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

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Michele McLaughlin-Luminous

Release Date: November 25th, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

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

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

 

Michele said this about the new release:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

November 1, 2022

Tracks:

01. Droplets of Grey 5:06

02. When You Hurt, I Hurt 5:12

03. Kaleidoscope 3:56

04. Shimmer 3:20

05. Moonlit Shadows 2:59

06. The Golden Hour 3:43

07. Luminous 3:09

08. Fireflies 3:37

09. Adrift 2:22

10. Lanterns In The Sky 3:40


Contemporary Instrumental Classical Reviews: Dream Cloud Orchestra-Nocturnes

Release Date: November 15, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Dream Cloud Orchestra is the music project of Michael King, a composer and recording artist. Nocturnes is his debut release.

 

Michael found a fascination with the progression of piano and then heard that same music set to a live orchestra. He endeavored to create Nocturnes to emulate that same sort of energy. 

 

Creating the entire album at home with the unique technologies we now have available was a key to accomplishing what he envisioned. When he saw some silent films accompanied by an orchestra, it amazed and inspired him.

 

Every track is complete with beautiful orchestrations, pianos, and synthesizers. Painting music onto a blank canvas and picturing the movie unfolding in his mind, Michael creates ten tracks, which encompass an hour and a half. Tracks like "Summer Night Wonders" and "A Slumber Journey" clock in at 10:57 and 13:33, respectively, while the curtain closer roles in at a substantial 14:55. Those three tracks push this beyond the typical 45 to 60 minutes most recordings are.

 

The strength of the music is well suited to an extended relaxation period, or I can see it used for soundtracks and other media uses. The absolute beauty in this music will give any astute listener satisfaction of time well spent.

 

I began watching silent films at a very young age, found appreciation for their art, and felt compelled to know more. I sought books about these artists, such as Chaplin, Keaton, etc. I can understand Michael's fascination with how the music related to what he was watching and how it added to the story and created another ongoing element of emotion to fit the scenes. Understanding that relationship helped him complete this project and attain the desired results.

 

In "A Slumber Journey," you will hear laughing to ensure the element of humanity is present. The laughing tone creates different moods that, in turn, go with the ever-changing flow of the music. The artist portrays his silent movie in his mind, accompanied by music. With the concept of the nocturnal world encompassing his thought process and the music to match, you have a blended script perfected.

 

At first, I was a bit daunted by the length of the tracks and was concerned I might lose interest too soon. That did not happen. The reason is that the artist created something so accessible and exceptional musically that you find it hard to resist listening to each track to its completion. It is all enjoyable and very relaxing and, at times, thought-provoking. What helped me was understanding the project, what inspired it, and the previous references to my similar interests. To enjoy this music to its fullest (not a necessity, just a recommendation), read the about section on Michael's website. It will give you food for thought before listening.

 

The fact that Nocturnes is a debut release bodes well for the future in music for Michael King and his Dream Cloud Orchestra.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 30, 2022

Tracks:

01. A Twilight Walk

02. Night Clock Waltz

03. The Gates of Dreamland

04. Summer Night Wonders

05. A Slumber Journey

06. Sleepy Dog Lullaby

07. A Mysterious Dream

08. Traversing the Darkness

09. A Handful of Stars

10. Slumber’s Wisdom



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

Release Date: October 7, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 27, 2022

Tracks:

01. Morning Glory 2:18

02. Mountain Serenity 3:22

03. In My Life 3:48

04. Old Friends 3:02

05. After The Rain 2:39

06. Soaring 3:24

07. Mountain Joy 2:59

08. Daydream 2:41

09. Evening Stroll 2:42

10. Passages 3:21

11. I Will Think Of You 2:38

12. Yesterday 2:39

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Melancholia

Release Date: October 28, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 24, 2022

Tracks:

01. Darkness Falls 4:08 

02. The Long Night 3:17 

03. Long Ago 2:29 

04. Just A Memory 3:14 

05. Laika 2:29 

06. Monsieur Barre’s Carousel 1:58 

07. Empty Chair 2:32 

08. Missing You 2:53 

09. Dancing Alone 3:01 

10. Letting Go 4:10 

11. Winding Down 2:23 

12. Almost Midnight 2:56 

13. Farewell 2:41

New Age Ambient Instrumental Review: Liquid Mind XIV-Simplicity

Release Date: October 17, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

How important is it for you to rest, relax, and recharge? Or find something you can ease into a meditative state? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are likely aware of the healing powers of music. The advances made over the years in science to find the many different uses have become more than an art form. 

