Showing posts with label Indie Music Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indie Music Reviews. Show all posts

New Age - Ambient Instrumental: Meg Bowles-Pilgrimage

Release Date: May 20, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Meg Bowles's newest release, Pilgrimage, is her eighth proper solo album. She explores her talents in a more cinematic ambient-orchestral style than previous releases.  

Some of the instruments used to create this project were Pigments 3 (Arturia), Omnisphere 2 (Spectrasonics), Bioscape (Luftrum), Pharlight (Native Instruments), and Stratus (Olafur Arnalds/Spitfire Audio). Meg said, "Bioscape was particularly interesting to work with. It is a library-based upon field recordings and other found sounds, which can be heavily manipulated and layered, creating these dimensional, other-worldly environments and spaces. The second track, "Cave of Secrets," begins with Bioscape, with a combination of drones, drips, and wind—all suggestive of a dark, subterranean space." This was some exciting information to attain from the artist, and I am sure all the tech-heads will love it.

I did a Google search on the term or concept of a Pilgrimage:

A pilgrimage is a devotional practice consisting of a long journey toward a specific destination of significance, often undertaken on foot or horseback. It is an inherently transient experience, removing the participant from their home environment and identity.

You are putting that train of thought into an experiential musical way. It can be considered several different things by each listener. My perception and belief are where the artist is coming from with this music are within my words. How I heard it is the music fills up space and time so that the audio frequencies and ambient nature of the sounds come together and remove the earthly attachments or physical being from the current area, pushing you gently to another plane of existence. A meditative and relaxed state of mind changes your surroundings' concepts in more simple terms. You then go inside your mind into a different frame of reference and go inward to explore your feelings and emotions and find a path to heal and renew your spirit, thus giving you more energy physically.

I know that may sound complex, but it is not; it's simple. I relate it conceptually to how I listen and process the music. If one thinks about that for a while, you could explain things in the same way with a different set of words. Music that gets your attention can compel you to understand why it was created and finding out something about the artist is a good start. Understanding the release's title and feeling what the cover's image says, then you are well on your way to a journey of expectant color, ambiance, relaxation, focus, and a sense of well-being you cannot seem to find anywhere else.

There is not one track under six minutes, and the magnum opus, which could serve as one meditation session, is "Mountains Reaching for Stars," which clocks in at 12:44. I find myself melting into this music with tracks like that as I absorb it while putting together my thoughts and translating them to words. Time is a factor, hence why each track runs for the longer time span. It gives you the time to get comfortable and let yourself be guided by the sounds, clear your mind and hopefully internalize the good vibrations.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

May 20, 2022

Track List:

1. Ancient Paths

2. Cave of Secrets

3. Cloudburst Over a Parched Land

4. Mountains Reaching for Stars

5. Luminous Garden of Repose

6. Source of Enduring Light







Instrumental New Age Review: Christina Tourin-IONA Inspirations - Healing Music

Release Date: September 1, 2010

Label:  Emerald Harp Productions

Website

Christina Tourin said about her new release IONA Inspirations - Healing Music - “The music truly depicts the voyage to this little island - that of EICSE - where the veil is thin on the brink of the waters.” She plays the harp quite beautifully, and she also teaches it and has a website with plenty of information on that. And no, the release date is not a typo!

Christina takes history buffs, writers, and harp loving people to the island each year then this music gives them some history and flavor of the island. So that was the main motivation in releasing the recording once again as she gets ready to bring groups of people again on that journey.

Along with the harp, several other instruments are in the mix, including guitar, keyboards, flute, cello, pennywhistle, Scots Gaelic, and chants. If you were wondering like I was, Scottish Gaelic, also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. As a Goidelic language, Scottish Gaelic and both Irish and Manx developed out of Old Irish. Compared to English, it sounds foreign. I am far from a language expert; I had to look it up. For example, it sounds very ancient compared to someone with a heavy Irish accent.

As one would imagine, this music is very soothing because of the harp; however, the mixture of other instruments is a nice touch. It gives it a new age world sound with many facets courtesy of the harp accompanied by the aforementioned additions. You will experience an hour and fifteen minutes of pure sounds that will delight, relax your mind and body, and enlighten your spirit. The music on this recording fits that description very well, and although it is pretty eclectic, I would still call it a new-age instrumental, with a bit of added spice and variety, if you will. You may find “The Well of Eternal Youth” inside the music.

Tracks like “Stone” feature that wonderful blend of many instruments like the flute, guitar, and cello that give the music an air of mystery and lure. I can envision the pied piper playing his flute, guiding you into the deep forest. It would be a great soundtrack to an ancient story handed down over the centuries. “White Mare” is one of the airier light-hearted acoustic jazz-infused guitar tracks with the harp. There are many sounds interwoven that make it dreamy.

