember is that music is perceived differently by everyone. Also, their current life situation might feel like a "Carousel' of emotions and as if something emerged from the "Shadows." Still, there is always "Morning's Promise" right around the corner when the sun rises again.


When "Technicolor Blanket" started, I noticed an immediate change in the energy of the music and how my senses perceived it. The track has a more upbeat pace and shade to it. It's like a smile that begins on the inside and then shows on the outside. 


The best way to express my feelings regarding this music was to use the track titles interspersed with words and emotions. And, after all, isn't that what this is all about? Music is emotion in its absolute and honest form. If you listen closely enough, you feel the heart and soul of the artist in every note. And that my music-loving friends are our gifts to treasure.


Stop and listen to the Many Branches on Lynn Tredeau's music tree. It will take root and grow as soon as you start listening.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 19, 2023


01. Room with a View 2:51

02. Sunshine Tomorrow 2:52

03. On a Distant Hill 3:38

04. Sail Away 3:10

05. Moon Jellies 2:59

06. Desert Rain 4:25

07. Envisaging 3:47

08 .Ilunabarra 2:46

09. Carousel 3:14

10. Shadows 2:57

11. Technicolor Blanket 3:06

12. Morning's Promise 4:19

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Swim To America Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)

Release Date: April 28, 2023

Label: Independent


When a musician becomes a fan of another musician's music, things can happen in extraordinary ways. In matters of life circumstances, social media, and a combination thereof, Doug Hammer became acquainted with Stephan Eicher

Swim To America Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is the first of three volumes of music Doug plans on releasing this year, covering tracks from the Eicher catalog. It is the 16th release for Doug.


Doug's interpretation of the Eicher compositions encompasses the thirteen tracks of this large-scale project for volume one. Covering one's tunes would be the easier route. However, the artistry and musical intelligence of Mr. Hammer takes the road less traveled. The level of difficulty covering someone's music your way takes tremendous patience and creativity. Taking each piece as an inspiration and springboard to jump off, the process begins with respect and love for the music you are paying tribute to.


That fact becomes evident from the first track to the last of this release. Remember that this is only the piano, nothing else supporting Doug. There are 13 tracks of purely instrumental music falling squarely into contemporary instrumental, influenced strongly by the classical and new age. Then again, classical music has been here on this earth for so long that it only makes sense that everyone is influenced by it in some manner, musically speaking in general terms.


However, because many tracks hold such beauty and a relaxing ambiance, I must give new-age music much credit as a vital underpinning, reflecting the artist's original intent. It is a show of respect and joy for the music. And it celebrates both artists at the same time.


That is a beautiful thing to witness and hear. It also creates some curiosity for listeners to seek out the background and music of the celebrated artist Stephan Eicher more in-depth. The length of the tracks is just right, not too long nor too short. Doug Hammer uses all his tools to create beautiful music from an admired composer and makes it his own. That is a more remarkable tribute than just covering the compositions. He breathes new life into the music following his intuition and heart, and it works out beautifully. One creation blossoms into another, and that is how it should work. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

May 12, 2023


01. Ce peu d’amour 4:00

02. Cendrillon après minuit 4:15

03. Déjeuner en paix 3:26

04. Für Immer 3:43

05. 1000 Vies 3:18

06. Je te mentirais disant 3:30

07. Manteau de gloire 4:30

08. Swim to America 3:21

09. Autour de ton cou 3:13

10. Si tu veux (Que je chante) 2:54

11. Djian's Waltz 3:20

12. Prisonnière 2:43

13. Nocturne 3:17

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Terry Lee Nichols-Metamorphosis

 Release Date: May 8, 2023

Label: Independent


Terry Lee Nichols has released a significant piano-based instrumental recording
Metamorphosis takes the listener on a worldly adventure. It is a story about humans and their history, including migration and beginnings. To be more specific, he traced his ancestors, which makes for an exciting recording. There is more to it than that, but that is the general idea.

