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

Featured Track: Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer-A Journey of Dreams

Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer are an excellent musical team. They have partnered with each other on many recordings over the years.

“A Journey of Dreams” is their latest track release.

The Native American Anasazi Flute and slide guitar provided by Paul and Elizabeth’s keyboards and vocalizations are a superb marriage of sound.

The title and artwork are engaging and give you a good idea of the journey you are about to partake. The music is suitable for relaxing and meditating, and if you choose to do some dreaming during the day or evening, it is perfect for that as well. And that is the point of this music.

The flute is so beautiful with its earthy tones, and the slide guitar calls out to you with purpose and emotion. The mix is clear and crisp and sounds great even with small speakers connected to your laptop. That says it all regarding quality and getting the message of the music over to the listener.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

December 7, 2023

More About Paul and Elizabeth


New Age Holiday Instrumental Review: Paul Avgerinos-Shanti Noel

Release Date: November 17, 2023

Label: Round Sky Music


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Paul Avgerinos released his interpretation of classic holiday songs on his new recording Shanti Noel. The word “shanti” means a profound level of peace.

I have covered Paul’s work in the past and found it enjoyable as it benefited my well-being. I felt compelled to hear these different versions of holiday tracks, as I always look for something new and refreshing. I found what I was seeking on Shanti Noel.

The created music contains many sounds you will find in new-age ambient. One of the other essential factors is the heavenly wordless vocals. While typically relaxing and meditative, the layers of sound retain their appeal and the originality of the tracks as you would expect to hear them every year during the holiday season. 


If anything, they become enhanced with new energy and focus. You will recognize all this from the commencement of the opening track, “O Holy Night,” to the closer, “There Is No Rose of Such Virtue.” However, I must say that the entire recording entranced me. The most unique track was “Christmas Caravan” for my ears.


Shanti Noel will pull you in and immerse you in light and beauty. Only then will the true meaning of Christmas be recognized by your soul. Those who give the gift of music have talents that some of us cannot comprehend. I like to accept the gift of this music as something spiritual and divine. That is the message I received from Paul Avgerinos on Shanti Noel. Open your hearts and minds to this music; you will realize the reward with the grace and spirituality you deserve.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

November 26, 2023


01. O Holy Night 4:47

02. Silent Night 4:25

03. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 4:44

04. We Three Kings 4:21

05. Christmas Caravan 5:06

06. Snowfalls 4:47

07. Angels We Have Heard On High 10:42

08. In The Bleak Midwinter 7:18

O9. Come Emmanuel 5:01

10. Shanti Noel 7:54

11. Coventry Carol 2:56

12. Carol of Love 5:26

13. What Child Is This 9:38

14. There Is No Rose of Such Virtue 4:17

Instrumental World New Age Review: Russ Jones- At The Edge of Space

Release Date: November 17, 2023

Label: Independent


Russ Jones is a self-taught flutist. He started his journey in 2011. Jones' flute collection includes historical Native American Flutes, including the Shakuhachi and the Kaval.

At The Edge of Space is the recently released recording featuring 12 tracks. 


The music presented is atmospheric, ambient, and, at times, drone-like, which I picked up on with the title track. All of it is instrumental World-New Age. One of the most moving features of Ross's music is the ability to get an echoing effect, which then makes it sound like more than one person is playing. 


On "Reaching For You," parts of the track sound like a bird calling out to the flock. It aligns well with the typical earth tones and connection with nature that the Native American Flute has. It is, for me, the essence of the flute's sound and purpose. 


This music's emphasis is to provide tremendous relaxation and a meditative effect. The utilization of the flute reaches its highest total capacity by Russ. It allows a listener to disengage from their current space and or state of mind. That allows a complete detachment of one's surroundings on the physical plane. You then are offered total focus on what you hear and become very aware of where it can take you. That is a powerful and healing exercise from my point of view and how it worked for me.


I understand that everyone is an individual with different needs; however, if you give this collection of tracks an opportunity, it can and will change you in some way. I know meditation takes time and practice. Indeed, what is most impressive is that this artist taught himself to play an ancient and sacred instrument. 


