Release Date: October 1, 2022
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
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”