When you listen to the music on Terry's site, you can click on the note beside the first track, and it will automatically tell the story of each composition with artwork to accompany it. For instance, the joy in "Grandma's Good Ol' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits" is an upbeat, happy tune.


As one would anticipate, the pace and color within each composition mirror the track titles. The music is contemporary instrumental with strong influences of classical and all its ebbs and tides. The combination is stunning.


"Once Upon a Time" has a picture of a hand reaching down in a wheat field, and to the right is inscribed "If I know what love is, it is because of you." - Hermann Hesse. It is a delicate track, as soft as the woman's hand in the picture. 


You will enjoy a multimedia presentation; everything fits together. Music, art, and video are the perfect combination. However, a talented artist must make this something new and fresh as it is commonplace. Terry Lee accomplishes that quite successfully. 


I also appreciated how touching some images were on "Bedtime Stories." The music is perfect while taking the explanation of Dad, an otherwise ordinary man, and turning him into a hero, storyteller, and singer of songs. It makes you remember those precious moments of child-rearing and those you may be fortunate enough to enjoy right now.

Terry Lee's piano is gorgeous, fluid, and very telling of each storyline. The pictures will give a little nudge in figuring out why the music flows. The piano playing is very intent on emotionally moving you; it certainly did me. And you can tell the artist was in this heart and soul; you can feel it with every touch of the keys. And that my music-loving friends are what I would describe as prolific. 


While I gave you a glimpse into what to expect, I will leave the rest to each listener. It is essential to let you, the potential listener, find the gifts in each offering. This music has happiness, pure joy, and sadness, which is how it should be. It makes you pause and reflect on the meaning for you.


Terry Lee does go through a Metamorphosis inside the music, and I believe you can as well if you decide to follow along on his website here

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

April 25, 2023


01. Metamorphosis 04:16

02. Out of Eden 03:03

03. Let Us Rest Beside the Cool Waters 03:08

04. Grandma's Good Ol' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits 02:06

05. A Day in the Life of a Cocktail Pianist 03:11

06. Once Upon a Time 04:42

07. Bedtime Stories 03:50

08. This Was Once a Love Poem 01:17

09. The Dangling Conversation 02:20

10. Barcelona 05:09

11. Mom, which picture will you use for me? 03:45

12. Thinking Back 03:59

13. One Molecule Away from Madness 02:45

14. The Long Goodbye 5:17

David J. Peña-The Journey-Contemporary Instrumental Review

Release Date: January 6, 2023

Label: Independent


David Pena’s 
The Journey starts with “The Sun Will Rise Again.” As you look at the image on the album cover of the soldier, some light is behind those darkened skies. A piano player extraordinaire takes us on another contemporary instrumental journey.


I am a veteran, and my father was a WWII veteran. So, there is some sadness attached to that. That first track felt emotional, and I was sad but had some hope around the corner. And that hope and energy were found on the next track, “Kaleidoscope.” When you hear that word, the first thought is a panorama of colors and light. That is the kind of positive energy I needed after all the feelings initiated by the first track.


“Tribute to W. Tx Pianist Doug Smith” transitions to softer touch on the keys. There is warmth and honesty that comes through. The connection from one artist to another was unique, and David provided a lovely tribute.


“You Took My Heart With You” sounds like it will be a tear-jerker and some reminiscing. The title certainly paints those feelings on the musical canvas. The orchestrations are gorgeous as they accompany David’s nimble fingers on the keys. 


“The Journey” continues with upbeat and high hopes as the instrumentalist reaches for the highest mountain and invites you to come along. The piano is rich with rhythm and purpose, and the orchestrations are exciting and moving. The emotions ebb and flow like a river after a rainfall, then it slows down and ends. 


“Eerie Night” sets the stage for pensiveness. As David starts to play, it does not create that feeling until the song is around the 1:50 mark; then, it climbs the ladder of musical anticipation. The stage is set, and the atmosphere is appropriate as you wonder what is coming next.