 

People like Chuck Wild, the creator of Liquid Mind, are the artisans who create this music. While he does not claim that this will be your cure or work for you and help you with your struggles, research suggests that this type of music can help you. The soft synths and textures in his most recent offering, Simplicity, will have you floating away in minutes.

 

When I stop to think about how many issues we have around us that have the potential to stress us out, well, that seems to be growing every passing year. Computers and programs can do that when they don’t work, pushing my blood pressure up. I need this music. It relieves all those distractions, empties my mind, and puts me into an entirely different frame of reference to move on to.

 

The benefits provided in Simplicity are immeasurable, and every track is long enough, so it stands alone as one guided meditation if you choose to use it that way. It all depends on your need now. Sometimes, subconsciously, just having it play in the background while doing something else will work its magic. For me, that is the power and positivity of this project from top to bottom.

 

The sound values are significant enough that it can either fill your entire room or serve as a soft audio delight turned down just enough to enhance your current space. The title says it all; Simplicity is the key to making your life easier and more manageable, not to mention enriching your mental health. Make sure you give this recording a chance to change your life.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 11, 2022

Tracks:

1. Transcendence 10:50

2. From My Heart to Yours 8:09

3. Simplicity 7:34

4. The Child in Me 12:09

5. In The Moment 8:03

6. Hymn for Peace 7:14

7. A Gentle Rain In My Soul 9:56



Instrumental Classical Review: Christopher Jessup-Self-Titled EP

Release Date: June 29, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

After last year’s The First Movements, Christopher Jessup follows that with a self-titled EP with five tracks. 

 

If you are a fan of the instrumental piano with arrangements from legendary masters such as Debussy, Greig, Haydn, Ravel, and Mozart, then you are in for a treat.

 

Christopher’s artistry stands firm as he makes his way through each composition. His confidence and abilities are evident as you listen to him play each track in the most fluid and natural way possible. These are complex tracks to present. 

This young man is incredibly talented, and while I heard that in every track, never was it more evident than on “Haydn: Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI:32 (I. Allegro moderato).” The fact that it is played solo on piano brings out all the subtleties and color with grace and poignancy.

 

If covering the masters was not enough proof of the pure talent in this man’s fingers, he presents his composition live off the floor, “Jessup: Le Revenant (original composition).” It runs for 7:01 and is pensive, transient, and leaves you wondering where you will go within that allotted period. That fact makes it more interesting and exciting. It made me think of an earlier type of movie thriller, like an Alfred Hitchcock classic.

 

By this time, you are convinced you are listening to a seasoned artist on the world circuit performing in symphonies. Christopher closes the curtain on another live performance, clocking in at 7:47, titled “Mozart: Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 (III. Allegro assai), Ben Rhee (conductor) & Camerata Artists Orchestra.” It is a marvelous display of skill, respect for classical music, and the right way to present in a live setting.

 

Listening to performers like Christopher Jessup gives one pause to reflect on the importance of classical music and its beauty and perfection. It may be an EP; however, it certainly is ample in time for each track, and it will fill your room and soul with the most beautiful sounds created by people hundreds of years ago. How one person is still enchanted with the genre and what can be accomplished is a credit to its ongoing legacy.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 8, 2022

Track List:

1. Debussy: Minstrels, No. 12 from Préludes, Book 1, L. 117

2. Grieg: Sonata in E Minor, op. 7 (II. Andante molto)

3. Haydn: Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI:32 (I. Allegro moderato)

4. Ravel: Sonatine, M. 40 (I. Modéré)

5. Jessup: Le Revenant (original composition)

6. Mozart: Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 (III. Allegro assai), Ben Rhee (conductor) & Camerata Artists Orchestra



New Age Contemporary Instrumental Review: Kurt Reiman-A Glimpse of Grace

Release Date: September 22, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Kurt Reiman’s North Maple Road was released in 2018, and I had the opportunity to hear that debut. For people working full-time in an entirely different profession, it is more difficult to record an entire album, hence the wait for his sophomore release, A Glimpse of Grace.

When world events like the pandemic happen (can you believe we are in the third year of this pandemic?), it closes some doors and opens others, depending on who you are. 

 

Many recording artists over the last few years have used this time to focus and record some prolific releases, of which I have heard many. The result and whatever prompted them to record came about for different reasons. Mainly it was because of healing we all needed, some more desperately than others. And in the process, they found healing in the creation of their music.

 

Kurt Reiman had quite the team assembled for this project. Charlie Bisharat (violin), Tom Eaton (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Premik Russell Tubbs (saxophone), Noah Wilding (vocals), and produced by Will Ackerman and with executive producer Michael Whalen. All names are well known in the new age community and collaborators on many recordings. This tight-knit community is all on the same page with what and how to present their recorded music. The benefit is the leading artist on piano Kurt Reiman and the many listeners that will find solace, healing, and A Glimpse of Grace.

 

Kurt’s piano playing is fluid and rhythmic. Those two elements are always crucial in presenting sixteen tracks of primarily instrumental music. Instrumental music demands a particular strength and flexibility that other types of music do not. If you are accustomed to listening to this kind of music and how it can be a tool for growth, you will love this album. If this is new to you, expect to be amazed at how beautiful this will sound and affect you. I am continually in awe of these musicians, and I find it natural to listen, absorb, and understand the message without words.

 

Kurt’s piano weaves many colors and textures while the additional instruments complete each pattern unfolding within the compositions. What happens is that a musical patchwork quilt within each track comes alive for you to cover your senses. Sounds lovely. It is, and every time I heard the piano accompanied by the violin or cello, I felt a sense of sadness that the pandemic brought us all. It leaves you feeling melancholy; however, there is a lot of healing. I believe that was the intent of this music. 

 

Whether that can happen for each listener is based on a decision you make before listening for the first time. It is as simple as that, and you will not be disappointed once you let this music take you away from everything for a while. We all need that relief and focus for a short time. After being bombarded daily by all the forms of media, it becomes more challenging to concentrate on any one thing. Our attention spans have disappeared gradually over time. 

 

It is now time for you, each listener, to get A Glimpse of Grace. Trust me, and you need this. You may not know that yet, or it may be painfully obvious; either way, listen and let it heal you. I am sure that you will find this to be a new age-contemporary instrumental gem.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 1, 2022

Tracks:

01. Dawn to Dusk (4:31)

02. Quiet Confidence (3:38)

03. Goodbye for Now (5:06)

04. Blessings (2:55)

05. Dreams of My Return (4:07)

06. Set Free (3:37)

07. Triumph (3:32)

08. The Way Home (3:14)

09. Pathways (4:20)

10. River’s Edge (2:39)

11. Elegy for Justice (3:50)

12. A Glimpse of Grace (4:01)

13. Joyous (3:52)

14. With Every Step (3:20)

15. This Dance (3:06)

16. Dawn to Dusk (Reprise) (4:32)



Instrumental New Age Review: Shambhu-Life Passage

Release Date: September 29, 2022

Label:  ‎Sacred Love Music

Website

Life Passage will be my fifth journey into the world of Shambhu (pronounced 'SHOHM-boo') and his gorgeous acoustic guitar compositions. What strikes me right away is the significance of the recording's title and the cover image. With that already creating an immediate impact, I found it easy, as usual, to melt into this music.

The artist's website states: Shambhu transforms stillness and silence into calming sounds. That statement puts his music in a proper point of view. He is a respected guitarist that emanates magic from those fingers. 