The music on IONA Inspirations - Healing Music represents so many things, and it will be different for each individual, which I say a lot; however, it is essential to bring up that fact that supports the power and freedom of music and what it brings to us all. There is always more to it than songs without words. You have to let the music take you there, look at the artwork on the album cover, look at the track titles and follow along as you listen. Therein lies the story, your story in the music. It is a beautiful thing that brings me so much joy every time it happens.

IONA Inspirations - Healing Music
will be a gift to yourself. It is Christina Tourin’s personal story of her trip to Iona Island off the western coast of Scotland in 2007. She does a fantastic job of painting the pictures of her visit through the music. The production values are excellent throughout the recording. That is incredibly important to any release but more crucial to a primarily instrumental group of songs (except the ancient tongue offered on a few tracks). There are many layers of instruments and sounds to consider making production much more complex, and the final mix is paramount in bringing all of those sounds to you in full bloom.

The CD comes with a nice booklet providing plenty of information about the music and what was behind it all. You will discover a complete experience if you get the CD.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 4, 2022 

Tracks:

01. In The Glow   6:21
02.  St. Columba’s Vision 4:43
03. Images 5:56
The Fairy Mound /Lammy O   
04. Iona of My Heart 3:16
05. The Well of Eternal Youth 3:39
06. Stones 6:36
07. Wild Geese   4:13
08. White Mare   4:07
09. Hermit Cell   3:08
10. White Strand of the Monks 2:13
11. Wonder 3:25
12. Blackbird 3:22
13. Fingal’s Cave and The Sea   4:29
14. Sky’s Invitation 9:51
15. Blessings On Iona 9:00
          Bunessan (Morning Has Broken)
          Iona Blessings
          May The Roads Rise Up


New Age Ambient Instrumental Review: Rusty Crutcher-The Oracle of Delphi

Release Date: April 11, 2022

Label:  Emerald Green Sound Productions

Website

Rusty Crutcher’s recent release The Oracle of Delphi (from the sacred site series) does an excellent job of catching your eye and igniting your imagination with the cover art. Once you hear the music, you will understand how the art matches.

The new age ambient instrumental mixture on the ten tracks consists of many different sounds; you will hear duduk, pan pipes, flutes, choirs, kithara, water moving, mesmerizing bell-like sounds (singing bowl?), and swirling colors of ambiance riding on waves of synths. It is a compelling conglomeration of music that immediately sets you at ease for essential relaxation, reflection, or a meditative state.

Music such as this can ignite an inner flame that was barely flickering into an intense and consistent fire for the curious mind. I am naturally curious and love to learn every day if the opportunity arises. Certain sounds and vibrations in music can change our brain waves and mindset entirely. That is a scientific fact, and I believe it happens to me quite frequently. I do feel a strong sense of gratitude to artists like Rusty Crutcher.

I took some time to look at Rusty’s Facebook page, and you can tell what this man is all about. His profile reflects a soul in harmony with himself and his surroundings. And most certainly, this beauty is reflected in all the music presented on The Oracle of Delphi.

Wikipedia: Pythia was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. She specifically served as its oracle and was known as the Oracle of Delphi. Her title was also historically glossed in English as the Pythoness. The name Pythia is derived from Pytho, which in myth was the original name of Delphi. Referenced on track #7 with “Pythia’s Trance.”

Ancient Greek mythology is often a subject matter and driving factor to recordings. It is a fascination for many of us. It makes you wonder how much of it is true. Where do the stories originate? Did they suddenly appear in someone’s mind and then take on a life all their own? Or were the ancient god’s beings from another planet sent here to watch over us and guide us? The music can take you to many places. Perhaps the entire idea of this recording, besides letting you relax, is to engage your thought process to think about the possibilities of what each track title prompts you to ponder.

The Oracle of Delphi
offers each listener beautiful music to let the day wash away and clear your mind. It is a soundtrack to the past with music for now and in the future. However, if you are anything like me, you find quite a bit to think about once you look at the artwork, the titles, and take in all the music that brings all of those aural sensations to you and invite you to another plane of existence gently.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 12, 2022

Tracks:
01. Miriams Wish                
02. Itea Bound               
03. Aegean Reflections        
04.Song of the Muses        
05. Apollo Awakens            
06. Center of the World        
07. Pythia’s Trance            
08. Vapors of Apollo            
09. Castalian Breeze              
10. Know Thyself


Contemporary Instrumental Review: Samer Fanek-Call of the Desert

Release Date: April 30, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

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

Tracks:

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


Instrumental Ambient New Age Review: Palm Reading-Joshua Tree

Release Date: March 18, 2022

Label:  ‎myndstream

Website

Palm Reading is the musical project by Scooby Laposky and Charles Copley, inspired by plant life, the natural environment, and the traditions of ambient and mindfulness music.