Fortunately, “Good Feeling” comes your way for a dramatic turn of moods. The fast-moving instrumentation opens the door to better days. David’s piano sounds bright and fluid and, yes, happy. I felt those good chills go up my back and down my arm. I knew something special was happening while listening.


“Stargazing” can be an exhilarating experience and, at times, a spiritual one. My son told me he was looking at the night sky one night, and I felt small. I thought that made sense. The vast and beautiful expanse of planets and stars can be mind-boggling. Well, at least it has been for me. David’s eloquent piano paints the right picture.


“New Beginnings” gives you the hope and promise of a new day. In our fast-moving technological world, we forget to be grateful to wake up every day. You think about those things if you are close to losing your life, which happened to me last November. The underpinnings of the new age genre run through this track like a golden thread holding it all together so beautifully. 


“Breakout” is the curtain closer. And it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, as David cuts loose and gives the keys a workout with tremendous energy and feeling. The track is panoramic and full of color and life with the growing pace of the orchestrations and the piano. I love the way this album closes out.


The Journey is everything it says it is and more. David J. Peña has released a recording to remember.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

April 10, 2023

Track List:

01. The Sun Will Rise Again

02. Kaleidoscope

03. Tribute to W. Tx Pianist Doug Smith

04. You Took My Heart With You

05. The Journey

06. Eerie Night

07. Good Feeling

08. Stargazing

09. New Beginnings

10. Breakout

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Michele McLaughlin-Luminous

Release Date: November 25th, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


This will be the seventh release I have listened to and covered by Michele McLaughlin. I had not given it any thought, but she must be the most frequent artist I have had the pleasure of hearing since 2015. Luminous, based on the first glance of the album art, gives the impression of something spiritual coming right from the soul. It is a commonplace for this artist, however. 

Her solo piano works are portraits of a grounded individual with the innate ability to speak to listeners through music.


Michele said this about the new release:

This is a special edition album written and created using a softer and more delicate playing style by utilizing some of the more expressive features of my piano in order to change the tone and timbre of the sound and to illuminate the more expressive aspects of how it can be played. In doing so, I was able to immerse myself into a softer and quieter style of writing to compliment the changing elements of my beautiful piano. The music on this album is themed around different aspects of light and dark.


And indeed, that does put it all into proper perspective. You will feel the sadness of "When You Hurt, I Hurt," and the ever-changing colors of the bright "Kaleidoscope" will lift your spirits. Thus, the experiential journey through the dark and the light. And masterfully depicted may I add. I am not surprised by this in the least. Michele has been one of the most consistent and on-point artists I have enjoyed.


This year, more than any previous, I have heard more sadness in the music. I am sensitive to what is happening worldwide, which certainly has much to do with my perception. I am not mistaken, however, as many artists have released "pandemic" themed recordings. The many pressing issues we now face on our planet reflect our times. Hence the music that you will hear will envelop your consciousness. Even though there is that element of sadness, we can always find hope and healing in this talented individual's simplistic beauty.


With Luminous, you will find the light inside just like Michele did. She offers you that doorway to where it is and helps you realize that music is just a tool to get there. We all have it inside, and some of our light has been extinguished by life events over the last three years that changed us forever. I feel blessed that I have not got sick, lost anyone, and kept my job. That doesn't mean I don't feel the world's pain daily and realize my mortality with each passing year. It makes me very concerned and sad.