As you find yourself floating on the clouds while listening to Life Passage, it goes by very quickly, as life itself does (total correlation). Five tracks would be considered an EP by industry standards. Although true, it will be irrelevant because of the simple beauty offered throughout these tracks. The timeline of each composition is from 3:47 to 6:24, so what you get is everything that this artist can give. Once the music stops playing, you will realize that it is accurate and find great joy and satisfaction while listening.

"Mars Dawn" has a mesmerizing effect. It is a soundscape you want to hear multiple times, and if there is one track that hits the mark more than any, it's this one. It is beauty and compassion personified that transforms into a spiritual journey.

The title track is a lovely tribute to the late Chick Corea. It is nice to see so many artists remembering him and his importance to music and the legacy he left behind. And I must mention the lead-off track "Because of You," featuring the amazing Michael Manring on bass. His sound is so significant, and you recognize him when he is on any track. He is one of the greats and reminds me fondly of Erik Scott (rest his soul), whom I had the pleasure of knowing and enjoying for many years. 

"Gentle Flower" starts with a nice piano, and then that fantastic acoustic guitar arrives; as the piano continues to accompany the guitar, you feel that musical nirvana has come again. Then his name, "Shambhu," is the title of the track that concludes another exceptional release. It has a definitive world sound featuring Indian percussion and flute. It is the perfect way to end the album.

Life Passage is a superb example of acoustic guitar playing with suitable mixtures of other instruments to support the primary device of joy and light and accentuate how lovely it can be if appropriately presented. As always, Shambhu does not disappoint.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

September 29, 2022

Tracks:

1. Because of You (featuring Michael Manring) 6:24

2. Gentle Flower 4:02

3. Life Passage (dedicated to Chick Corea) 3:47

4. Mars Dawn 5:33

5. Shambhu 5:51




New Age Instrumental Meditation Review: Raphael Groten-Great Blue

Release Date: October 1, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Raphael Groten, known for his exceptional guitar instrumental music, has reached a long-time goal of releasing a flute recording. Twenty years after discovering the flute and playing it, Great Blue has arrived. Its artistry and exceptional sound will surely be a success in many ways.

I am sure this music will sound incredible as I have not heard the final master. That fact alone gave me pause to reflect; on how substantial these tracks are. The artist provided the track list to illustrate the different flutes he chose as he recorded.

While utilizing various flutes, each track is in that same flow (in the order it was recorded). Raphael is a very spiritual man, and he believes the instruments he plays have a unique way of expressing themselves through him. They speak, he listens, and then you have all the music ready for the people to hear and immerse themselves in.

All this music is new-age instrumental meditation. As it speaks to the artist that created it and can and will talk to you if you approach it for what it is. My meditation combines listening, feeling the music, then putting it all into words for the prospective listener. I feel blessed to have this opportunity, which puts a different perspective on my overall listening experience. It is what I would consider a gift.

Each flute individually carries a history, tradition, personality, and sound. If you are paying attention while listening, you will find this true. With three tracks under three minutes and the lead-off track "Raven Heart" clocking in at 8:51, you will find a comprehensive overview of each flute. It is apparent and essential to make this a complete experience with each instrument focused on this exercise. While the lead-off track is exceptional in length it is not too much nor too little. It feels just right. 

The next track, "Caduceus," is outstanding as it is mesmerizing. The meaning of the track title is an ancient Greek or Roman herald's wand, typically one with two serpents twined around it, carried by the messenger god Hermes or Mercury. It is the symbol you see in medicine. So, the flute, in this case, is the wand, and the music is your medicine. It makes sense to me; I just needed to investigate what the word meant. This frequently happens in music, particularly in a genre that references nature, spirituality, and mythologies. The entire recording is exceptional; however, those two tracks are my favorites for their meanings and content.

As the saying goes, Raphael leaves no stone unturned in his journey with the simple yet unique instruments. The mystical and magical flute can do many things that include capturing your attention and imagination while soothing and relaxing. I have enjoyed it in music for many years, more recently on recordings like this. 

