Instrumental New Age/Ambient/Meditation Review: NTHNL-Ontogenesis

Release Date: July 12, 2024

Label: ‎Independent


The album Ontogenesis by NTHNL is different from your typical collection of songs. It's a unique and captivating transformative journey, part of the Tranquility Studies series, precisely volume 3. Each track, known as Music of the Body (specifically), serves as a gateway to a new state of being, setting it apart from other ambient new-age music.

This is a soundtrack to feed the mind, body, and spirit. The music of the body speaks to us all in different ways. If you look at the track listing, it gives you a detailed description of what the body does, can, or will do during this procession of sounds, textures, and light, and, for instance, in the second track, "Nourishing, holding," it begins with the sound of waves. The soothing sound of water, used frequently during meditation recordings, is spiritually connected to all life. To return from whence we came, the beginning can be a cleansing experience.


As is usually the case with ambient new-age music, the main instrument is keyboards or synths. This provides a perfect foundation and a springboard to other sounds, computer-generated or natural, that complement that primary base.


Another example of a prolific exercise is "processing, detoxifying," which ends with birds chirping. It's a nice touch after all that focus and relaxation. Those two words are essential; you must process them before detoxifying the mind or body, mentally and physically; they all work together seamlessly. However, if we let them, they can put us in the wrong direction and have us self-destruct, thus the detoxification. The body and mind are incredibly complex instruments. We must be the masters of ourselves; our well-being and spirituality are intrinsically connected.


The arrangement and duration of the tracks in Ontogenesis are meticulously crafted to guide you into a state of focus and meditation. This paves the way for an altering experience, potentially leading to profound healing and offering a beacon of hope and optimism. Furthermore, the album beckons you to venture into unexplored realms of perception and existence, fostering a deep sense of self-healing.


I like the thought and action of "straightening, dispersing," which by no coincidence is the lengthiest track at 5:34. To me, I believe the straightening is the leveling of the body and dispersing your energy to attain that state, which in turn would open the door to absorbing the music and letting it assist you to another state of being. It's kind of like ironing the wrinkles out of some clothing stuffed in a drawer. That is my vision and interpretation alone; it is up to each listener to determine what it means and accomplishes for them. And that is the beauty and simplicity of it all, empowering you to create your own unique experience.


If everything were like music, the world would be a utopia, and alas, we know it is not, and that is precisely why we need tools like NTHNL to provide for us on Ontogenesis. Uncomplicated, pleasant, and easily accessible, that is what instrumental meditation is and always should be. If it's like work, it won't work. It has to be a joyous sense you feel and the freeing of all the sounds that relax your entire being to reach a state of consciousness conducive to a complete change of your surroundings and the trail of thoughts that invade your mind disappear. Now, "return to the cloud, thank you."

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

July 12, 2024


01. welcome procession 3:15

02. nourishing, holding 3:13

03. straightening, dispersing 5:34

04. reaching, striving, praying 3:23

05. processing, detoxifying 3:28

06. assurance, rising 2:46

07. heart 3:09

08. aerating, billowing 4:09

09. transmitting, unraveling, communing 4:29

10. synthesis, memory 3:46

11. return to the cloud, thank you 3:38

Instrumental New Age Review: Holland Phillips-A Sense of Distance

Release Date: July 12, 2024

Label: ‎Ageless Records


With A Sense of Distance two years in the making, Holland Phillips has a reason to be filled with anticipation and energy. His listening audience may feel the same, as the artist believes it is some of his best work. If that is what the creator believes, I will also agree.


"Perseus Rising" begins the recording. Looking at the cover art, I imagine the distance from what we see above us. The track starts with the piano and synth for an added layer of texture. It has a nice feel and a rhythm that anyone can find a commonality with. It's a great way to start your journey.


"Through the Rabbit Hole" takes a different turn. The title sets the stage for the music and your interpretation. You can immediately feel the change in mood from the previous track. It sounds intellectually stimulating or thought-provoking, like something from a movie scene.


"Bittersweet" has a dual meaning, so how does that flesh out on the track? The piano and synths create an atmosphere that helps you visualize that feeling. It's part anticipatory and part soothing music, which are also two sides of the coin, as it were.


"Behind the Veil" starts with a mysterious sound, as it should. What is behind that veil? The question is out there for you to discern within the music. The use of the keyboards is significant in all the music, and there is no better way to paint the proper picture than with this track's textures and melancholic atmospheric touch points.


