Showing posts with label Michele McLaughlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michele McLaughlin. Show all posts

Contemporary Instrumental-New Age Review: Michele McLaughlin- Sketches

Release Date: December 4, 2020

Label: Independent

Website

Michele McLaughlin just released her latest studio album Sketches just a few days ago. These are musical sketches created on a blank canvas and improvised on the first take. That sounds like it was quite a challenge however I believe this talented lady would be ready for a challenge. One listen will advise you that she was.

Michele Commented: Several of the songs were completely improvised during the recording process for this album and several were inspired by my “Monday Morning Improvisations.”

I had previously enjoyed the last three releases from Michele and would anticipate nothing but excellence. To anticipate with music at times can end in disappointment but I must stress that has never happened with this artist. Michele is smooth, precise, and she articulates her compositions clearly and crisply which can easily reach a listener.

“One Life” caught me with just the name and then the music was absolutely beautiful and fitting. It filled me with gratitude for the life I have. It also made me ponder the possibilities of having more than one opportunity to have a physical presence here on earth. Possibilities, I love that word and what it means. Michele uses her imagination and digs down deep into her soul to create this spontaneous group of tracks she calls Sketches. Look at the many colors of the piano keys on the cover of the album and it gives you some insight into what she is presenting for her listening audience.

I am taken with the simplicity and clarity of all the tracks on Sketches. The emotion for instance on “The Right Choice,” is remarkably real and touching. Michele is so gifted to be able to release such an amazing recording, and the way it was done makes it that much more incredible. My appreciation for true art runs deep and this is something that moved me for all of the reasons I have mentioned.

I could never properly express in enough words the impact of such a recording as this. It humbles me and reminds me that what I do is my way of giving back to all the artists that share their talents and incredible music with us. I am one voice of hundreds that likely feel the same way about this music.

There is joy, beauty, and sadness that are all tied into this music. The human condition is no stranger to the accompaniment of music, it has gone on for centuries. There has to be something conveyed to a relatable audience. I know that this is more difficult when you are listening to music without words. If the music has enough power and emotion then any barriers will come down and the need for lyrics melts away as you, the listener, melt into every track, becoming one with the artist and the sounds being created.

The majesty of a track like “Lost,” cannot be understated. The piano says come listen to me now! This is how music paints a picture for you with a memorable impact.

The musical Sketches created by the artist then in your mind will come to life in seconds. This is a masterful display of musical virtuosity and undeniable talent. Michele McLaughlin reaches for the stars on this group of tracks and now you can find your star by just listening. She is indeed “Unshakeable” and always has been.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews
December 8, 2020


Instrumental Piano Review: Michele McLaughlin- Memoirs

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Label: Independent

Memoirs will be the fourth album I have had the opportunity to enjoy by pianist Michele McLaughlin. Her reputation in the music community is a stellar one and with the latest release, that kind of positive support and feedback will continue to grow.

The first track is a powerful musical statement. Michele works hard to relay a message to her listeners on “Thankful” You can actually feel the word expressed in the music. Without the human voice to express itself, there are many other ways to do so, particularly through the arts that are visual and audible. 

Talented piano players like Michele take a blank canvas and let their emotions and spirits flow through the ivory keys. I am continually amazed at how beautiful and meaningful this instrumental music can be. Michele is one of those players that gets your attention and holds it with a variety of tempos and rhythms.

One of the more breathtaking tracks in “Northern Lights.” Her playing is exemplary. The pace at which she hits the keys is incredibly fast then within the blink of an eye she changes the entire track into a softer melodious passage then it closes out with an attention-getting deep bass tone. To really appreciate such complex piano playing you have to pay attention to all the layers of music being created and the varying tempos that allow it to change so fast. The transitions Michele makes in her music can be quite a display of technical and innate sense of musicality.

So once again, the brilliance of Michele McLaughlin comes shining through her music with energy, poignancy, grace, and beauty. At times all of those elements are combined to give you a wall of sound that is difficult to imagine with one piano. She does it all with tastefulness and precision on Memoirs.

Memoirs is another triumph for Michele McLaughlin and she has set the bar another notch higher for her contemporaries.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 20, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Thankful
02. Pure Joy
03. Dark Moon
04. Triumph
05. Little Love
06. My Life with You
07. Beneath the Surface
08. Alone
09. Winter
10. Northern Lights
11. Peace
12. Dismissed


Instrumental Holiday Review: Michele McLaughlin-Christmas Plain and Simple III

Release Date: November 24, 2017
Label: Independent
Having the opportunity to cover an artist like Michele McLaughlin is always an absolute joy. Her artistry without words via the piano can be an uplifting experience.

Especially for the Holidays we now have Christmas Plain and Simple III. The timing of its release around Thanksgiving was perfect. That is when most folks start looking towards Christmas, going to stores, sending cards and whatever else is their yearly traditions.


Some people struggle with their emotions this time of year. I being one of those people, can certainly appreciate anything original and from the heart. That is exactly what you get when you listen to the tracks on this recording. There is nothing commercial about it and someone on a screen is not trying to sell you something. Yes, there is sweet relief available, just kick back and listen.

The good thing about this collection of songs is the fact that you can recognize them if you happen to have any familiarity with classic Holiday songs. I cannot assume everyone does however a majority of folks that celebrate Christmas sure will. It was nice to hear these songs get new life breathed into them. They all shine like a Christmas tree at night. The shining beacon at the top of that tree in this instance is Michele.

Michele’s effortless flowing fingers lead you down a path of renewal and optimism. Her playing is so fluid and precise. I could not help but feel I was walking down a path of evergreens and watching my breath blow into the cold winter night. The difference here is I am not cold at all, I warm and toasty all over thanks to this beautiful music.