In August this year, I was introduced to this clever musical duo with their first journey Malibu: Point Mugu. Now we have their first full-length release Joshua Tree.

The nine tracks encompassed in Joshua Tree continue their belief in preserving ecosystems, which is a noble and just cause. What will become of all living things if we do not protect our ecosystems so essential to the rhythm of life?

The sound found on this album is similar to the three-track EP previously released. How they create, their music is unique and innovative. It combines synthesized electronic music generated by biodata recorded from plants using a biodata sonification device. The device works by measuring microcurrent fluctuations occurring across the surface of a plant’s leaf, generating MIDI notes when a change in conductivity is detected, allowing a user to listen to the invisible biological processes occurring within plants.

Once again, I found this fascinating with the creation of all the ambient sounds through their process of instrumentation, technology, and nature make for a very effective relaxation or meditative tool.

Each track is dissimilar; however, it all blends nicely. It all flows with a natural course from one track to the next. It is so seamless that the distinction between tracks can become so realistic that it sounds like one track infinitely connected, just like all living things. That is why it is such a great accomplishment if you think about it for a minute because each composition differs. That factor has a very pleasing effect for those looking for that listen that can put you in a different mindset or plane of existence, if you will. Whatever you want to call it or level of consciousness, you can reach that goal easily with this music.

Joshua Tree
is a fantastic achievement of a symbolic triangle consisting of music, nature, and technology that intersect to mold into art. I found this was one of the more exciting projects of 2021; in 2022, we have a natural progression to the next level of audio achievement, continuing and expanding the last effort.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 18, 2021

Tracks:
1. Mojave Yucca - Bighorn Pass
2. Beavertail Cactus - Bighorn Pass Interlude
3. Desert Parsley - Bighorn Pass
4. Creosote Bush - Utah Trail River Bed
5. Blue Palo Verde - Cottonwood Spring Oasis
6. Goodding's Willow - Cottonwood Spring Oasis
7. Joshua Tree - Pinto Basin at Sunset Part 1
8. Joshua Tree - Pinto Basin at Sunset Interlude
9. Joshua Tree - Pinto Basin at Sunset Part 2

Ambient-New Age Instrumental Review: Various Artists-Ambient Sleep

Release Date: March 11, 2022
Label: 
myndstream
Website

Sleep is crucial to our health, heart, body, and mind. Which in many cases can all equal a definite form or spirituality? It makes sense to me. myndstream is a label that is interested in all humanity's well-being and endeavors to provide new age music in various forms. The three-track release focuses on Ambient Sleep, a doorway to the inner light that lives in us all. I am familiar with the artist featured, so I felt comfortable and ready to listen with some anticipation of a great experience.

The artwork points you in that direction and the three tracks presented are the spirit clearing elements that keep that window open to all of that beautiful light coming in. The music is a three-fold idea, new age, meditation, and instrumental only. There are no words to clutter your thought process. It is about letting go of any thought process and finding the emptiness of space. Anticipation of your arrival there is imminent at some point during the listen.

The first track by Carl Borden is "Dreamscapes." Carl is no stranger to creating soundscapes to clear the occupied mind and soothe the soul. The layers of ambiance entice you to come in and hold you from beginning to end. It is dreamy and ambient and played at just the right volume, making you spellbound.

"Guuterput" by The Haiku Project offers a nice piano backed by synths. It is very tranquil and inviting. The pace is purposely slow and layered with the right tones and colors to ease a listener into a comfort zone. This type of track should usher in a meditative state in a relatively short time frame. I do speak from my perspective; however, I suspect it will apply to many of you who are into this type of music.

"Tomorrow By Another Name" by Michelle Qureshi is layer after layer of synths, and then some strings enter the picture via an acoustic guitar. The guitar offers an element the previous tracks do not and a certain uniqueness in this trilogy of instrumental bliss. It is a bit shorter than the earlier tracks; however, it makes an impact, and it felt like the perfect ending to an otherwise perfect day or evening, whatever may be the case upon your first listen.

These artisans are talented and offer listeners an easier path to relaxation, time for thought, or meditation to clear their thoughts. Whatever way you pursue your purpose, all are sure to benefit from the three tracks on Ambient Sleep.

