Showing posts with label New Age Instrumental Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Age Instrumental Review. Show all posts

New Age Instrumental Review: Neil Tatar-After The Rain

Release Date: January 19, 2018
Label: Independent

After The Rain is the upcoming release of Neil Tatar. And it comes as advertised on the cover-it is Peaceful, Reflective Instrumental Music.

What does a person do After The Rain? I am not sure but I know what I do during the rain, I watch it and appreciate it. It is the sustenance of life. The title of this recording can mean many things. In life situations for instance, After The Rain comes a little sunshine? Whatever your interpretation is it can fit to this music.

After The Rain features Neil sharing his equal talents on both guitar and piano, and the usual procession of stars in Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Roads Studios. Tony Levin (NS & Electric Bass), Jeff Oster (Flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English Horn) and Tom Eaton (Piano and Keyboards), who also mixes and masters the recordings at the studio, are some of the talented artists that are present to make this recording a work of art. I have had the distinct pleasure of covering all of the solo works of every one of those folks as well. It is a treasured gift and I feel honored to do so.

After, before, or during the rain, it is all a natural force of nature, and whether it is the climate or life situations, this music can put everything into perspective for the listener. The 10 tracks that are offered on this recording are as tranquil as the water that appears on the cover of the CD. It immediately sets your mind and soul at ease. Water is from whence we and all living things came. We need to cherish it, respect it and protect it.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Neil Tatar is a longtime student of Tai Chi, for the songs – while varying in style - feel instilled with meaningfulness. Many thoughts came to mind for me while listening to After The Rain. It always feels right for me to share my thoughts on the music I am hearing. It moves me in the most prolific ways, and I know I am listening for a reason. The talent that comes together on this album is incredible, and the end result is an album you will want to hear frequently for the many values it holds and the lessons it can teach you. All you have to do is listen, then the heart and mind will follow in step to make it all come together. At least that is how it works for me and I hope it does the same for you. 

This is fantastic music, it is like the masterpiece painting that you have been looking for. One listen of After The Rain will bring that expectation to life.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

January 6, 2018

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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. Gentle Steps
02. Sunsets
03. Reflections
04. When I Was Young
05. Rush Pond
06. Nightwalk
07. Freedom
08. Welcome Home
09. After the Rain
10. Sidewalk Jam

New Age Instrumental Review: Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai-Ritual

Release Date: April 1, 2014
Label: Mysterium Music
Nine time Grammy nominee and platinum artist Peter Kater and renowned flutist and multi-platinum selling artist R. Carlos Nakai has 10 Grammy Award nominations to date. They have joined forces for the first time in ten years to bring us Ritual, an album of introspection. The musical talent in this transformative journey is Peter Kater (piano), R. Carlos Nakai (Native American flute, Eagle Bone Whistle, Chanting), Paul McCandless (Soprano Saxophone, Oboe, English horn), Jaques Morelenbaum (Cello) and Trisha Bowden (vocals).

Opening up with “A Meeting at Twilight,” I sat back and closed my eyes, letting the peaceful ebb and flow of the piano and flute lull my senses into a relaxed state. Some days that is hard to come by. Balancing a day job and a full time writing career can make a girl tense. Schedules, life obligations…we all have them. Sometimes it just takes an album like Ritual to break the chains and refocus your energy on the inner workings that really matter. Piano and flute lead the way to the metaphorical bonfire in the middle of the field. The epic meeting of the soul with the creator.  Nothing is between you and the night sky, the stars winking down and the music flowing from the buds in your ears. Nirvana. 

Earthy flutes take flight in “Invoking the Elements.” Piano treads on the light as air landscape. Trees sway in the distance as you call the quarters. North, South, East and West. All four elements accounted for. Each sentiment brought to life with the subtle notes of music so artfully composed and rendered into living, breathing art. Jazzy elements infuse the moment, gauzy clouds of bright energy. The elements combine and bring you back to yourself. You are the earth, the air, the sea and the fire. You. Are.

“Dream Dances” is the last piece on the album. It bubbles to life with elements of air and fire, the trickle of water weaving through the heat. Piano sequences in the midst of whispers. Horn and flute meld together with ethereal sounds, giving voice to the longing in the soul. Peace. I have found my place of tranquility. Breathe in. Breathe out. Cello and flute. Voice and key. The harmonies roll over you like a wave. Haunting chants bring the language of my ancestors to life as arms reach up to embrace the infinite. This piece is the crowning achievement of an album crafted for greatness at the onset.

Ritual is a walk into the heart of what instrumental music should be. Kater and Nakai, combined with McCandless, Morelenbaum and Bowden have crafted an album of transformative joy. Elemental in nature, it invokes peace no matter how busy you are. Take a moment. Just listen. Just be. From the haunting vocals to the ancestral chants and Native American flute rendered so artfully, it resonates. Side by side with piano sequences and multi-instrumentation, this is an album you will come to treasure. Make it your cup of tea after a long day and you find your center. 

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Dream Dances, Invoking the Elements, a Meeting at Twilight

Dana Wright

April 6, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

1. Meeting At Twilight   
2. Standing as One       
3. Invoking the Elements        
4. Offering        
5. Space Within        
6. Envisioning   
7. Dream Dances


New Age Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Tapestries of Time

Release Date: February 14, 2014
Label: Orange Band Records

Ann Sweeten has been delighting audiences for seventeen years with her exquisite performances. In her newest album Tapestries of Time, Sweeten is even more focused than ever, providing a musical experience like no other. An activist, actress and environmentalist, Sweeten is dedicated to using her music as a healing tool. A breast cancer survivor, she is active in programs that promote artist and patient interaction. This new album is Sweeten’s tenth and is co-produced with the legendary Will Ackerman.