Hearing Michele making her way through these ten tracks of instrumental contemporary grace and beauty puts a different perspective on everything. And honestly, that is the goal of any artist, so mission accomplished once again, Michele!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

November 1, 2022


01. Droplets of Grey 5:06

02. When You Hurt, I Hurt 5:12

03. Kaleidoscope 3:56

04. Shimmer 3:20

05. Moonlit Shadows 2:59

06. The Golden Hour 3:43

07. Luminous 3:09

08. Fireflies 3:37

09. Adrift 2:22

10. Lanterns In The Sky 3:40

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ed Bazel-The London Sessions – Reflections From Studio 2

Release Date: October 7, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


Ed Bazel's The London Sessions – Reflections From Studio 2 is eleven romantic melodies recorded and mastered in June 2022 at Abbey Road Studio 2. 

With November peeking through the doorway and the subsequent winter months ahead in the Northeast, this type of music is comforting, relaxing, and reassuring. The music does warm my soul and heart.


I hold music dear to my heart and with great respect and gratitude. Ed Bazel is a fine pianist. I had the opportunity to enjoy Homecoming nearly three years ago. It was a wonderful experience, and just as the first track, "Morning Glory," began, I knew it would be a similar journey. This is where my reference of reassurance applies once again. Familiar feelings of audio pleasures bring me great joy. The therapy of instrumental piano music with the elegance of strings and some percussion can do wonders for your attitude and well-being. 


This music holds the simplicity of one instrument and its effectiveness to significant effect in every track. Although this is considered a romantic collage, the album art would also hint that the culture of England brings it all full circle when looking at the entire project and absorbing all its elements.


One of my favorites was "After The Rain," and of course, the Beatle's classics "In My Life" and "Yesterday," which are emotional tracks for me. If you are older and your children are gone, and many relatives and loved one's have passed, it hits home. I sang the words to myself as Ed's piano played them perfectly.


I heard some sadness in the piano's keys and then a flow and splendor that gave me moments to pause and find the colorful notes filled with pleasure and hence a surrender to its magnificence. It is like the silver lining in the clouds, they are always there, but you must see them and recognize the importance of the entire picture being painted right before you. You don't have to look too far to see this happening; it is rather apparent quite quickly if you feel the music's mellow approach giving hints of sadness and reflection. It is like a quiet "Evening Stroll" through your mind's eye. The music helps you paint the images within and process them all internally and externally.


Ed Bazel has painted a musical masterpiece that is both timeless and memorable. At times the simple things in life are the medicine we so desperately need in this complex, unforgiving world we live in these days. Moments to pause, reflect, and take stock of what to be grateful for can be a positive experience that will affect you and everyone around you. 


This is a must-have if you enjoy beautiful instrumental music with exceptional production values! To romanticize in the music framework is commonplace; it is another thing to make it into something extraordinary, and Ed Bazel accomplishes that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 27, 2022


01. Morning Glory 2:18

02. Mountain Serenity 3:22

03. In My Life 3:48

04. Old Friends 3:02

05. After The Rain 2:39

06. Soaring 3:24

07. Mountain Joy 2:59

08. Daydream 2:41

09. Evening Stroll 2:42

10. Passages 3:21

11. I Will Think Of You 2:38

12. Yesterday 2:39

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Melancholia

Release Date: October 28, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


The definition of Melancholia is severe depression characterized especially by profound sadness and despair. This is the title of Doug Hammer's latest release. Don't let that definition give you the wrong idea about what you will hear; there is more to that.


Doug has released many recordings over the years (14), and I have enjoyed my share dating back to the 2015 release Christmas Lights. I have never heard anything like this artist's 13 tracks on Melancholia.


The title is very descriptive, and the cover depiction is interesting. Looking at the lilies bursting out, the two wilted against the backdrop of a clock indicates the message transmitted. Does this suggest that your happiness can fade like a flower without water (as a matter of reference) over time? Or are we subject to reacting to the events that surround us daily, which include our personal lives and the influx of communications from various electronic means, whether you ask for them or not? I like to think all of the above apply, but that is a personal interpretation.