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

Tracks:
1. Dreamscapes by Carl Borden
2. Guuterput by The Haiku Project
3. Tomorrow By Another Name by Michelle Qureshi

New Age Instrumental-Meditation Review: Sonic Yogi-Breath Into Being

Release Date: February 11, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Over two years ago, I was introduced to the Sonic Yogi (Jonathan Adams) on his Be The Love You Seek release. I am pleased to be listening to Breath Into Being. All instruments are performed, recorded, and mixed by Jonathan Adams. Jeannine Scarpino provides some gorgeous vocals as well.

Comment From The Artist: The intention of the album is to combine a cross-section of musical art and meditative practice. Music and Sound, have a direct impact on our nervous system and can also be great teachers to bring us back home to a calm and centered place in the nervous system.

Now here we are, still trying to make our way back from the pandemic, inflation, uncertain futures overseas with ongoing wars; it is piling upon us all. Stress is a major killer of all human beings; it takes forms disguised as cancer, severe headaches, aches and pains, heartburn, high blood pressure, the list seems to go on and on. 

Along those lines, Sonic Yogi was dealing with extreme anxiety, and he had to find a way to deal with it. He found relief inside the music. He wants to share this effective outlet with you all that are able and willing to listen.

From listening to this form of meditation and healing, I have learned that I can let go of the stress. And once you gain some solid ground with this practice, you will find peace, and the situations that once caused your grief subsides. I could easily accept daily stress while multitasking in my day job. The foundation I built was years of taking in music that you can assimilate, such as Breath Into Being, and that is precisely the point, you make it happen when you breathe.

Breathing is an absolute that ties into meditation and how you handle each day’s events. If I feel any stress coming, I breathe in and count to four, then release it counting to eight. It is very effective, and if you do that in combination with what is offered by the Sonic Yogi, you will be well on your way to mastering your path to a better life. You can have a life that exhibits more patience and overall control in acceptance of your surrounding or triggers like work stressors. It is a process - breath, meditation music, acceptance, rinse and repeat as often as necessary. I also enjoy using an acupressure mat daily for 30 minutes.

There is a lot to take in on this recording that includes:
•   Eleven beautiful music tracks.
•   Additional sounds or drones for focus.
•   Some lovely strings that lead the way.

The tracks range from 9 minutes (“Om Mani Padme Hum”) to the closer at four minutes and eight seconds (“Singing Bowl Improv”).

The array of instrumentation on this album is impressive, and everything solidifies to make for a fascinating listen with many healing elements to place it firmly into the realm of meditation and relaxation where it belongs. I appreciate the effort and time that must have gone into creating this recording. One man putting it all together with a god-given gift is amazing to me. I am grateful that he wants to share it. 

I always hear flowing water at some point in these types of releases, and it makes sense; it is from whence we came, and it is, after all, very calming. Logically it is about “Om Shanti (Releasing).” The releasing is part of the breathing; that is where it starts. And honestly, I realized that whatever choices I make determine what external things affect me. It is all in your mind, which is very powerful. We can learn to use its powers to exhibit more control and easy release of tensions. All of this is inside the music for us all.

I am here to listen, learn, live, and love, and this music will allow you to bring your Breath It Into Being


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 2, 2022

Tracks:
01. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
02. Breath into Being
03. Om Mani Padme Hum
04. Alone in Me, Together in Me
05. A Gentle Insight
06. Dilo sin Palabras (Say it without words)
07. Grounding in Intention
08. Om Shanti (Releasing)
09. Choose Love in each moment
10. I Am: Letting Go
11. Singing Bowl Improv


Contemporary New Age Instrumental: Michael Borowski-Gardens of Zion in the Rain

Release Date: March 4th, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website 

A lot of the music I enjoy hearing is solo piano music. Many people would think that music like this would not have too much variation. If that thought ever crossed your mind, you can dispose of that right now. It has been my experience over many years of hearing this kind of music; each track receives definition by its sound and voice, and how that reaches you some way. The piano is a fantastic instrument when it finds the right hands to manipulate those white and black keys.

Michael Borowski is one of those artists that creates his compositions and plays with his definitive style. Gardens of Zion in the Rain are eleven tracks of contemporary new age instrumental or crossover classical. Anyone appreciating instrumental music would find joy and complete satisfaction in one listen. The term contemporary new age instrumental is interchangeable frequently with crossover classical. The crossover into the range of relaxation and the beauty of spiritualism is vital within the music.

Will Ackerman said, "Michael plays brilliantly, but his heart gives all of us a view into the human soul." How true that statement relates to what I was feeling and how the genre is strong on the spiritual end of the musical spectrum. It is accurate from my listening experiences how this music moves you. Michael's rhythmic and flowing playing is like a river running its course unencumbered and taking the twists and turns necessary to be flowing consistently and strongly at all times.

