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

Instrumental New Age Reviews: Genevieve Walker-Home Songs

Release Date: June 21, 2022

Label: Blue Yarn Records

Website

Genevieve Walker’s debut was Walking Home. Six years ago, I discovered her music. With her babies grown into little people, she is back with Home Songs. It is appropriately titled because the melodies you will hear were what she hummed to her children while sitting with her. 

Music lovers can listen to lullabies set to music via the main instrument, the violin (she does play the viola and piano as well). That is the best way I could describe it. Genevieve’s instrumentations can fill up a room. “Fathers,” for instance, starts very strong, and the realization of the power of classically-based music rings true. It then mellows out and lulls your consciousness to a state of calm. The sweetness and purity of the place it comes from make it very special, so knowing what inspired this project before listening is beneficial to potential listeners. It gives you an immediate appreciation for her presentation, its purpose, and foremost, the talent to be able to translate it all to each listener.

The songs about family are in proper order as well, the birth with “Mothers,” the support and strength of “Fathers,” then the most critical piece, “Sons,” which in the case of some people may be “Daughters,” however the meaning and intent are the same. Parenthood is a life changer, and your world becomes anew with another life to care for. That responsibility never ends, and we are always there when needed, regardless of their age. There are many lessons in parenthood, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn with my children. From their first breath to our last, we love them and support them. That is the job of a parent.

Music is the ultimate expression of emotions; the projection of the feelings of Genevieve comes through in the music beautifully. Rafe Pearlman complements her violin, viola, piano, vocals, and Noah Hoffeld on cello, Chris Seligman on French horn, Steve Gorn on Bansuri flute, Nin Rao on vocals kartals, and the producer of the album, Chris Garter on bass, complete the significant backing throughout.

The sound and production values are solid and clean. The tracks are divergent but hold the same qualities and crisp production as you progress through each offering to the end with “Shadows,” which has many intersections of change and sound. It is a beautiful way to close out the recording. It leaves you wondering what could be coming next for this artist as it is very exploratory, and I enjoyed that aspect. 

Home Songs portray the gifts of life for one family through the eyes of a wife and mother. Someday her children will be grown and come to appreciate the beauty their mother created in their honor. I know I could not have related to this music and its meaning unless I was a father myself. For those of you who are not parents yet, it will give you something to think about; for those who never will be, an appreciation of what they may have missed comes to mind or newfound respect for parenthood and the sweetness it brings so many of us. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

June 21, 2022

Track list:

1. Constellations (5:51)

2. Saints (5:08)

3. Mothers (5:22)

4. Fathers (4:19)

5. Sons (5:16)

6. Beloveds (4:01)

07. Moons (3:11)

08. Shadows (5:23)

Contemporary/Classical Instrumental Review: Tim Neumark-Opus 8

Release Date: March 14, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Tim Neumark's Opus 8 album includes original compositions that Tim released as singles between 2018 and 2021, two additional solo piano tracks created just for this album, and his orchestral arrangement of Michele McLaughlin's "Hope" from her solo piano album Sketches.

While memories of the pandemic are lingering and affecting our lives in one way or another, we still have the music to shake us out of those doldrums. Opus 8 reflects the time when the pandemic was raging. When you look at this album cover, you will notice different pictures and wonder what it all means. They are intended to illustrate moments in life, the simple things that bring such joy. All those little things, and perhaps much of what we took for granted before the last few years, became more magnified. It was a wake-up call to be grateful that you are still here to enjoy those moments that bring a smile to your heart.

While Opus 8 is melancholy, the sheer beauty of Tim's playing is still good for the soul. It greets you with flowing rhythms with colorful bursts of energy. "Shining Through" is befitting the title, with some exciting playing from start to finish. At the halfway mark of the album, it was as if Tim wanted to say something that lifted your spirits. And with one listen, it most certainly accomplishes that. "The Ghost" was another favorite of mine. It all rang so genuinely and prolific when matching the music to the track title. That is a general idea, especially for any instrumental collection.

Tim Neumark's playing is a lot of things, including prolific ("Escape"), uplifting ("Shining Through"), reflective ("Lockdown"), and serving as a reminder ("The Ghost") of what was and finally to give us all something we need with the curtain closer "Hope." Perhaps, more importantly, the all-encompassing message of gratitude, joy, and all the things that make your life what it is.

The range of emotions you can feel on Opus 8 is truly remarkable. There is always something beyond the music that an artist attempts to project to the listeners. Tim Neumark accomplishes that with ease.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

June 13, 2022

Tracks:

01. Lockdown

02. February Moonlight

03. Bows in the Mirror

04. The Ghost

05. Non sequitur

06. Shining Through

07. My Love

08. Still

09. Conundrum

10. Yearning

11. Escape

12. Earth, Paused

13. Hope (An Arrangement for Orchestra)


New Age-World Review: Sharon Fendrich-Sapphire Oak

Release Date: June 10, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent

Website

Red Sky Prairie is the last album I heard in 2019 by Sharon Fendrich. I can enjoy the gorgeous soundscapes that this talented composer creates on Sapphire Oak nearly three years later.