The music on At The Edge of Space has a definite hypnotic, decisive effect. Music is primarily a valuable tool for giving me time to heal the mind, body, and spirit. And that is the quintessential nourishment we all need at times. Accessing it regularly would be a good idea.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

November 19, 2023


01. At The Edge Of Space 3:14

02. Reaching For You 3:45

03. On The Plains with Bigbow 3:05

04. Perfect Stars 2:50

05. Cullys Universe 3:06

06. Rolling Thru 3:30

07. Love of my Heart 3:11

08. Grains Of Sand 3:52

09. Airstreams 5:13

10. In Another Time 3:32

11. Particiles 2:38

12. Firecrow Memories 2:29

Featured Track: Contemporary Instrumental -Terry Lee Nichols-Finding Annie

Terry Lee Nichols is known for his contributions to the new age and contemporary instrumental world. The latest track released is “Finding Annie.”

The track is a beautiful contemporary instrumental with its roots in classical music. Terry's piano playing reflects that in the most eloquent way.

If you note on the cover in smaller text, it reads, “Love is coming in 2024.” It is a precursor to a full-length project available after we usher in the new year.

If “Finding Annie” indicates what is to come, then instrumental music enthusiasts will have something to look forward to. I know I will, and I always enjoy the music that Terry releases. His excellence and years of experience always set high expectations of what will come next.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

November 9, 2023

You sometimes read the phrase "he/she was born to it" when describing how a person came by their particular calling. Such is the case with Terry Lee Nichols. By the time he was four, he had already decided that composing and performing music was his true life's goal (discovered while playing popular tunes on his grandmother's piano) …READ MORE…



New Age-World Instrumental Review: Ann Licater-Between The Stars

Release Date: October 27, 2023

Label:  Cul de Sac Mystic Productions


Ann Licater just released her new recording, Between The Stars

Her love of wood and clay flutes led her to study with master Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai. The time spent with the master shows how it has reached fruition on her previous and this new release.


I reviewed the 2016 release Beyond The Waves and gave it 5/5 stars. Seven years have passed since, and now I can enjoy the beauty and divine existence of the many flute sounds created.

Ann plays 11 flutes, including Ocarina, Native American, Native American-Style, Mayan-style Drone, folk, silver C- flute, and silver alto. In addition to playing flutes, Ann performs grand piano on Track 5, "Luminous Waters," Track 10, "Moon Garden," and singing bowls on Track 8, "Distant Realm." This multi-talented artist has a lot to share. 


Her flute sometimes sounds like a bird calling to the wind on the "Divine Skies," the opening track, and most distinctly on "Sunbirds." The connection the flute sounds emanate to the earth and its living beings and creatures is undeniable. I felt the impact of that while listening. 


This music came to me at the right time. I recently lost my day job, and as many people know, that can be a very stressful experience and a blow to your confidence and self-worth. Beautiful and engaging music speaks to my soul, my inner voice that knows the truth of who I am. My job is part of who I am. It doesn't make up the entirety of me. This music is soothing and spiritual; it grounds me and puts me in a healing space.


A crucial factor is how the tracks were presented regarding time, which makes it a success. Each one is perfect. Ann blends her flutes nicely without taking things past the point of disengaging the listener. Throughout the listen, it had my attention, and before I knew it, the next track started.  


While listening to "Shades of Stillness," you can hear Ann taking her breaths, which I noticed more in that track than in the previous ones. Our breathing is essential, and when we need to settle down and focus or destress, we can do breathing exercises. That is something I do, and it has helped me. The type of breathing accomplished while playing all the flutes is entirely different and more complex. That makes me realize how much work is involved in recording these fantastic tracks. It takes devotion and love to accomplish a recording like Between The Stars.


I would love to be in a room with surround sound and hear this music on vinyl. However, it is incredible as it is. The format of vinyl would amplify the experience and immerse you most beautifully. I hope to see these types of artists start moving towards releasing their music on vinyl soon, but until then, I still can enjoy it and realize the meaning of it and how it can affect me in such a prolific way. It is one of the most natural stress-relief valves we have available. You can not only reach for the stars but find yourself Between The Stars.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder


01. Divine Skies 3:09

02. Ancient Traveler 3:10

03. Between the Stars 3:17

04. Sunbirds 2:15

05. Luminous Waters 4:51

06. Dream Passages 3:43

07. Shades of Stillness 3:13

08. Distant Realm 3:11

09. Angelic Echoes 2:50

10. Moon Garden 3:34

11. Whispering Light 2:37

12. Timeless Voices 3:28

13. Circling Star 2:18

14. Starlight Lullaby 3:41

Featured Track: Rebecca Harrold-Chorean

Pianist Rebecca Harrold's new single "Chorean" supports her The Tree of Life album. It is also her tribute to the legendary pianist Chick Corea, who inspired many musicians during his long career. Since his passing, many folks continue to recognize the impact he had.

The rhythmic piano playing is superb. Rebecca's abilities are tremendous, as it sounds like she is playing two tracks at once. The composition continues to grow and change in complexity as it moves along, entrancing the listener.


The combination of jazz and classical elements merge for 2:38 minutes of blissful instrumental piano music. The music the artist fits into under 3 minutes is remarkable and a tribute to her talent with her instrument and the love for the man that inspired the track.


You will be compelled to listen to The Tree of Life after listening to the track.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

October 12, 2023

Check out Rebecca’s Discography here

Instrumental Ambient Review: Frore-Biome

Release Date: April 21st, 2023

Label: Spotted Peccary Music


Frore is the ambient music project of Paul Casper. His first solo project for Spotted Peccary Music was Biome, released in April this year. The principle of this project is fundamentally sound and essential to us all.

biome is a biogeographical unit consisting of a biological community formed in response to the physical environment in which they are found and a shared regional climate. Biomes may span more than one continent. Biome is a broader term than habitat and can comprise a variety of habitats.


How does that explanation relate to the music? Take one look at the track title as a starting point. But where do you go from there in putting the pieces together of what this artist is trying to do with his music?


The sounds produced are ambient, always in motion, and you can hear the growth as the tracks move along. This is like what happens in nature: the process is constantly in motion. You can see the growth of plants in your garden or watch the development of a sapling into a beautiful, strong tree with roots deep into the soil where it connects with other elements of nature and communicates with other trees (yes, that is true). 


To look at another side of the music, for instance, "Trapped in Amber." It sounds organized and progressively industrial-like progress made in the name of money. In other words, we are all somehow trapped in the economy's machinations. Or "Trapped in Amber" with no way out like a prehistoric bug. That was my read on that; however, that may not necessarily be the point of the track. Everyone hears things differently. 


There are many layers of sounds included in Biome. Some of it is very rhythmic and repetitive, which sets the table for other layers of sound to enter the mix. This isn't meditative but focuses on listening for essential enjoyment or contemplation. It would help if you also had a certain mood or mindset to appreciate this music. Again, that is my perspective and may not be someone else's. Its computer-generated sounds would be a perfect soundtrack to a science fiction movie. It has that futuristic feeling and atmosphere to it all.


With ambient music, it is either something you like or need to acquire a taste and appreciation for. I value the time and effort that goes into creating this kind of music. The artist combines it all, becomes one with the instruments and equipment, and has proven to have mastered that. I anticipate another exciting release with the artist harnessing his knowledge and talent to create something entirely different. That is the beauty of electronic music and all it has to offer.


I recommend Biome for those who enjoy the music of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and similar artists that set a specific mood and listening experience; you need the right mindset to enjoy it. 


Biome features lengthy tracks, the longest clocking in at 13:50 (Mycelium Dreams) and 8:59 the shortest (Algae Bloom). So, prepare for an immersive listening experience to melt into your easy chair.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

October 2, 2023


1. Algae Bloom 8:59

2. Trapped in Amber 9:48

3. Protozoa 9:46

4. Fern Cluster 8:11

5. Luminous and Tangled 9:13

6. Mycelium Dreams 13:50

Acoustic Instrumental/New Age Review: Carlos Dengler - Private Earth

Release Date: June 2, 2023

Label: Independent


Carlos Dengler's Private Earth is your seat to appreciating our planet and all its wonders. Carlos has personally tapped into the transformative powers of music, and you will realize that within minutes once you listen.

"Violet Night" enters most beautifully and gently after the introduction of "Desert Flora" to set the mood and proper thought process for what this is all about. The acoustic guitar, flute, and keyboards mold into your private magic carpet ride around the beauty of Mother Earth. The music seeks to take you into the place where we all should be, in total respect and awe of our planet. It is an impactful way to catch the listener's ear and maintain interest. It's like heaven in your backyard with a precise, crisp recording mix and birds chirping happily. Just wait there is more.


Each track is an extensive and immersive experience of nature that is ours to enjoy. This music prompts awareness and appreciation differently than you may be accustomed to. The shortest track is "Rising Mountain" at 7:02, and the longest is "Ancient Lake" at 9:31. The artist ensures the experience is long enough on each track to leave a mark on your consciousness and perhaps a different way of thinking about our environment.


When "Golden Dawn" begins to play, you can feel the atmosphere and ambiance of the music sweeping you away. The acoustic guitar has a nice rhythm and consistency; all the other elements combine to build the song into something you will remember. The music is transient and prolific in that you begin to think about the cycles of nature, the seasons, and all the beauty it beholds for us. Every living thing is here for a reason and purpose, and we quickly forget that going about our daily lives. Music on this track puts things into a different perspective and sheds light on the truth of who we are and the importance of our connection to our planet. From the earth, we originated, and from the land, we shall return. 


I am only two tracks in, and I am thinking about all of these points and facts about our humanity and the inhumanity of our lives on this planet. We are destroying the earth for progress and the almighty dollar. We should have a universal wake-up call before it's too late. 


Think for a moment about the title "Ancient Lake" and how long it has been in existence and all the creatures and vegetation and insects that have kept it alive, not to mention the people that may have used it for survival for water, a source for food and many other things. The strong connection between that source of nature and all the living things that depended upon it is sacred. Native Americans lived by it, respecting all the earth and its creatures and what they provided. While the music plays, I am in a mode of reflection on all of this and enjoying taking in all the beautiful sounds Carlos has produced to initiate all those thoughts. The gentleness of the piano, guitar, and ambient sounds intermingle, bringing a rainforest of sound to your senses. It is refreshing and spiritual. 


Many people understand the delicate balance of the rainforest, which is another way to look at the big picture. The sound of water hitting the shoreline at the end of the track is the final element that hits home and cements those thoughts in your mind.


"Solemn Cavern" and "Rising Mountain" continue the path of reflection to engage the listener and to give reason for thought and consideration. As with previous tracks, the music gently invites you into that mindset. 


Soft, beautiful, and inviting, Carlos Dengler gives you your Private Earth. You can use the music to reflect and think about the message, meditate, or both. Whatever you seek, the music will allow you to go there if you can give pause to your life and absorb all the sounds. I felt moved by the music in many ways and expressed that to interested listeners and those concerned about the life of our planet and all its inhabitants. It's time to listen and receive the message. 


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 29, 2023


1.  Desert Flora 

2.  Violet Night

3.  Golden Dawn

4.  Ancient Lake

5.  Solemn Cavern

6.  Rising Mountain

Contemporary Instrumental Review: David J. Pena-Zero Gravity

Release Date: October 6, 2023

Label: Independent


David J. Pena is one of the more productive piano artists, releasing music regularly and adding to the growing archive. I cannot imagine how it must feel to create music that will leave a legacy for lifetimes. What a blessing.

Zero Gravity is due on October 6th. 


The first track and title, “Zero Gravity,” put the vastness of the universe into the eyes of the astronaut floating above Earth. The piano playing and orchestration are heavenly, and it has a floating light-than-air feel, setting the perfect tone to make it as accurate as possible. It was an excellent way to start the recording. I like it when an artist chooses the title track to lead off; it makes sense.


Everyone has dreams. It is up to every individual to seek those things they desire. Sitting around waiting for something to happen never served anyone well. The piano playing is beautiful and engaging while orchestrations reach a peak; David knows how to create the peaks and valleys of our emotions where “Dreams We Shared” are born and sometimes dashed or forgotten. The rule of karma is you get back what you put into life, good, bad, or indifferent. 


This is the “Hour Glass” of life we all must come to terms with. We are going from the top in little grains of sand to the bottom, where our presence here in the physical form ends. The finality of that can be daunting, not knowing what happens until you get there. I think we have some ideas based on stories of people dying and then coming back. Is it different for everyone based on what they did while they were here? Will be “Forgiven” for any wrongs and enter the next life seamlessly? I think our consciousness leaves our bodies and enters a collective consciousness known to many as the spirit world or ether at Zero Gravity, where our friends and family have left and are “Awaiting Your Return.” You can only “Daydream” until you arrive.


“Will You Dance” are steps created by the keys of a piano, subtly and elegantly, as only David can present it. As with the previous tracks, the finishing touches are the orchestrations accompanying him. Is this the dance of life, or a serenade from one to another sending an invitation to join in their dance? It is the dance the listener hears and sees forming in their mind as the song plays through. It is warm, and it touched my heart.


“Renewed” or renewal is a significant word in English. Does the music you hear energize you, or does it cause time to reflect or to come up with an answer to a question that can only be solved by looking within? Beautiful piano-based music with moving orchestrations can initiate many things for a listener. In the end, will you feel renewed in some way? I would answer that with a resounding yes, but that is for me; what will it be for you? Listen and find out.


“Childhood Memories” are so sweet and unforgettable. I felt sadness while listening to this track. Life is so fleeting, and although my childhood was long ago, I will always hold certain aspects dear to my heart. That is why I will never let go of those times and feelings. We cannot make the past come back, but we can relive parts of it, the stories that never grow old and stored in our hearts and minds. This piece was so moving for me; it did bring a tear to my eye. I, at times, long for the simple life I once had. It served as a gentle reminder of the importance of things in the past.


Those are some of my favorite tracks. Of course, there is more to be listened to and explored. And it would be best to let go of the day and all the thoughts running through your mind; finding that way is through music like David Pena can offer you Zero Gravity.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 11, 2023

01. Zero Gravity 
02. Hour Glass 
03. Dreams We Shared 
04. Will You Dance 
05. Renewed 06. 
Childhood Memories 
07. Forgiven 
08. Jeannette 
09. Daydream 
10. Awaiting Your Return

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Love Walks Through Rain

Release Date:  June 11, 2023

Label: Orange Band Records


Ann Sweeten has an extensive discography to share with music lovers. Love Walks Through Rain has assured a place amongst one of her favorite recordings. She shares her music on a magnificent Steinway piano with exceptional grace and precision. Ann returned to Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios to record her ninth proper album—as would be expected, the recording production values are beyond reproach.

The title would imply that true love can withstand life when rain comes our way. When we are in a storm, the one person we know that can be counted on is the one we love or, if we are fortunate, all those we love. In Ann’s life, she has conquered cancer twice and is currently battling leukemia. That says much about her resiliency and ability to let love help her walk through the rain. Her music is beautifully composed and performed with flawless melodies.

In addition, the timeless beauty that her piano gives a listener with each track, there are brilliant guest appearances included such as Charlie Bisharat (Violin), Eugene Friesen (Cello), Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Premik Russell-Tubbs (EWI, Soprano Saxophone), Will Ackerman (Guitar) and Tom Eaton (Bass).