The album was produced by Ackerman and mastered by his leading man Tom Eaton, who Co-produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album. It has been one of the most effective combinations in recorded music for quite some time. The process these folks go through has made Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios an iconic site to visit to make their music a reality. The Executive producer was Michael Whalen, another great musician, composer, and producer of his music. I can see that this would be a dream team for any artist seeking to get the music out properly with the most refined sound possible. Their mission was accomplished.

Tracks like "This Is My Song - Frick's Field" and the rolling rhythm provided by Michael's talented fingers are one of many highlights in an album full of the amazing grace of this man's exceptional artistry on the piano. And the title track "Gardens of Zion in the Rain" radiates and electrifies a listener in all of its pure joy and shining light. It is so healing to listen to this music. Even though it could have many uses, such as meditation, just listening without a purpose is a beautiful experience as well.

If you can envision long or short walks in nature on a sunny or rainy day, then you can look at the cover art and understand what has inspired this artist to make such gorgeous music for us all to enjoy. If you appreciate the music you can fall into without words or any particular thought, then Gardens of Zion in the Rain is your one-way ticket to the bliss you may be seeking.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

March 6, 2022

Tracks:
01. Gloriana (3:26)
02. Brotherly Love (5:06)
03. This Is My Song - Frick's Field (5:09)
04. Penn's Woods (3:38)
05. Gardens Of Zion In The Rain (6:33)
06. Bella (3:51)
07. Adrian's Hat (2:29)
08. Jaxson's Creek (4:33)
09. Bees (3:34)
10. Time After Time (3:47) (Lauper/Hyman)
11. April Mourning (1:59)




New Age Meditation Review: SUKHA-Fire

Release Date:  February 22, 2022

Label:  ‎Super Symmetry Records

Website

 

Sukha (Sanskrit: सुख) means happiness, pleasure, ease, joy or bliss, in Sanskrit and Pali. So, when you kick off your shoes, take a deep breath and sit back in your favorite comfy quiet place, Fire will live up to the name of the artist meaning. The album is inspired by content and the mantras contained in the book by Deepak Chopra The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, A Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams.

The artist’s name SUKHA is from the husband-and-wife team of Nicole Sukhaman (vocals) and Steven Sukhaman (yogi/guitar).

I like how the tracks are translated to their English equivalent meaning. This kind of translation will help listeners make their interpretation of each selection. And that will provide a window the artist is attempting to open to reach whoever is listening.

Right from the start, I felt comfort when I heard the music of Steven and the voice of Nicole channeling their spirituality. I do not understand the language; however, I find it quite beautiful and relaxing and thoroughly understand the meditative value of this kind of artistry. Nicole's voice has a superb flow and gentleness that perfectly complements the music.

The one thing you need to get used it the repetition of the words, which is understandable because it's chanting and meant for focus in meditation. Those who understand reflection and the direction you need to attain will make sense. Everyone works at different levels of attainment, and this music will guide you regardless of where you are at in your practice.

Fire is a valuable tool and not meant for a casual listen like putting on your favorite record to get in a groove. The repetitiveness of the lyrics is not designed for casual listening. Admittedly, I am one of those listeners who does not have that kind of patience listening to any music that way. The reason for that is I am listening to write about it and not using it for what it was meant for. That makes total sense, and it allowed me to practice patience, which happens to be an asset to learning how to meditate.

The meaning and absolute beauty that this talented couple produced found instant gratification through my senses. Furthermore, if you intend to do some mediation practice, I highly recommend starting this Fire right away. It is an eternal flame of two souls working hard to lead you down a path of discovery and inner meaning that you will not find going through your daily lives and routines.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
February 21, 2022

Tracks:
1. OM BHAVAM NAMAH - Pure Potential
2. OM VARDHANAM NAMAH – Cosmic Momentum
3. OM KRIYAM NAMAH – Action and Reaction
4. OM DAKSHAM NAMAH – Efficiency and Flow
5. OM RITAM NAMAH – Truthful Intention
6. OM ANANDHAM NAMAH – Non-Attachment
7. OM VARUNAM NAMAH – Harmony


Contemporary Instrumental-New Age Review and Interview: Brian Hagen- Portraits

Release Date: February 16, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Brian Hagen's album Portraits mirrors life in his music through personal experience and harmonic chordal progressions. From lucid dreams to impressions, the solo piano work you will hear should be relatable to everyone somehow. The tree of lights on the cover gives you an idea of the motivation behind this project.