Thank you for lifting my spirits to higher ground Michele. I look forward to volume four next year. As the years continue to pass by quicker as I get older, I realize more and more just how precious life is and how blessed I am. Music like this brings me closer to my maker and remind me from whence I came. I am humbled and appreciative of this blessing of music once again this year.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
December 13, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
02. Good King Wenceslas
03. What Child Is This?
04. The Holly and the Ivy
05  In the Bleak Midwinter
06. Sing We Now of Christmas
07. Jingle Bells
08. Up on the Housetop
09. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
10. Christmas Canon
11. O Come All Ye Faithful
12. Peace

 



Instrumental Solo Piano Review: Michele McLaughlin-Life

Release Date: February 10, 2017
Label: Michele McLaughlin Music

Michele McLaughlin has been releasing recorded music for 17 years now. Each successive album has reinforced the belief that she is one of the most accomplished solo pianist in world.  The topic of discussion is her latest recording Life. The album is due on February 10, 2017.

Prior to this review we got a sneak peak of what was in store on the Rate The Tracks site streaming  “At Home.” Now it’s time to take a look at the entire offering Life.

Although we put music into a several different classifications and genres, there is some music the defies that thought process. Michele’s music is along those lines. With a combination of new age and classical she lets her fingers glide over the keys with ease. What she produces is significant and stunning. She weaves melodies and progressions of the keyboard like a magician casting a magic spell.

Life is simplistic yet far reaching, crossing over preconceived ideas of what category to put it in. It is contemporary and listenable at any time of day or night. Its ability to reach a listener regardless of tastes is the beauty and perfection of it. I am sure the intent of the artist is to reach a receptive audience and one that allows barriers to disappear knowing the enjoyment and relaxation that awaits.

The therapeutic value of music like this goes beyond just listening. Its straight forward clean production values featuring one instrument, allow a listener or potential listeners, an opportunity to get centered and focus.

The title track is without a doubt, for my ears, the most prolific composition. “Life” does have a certain flow to it- like a raging river, a clear running stream or stagnant pond. Life has its moments and time periods where things are moving at a rapid rate, evolving, changing or slowing down or staying the same. So, the parallel is drawn in the music presented here. Ms. McLaughlin’s soul is mirrored in the music and a listener can view their own truth by listening to it and looking inside. Music is the one thing that has the power to do that for us, it is a gift.

Human Life is complex however everything seems to get more simplified when you hear music like this. I appreciate the artist and the music showing us the way, providing an outlet that brings only peace and joy. I would suggest giving this recording a good listen, your Life will be better because of it.

4.5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 28, 2017

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:
01. The Gift
02. The Storm
03.At Home
04. Life
05. Belonging
06. A Deeper Understanding
07. Drifting Through a Dream
08. Heartbroken
09. Stronger
10. Precious Memories
11. Crossroads
12. Guilty Pleasures
13. Give It Time


New Age Music Review: Michele McLaughlin-Undercurrent

Release Date: February 24, 2015
Label: Indie

If you have not heard of Michele McLaughlin yet you must be living under a rock. You get a one-time excuse if you are not a fan of new age instrumental music. 
  
Undercurrent is her 15th proper recording. That is an amazing body of work in a fairly short period of time. And she did it all in approximately 15 years. 

This is instrumental music that moves you. Emotion and a sense of spirituality breaks through as if it were delivered on the wings of an angel. If you say the title Undercurrent out loud or to yourself you understand what it all means once you are immersed in this gorgeous piano music. Underneath every note in every track is a feeling, emotion, pain, joy, despair – quintessentially the undercurrents that run our life and motivate us to make decisions, live and love. The title says all of that when you make yourself an open book…the pages will turn and you will understand.

One of the more meaningful songs for the artist is “The Space Between.” It is about Michele moving 10 miles away from her sister after living right next door. That family bond and the special relationship one can have with a sibling is explored. 10 miles may not seem like a long way but when you are close to a family member it can feel like an ocean separates you. I understand the emotional pain involved and could feel how real that sadness was in Michele’s piano playing. The fact that the music is so beautiful does allow some consolation for the listener and hopefully a purging and healing process for the creator.

 
“Starstuff” is elegant and universal. Star dust we are indeed. I enjoyed the melody in this track, it is purposeful like letting go and allowing your spirit to soar and explore the universe. It is a perfect example of how music without words can hold so many meanings for each listener. Let it take you away, breath deep and transcend all that may be holding you back. I felt inspired and a few chills came over me while listening.

Speaking of inspiration, “Never Give Up” personifies that message. Michele receives emails from folks that may be going through a tough period and they say that her music heals and helps them to carry on and recover. I can say with complete certainty that is a fact. I felt renewed and hopeful after listening to this music; it brought me to another place. For this listener that is the primary purpose of music and if that is accomplished then it was a success.

Undercurrent is a standalone work of art that can be especially appreciated by anyone that understands the effort that goes into the creative process, whether it be a piece of music, a painting, or music that paints its own scenery like this fine album so gracefully does consistently throughout. It is a perfect group of songs with just the piano and Michele McLaughlin and I could not imagine hearing it any other way.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: The Space Between, Never Give Up, Starstuff

Tracks:
01. 11,000 Miles
02. Living in Awe
03. Changing Skies
04. Full of Love
05. The Space Between
06. Undercurrent
07. Starstuff
08. Never Give Up
09. Evolution
10. On My Own
11. Melody In Motion
12. Stepping Stones
13. Synesthesia

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
February 12, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews