Release Date: April 21, 2023
Emmy Award Winning composed, and internationally renowned recording artist Michael Whalen had an idea about creating a group of composers and players to collaborate on a new instrumental recording that would defy style or genre. He wanted to pick people who had careers in soundtrack global ambient alternative and beyond that, including Bassist Michael Manring, guitarist Michael Brook, trumpeter Jeff Oster, percussionist/remixer Karsh Kale with Whalen starting the tracks collaborated on seven songs with the musicians doing their engineering in their studios in New York City, India, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. So, Our April Tigers was born. (Information from artist press release)
Even though I am classifying it as Electronic-Ambient-New Age-World, and it is a refreshing combination of those genres, I think Michael Whalen and his collaborators succeeded in creating something so original and different. Still, it does make it difficult to point to one genre expressly. For my listening pleasure, that makes it inviting and unique.
Working remotely and separated by many miles is common today in putting together a recording, so it is nothing new, so what is going to make this release stand out? Michael started by creating melodic snippets that went from one musician to another, each adding their parts. Listening to it now makes it more unique and quite impressive. Creating the music would be easier if everyone were in a face-to-face studio (although I don’t think it is ever easy). The talent of each artist comes shining through on every track. Michael is the keyboard wizard and music master; every other partner is masterful with their respective instruments.
Never was that more apparent than on tracks like “Morning Bell.” Michael Manring’s hypnotic bass and Jeff Oster’s trumpet provide the textures and colors that mix beautifully with Michael’s array of keys. It sings instrumentally and pulls you in with ease, like meditation music. Many types of ambient instrumental music do serve that purpose, and Michael has been one of the more eclectic musicians with each release. As a person fortunate to provide coverage of his music, I wonder what he will come up with subsequently and anticipate an entirely new adventure each time. I am happy to say that he never disappoints.
Diversity is the key to the excitement of each next track. After “Morning Bell,” then “Visceral Organ” comes on. It sounds like it could be an entirely different album. It is a funk fest with a colorful atmosphere with the wonder of every second pouring out of it. That is one of the best examples of complete transitions going from one track to another. You better strap yourself in because that is the modus operandi of the release. Don’t expect a steady flow of the same thing; because of that, expect to feel a smile develop from the inside out.
Our April Tigers is indeed Michael Whalen and his significant contributors. As spring is happening and the flowers blooming are right around the corner for those in the Northeast, this music will fully bloom, inspiring listeners, and musicians worldwide.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 21, 2023