"Enchantments" begins with a touch of grace and beauty that is truly captivating. As the piano starts, another layer of keys enters the mix to fixate on the track's meaning; the intent pulls you quickly, and you become enchanted. It's a track that will leave you spellbound.

The title track, "A Sense of Distance," begins another significant journey being the title track. It starts upbeat with a happy-sounding piano and underlying synth where the music floats around your immediate space, physical or mental; you can feel it. A thread turns into a patchwork quilt of ambiance and relaxation.


"Flying Solo" tells you from the start that it's just you and the music. Are you ready to take flight and let the frequencies and sounds lead? The music is soft and inviting, with some high points that create positive and encouraging energy. At least, that is what I heard while listening; it is your solo flight, so listen and let it take you where you want to go. Simple.


"Hope Remains" is what it says. We all hold onto hope regardless of what life has given us. That comes from a point of strength, the core of your being. This is another atmospheric beauty defined by musical notes and the layers a keyboard and synth can create. It is very orchestral and poignant, with the perfect balance of sounds.


"On Whistler's Ridge" starts with percussion and a solid but soft bass line. The piano is constant, and the synth echoes in the background. For more effect, you hear a tambourine as the bass and percussion continue to create a path for everything else to follow. It is one of the longer tracks (4:41) but one of my favorites.


"For The Love of It" opens the door to transformation. You do certain things (I hope) simply because you love to do them. It makes you whole, completes your life cycle, and gives it more meaning. It is a stunning way to end this recording. The music is so clear, flowing, and full of life. The simple things in life can become more meaningful than life if you do it because you love it. For me, it is music, without a doubt, that brings me absolute joy. It has significantly changed my life.


Everyone creates A Sense of Distance. Suppose you are free from debilitating addictions, negative thought patterns, or anything holding you back. In that case, the distance either becomes further away or gets closer to realizing its true meaning and sets you free, which assists you in going in the direction that will recharge your spirituality and hopefully change things for the better for a more satisfying and fruitful existence.


Yes, music can be that powerful and influential; I hope you, as a listener, can find the path that gets you there through this music listening to A Sense of Distance.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

July 12, 2024


01. Perseus Rising

02. Through the Rabbit Hole

03. Bittersweet

04. Behind the Veil

05. Enchantments

06. A Sense of Distance

07. Flying Solo

08. Hope Remains

09. On Whistler’s Ridge

10. For The Love of IT

New Age Vocal Review: The Song Gardners-Sonic Landscape

Release Date: July 19, 2024

Label: Honey Spun Records


Album Link

The Song Gardeners, singer/songwriter Corrie Dunn (vocals, piano, guitar), and singer/songwriter Mary Gospe (vocals, guitar, percussion), are all set to release their second album Sonic Landscape. As I recall from their first album and covering many track releases, they are talented individuals who can play instruments and sing very well. For me, that sets the stage for another enjoyable listen.


“Present” starts things with some very funky bass lines. Corrie sings, “Feel the energy be present with me.” The ladies have lovely voices and are solid musicians. After one track, I am already feeling energized and refreshed.


“Send Love to Everyone (Heal the Divide)” is a great message to the world; as Mary sings, “We heal the divide when we stop taking sides.” The guitar is excellent, with a layer of keys for more color and texture. The vocals are clear, inviting, and believable. Great music and important lyrics. When they harmonize at the end of the track, it’s a thing of beauty.


“Talking to Trees” will get you to tune in and tune out. It’s an earthy Mother Nature meets music in the middle, so our humanity realizes our intrinsic connection to the earth we walk on. One line goes, “Talking to trees, I feel your roots reverberating under me.”  The music is soft and flowing; as you absorb the words and their meanings, they should hold some meaning for us all. It is one of my favorites for all the reasons I just mentioned.


“More of This” begins with congas and a funky bass line. The bass leads the way as the other instruments and some good percussion join the party. One prolific line struck me: “The future is ours to create.” There is something pure and true about the way they present these songs, and the rhythms are irresistible. Yes, I want some “More of This” as they sing “happiness, joy, and bliss.”


“Future Lives” begins again with that strong bass line leading the way. I am thinking how different it is to hear people singing to new age-based music and how much I enjoy it because of what the ladies convey in every song. The flow continues one track after another, going from strength to strength.


“April Sky” is a song about our vast universe and how you can look at the sky day or night and think about all the wonders there to amaze and delight your heart and soul. It gives you gratitude to be alive, and you feel safe and protected under the “April Sky,” where constellations align. It is about hope and vision right before us for the taking. The music continues to feel right, accompanying the vocals, a perfect match so you can focus on all of it at once.


“The Little Things” matter the most and make the world a better place; the words ring true as a solid percussion gets behind the beautiful harmonizing that makes it feel authentic to the heart. A simple and direct message set to a jazz-inflected backdrop. It has a perfect melody and is very catchy.


“Within” closes out this consistent and beautiful recording. They remind you it all begins within for you to speak your truth as the music flows nicely and purposefully, and the lyrics hit home with words like gratitude, imagination, and curiosity, bringing your spirit and who you are to the surface. Nothing is hypothetical; it is just music to soothe your soul and words of validation. It’s simply perfect, just like all the other tracks. The music always seems to fit just right to complement all the vocals. Smooth and precise, the music gives the lyrics room to breathe and take shape.


It could be your Sonic Landscape. After absorbing all the sounds and messages, it makes sense to think about that momentarily. Give it a try; You will find enjoyment in many ways. I sure did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

July 11, 2024


01. Present

02. Send Love to Everyone (Heal the Divide) 

03. Talking to Trees 

04. More of This

05. Future Lives 

06. April Sky 

07. The Little Things 

08. Within

Contemporary Instrumental Review & Interview: Ed Bazel-The London Sessions New Perspectives from Studio 2

Release Date: March 18, 2024

Label: DiscMakers


Nearly two years ago (October 2022), Ed Bazel released The London Sessions-Reflections From Studio 2. Which I had the opportunity to enjoy and review. Ed returned in March this year with The London Sessions New Perspectives from Studio 2 at Abbey Road. It features nine original tracks and two covers.


Daybreak” is a beautiful opening track. It imagines a clear, crisp morning with the sun rising over a mountain peak. The piano is melodic and soothing, instantly letting the visions come to you.


As we all travel “Onward” in our lives, there are many things for which we can be grateful. One thing is musicians like Ed Bazel. The melody progresses as the track carries you to your next door to open or a pathway to follow—3:11 minutes of musical perfection.


“All Of My Life” immediately suggests something more poignant yet infinite. Our lives are meaningful in many ways, and Ed expresses them on the track. I did feel some sadness and reflection in the track as it gave me time to pause and look back at my life. The beauty flows and continues from one track to another.


“The Long And Winding Road” was instantly recognizable to any Beatles fan or music lover, for that matter. It is done well with a violin singing along with the piano. The words are going through my mind as I listen. Like many people, I know the words to nearly every Beatles song. It just happens that way if you have been listening to them since you were five years old!


“A Joyful Life” is a perfect follow-up to a Beatles cover because of the feeling one gets listening to their music (for those who cannot relate, start listening to them, and you will understand). In just under three minutes, the piano does sound happy and positive, so the message is well received. It is simple, direct, and brief enough to enjoy and get the associated feelings of joy.


“A Beautiful Life” follows the same lines as its predecessor. Being joyful can be beautiful. Ed’s talent for the keys interprets the meaning of the titles very well. It runs a bit longer at 4:36; however, the violin adds the necessary ambiance that the piano seems to integrate into the piece seamlessly.


“Happy Go Lightly” maintains the atmosphere and good feelings of the two previous tracks. The melody is upbeat and seemingly smiling at you through the chord progressions. Feeling that way with a song is something magical and powerful that one solo piano can create.


“Blue Skies” is another track placed perfectly in sequence with the others before it. I recognize that meaning and purpose are significant in a recording like this. Once again, you get a gorgeous, uplifting melody that puts a smile on your heart and soul. Ed’s playing is fluid and perfect.


“A Rainy Day” changes the mood, as all music has the power to do. In every life, rain comes, but another sunny day with blue skies is around the corner, as you witnessed in three consecutive tracks. It is not a letdown but a reality check that life happens, and we move on. The mood is somber yet beautiful because of the exquisite piano playing. Your hope becomes a reality like the silver lining in a dark cloud.


“Beautiful Tonight” brings the beauty and spirit of these compositions back to the forefront of your consciousness. The track is one the most beautiful (they all are), and the soothing melodies on the recording are so clear and defined that they project all the emotions implied in the title.


“Imagine” is one of John Lennon’s most prolific songs ever recorded. Ed did a great job of making it all real again without the words, but if you are familiar with the song, the words will come quickly. The track was such a prolific statement that it still holds today and must be believable for all humanity. We need it now more than ever. Thank you, Ed, for bringing this great song back into our awareness, and hopefully, this will become a reality. And the world will live as one…


The London Sessions New Perspectives from Studio 2 is a complete triumph for everyone involved. The music is gorgeous, and the musicianship and production are superb. If you enjoy instrumental piano music, this is one performance you should not miss!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

July 5, 2024


01. Daybreak 02:38

02. Onward 02:09

03. All Of My Life 03:11

04. The Long And Winding Road 03:17

05. A Joyful Life 02:57

06. A Beautiful Life 04:36

07. Happy Go Lightly 02:11

08. Blue Skies 02:47

09. A Rainy Day 03:55

10. Beautiful Tonight 03:05

11. Imagine 04:21

New Age Review: Raphael Groten and Rebecca Kodis-Unity

Release Date: July 1, 2024

Label: ‎Independent


The cover art depicts a red-tailed hawk flying with other birds, symbolizing potential human Unity. Music inspired by a vivid dream led Raphael Groten and Rebecca Kodis to collaborate on Unity, their latest release.


It was not just any dream but a profound vision that resonated deeply with Raphael. The artist felt compelled to act upon this vital message and create this beautiful recording.


The central theme of this music is Unity, a message that resonates throughout the album. This music has the power to transform and inspire us to choose Unity. It is a guiding light and a powerful messenger, potentially uniting us all.


Raphael Groten and Rebecca Kodis' alignment is a testament to their musical ability and creativity. Rebecca's violin and vocals add a new dimension to the music, enriching the overall sound. Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios' contributions, including Eugene Friesen on cello and Michael Manring on fretless bass, further enhance the album's depth and complexity. Tom Eaton's consistent presence in production ties it all together, making this album a true masterpiece.


The violin's introduction in this album adds a unique texture and color to Raphael's music, distinguishing it from his previous works. This beautiful element enhances Raphael's acoustic guitar, creating a harmonious blend. In the track “Rainbow Tribe,” their performance is seamless, as if it was all predestined. Each track vividly captures the essence of this album, making it a must-listen for new-age enthusiasts.


In this specific track, I found it significant that there was an American Indian reference, and the vocals were a tribal chant. It always brings me back to how the Native Americans lived and respected the earth and all living things, providing equal existence and respect for each other and taking only what they needed. This is the right way to live for all living things. Unfortunately, we have been on a path of self-destruction for so long with no regard for these important values and beliefs.


"Good Medicine" follows along that same path, with Raphael's guitar resonating from beginning to end with extraordinary picking that sounds very timely. It is so relaxing and calming that you cannot resist its pull to let it melt away any stress you may be feeling. It can relax the mind and clear the thoughts that make you anxious. As with meditation, the goal is to be in the emptiness and just be. Healing of the body, mind, and spirit can occur in that space. In fact, as usual, all of the tracks provide that kind of atmosphere one would seek for renewal.


I found "Sleeping Lion" fascinating, a step away from the norm. Michael Manring's bass leads off the track, and the acoustic guitar comes in. The sound Manring gets is very different from a typical bass sound. It is very recognizable to my ears, as I have heard it many times. It can be a lead instrument with the sounds he coaxes out of it.  


There is so much beauty and peace to behold in this music. Watching Raphael develop over the years has been a true honor. Every release brings more maturity and gorgeous guitar playing that can be enjoyed.


Unity is one more step that cements Raphael's growing legacy as a new-age artist who has made his mark and will continue to do so. The collaboration with Rebecca Kodis showcased his willingness to explore new avenues. I suggest that he continue on this path, developing his music with more intricacies and complexities to gather more interest from an ever-widening and eclectic base of listeners.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

June 23, 2024


01. Feathers 3:16

02. Ease 6:25

03. Rainbow Tribe 5:40

04. Open Hands 5:41

05. Good Medicine 4:37

06. Union 4:07

07. Old Home 3:53

08. Eternal Blossom 5:33

09. Sleeping Lion 4:13

10. Unity 5:37

Instrumental New Age Featured Track: Orchestra Indigo-Evening On The Esplanade

Release Date: June 21, 2024

Label: Independent


Orchestra Indigo (Rick Randlett) transformed his career in music from a blues guitarist to an exceptional new-age and ambient artist. He has released three albums over the last few years and is enjoying a renaissance of creativity.

“Evening On The Esplanade” is a track release that will give you a good idea of what to expect from this talented one-person show.