The title track, “Sapphire Oak,” is a mesmerizing combination of word and song. The chorus is sung in Ta’ek, a language devised by Sharon as follows…

Ge klad dokh ya rade (My song is your compass)

Um yi red a kha ya size (Let it lead you to your calm)

Tzafir dokh mes mosh ta (Sapphire is the color of love)

Ek dokh stu’ah (Oak is strength) 

Tzafir ta, kmo Ek stu’ah (Sapphire is love, and Oak, strength)

The devised language is a mixture of sounds based on nordic languages, and a bit of Hebrew. I think it’s brilliant that she discovered a language of her own making. That is an excellent example of creativity functioning on an entirely different level than adding all the music to it to make it complete. To me, that is amazing. I have listed all the credits and acknowledgments for your interest. I think it is essential regarding this project.

The use of natural sounds and the interconnectivity of life are evident in this music. Suggesting the strength of an oak, and if you listen to the words, she says it can be your compass to where you need to go in that moment.

The music, separate from any vocal attributes, is very cinematic. It is full of beauty and emotion. As you listen to the ebb and tide of the music, you may think of the past and the promise of the future in your life. Tracks like “The Oaken Door” gave me chills and injected energy into my being. 

“Of Badges and Crowns” has a world Celtic flavor. I love that kind of mixture; it stands so tall and proud. I found not only the picturesque elements of cinema and emotion evident, but it was also like a reach back to times long ago when we did not have technology. A bell tolling in the background, the wind blowing softly on your face, all those feelings are present and come alive within you. This is powerful music that will quickly paint the intended picture of the artist.

At this moment, as I write, I needed to hear, feel, and absorb everything about this recording. Seek, and ye shall find, or in some cases, it will find me. Sharon Fendrich, composer, producer, and arranger, gave herself 100 percent. The instrumentation is superb, including the violin, cello, harp, Irish whistle, and the lush phrases of the Symphonic Recording of the orchestra connects all the dots and creates another musical work of art. I also need to cite the vocal prowess of Sharon and Talia Valdez, with many of the tracks adding a special touch that make it soar and envelop you.

Music always gives me what I need, and Sapphire Oak appeared at just the right time, thank you, Sharon.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-MuzikMan.net Founder

June 10, 2022

Tracks:

01. Sea of Oaks (5:33)

02. Leaves of Glory (3:40)

03. The Grove at Dodona (3:55)

04. Runic Roots (4:15)

05. Call of the Ruins (5:37)

06. The Oaken Door (3;30)

07. Dryad's Rejoice (5:10)

08. Of Badges and Crowns (4:41)

09. Under Her Canopy (5:47)

10. Sapphire Oak (3:55)

11. Carry the Oak (5:35)



Credits and Acknowledgments:

Composer, Producer, Arranger: Sharon Fendrich

Orchestration, Contractor: Joaquin Garcia

Recording Engineer: Katharina Nuttall

Mixing Engineer: Linus Andersson

Mastering Engineer: Bruce Maddocks

Orchestra: Symphonica Recording

Conductor: Vladimir Martinka

Vocals: Sharon Fendrich, Talia Valdez

Violin: Lisa Rydberg

Cello: Klara Källström

Harp: Stina Hellberg Agback

Irish Whistle and Uilleann Pipes:: Ian Harpe



New Age Instrumental Review: Rick Sparks-Speak Peace

Release Date: June 4, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

Rick Sparks just released Speak Peace, an album for our times. We need artists like him in a world of unrest, war, ecological disasters, and many other things that cause discomfort and stress.

As his warm pictorial of the sun rising on a large field of poppies on the album cover indicates, you will find immediate serenity from the image and hopefully the same with the music. As the world turns and our lives are forever changing, the one constant we can depend on is music.

Music that soothes the soul is something everyone needs; whether you realize it or not, it is for the taking. As Rick's keyboard journeys in the eleven tracks on this album will attest, this is just what the doctor ordered. Stress will melt away, and the world's worries and the day will fade to the background. The time taken to listen to this music can make a difference in your life; that is why you listen.

The title track sets up the rest of the recording by introducing a gentle invitation to join in and hear the voices of angels accompanying Rick on the keys. This combination is an effective method to find a meditative state that you may seek; otherwise, if you are looking for a relief valve to relax, there is also a path to that found in this music.

The beauty of "Little Princess" may remind you of the innocence of a child or bring fond memories back from long ago. If you have a daughter, you may be able to relate to that; I certainly do and find myself looking back and wondering how our daughter is now a grown woman thousands of miles away. I have tears running down my cheeks right now thinking of it. It seems like another lifetime ago, come and gone in a blink. Such is the power and magnificence of music and the emotions it can stir inside you. It makes me wonder how something you are hearing is beautiful yet sad.

"Prayer For Ukraine" is an ode to that war-ravaged country being destroyed a bit at a time while taking lives and changing the world of millions. We all feel it in more ways than one. Rick's piano solo is healing personified, and the positive message of prayers will go out tenfold with each listen. The track was released as a single with all the funds sent to the relief fund for the country. 