A blend of classical style with improvisational flair, this album comes to life with “Afterglow.” A melodious experience, the music just flutters there, hovering like a butterfly on the wing.  

“Cavu” is a term in aviation that describes ceiling and visibility unlimited. This song was written and dedicated to Sweeten’s father, a Navy Pilot in WWII. The piece floats and twists smooth as a plane drifting through the clouds. Elements of string instruments delight and summon memories and a moment in time that will be held deep in my heart forever. The plodding rhythm carries you along as you experience the cohesive nature of this piece.

“Send Me An Angel” is a proclamation against animal testing. Sit there and look out through the bars. Someone in a white coat comes and opens your cage. A hand reaches inside and something is plunged into your flesh. It burns and hurts, but there is nothing you can do. The hand puts you back in the cage, leaving you there in pain. What have they injected into you? Will it cause cancer? There is no way to know. The endless hours of staring out and watching the world go by never cease. Sweeten captures this hopeless feeling in poignant detail with a composition that will bring tears to your eyes. Eloquent piano strains fill your eyes as the hope of these little animals reaches out like an infinite prayer. Animal testing, no matter the good it may do is still an atrocity and that will never change.

“Riversong” is dedicated to a space dear to Sweeten’s heart. The river travels far and wide, but this place stays the same. The lull of tempered melodies and the majesty of  the Oboe, English Horn and a small part for the French Horn within the piece bring the listener to that tranquil place where nothing matters but where you are. The river is there and you hear its song.
“The Great Divide” brings to life a poem Sweeten composed about the gap between adults and their inner child. Keep the magic alive and reach inside yourself to find that elusive light. Never forget the magic. Sweeten’s talented fingers lead you through an inner journey; a reawakening of the spirit.

Each piece in Tapestries of Time is in some way a reflection of a special memory held by the artist. Whether it is her father and his experiences in WWII in “Cavu” or an awakening of the spirit in “The Great Divide,” Sweeten’s hypnotic compositions relax and restore. Her plea to stop animal cruelty in “Send Me An Angel” is vitally important. As someone who lives with rescue dogs, it warms my heart to see her fighting for the rights of animals everywhere. Each and every track is special and spending a week listening to it is not nearly enough time. This album has earned a long time presence in my library. Ms. Sweeten has the fingers of an angel and the heart of a warrior. She has won her own personal fight with cancer and helps others to do the same all the while trying to protect the animals that get thrown in the middle. Some people are heroes. They don’t wear capes but they do fly. Ann Sweeten is one of those. Music is her super power and she uses it with dead on laser accuracy. Beauty, grace and selflessness come out of every note. 

If you want an album that will take your breath away, you won’t want to miss Tapestries of Time.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Afterglow, Cavu, Send Me an Angel, Riversong

Dana Wright

March 6, 2014


01. Afterglow

02. Cavu (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited)

03. Endless Sky

04. Hypnotique

05. Ventanas Al Mar (Windows to the Sea)

06. Of Clouds and Dreams

07. Send Me an Angel

08. Tapestries of Time

09.The Great Divide

10.The Hourglass


Review Provided By Write a Music Review

New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Barry-Rec-Continuum

Release Date: February 18, 2014
Label: Independent

Michael Barry-Rec began his musical career at a young age. Fascinated by the guitar, he has pursued his dream pushing the boundaries every step of the way. Four days in the Montrose Recording studio with one of the last five functioning Flickinger analog consoles and an all-star supporting cast of guest musicians brings us the newest Michael Barry-Rec album, Continuum. Elements of acoustic and steel lap guitar cover blues, Americana and everything in between. Contributing musicians include George Winston (piano), J D Foster (bass), Johnny Hott (drums) and Adrian Olsen (hammond organ).

Opening up with “Rendezvous” I was immediately transfixed by the strumming old fashioned growl of the guitar and the roll your eyes back in your head composition. Slow and deliberate, like a rendezvous with a lover, this piece is all about exploration. It is dynamic and full of vision. You know that saying about anything worth doing is worth doing well? Barry got the memo. This piece was the perfect lead in and had me hooked for a good solid week of listening in a trance. “Sanctum” features the piano prowess of George Winston. If you close your eyes and just see the music in your mind, you can imagine walking into an inner sanctum where all you hear is the essence of sound. No worries. No schedules to keep, no traffic deadlock, no anything. Just music. A sanctuary of audio euphoria, it took me away from my hectic day when I needed it most. The execution of this piece was flawless creating a focused musical experience.

 “Shake Rag Shuffle” is a fun piece that shakes its rhythm out with a funky bluesy beat. Rattling percussion, bass and some gritty guitar playing spin this track into hot house life. Rock and roll takes a bite out of this tune, smoky flavors giving it a tangy essence that is full of life and texture. This piece falls in the Americana rock range of the spectrum and I enjoyed it immensely.

“Buried in the Sky” is the last piece on the album and a fitting way to cap off the experience. The plucky guitar sequence purrs against a backdrop of multi-instrumentation that is both inspiring and soothing. The finely constructed composition is like a finely carved instrument, eloquent and artful.

If you enjoy a blend of acoustic and steel lap guitar then you need to give this album a try. Michael Barry-Rec surrounds himself with stellar talent, creating an ambient listening experience that speaks to the love he has for music. This album is infectious with pure musical joy and one you won’t want to miss.

5/5 Stars
Key Tracks: Sanctum, Buried in the Sky, Shake Rag Shuffle, Rendezvous

Dana Wright 

February 25, 2014


1. Rendezvous

2. Cause and Effects

3. Clockwise

4. Sanctum

5. Fields That Never Die

6. Shake Rag Shuffle

7. Labyrinth

8. Lotus

9. Mystified

10. In Visible

11. Beckon

12. Two Way Dream

13. Buried in the Sky