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

Electronic-Ambient-New Age-World Review: Michael Whalen-Our April Tigers

Release Date: April 21, 2023

Label: Sprout/MWM


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

1. Over Water 5:27
2. Disappear 5:09
3. Morning Bell 4:43
4. Visceral Organ 4:29
5. So Fragile 3:59
6. Hope Haunts 4:54
7. Temporality 4:17

New Age Music Review and Interview: The Living Earth Show and Danny Clay-Music For Hard Times

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Label:  Earthy Records


This is the first time I have ever heard music referred to as “calming strategies.” It is an excellent way to look at what The Living Earth Show and Danny Clay present on their recently released Music For Hard Times.

The hard times we have endured going into the third year of a pandemic forces everyone to pivot and rethink everything. Things we took for granted, visiting with loved ones, going to a crowded mall, participating or going to a sporting event, or how we will work to secure income are some of the many aspects of daily life we did not have to ponder a few years ago. All of it is very complex. It seems like we live in a science fiction movie, but it’s all true.

I am one of the fortunate souls the did not get sick or lose my job. However, I remain cautious and think entirely differently, with more discipline. Lord knows there are enough things to approach with that mindset, and music removes all of those barriers. Music cannot get me sick or hurt me in any way. It is suitable for me regardless of when I decide to listen to it.

The music is composed in a book style with 15 parts with a contemporary chamber duo. And to encapsulate this recording, I would say it’s an effective combination of genres grounded in a new age foundation with ambient, electronic, and meditation elements. It is a very ambitious project with many moving parts and talents combined to make it a reality.

Important Information Direct From The Artist:
Recorded in isolation and compiled and edited by Clay, Music for Hard Times exists in two parts. Book 1 was recorded in April 2020 in the homes of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson of The Living Earth Show using instruments, voices, field recordings, and found objects. Book 2 was recorded in 2021 and includes young musicians from the San Francisco Girls Chorus – led by Valerie Sainte-Agathe – and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, led by Edwin Outwater.

As a listener who respects the music and appreciates what is involved in creating it, I would say that the presentation here is essential. Any theme is great to hear in good times or bad. The significant difference with a project like Music For Hard Times is how it can help heal any soul seeking some comfort from something other than a physical or inanimate. Music is about detaching from anything in our world that you can touch, taste, or feel. It is aural bliss with many different sounds and layers to accomplish the result, a listening experience that will make you feel better than when you started. And once it is complete, you will remember that it is a tool to get back into that space again.

NOTE: The interview provided is very organic and posted as is. We had tech issues and lost the call however we collectively decided to go with it as it was recorded.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 30, 2022 

01. Book 1 - Part 1
02. Book 1 - Part 2
03. Book 1 - Part 3
04. Book 1 - Part 4
05. Book 1 - Part 5
06. Book 1 - Part 6
07. Book 1 - Part 7
08. Book 1 - Part 8
09. Book 2 - Part 1
10. Book 2 - Part 2
11. Book 2 - Part 3
12. Book 2 - Part 4
13. Book 2 - Part 5
14. Book 2 - Part 6
15. Book 2 - Epilogue

Ambient-New Age Instrumental Review: Keith Richie-Ambient Highways

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Label: Independent


Keith Richie’s Ambient Highways was 5 years in the making. 

Sometimes life can get in the way of things we want to do or accomplish. And then it takes intestinal fortitude and a supportive family to help you reach the end of the line to complete what you set out to do. Check all the boxes for Keith.

Now I begin my travel down the colorful Ambient Highways. The eye-catching artwork, provided by Keith’s wife and the colors of 180-gram LPs (purple white marbleized, and translucent blue), and the album sleeves with its dystopian view, bring many things to mind. Everything syncs up beautifully into one clear package of instrumental ambient music with a new age feel and color.

The engines start and you are rolling down the highway with “Neutrino.” The steady pulses provide the focus and you are seamlessly engaged, as the light keyboards are echoing through the cosmos. “V Feeling” provides ambient layers down this new highway with the cosmos as a backdrop. As I listen and I look at this cover art I am thinking how quickly everything is moving on the highway, at light speed, and how life can be that fast, then we are once again stardust. Side one closes with “Xenogenesis,” offering some nice keys to relax and draw you into the mix of orchestrations and rhythms that create an ambient bubble in time.