Great Blue is a personal and professional triumph for Raphael Groten. I congratulate him for stepping out of an established format of music and comfort zone and trying something different, then turning it into a great success.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

September 23, 2022

Tracks:

01. Raven Heart - unknown maker - cherry, Native American style 

02. Caduceus - El Búho Flutes - bamboo, transverse, “The Mystic” 

03. Roots - Zacciah Blackburn - bamboo, Native American style 

04. Sanctuary - High Spirits Flutes - walnut, double flute (with drone) 

05. Great Blue - El Búho Flutes - bamboo, transverse, “The Zen”

06. Far Beyond - El Búho Flutes - bamboo, Native American style

07. White Bear - Mary Stone Clay Whistles - 3 hole polar bear whistle

08. Eagle’s Tale - High Spirits Flutes - cedar, Native American style 

09. Invocation - hand made by Raphael - bamboo, Native American style 

10. Hermit Thrush - Blue Bear Flutes - cedar - Native American Drone

11. Quiescence - El Búho Flutes - bamboo, long transverse, “The Mystic” 

Contemporary Instrumental New Age Review: Orchestra Indigo-Farewell To Memories

Release Date: September 9, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Rick Randlett is a blues artist with five albums in circulation. Orchestra Indigo is a separate project he created playing synthesizers and piano. His new journey began when COVID shut the world down, and he began exploring ambient new-age music. Farewell To Memories is the result of his studies and creations. When you look at the captivating view provided by the cover art, it is very suggestive. Are you ready to walk down that dock and jump in to see what will happen? I was prepared to go and take a swim through this music.

Just for a point of reference, the name of this project you may find has some interesting cross references. Indigo children, according to a pseudoscientific New Age concept, are children who are believed to possess unique, unusual, and sometimes supernatural traits or abilities. So, this music is the orchestra's child since it is the first release of this type of music. And, it certainly does have some magic and special abilities to change your feelings, brain waves, and well-being.

Farewell to Memories reflects on growing up in New England, with the title track and album title a direct reference to a return visit upon the passing of his mother several years ago. So, seeing this passing of a parent was his farewell to many things. I lost both my parents many years ago, and I have to admit that many memories have faded with time; however, there is not a day that goes by when I do not think of them. Life goes on, and death happens. It is our destiny to live and die; we do not know when that time will be. I saw a saying the other day that made sense, "Live life like it's your first day and your last." Some sound advice, to be sure. 

Rick used synthesizer strings to create his orchestra of ambient sounds and colors. Some of it does have a feeling of sadness and letting go. Such as the resolute piano in "Daybreak," which gently introduces the layers of synth for a pleasant feeling of floating on top of the primary instrument. I imagine the artist's intent with this type of composition would be that you are very relaxed and have that feeling of detachment from the physical world. In your mind, you can float away to another frame of reference or plane of existence, if you will. All tracks on offer here give the listener something to feel and find inside their soul. That sounds deep, I know, music is a powerful tool that can let you dig down and pull things out that need to be looked at, and then you can process it and move on.

Buddhists refer to our suffering as samsara, and we can reach dharma (In Buddhism, dharma means cosmic law and order but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha-i.e., karma) through meditation and removing the thoughts of attachment to all things physical on this plane. I discovered a strong correlation between new-age music and the practice of Buddhism. And from there sought more knowledge and have continued to do so. Music like this, any instrumental recording made for relaxation or meditation, brings me to another discipline. That is just one example that is worthy of note.

As I made my way through each track on Farewell to Memories, it engaged me in many ways, triggering a thought process of feelings, including sadness, hope, joy, and the promise of a new day. This music can and will renew your spirit. You are the door that either opens or closes to this opportunity. It was my choice to listen and open the door. The result was a healing of my consciousness, direct and indirect thought process, and, most of all, my heart. As the track says, "Hope Is Eternal," it never rests. It is a part of us all; whether you acknowledge that or not, that is your choice. I always find some hope every day regardless of what transpires. And this music brought those thoughts to the forefront of my mind.