Doug Hammer's thoughts and feelings regarding this subject matter relating to being melancholy come through the keys of his piano. When you look at the track titles, they also tell a story. The opener, "Darkness Falls," is more than the disappearance of light; it purposefully sets the right tone going forward. There are two other tracks concerning the night as well. "Missing You," "Empty Chair," and "Farewell" also have a significant meaning and impact on the perception of a prospective listener. And that is the way this is intended. Although life has its beautiful times and memories that we can relive in our minds, we all fall upon darkness more than once in this life.


I don't think the intent here is not to depress anyone; it is about feelings I am sure we all have felt over the last three years due to the pandemic, inflation, and an ongoing war in Ukraine. Some, I am sure, have been overwhelmed and distraught. We all feel it in different ways. 


This music is simplistic yet effective in gently asking you to reflect, look inward at your soul, and be honest with how you feel. Once you take that step forward, the process begins. That process can vary, again, depending on who you are. For me, any of this kind of process is like healing. The music beckons me to listen, letting it take me away. That is as simple as it gets, for me, anyway.


Let me put this into perspective from where I sit. When you are "Winding Down," and it's "Almost Midnight," it is time to say "Farewell." My point here is that words and music, used correctly, can be so powerful and have meaning for so many people. In the case of Doug Hammer and his contemporary instrumental tracks from Melancholia, that very idea and journey are lived through each of us. This is soothing and thoughtful music to listen to at any time. That fact alone should tell you how sound this recording is.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 24, 2022


01. Darkness Falls 4:08 

02. The Long Night 3:17 

03. Long Ago 2:29 

04. Just A Memory 3:14 

05. Laika 2:29 

06. Monsieur Barre’s Carousel 1:58 

07. Empty Chair 2:32 

08. Missing You 2:53 

09. Dancing Alone 3:01 

10. Letting Go 4:10 

11. Winding Down 2:23 

12. Almost Midnight 2:56 

13. Farewell 2:41

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Vicente Avella-Physics of Light

Release Date: August 8, 2022

Label:  Pandora’s Boombox Records


Physics of Light is about many things besides what the title would indicate. For Vicente Avella, there is a story behind the music; there always is. If you have a curious disposition and want to know the how and why of a recording, then you will love the story behind the music. 

Vicente recorded during COVID. For most artists, this was a blessing in disguise if it did not affect them in other ways, like contracting the virus or losing someone because of it. It was an opportunity for this artist to do all the recording himself because everything was closed. So, he went to the Boston GP 163 piano to start his process. The piano he had wanted to play to record on for some time.

It was destiny, and Physics of Light was born. Sixteen tracks of instrumental piano music to calm the nerves and refresh your being are now alive and well for everyone to enjoy.

The recording started with some trepidation from Vicente, but he did a fine job and then sent it off to be mastered. And now he has this beautiful recording, knowing he does not need a studio to get an album done. The world works in mysterious ways; there was a roadblock at the time. After further investigation and taking a chance, another door opened. He just needed the faith to walk through it.

What I found interesting was the thought that went into the entire presentation. The artwork Vicente envisioned was to be something that Da Vinci had created. If you are familiar with that, the attained visual is perfect. It had to be scientifically and mathematically correct, so he had it checked by a composition student and now who is also a Physicist. After that, an artist in Italy (of course) was commissioned to take Vicente’s chicken scratch and make it look like a work of Da Vinci’s. Once again, it hit the mark. It was essential to convey the images and thought process encompassing all aspects of light while listening. Then looking at the track titles and hearing how they came out in the audio spectrum is the next step. It is up to you to delve further to compare the similarities or differences between the two ranges.

So, for me, the listener and reviewer, reading about the story was fascinating and made the music more enjoyable and thoughtful. Yes, it is very scientific, and there was a process; however, once you hear the music and its sheer beauty and simple perfection, you will wholeheartedly agree that this makes sense in all its totality.