I find solo piano music to be very moving in many ways. This music aims to provoke thoughts and feelings from a listener by looking at each track title, processing it, then how it can relate to their own life experiences. At the same time, the music gently pushes you in the direction you need to go. It is all about taking the initial step of looking at the track's title then letting your feelings and thoughts develop as you listen. You thereby create your own private "Portrait."

Light can come into a person's life in many ways, physically by the warmth of the sun, through a spiritual awakening, the smile of a person passing you by on the street, the warmth of a loving hug by a sibling or partner. The list can go on, but the main point here is the light of life or the tree on the album cover demonstrate the wonder of life adorned with the energy that creates light.

The music on Portraits was all composed, arranged, and performed by Brian Hagen. This is his first album of all original solo piano work. Again, I enjoy hearing contemporary classically influenced instrumental music with the principle of the new age thought process as a solid foundation. It has been ongoing development of the genre. The intersection of music and a belief system, while not anything new, is both refreshing and energizing within presentations like this recording offers. This approach continues to grow and expand its reach into many areas of our life, including teaching, healing, music therapy, meditation, and simple relaxation.

The many thoughts of love come woven into the fabric of these tracks, such as "A Time For Love," "Forever Love" and "The Love We Had, The Love We Lost," and "You Are My Everything." Then as the album progresses, the different occurrences around the subject matter of love come to you via "Reunion" and "Starlight Dance."

The superb and tasteful piano playing throughout the album touches your heart and soul. You will often be ready to absorb the meaning of it all as presented. And this falls in line with the thoughts I shared previously. It all can be your group of Portraits. The simplicity and beauty of these meaningful tracks make for an experience you will want to relive many times. If you are a romantic of any sort, the music you will discover on this recording is perfect for going down that path. And then, with the final track, you will find "The Peace Within.
"

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

Tracks:
01. Iridescence 3:30
02. A Time For Love 4:26
03. Finding The Stillness 4:03
04. Garden Duet 4:16
05. You Are My Everything 3:09
06. Forever Love 3:56
07. Through It All 3:36
08. Regrets 4:30
09. The Love We Had, The Love We Lost 5:36
10. After The Rain 3:29
11. The Unforgiven 3:53
12. Homage 3:22
13. Reunion 3:35
14. Starlight Dance 3:33
15. The Peace Within 4:17




New Age Music Review and Interview: The Living Earth Show and Danny Clay-Music For Hard Times

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Label:  Earthy Records

Websites https://www.dclaymusic.com

https://tles.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-hard-times

This is the first time I have ever heard music referred to as “calming strategies.” It is an excellent way to look at what The Living Earth Show and Danny Clay present on their recently released Music For Hard Times.

The hard times we have endured going into the third year of a pandemic forces everyone to pivot and rethink everything. Things we took for granted, visiting with loved ones, going to a crowded mall, participating or going to a sporting event, or how we will work to secure income are some of the many aspects of daily life we did not have to ponder a few years ago. All of it is very complex. It seems like we live in a science fiction movie, but it’s all true.

I am one of the fortunate souls the did not get sick or lose my job. However, I remain cautious and think entirely differently, with more discipline. Lord knows there are enough things to approach with that mindset, and music removes all of those barriers. Music cannot get me sick or hurt me in any way. It is suitable for me regardless of when I decide to listen to it.

The music is composed in a book style with 15 parts with a contemporary chamber duo. And to encapsulate this recording, I would say it’s an effective combination of genres grounded in a new age foundation with ambient, electronic, and meditation elements. It is a very ambitious project with many moving parts and talents combined to make it a reality.

Important Information Direct From The Artist:
Recorded in isolation and compiled and edited by Clay, Music for Hard Times exists in two parts. Book 1 was recorded in April 2020 in the homes of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson of The Living Earth Show using instruments, voices, field recordings, and found objects. Book 2 was recorded in 2021 and includes young musicians from the San Francisco Girls Chorus – led by Valerie Sainte-Agathe – and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, led by Edwin Outwater.

As a listener who respects the music and appreciates what is involved in creating it, I would say that the presentation here is essential. Any theme is great to hear in good times or bad. The significant difference with a project like Music For Hard Times is how it can help heal any soul seeking some comfort from something other than a physical or inanimate. Music is about detaching from anything in our world that you can touch, taste, or feel. It is aural bliss with many different sounds and layers to accomplish the result, a listening experience that will make you feel better than when you started. And once it is complete, you will remember that it is a tool to get back into that space again.