The track is lush, cinematic, and emotional. The distinct sound of the orchestra in the indigo is unmistakable. With a blend of various keys, synths, and computer-generated sounds, Orchestra Indigo creates a captivating wall of sound that resonates like an orchestral gathering of beauty.

Orchestra Indigo’s music has been on the rise for some time now, and I think he has found a home in the new age community. The transition is complete, and we welcome him with open arms, hearts, minds, and, most importantly, our ears.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

June 21, 2024

More about the man behind Orchestra Indigo…

Richard K. Randlett holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Keene State College, where he studied composition with well-regarded composer Hubert C. Bird. Rick also did graduate work in theory and composition at the University of Massachusetts…READ MORE…

New Age-World-Meditation Review: Paul Avgerinos, Siddhant Bhatia, Keerthy Narayanan-Gratitude Joy 3

Release Date: May 30, 2024

Label: ‎Round Sky Music

Album Link And Videos

Gratitude Joy 3
is a collaboration of many talents. Paul Avgerinos, Siddhant Bhatia, and Keerthy Narayanan combine their artistry (and many others) to celebrate new age-world meditation.

If there were one word I had to describe this music, it would be "mesmerizing." The recording begins with "Jaya Ganapati Om," a particularly relaxing and melodic piece that lays a solid foundation for the future of this recording. And all of it will be for your spiritual well-being—that is why these people make this music.


When I searched for the translation to the track, it said the following: Translation Glory to Thee, O Ganesha, the elephant faced one, the bestower of boons, the one who has the mouse as His vehicle, the one who has Modaka (a sweet preparation) in His hand, the supremely pure one. O Lord, I offer obeisance at Your Lotus feet.


So, as you delve into this collection of recorded blissfulness, you should dig deeper into the meanings to better understand the beliefs of the culture from which it was derived. Although I add the world to the genres covered, it frequently leans towards a more Middle Eastern atmosphere.


As Paul says in "Om Namah Shivaya," "the cosmic healer, my eternal friend, is, in fact, the calm in my chaos." And he also says, "The eternal flame I draw you near." From my perspective, this is essential spiritualism. Even though it is in a different language, the communication is clear and straightforward. One human race, one spirit, one God or deity, or whatever you choose to call it, we are one with each other, and as we are with our creator, regardless of what you decide to call it or the religion you may believe in.


The number of individuals involved in this project, which features over 100 musicians and singers, is incredible. "Lokah Samastah" gives you a glimpse of the talent assembled and the seemingly effortless vocals of so many. It sounds like a choir singing along to all the music and layers of instrumentation. The track's meaning is the Sanskrit phrase Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, which supports the prevalence of love over hate. We could use that on a world level these days. Our lives and future could be beautiful with enough of everything for everyone to live comfortably.


It's a nice thought; perhaps this will be realized with music and words like this leading the way. Therefore, I needed to investigate the meaning of some of these tracks. It strengthened my own beliefs and wishes for our future.


"Om Shri Govinda" means "O Lord Govinda, the son of Devaki and Vasudeva, the Lord of the universe. Please grant me a son, O Krishna; I take refuge in you." This track has a very appealing percussive element and beautiful, transient, and universal vocals. While religious or spiritual beliefs may differ from yours, they all fold into one book of humanity when you take a step back and absorb the messages in these compositions.


I enjoyed one of the instrumentals, "A New Creation." The difference was that no thought went into the chanting; this time, it just let the music take you. That is often all I (and hopefully you) need to get to that place in my mind and heart to be exactly where I should be in those moments.


I must be honest. Once I heard this kind of music, I only considered a different language, religion, or spirituality the same. I had to simplify everything to be open to and feel it.


Gratitude Joy 3 is like the world church of music, all under the same roof, looking for the same result and what we all want: peace and love. This accomplished group of enlightened individuals allows you to step outside your daily existence and preconceived ideas of what this could be. Let the music and words flow (although, as I mentioned, you may want to do some research). But even so, if you do not understand the words, you can feel the spirituality of this music and the voices in every fiber of your being. Either way, it works.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

June 13, 2024


01. Jaya Ganapati Om 5:13

02. Narayana Hari Om 4:39

03. Om Namah Shivaya 5:20

04. Lokah Samastah 4:30

05. Devi Om 5:16

06. Om Shri Govinda 4:13

07. Ma Om 5:51

08. The Sunlit Path 3:49

09. Universal Guru 4:39

10. A New Creation 5:03

11. Blessings For All 4:33

12. Goddess Supreme 4:59

13. Lotus Petals 4:31

14. Mother's Love 5:51