Sometimes I wonder what else to say about another solo piano instrumental album. The truth is, I always find enjoyment and something new. My fascination with how this all came together and the thought and care that went into making it a “complete” artistic rendering of audio recordings was the key that unlocked my mind. It all connects and makes sense. And to think one man’s fascination with the Physics of Light could create such beauty and picturesque sounds through one instrument. It was a lonely process, but that is the X factor in creating a successful recording. It would be best if you were alone with your thoughts, the process of creation, and no distractions to take you off the course that brings it all home.

Vicente Avella has triumphed over all the obstacles to release one of the most rewarding albums of his career. And for the listeners and followers, this is to be enjoyed for many years. Physics of Light will be your beacon to some well-deserved musical fulfillment and relaxation.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 13, 2022

Track List:

01. LIGHT PARTICLES                            

02. RADIANCE                                       


04. ULTRAVIOLET                                  

05. OSCURO                                          

06. RESISTANCE                                    

07. COLOR SPECTRUM                          

08. CLARO                                             

09. PENUMBRA                                     

10. REFLECTION                                  

11. INTERMEZZO                                

12. OPAQUE OBJECT                                    

13. UMBRA                                         

14. INFRARED                                     

15. ANTUMBRA                                  


Contemporary Instrumental Review: Samer Fanek-Call of the Desert

Release Date: April 30, 2022

Label:  Independent


I have witnessed growth and maturation with each release I have had the pleasure to listen to from Samer Fanek. With Call of the Desert, this young and vibrant pianist reaches back to his roots and creates an astonishing array of tracks.

Samer’s music is very cinematic and so vital to the core of his message. He wants to go back to the Middle East and perform this music. His homeland of Jordan inspired this music and longing to go back there. Such inspiration and beauty lie within the heart of every human. It comes from the heart to the fingers through the piano.

I felt the honesty of this music, and the excitement that gave me chills from the start. “Call of the Desert - Part I” brings you to Jordan within seconds. It gets more interesting musically with lovely orchestrations to accentuate the elegant piano playing from that point on.

“Into The Sun” is as picturesque as the cover art. However, the sun is going down to relieve those people from the intense desert heat. At the end of the journey is a piano and palm tree off to the side. Is this a mirage for those weary travelers? I think not. The music is convincing, and you are there right in the middle of that scenery created by Samer’s music.

Call of the Desert is Samer’s most inspired and ambitious work. The equation is simple; home is where the heart is. It will be good for everyone to hear this music. I know here in the U.S. that a different picture is painted of the Middle East thanks to the media and social platforms. Every home and country has its unique beauty to its inhabitants. With this music, perhaps we all can see that more clearly. We can take the first exit down the right road as we cast aside any preconceived ideas or thoughts pushed onto us 24/7. Samer can be our guiding light to a world we can only imagine in our minds. He knows through his past experiences what Jordan is and what it means to his people. With that knowledge and heartfelt expression, he conveys it all beautifully.

Tracks like “The Old Arabic Shop” are reflective and have a sweetness. And indeed, through the eyes of the beholder and his memories, we can envision what he remembers. “Pleading to You” is full of emotion, and the track title could mean many things. I know that the music sounds like it asks you to listen and absorb the sounds and colors of a world far away from where you sit now. Samer brings it all to life instantaneously through his music.

“Desert Rush” is full of movement and drama as you take the arduous journey over the unknown desert landscape. The excitement is a rush of adrenaline you have never experienced before.

The recording ends dramatically with “Call of the Desert - Part II,” as Samer’s gentle touch lends a sublime beauty to some masterful keyboard magic that you just enjoyed. I know this would sound so amazing on vinyl LP. It was so consuming as I listened to it all. I felt like I was in a storybook about a land I did not know. It does not seem so far away after listening to Call of the Desert anymore.