NOTE: The interview provided is very organic and posted as is. We had tech issues and lost the call however we collectively decided to go with it as it was recorded.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 30, 2022 

Tracks:
01. Book 1 - Part 1
02. Book 1 - Part 2
03. Book 1 - Part 3
04. Book 1 - Part 4
05. Book 1 - Part 5
06. Book 1 - Part 6
07. Book 1 - Part 7
08. Book 1 - Part 8
09. Book 2 - Part 1
10. Book 2 - Part 2
11. Book 2 - Part 3
12. Book 2 - Part 4
13. Book 2 - Part 5
14. Book 2 - Part 6
15. Book 2 - Epilogue




Track Feature: HARGO -From The Rooftops

We all need inspiration and hope. And we most definitely need it now! Every day just a little positive energy coming from some source can help us all. HARGO delivers all of that energy and light on the track "From The Rooftops."

The track is a formulation of a new age foundation with elements of world and pop intermingled to satisfy any music lover.


Yes, it is simple as that. Music transcends all, creating unification of mind, body, and spirit with all living beings.


The bass is prominent, which drives the song along, and the sitar gives it that world feeling.

"From The Rooftops" is a track you will want to hear more than once; I can guarantee that. It is a global track for all walks of life to enjoy and celebrate!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

 

More About HARGO: https://hargomusic.com

Hargo Khalsa – aka Hargo – is a producer & singer/songwriter known for his mind expanding music, soul-centered message. His sound is as diverse as his background… raised a Sikh in a yoga Ashram bordering a Native American reservation in New Mexico.

His 2012 debut Out of Mankind was hailed by Billboard Magazine and American Songwriter as "mesmerizing", "anthemic" and "thinking-man's Rock", catching the attention of Beatles producer Phil Spector who dubbed him "a Young John Lennon" during their 2007 collaboration on Hargo song "Crying for John Lennon”. 
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Ambient Instrumental-New Age: Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell-Dark Measure

Release Date: December 10, 2021

Label:  Spotted Peccary

Website

Dark Measures is the release that follows the 2014 recording Vague Traces.

Getting the perspective from one half of Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell, Phillip reflects…"All my music comes from a meditative and contemplative place within awareness and presence," reflects Wilkerson. "I don't necessarily feel like I create music, but rather music is created through me by releasing my consciousness and willful direction of the music and just letting it flow through the channel of open awareness. Attempting to put the process into words feels like a disservice to how it actually happens."

So how does one put all of that introspection into each track on Dark Measures? I certainly have no clue; however, I can say that it is similar to my listening experiences. To put into my perspective as the intent listener is what I endeavor to do for a listening audience.

Ambient electronic music is fascinating to me. It is like watching an artist paint on a blank canvas then create a masterpiece of audible colors, textures, atmospheres, and above all, disposition and feelings. It is that very atmospheric mood that can set you at ease. And I would venture to call this project new age meditation music as well. It fits many molds from where I listen and observe. My viewpoint is all-encompassing as a listener. It offers many touch points that come and go with the progress of the tracks. The time slots range from 4:50 ("Faring Forward") to 10:54 ("Unopened Doors").

If you are looking for stimulation of a different kind, you may find it here. You need to know this is very relaxing and reflective music, so this stimulation end of the spectrum is passive. If you are further along the self-awareness and meditation path, you can seek this music out as a guide to get to your plane of existence, where you heal and find enlightenment. I found that place through this music with ease.

Some passages will peak your awareness and tickle your senses to invite new realizations. The result is always good when listening to the music, you will discover on Dark Measures. And don't let the word dark throw you off. The reference to dark shades is where the light may be. It is all upbeat spacey music that is good for the soul. Dark to light, light to dark, and shades of grey encompass this music from start to finish.
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 9, 2022

Tracks:
1. Unopened Doors        
2. Evening's Embrace        
3. Myriad Visions        
4. Deep Lane
5. Distant Vistas         
6. Unbroken Devotion         
7. Faring Forward


New Age Instrumental Reviews: Trine Opsahl-The Moon Stays Bright

Release Date: January 1, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Trine Opsahl is a pioneer of harp therapy in Denmark and works as a therapeutic harp player in two hospices, playing for the dying and their relatives. She is a Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner (CTHP), trained and certified within the International Harp Therapy Program (info from the artist website).

To truly appreciate the all-encompassing artistry of Ms. Opsahl I needed to share that information.

The new year will be ushered in with The Moon Stays Bright. The recording encompasses eleven tracks of solo harp music, with three accompanied by her daughter Josefine on cello (tracks 4,8,11). In 2018 I was introduced to Trine's music with Add Colours To My Sunset Sky.