Her soul's emotional depth and impact in the music is felt strongly. Take “The Winter’s Circle,” for instance; her piano calls out to you like it is singing with the angels from heaven. The additional instruments, such as the violin and cello, are the perfect companions to emphasize the delicate touch of her fingers on the piano's keys. It is an ode to strong faith and unyielding spirituality that the artist feels and how it is transformed and envisioned for the listener to receive. The impact is unquestionable.

You will notice some changes in the mood and pace with a track likeRed – Requiem for an Old Friend.”  There is some melancholy with a requiem; however, you can also hear the triumph and hope in the song. The track runs for 5:58, which is the longest on the album, thus giving it space for several changes in pace and depth. I did appreciate the different feelings I went through, and that was the point of the track. One goes through several emotions when losing a loved one or friend, so the natural flow of the music and its changes was like an emotional mirror for the creator and could serve in the same way for anyone. The power of great music and piano-based instrumentals like those presented on Love Walks Through Rain will show you how that works so well.

Every track on Love Walks Through Rain will allow the listener to use it for healing, grieving, happiness, and sadness. The range of the human condition is far-reaching, and everyone should stop and listen to any instrumental music that can touch upon all that complexity.

Ann Sweeten has created another masterwork of piano instrumentals that will leave an indelible mark on you. You will be compelled to listen to it more than once; I can guarantee you that. With everything to gain and nothing to lose now, why wouldn’t you listen to Love Walks Through Rain?

I cannot tell anyone what they feel or how the music will be interpreted. I can promise that the pure emotion of Ann Sweeten’s instrumentals will touch you somehow. I know how it affects me, and I do my best to describe that in my own words. I hope that each listener will find peace and healing in this music. I most certainly did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- NAMR Founder

September 26, 2023


01. Valley Greene 4:22

02. Glimmer 5:21

03. Seirios 4:08

04. The Winter’s Circle 5:33

05. Love Walks Through Rain 4:54

06. Red – Requiem for an Old Friend 5:58

07. The Hills of Riversong 5:32

08. The Shadow of You 4:38

09. Through Jasmine’s Eyes 5:12

10. Out of the Fog 4:42

11. Valley Greene Orchestral Reprise 4:26

Acoustic Instrumental New Age Review: Shambhu-Acoustic Oasis

Release Date: October 6, 2023

Label: Sacred Love Music


Shambhu’s Acoustic Oasis is produced, composed, arranged, and performed by Shambhu on acoustic guitars, bass, and keyboard. Mixed and mastered in Dolby Atmos sound, it will be a treat for the ears.


Shambhu Commented: These are short songs recorded over a weekend that embody heart and hope, songs we can turn to for calm and focus when needed.


Based on his words, you count on a beautiful and relaxing listen. My experience over the years has always been pleasing to the senses, which is what I would have expected from this new release.


“Lumina” starts the recording off, and it’s very serene and rhythmic with the acoustic guitar. I wondered what would happen next since that is the featured instrument throughout this recording.


“Lazy Afternoon” is very descriptive as the artist pauses between notes and continues gracefully and elegantly. His playing is fluid and purposeful by design.


“Shades of Light” has some fast picking on the outskirts of flamenco at times. His shades vary within the track; it has a pleasant feeling of comfort and happiness.


Pathway” has a very soft keyboard for the guitar’s notes to float on. It creates a pleasurable ambiance.


“Sunscape” sounds like the brightness and energy of the sun, mainly when it is coming up in the morning while the morning dew awaits its rays to dry out the grass and flowers. Being one of the longer tracks makes it even more eventful.


“Inner Light” is something we all have. And at times, we need some help to make it shine through the complexities of the day. It invites you in and lets it happen with a smile.

A “Winding Road” can be extended; by coincidence, this is the longest track at 4:33. Some very soft keys come in for background support. His playing is excellent, with depth, rhythm, and precision. It is picturesque, with the strumming and picking intersecting. It does create the road winding in your mind’s eye.


“Afternoon Rye” follows the previous track well, with the different layers of the acoustic guitar providing the listener with some depth and intricacies that he knows how to present so well. Then it fades away nicely to introduce the next track.