Capturing another country’s atmosphere and a young man’s memories inside the music is an outstanding achievement. In this excellent release, Samer Fanek has recreated everything about Jordan in his heart and mind. It will capture your imagination, I promise.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 11, 2022


01. Call of the Desert - Part I
02. Nighttime Celebrations
03. Where Did the Time Go?
04. Into the Sun
05. The Old Arabic Shop
06. Dramatic Encounters
07. Mediterranean Moments
08. Pleading to You
09. Desert Rush
10. Call of the Desert - Part II

Contemporary Instrumental/New Age: Stephen Peppos-Botanical

 Release Date: October 18, 2021

Label:  ‎Sonic Bear Music


Botanical carries the theme of nature and all its beauty through the music. Based on my experience with Stephen’s music, I expect to find intrigue everywhere throughout my listen. I am glad to report that is what happened.

“Sun Dancer” and the title track “Botanical” were the peak of this musical evolution for my ears. The different sounds, rhythms, and various instrumentations merge into a burst of color and light. With that thought and perception, you can see how the connection to nature and its bounty aligns with this expressive music that brings different shades, colors, and light to you aurally.

This magnificent artistry found through the eleven tracks on this recording offers individual listeners their soundscape to create images that come to mind, hopefully, those suggested through the track titles.

What you will enjoy on Botanical is an eclectic musical diversion that will enrich your soul. From contemporary instrumental, world, and all built from a new age perspective, Stephen Peppos invites you into his magical musical garden of delights. He brings you “Sunshine” to enlighten you and nurture and uplift your spirit. And that track, in particular, has a world flavored ambiance injected with vocals from another country would be Africa. That kind of ability and worldly diversity keeps it all fresh and inviting from start to finish.

I noted all of the fantastic rhythms and bass that run like a tapestry intrinsic to every track. A giant cross-section of listeners will enjoy music like this, and it knows no boundaries, only those that are self-inflicted by a listener. You can find a true sense of joy and hope on Botanical with an open mind and heart. I certainly did, and with an immense amount of respect for its creator.

Stephen Peppos knows how to create exciting music. It is hard to define but delightful to listen from track to track.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
October 1, 2021

01. MORNING  5:17     
02. ABOVE THE TREES  5:01       
03. DANCING DAHLIAS  5:39    
04. SUN  DANCER   6:38     
05. BOTANICAL  5:41       
07. SUNSHINE  5:03     
08. JOY IN THE SUMMER  4:56    
09. NOCTURNAL  4:11   
11. HOPE A NEW  5:57

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Dave Eggar-Awakening

Release Date: September 10, 2021

Label:  ‎Domo Music Group


If fortunate enough in our lifetimes we receive an awakening or several, if the universe allows it, and somehow, we do need it. Dave Eggar had his Awakening during the pandemic when he moved from NYC to the mountains of Tennessee. Getting back to your roots and in touch with the beauty of nature can heal the soul and trigger creative inspiration for many of us. For a multi-talented artist that has mastered the cello and piano like Dave, that is exactly what transpired. Moving from a bustling city to the mountains in Tennessee is what I would call a location paradigm shift. Literally, everything changes and the location is just the beginning.

Awakening features fourteen beautifully composed and performed tracks. This music truly touched me; its pure beauty engaged me in a spiritual journey. When listening I became reflective, grateful, and at times sad. The sadness relates to everything going on in the world and particularly in our country, its leadership, and what has been happening overseas. My heart cries for those in peril, suffering, or fleeing for their lives for poor decisions made by one man. It is at times frightening to see what has happened to our world, our country, and its people. I hope those seeking comfort can find some in this music, which I did with continued listening.

I am deeply moved by music such as this and it brings me back to who I am, what I believe, my history, and where it has brought me today. The track that triggered all these feelings was “Beyond.” And interestingly enough, it is telling me I must get past this, heal, keep the faith, and that God will watch over the children of the earth. I need to get “Beyond” this and move to another point of growth. Without that, I do not have the optimism and faith I need. I am sure many of you out there will not understand this process and my comments, and certainly, there will be those that will. My point here is the power of music and how it can change your train of thought and the outcome of your decision-making after listening. My decision to share what is in my heart was captured by this amazing music. That one track catapulted me to another space where I could feel everything at the moment then be able to communicate it to anyone that wants to listen.