I find the simplistic beauty of the harp to be the most attractive aspect. It draws me in very quickly and what I hear are the voices of angels. Trine's precise and gentle touch allows you, the listener, to relax and let your soul melt into the sounds. When Josefine joins in on the three tracks, the harp takes on a new meaning; the sound becomes multi-hued with all the definitions you would expect from string instruments.

Most listeners would find this music exceptionally accessible and, more importantly, healing. The exciting aspect of this listen is that the healing I speak of happens unknowingly. Without effort or thought in that direction, things happen inside the audio vibrations and various dimensions on offer.

Most interesting is the trilogy of "Moonscapes" I-III. The moon is significant to mother earth. Its gravitational pull affects the oceans' tides, our weather and brings light into the dead of night. It is like the offspring of the sun giving us the natural light we need. When a full moon rises, it affects people in different ways. This reference has a spiritual meaning, and it stays bright from the first to the last track.

Listen to The Moon Stays Bright, and you are bound to find that "Stars Lie Hidden In You." This is a prolific release that you should not miss. The Celtic Harp is a fantastic instrument and becomes magical instantly in the right hands. Trine Opsahl is one of those rare artists that come along once in a lifetime for a listener. Her music will leave an indelible imprint on your soul.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 1, 2022

Tracks:
01. The Moon Stays Bright
02. Moonscapes I
03. Do Not Simply Pass By Like A Dream
04. Rose Of The Eternal Spring (Duo)
05. Return Of The Light
06. Moonscapes II
07. Stars Lie Hidden In You
08. Do Not Simply Pass By Like A Dream (Duo)
09. I May Look Distant But I Am So Close
10. Moonscapes III
11. The Moon Stays Bright (Duo)


New Age World Review: Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej-Divine Tides

Release Date: July 16, 2021

Label:  ‎Ponderosa Music Records

Website: https://www.rickykej.com

https://www.stewartcopeland.net

 

This year, there was quite a buzz about Divine Tides from the Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej collaboration. Stewart is a renowned drummer with The Police and many other projects over the years. Ricky Kej has made his impressions in the new age realm with award winning releases. I was about to experience what all the excitement was about…

Divine Tides brings the color of humanity and all its cultures into the album covers artwork. It is one of the more imaginative, eye-catching works of art I have viewed this year.

The nine tracks encompassing this recording is a new age world montage with superb vocals from a range of talented individuals, including Rasika Shekar, Varijashree Venugopal, Sangeeta Kaur, Vidhi Sharma, Salim Merchant, and Charanraj MR. These are the lead vocalist on the tracks.
 
There are several other key contributors on backing vocals, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs on "A Prayer," which is a fantastic track. It is full of uplifting energy and color, much like the artwork depicted on the cover. I have to say, even though I could not understand the language they were singing in, I found it very enjoyable and spiritually moving. The entire album is a masterpiece of new age world, and I would expect it to win a Grammy in the new age or world category for 2021. I have heard some incredible music this year that would be difficult to displace on my top 10 for the year in the new age genre; however, I have to say this one just moved into the #1 spot for me.

The previously mentioned attributes, such as the artwork, is the first aspect then from there are the superb arrangements from Ricky Kej and the incredible percussive elements from Stewart Copeland. Stewart mentioned that he harnessed his aggressive drum playing into a gentle beauty. That was quite a transition for him, and I can imagine a life-changing experience.

The production of each track is outstanding; it is bright, flows well, and gets your attention from start to finish. The musicianship is unparalleled. The CD comes housed in a tri-fold cardboard case with a booklet in the adjacent sleeve to the clear CD tray, which has a picture of the percussion instruments with a kaleidoscope of color emerging from it. That description would express all the music and artwork in this package and how it intersects into a beautiful work of all-encompassing art.

Here is the message from Kej regarding the title: ONE WITH SELF, ONE WITH TIME, ONE WITH OUR PLANET. Is that the reason we are all here? Is it to become one, merge with our fellow humans, and find peace and harmony for all? Imagine a world with no wars, no starvation, or diseases?

It could happen if we listen to these enlightened artists and follow the music to realize a new reality; we all can have it.

The Divine Tides of nature, the planet, humanity, and the innate goodness within our hearts will help us find our way back to oneness. Together with all the elements around us, we can positively influence life now and in the future. This music is awe-inspiring, and it delivers the truth and spirit of us all directly to our ears and then to our souls. Listen to Divine Tides, and I am confident you will agree.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
December 15, 2021

 Tracks:
1. Wonders Of Life
2. Himalayas
3. Our Home
4. Art Of Devotion
5. Pastoral India
6. I Am Change (2021 Remastered)
7. A Prayer
8. Gandhi
9. Mother Earth