“Love Garden” is the first time I could hear Shambhu’s fingers sliding on the strings. How he managed not to do that now is beyond my comprehension. Again, the multiple layers sound like two or three people are playing, which is done during production. However, the artist creates a lot of imagery and sound with just one acoustic guitar. 


“Angel Blue” closes out the recording nicely. The easygoing nature of the instrumentation holds. His playing is inviting, and the mix is perfect on the closer and throughout this entire album.

What I find remarkable is that Shambhu cut this recording over a weekend. It is a difficult task to have an acoustic guitar and some sprinkling of keyboards over ten tracks and keep your audience interested. He does so with flying colors again, and I sincerely appreciate his talents and commitment to offering us time to relax and enjoy the peaceful sounds coming from his six strings.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 23, 2023


01.Lumina 2:35

02. Lazy Afternoon 2:56

03. Shades of Light 2:38

04. Pathway 2:38

05. Sunscape 3:52

06. Inner Light 3:01

07. Winding Road 4:33

08. Afternoon Rye 3:15

09. Love Garden 3:45

10. Angel Blue 3:48

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Swim to America, Vol. 2 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)

Release Date: September 22, 2023

Label: Independent


Swim to America, Vol. 2 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is Doug Hammer's second installment of a three-part series from the original music of Stephan Eicher. I found the first volume enjoyable and anticipate feeling the same regarding this release. Vol. 3 is expected to be released next year.


"Confettis" starts the proceedings in a very bright and upbeat manner. The arrangement is fast-moving and simply a delight for the senses, setting up the listener for a complete journey through the piano's keys.


"Pas d'ami (comme toi)" begins in a more subdued way, then proceeds to pick up the pace. Doug's brilliance on the keys shines bright as he picks up the melody and delivers the bass with one hand and the lead with the other. Doug's talented fingers bring both parts of the song to your ears. I like the skill and variety of his compositions. 


"Combien de temps" is another excellent example of how solo piano can hold your attention by sounding utterly different than the previous track. There are never any similarities that I can hear. There are a few parts where Doug shows his talents with that rapid rolling of the keys, which sounds fantastic.


What continually gets my attention consistently is the flow and clarity of every track. Also, the artwork on the cover cleverly shows the artist getting caught in the rising surf. This is the metaphor related to the title. And interestingly, I find myself swimming in the music; my entire person is surrounded and consumed by the rhythm and beauty. 


As things move further into the tracks, like on "Wider Da," I heard the sentiment and sadness in the music. I can listen to a story being played inside my mind and how it's affecting my feelings. It is simpler than previous tracks, however, very purposeful, thus the space in the music to reflect. As I have often said, I found the beauty in the sadness.


"Rien n'est si bon" is a gorgeous composition based on classical (as all this music is) with a convergence of contemporary with the pace of a slow walk in the park while you breathe in the cool air as the sun sets beyond in the mountains. It is dramatic yet picturesque.


All those tracks offer a mental escape from reality and continue to the end. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to let the music remove you from your current state or mindset, if you will. The music you will hear is unique because it is simply piano and with no need for lyrics. The passion with which they are presented and played will have you going back for another listen to revisit all the emotions and mostly good feelings you can experience. 


Thirteen tracks, all stand-alone stories, are played perfectly. After covering Doug Hammer's music for so many years now, it is no surprise how much I appreciate this wonderful music and must come to expect a certain level of excellence. For my ears, this is what I needed to hear.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 8, 2023


01. Confettis 3:45

02. Pas d’ami (comme toi) 3:06

03. Combien de temps 3:24

04. Rivière 3:40

05. Wider Da 3:08

06. Rien n'est si bon 3:40

07. Clear My Throat 4:25

08. Je n’attendrai pas 2:16

09. Monsieur - Je ne sais pas trop 3:07

10. Rêverie 4:23

11. Où Sont Les Clés ? 4:04

12. Du 2:34

13. Wie Einem Der Gewissheit Hat 2:21