Side B brings you the title track as the “Ambient Highways” are now an extension of you as the music moves you. This fantastic voyage and the softness of the synth ushers you into all the layers of sound. The “Weeping Angels” are now calling with synths sounding like a harp playing at the gates of heaven. This is a prolific track title with the music to emulate what the words say beautifully with purpose. “Faiths Song (Ptilopteri Waltz)” closes out the purple and white marbleized spinning disc with a dance of divinity and color pulsating with love.

Now as the beauty of the translucent blue disc spins on your turntable, the chilling “Arctic Shores” get some warmth from sounds that Keith is creating on side C. You feel the chill turn into something new and refreshing as the waves hit the shoreline, the cold is gone and the water is inviting again. “Dew From The Morning Star” takes shape as the music drips it inviting sounds on the grass and leaves on the trees. The only thing missing is the sound of happy birds chirping. The piano is engaging, bringing about these visions in your mind’s eye. Then the storytelling track, and Keith’s musical bio, “Keeping The Dream Alive” begins. This is personal and a victory for the artist and all the people he loves. It is all at once cinematic, emotional, and bursting with many colors of joy. It is the perfect closer for this side of music.

Side D finishes in epic form with some very exciting and powerful music. “Neptune’s Awakening” puts the ocean on notice and all of your senses, as you envision this God emerging from the depths. The music is anticipatory and exciting like an important scene in a movie. “Distant Visions” is a continuation of this turn of events and musical direction. I enjoyed how much the music changed and continued to get my attention from beginning to end. You can feel the energy and strength of the music making its way through your heart and soul. The curtain closes on “Ultima Thule.” This is the Latin variation of the Greek meaning of “furthest of the far places” or a reference to people located beyond the borders of the known world. Look into the cosmos they may be waiting for you on the edge of time or perhaps the beginning or end of the universe? The sounds echo through the mists of time and the constant ticking of life's clock is present, as the beauty of every molecule that makes up this vast universe is represented and captured within the music.

Ambient Highways is a musical story that you will not forget. The fact that Keith composed, performed, and engineered this entire recording, is a credit to his immense talent and vision that we can all appreciate in his music. This one is a keeper for the ages in the world of ambient instrumental music with a taste of new-age essence tucked within every track. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, into the ground we return and our spirits ascend to return where we began. Music, heaven, and the cosmos can be found traveling along the Ambient Highways.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 6, 2021


Side A:
1. Neutrino
2. V Feeling
3. Xenogenesis

Side B:
1. Ambient Highways
2. Weeping Angels
3. Faith's Song (Ptilopteri Waltz)

Side C:
1. Arctic Shores
2. Dew from the Mourning Star
3. Keeping the Dream Alive

Side D:
1. Neptune's Awakening
2. Distant Visions
3. Ultima Thule

Ambient-New Age Review: Dan Palladino-Pastoral Memory

Release Date: February 2, 2019
Label: Independent
Dan Palladino is no stranger to recording music. His debut in the new age/ambient genre just arrived in February this year. Pastoral Memory is seven tracks born out of the art of improvisation.

Dan uses a blend of acoustic and electric guitars over the top of synth harmonies that breath in and out to create a fluctuating and soothing effect. Music like this is like an animate object taking form in your mind’s eye. One of the best examples is the lead-off track “Rising.” It is the ultimate musical exercise clocking in at a plentiful 10:15.

Some of this music can be used for focus and meditation. You will hear a steady tone throughout parts of songs like “Thankful,” which is another generous portion of Dan’s art at 5:13 then it nicely segues into “Joyful Cleansing” yet another space in time that allows for focus and relaxation, giving the listener 8:48 minutes. Dan uses the guitar for consistency with a steady picking while you hear the movement of water. Then another seamless segue goes right into “Passing Storm,” with rain and thunder, as the synths add an additional layer of texture and ambiance. As the storm passes the birds are happy again tweeting away and it blends right into “Aftermath.” So now you are seeing the logical progression of the music in the titles and the purposeful transition from one track to another.

The addition of the synths is essential in making this an ambient treat for the ears, mind, and body, which for this listener, equates to a happy soul. I for one really appreciated how all of this was arranged and titled. It all made sense to me and did arouse my internal receptors to all the sounds and vibrations.

Six out of the seven songs are given plenty of time and space for the creator of the music and the appreciative listener. For a debut in this genre, this a stunning group of tracks brilliantly composed and exercised by Dan Palladino. One other point is the cover, the cool color of blue water and the white clouds set you at ease and set you up nicely for what you are about to hear on Pastoral Memory.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
April 24, 2019

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

1. Rising
2. Thankful
3. Joyful Cleansing
4. Passing Storm
5. Aftermath
6. Yesterday’s Dream
7. Counting Stars