“My Simple Gift” also pulled on my heartstrings. The combination of the cello and piano is always prolific for my listening experience. The cello has that longing sound that pulls you and makes you think. I think of it as a big bass violin. The piano helps the emotions that come up subside and smooth out. This, and I speak for myself, helps me to process everything going through my mind and how it translates to the heart. My oh my this is so powerful and affecting. Instrumental music allows you to open a door without being prompted by words to pull you in a specific direction. The best aspect of this transitioning effect is that you, the listener, get to choose what direction to go while taking all of these sounds in. It is indeed a beautiful thing to listen to this gift of music and the artistry of audio delights.

If you want to experience a true Awakening listen to this music.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
August 26, 2021 

01.  Awakening
02. Faded Memory
03. Through The Glass
04. Beyond
05. Forest Afternoon
06. Diamonds
07. My Simple Gift
08. Russian Winter
09. Arise
10. Fallen Leaves
11. Bristol Morning
12. Coming Home (featuring Avalona)
13. Earth Story
14. New Dawn (featuring Priya Darshini and Will Calhoun)

Contemporary Instrumental-New Age Reviews: Darlene Koldenhoven-The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy

Release Date: October 22, 2021

Pre Order Date: August 22, 2021

Label:  TimeArt Recordings


Buy CD for only $5 until Oct 28th

The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy is the sequel to the award-winning release of the Spring this year The Grand Piano Spa. This recording continues the gorgeous piano compositions and unique flow of the music that will appeal to the lovers of contemporary instrumental and easily cross over to new age.

For my tastes, this is the perfect listening experience. Darlene is a brilliant musician that knows how to create perfect beauty with the ivory keys. Your expectations as the perspective listener, should you be familiar with her work, is to expect originality and a genuine extension of her personality.

The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy begins with the grandeur of the cover art which gives you the initial visual of something special and singular. The artwork is the doorway to the music which in a short time you find peace, pleasure, and appreciation for a prolific artisan willing to share her gifts once again.

I have found Darlene to be high-energy and very positive. It does not take very long to appreciate that energy and the presentation of the ten tracks. A natural extension of the previous album is what I anticipated and knew was coming right after the first release.

Cinematic and expressive are good adjectives of what you will experience. “Love Eternal” I found to be one of the more expressive tracks. Of course, with a title like that, you would expect something eloquent and affecting. And it most certainly is. Darlene has that special touch and grace with her style and the way she wants to deliver each track. I say it’s all cinematic because it is natural to see a picture forming in your mind’s eye, like watching a movie play along with the music. I believe that is the intent with most music, to engage each listener in such a way that it pulls them out of one space in time into another. In turn, if the music is powerful and transitional, that essence is what triggers the experience. This artist accomplishes that consistently throughout this release.

“Glaciers” is another pictorial audio experience. The playing is slow, elegant, and purposeful. It moves slowly like the melting of a glacier, or that is the way it was meant to be prior the global warming. If we could only turn back the hands of time when it comes to things so important and change the course of the history we created. This music helps to ignite feelings of hope rather than despair and a sense of giving up, it brings us to higher ground and a more positive mindset.

This music is about us, the human condition, our environment, and the “Lucidity” and “Radiance” we all have within. And most importantly, the command that this one incredible woman has with her instrument. Her lucidness comes through in her piano playing thus creating a magnificent radiance for us all to absorb and enjoy time and time again.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
August 21, 2021

01. Radiance 3:31
02. Lucidity 3:58
03. Migration 4:04
04. Sweet Conversations 3:41
05. Love Eternal 3:45
06. Glaciers 4:54
07. Moonlight Minuet 4:41
08. Black Swan 5:58
09. Cumulus 5:36
10. Ancient Forest 5:09