This is a distance away from the blues music this artist typically creates. For him, it was a creative and healing process; for the listeners, it can be whatever you need it to be. That is music's beauty and eclectic nature and the sounds you will hear on Farewell to Memories.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder


September 9, 2022

Tracks:
01. Farewell To Memories 5:57
02. Distant Worlds 4:57
03. In The Aftermath 3:30
04. A Time Of Solitude 4:42
05. Twilight Falls 3:49
06. Daybreak 4:25
07. Lights On A Distant Shore 3:46
08. A Perfect Summer Day 4:44
09. Mysteries 4:18
10. Hope Eternal 4:37
11. First Snow 4:02
12. One Last Look 5:16



Contemporary New Age Instrumental-Classical Review: Christopher Boscole-Isle of Shadows

Release Date: July 18, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

I have not covered a recording by Christopher Boscole since the 2018 release Soul Dreams. The sands of time move faster each year, and your perception changes so much that it almost becomes irrelevant. We live by the ticking away of seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Then that transforms into months, then years. This perception depends on your age and how busy your days are.

 

Amazing how one thought and music can unravel an idea and how it forms and becomes your truth. Music is that powerful and persuasive. So how did Isle of Shadows work its magic when I listened?

 

Classical music holds so much tradition and everlasting beauty. Its importance goes beyond what words can say. So why not do what countless others have and will again, sit at a piano and give the nod to the great composers and compositions? It makes sense and finds validation in each talent and interpretation of those timeless pieces. Respect for the music is imperative. The legacy of the music and composers must be handled very carefully, and above all, you must be an outstanding musician.

 

Starting with the dreamy artwork on the album cover, with the lovely pastels that are pleasant to the eye and senses, is a good start. Rest assured; the painting perfectly matches the relaxing meditative sounds you are about to enjoy. It is identified as new age classical piano, which is an appropriate assessment.

 

Christopher Boscole has answered the call of the greats and played all these tracks with the utmost care and precision. The artist, in this case, has transformed into a different kind of piano player, one that can take the sublime beauty of the title track and create his rendition from a blank canvas. The composition by Selim Palmgren, is significant because the entire recording is named after it. That name does not come up when someone discusses Chopin, Bach, and Debussy. Perhaps that is why the composer, and the track are getting the spotlight. It will bring forth an awareness of the talent of this otherwise unrecognized master.

 

The more I hear recordings like Isle of Shadows, the realization that these compositions' brilliance and musical perfection attain full recognition from my point of view. This happens when an artist takes each track into a solo piano excursion. It is much more meaningful and appreciated by this listener. It makes me wonder why I have not explored classical music on a more profound level. Perhaps after absorbing this superb recording, I will reevaluate my music collection and endeavor to reach out further to explore this music that I found so appealing.

 

After paying tribute to all the masters, the artist closes the curtain with an original saying, "Until We Meet Again." A perfect ending and as close to perfection as one can get on an album.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

August 31, 2022

Tracks:

01. Romance Sans Paroles in Ab major, Op. 17 No. 3 (3:21) (Arranged by Christopher Boscole)

02. Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9 No. 2 (5:11)

03. Sonata No. 8 Op. 13 “Pathetique”II. Adagio Cantabile (4:45)

04. 6 Lyric Pieces, Op. 28 “Isle of Shadows”II. Skuggornas O (5:56)

05. Pavane, Op. 50 (4:32) (Arranged by Christopher Boscole)

06. Préludes, Book I, L. 117: Vii. La fille aux cheveux de lin (3:30) (Arranged by Christopher Boscole)

07. Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 “Moonlight”: I. Adagio sostenuto (5:31)

08. Suite No. 3 in D Major: II. Air (4:44) (Arranged by Christopher Boscole)

09. 24 Preludes, Op. 28: No 17 in A-flat major (4:15)

10. Solace: A Mexican Serenade (5:21)

(Arranged by Christopher Boscole)

11. Kinderszenen, Op. 15: No. 7, Traumerei (2:59)

12. Until We Meet Again (5:41)