Music makes a statement, and you will hear it in every corner of the earth. Its reach and magnitude have no limits. Listening to Speak Peace will open the door to your soul.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

June 7, 2022

Tracks:

01. Speak Peace

02. Harvest Moon

03. Little Princess

04. Dragonfly Dance

05. Lass of Inverness

06. 1912 Waltz

07. A Love That Lasts

08. Prayer for Ukraine

09. End of Day

10. We Wait Upon the King

11. Auld Lang Syne



Instrumental New Age-World Review: Joseph L Young-Into The Unknown

Release Date: July 8, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

When I listen to Joseph L Young’s new release, Into The Unknown, I think of the color of the music. Joseph’s eclectic range and instrumentation on the flute, saxophone, and keyboards make a full-bodied presentation of tracks for the potential listener. It is a new age-world experience you will find enjoyable without fail.

Journeying Into The Unknown can be a frightening process. Having some help to ease you into that plane of existence is always the preferred route for most of us. It also depends on your end goal, what you seek, and, more importantly, what will you do when you get there?

This music is a tool, a doorway to another frame of reference, thought process, and an opportunity to shift to a relaxing meditative state to recharge those internal batteries you have drained during the day. I have been working 11-12 days for over twenty years. I can use some help in that area of my life. If you are like me or have similar days, you will surely appreciate the tracks offered on this release.

Here is a way to look at all this based on the track titles; if you are using this music to get into a fully relaxed and or meditative state and find yourself “Between Worlds,” you can look “Beyond The Horizon” of that state and find your own “Transcendence” within the music. That sounds like a logical progression, even though it’s a play on words. I can see that path before me from where I process the tracks, and I hope you can put that together for your benefit while listening.

Then, of course, there are the more experimental and spacey tracks befittingly titled “Into The Unknown.” That is quite a step away from all the other music; however, I did appreciate it, and it served as a point where you can stop and reassess where you are at in the process for your own needs. I find it interesting that it was the title track where all this reached beyond the norm to find a different sound, with all the texture and colors layered to create a different effect and result than the previous tracks.

The beauty of the music always wins the day. The compositions and production are quintessential to providing the complexities of sounds and nuances on a platform to let them shine. I think Joseph L Young has created a new age world masterpiece this year.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

June 2, 2022

Tracks:

01. Into the Unknown

02. Remembrance of Time

03. Enchanted

04. Secrets of Stone

05. Beyond the Horizon

06. Between Worlds (remix)

07. Transcendence

08. The Forgotten

09. Eclipsed

10. Windswayed

11. Ancestral Crossings


Contemporary Instrumental Review: Pam Asberry-Unraveling

Release Date: April 15, 2022

Label:  Independent

Website

The last album I heard from Pam Asberry was the 2017 release Seashells In My Pocket. The Unraveling is now on for my listening pleasure. You look at time differently with each passing year. It is a concept, a segment of our lives. Life is concise in the grand scheme of things, and then we are stardust once again.

Everyone has a different perception of the virus that changed our lives forever. It is year three, and we still are getting infected. Musical artists have been depicting this time in their music, and Pam Asberry took advantage of the time to create another exceptional recording. All music was composed and performed by the artist.

You have a story told through music, one creator, and one instrument. The solo piano work of the artist is moving and compelling for many moods. While you feel the “Storm Clouds Gather” and the “Unraveling” begins, you can go to “Dark Places.” That was reality for us all in different measures. While you hold the absolute music of Pam’s talented fingers via the keys of her piano, you can feel the emotion flowing. There were times when Pam found time to do things while waiting for renewal, and then the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic would creep in. She went into the “Dark Places” and the “Unraveling” of our lives, and hers hit hard. Then the bright spots were more poignant when the time was allowed to find sweet things from the past like “Tattered Lace” from passed members of her family.

Listening felt different because Pam gave me a look behind the music. It makes an enormous difference following along with the storyline when listening. With tracks like “Polaris”, I heard optimism and the promise of light on another path to renewal. Thinking about that momentarily gave me pause to reflect upon the present and glance back at the past. One foot in front of the other is the goal here, and we only have today; we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I am ok with that these days and grateful for life and ready for what it brings. 

Unraveling keeps it real for all us listeners. I always manage to find my true self in this music. Part of the reason that happens is that it is all instrumental; thus, you focus more on thoughts than any words, and in turn, the music provides the terms formulated inside me. I believe this is paramount with any relaxation or meditative music. 

There are different packages offered for this recording for many music lovers, such as a companion sheet music book for all you piano players. Thanks for allowing us listeners to hear your story set to music, Pam. It may have been an Unraveling, but you sure made it all so beautiful with your music in the sad, dark, and uplifting parts of the story; it all folded together nicely. Once again, behind the clouds is the sun shining brightly, and the music reveals it.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

May 23, 2022

Tracks:

01. Storm Clouds Gather (3:23)

02. Unraveling (3:49)

03. Bluebird (3:08)

04. Tattered Lace (2:51)

05. Dark Places (3:47)

06. Goodbye Again (2:50)

07. Labyrinth (2:43)

08. Saudade (2:35)

09. Polaris (2:50)

10. This Time with You (3:14)

11. Metamorphosis (3:42)



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


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)