Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contemporary Instrumental Reviews. Show all posts

Featured Track: Contemporary Instrumental -Terry Lee Nichols-Finding Annie

Terry Lee Nichols is known for his contributions to the new age and contemporary instrumental world. The latest track released is “Finding Annie.”

The track is a beautiful contemporary instrumental with its roots in classical music. Terry's piano playing reflects that in the most eloquent way.

If you note on the cover in smaller text, it reads, “Love is coming in 2024.” It is a precursor to a full-length project available after we usher in the new year.

If “Finding Annie” indicates what is to come, then instrumental music enthusiasts will have something to look forward to. I know I will, and I always enjoy the music that Terry releases. His excellence and years of experience always set high expectations of what will come next.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

November 9, 2023

You sometimes read the phrase "he/she was born to it" when describing how a person came by their particular calling. Such is the case with Terry Lee Nichols. By the time he was four, he had already decided that composing and performing music was his true life's goal (discovered while playing popular tunes on his grandmother's piano) …READ MORE…



Contemporary Instrumental Review: David J. Pena-Zero Gravity

Release Date: October 6, 2023

Label: Independent


David J. Pena is one of the more productive piano artists, releasing music regularly and adding to the growing archive. I cannot imagine how it must feel to create music that will leave a legacy for lifetimes. What a blessing.

Zero Gravity is due on October 6th. 


The first track and title, “Zero Gravity,” put the vastness of the universe into the eyes of the astronaut floating above Earth. The piano playing and orchestration are heavenly, and it has a floating light-than-air feel, setting the perfect tone to make it as accurate as possible. It was an excellent way to start the recording. I like it when an artist chooses the title track to lead off; it makes sense.


Everyone has dreams. It is up to every individual to seek those things they desire. Sitting around waiting for something to happen never served anyone well. The piano playing is beautiful and engaging while orchestrations reach a peak; David knows how to create the peaks and valleys of our emotions where “Dreams We Shared” are born and sometimes dashed or forgotten. The rule of karma is you get back what you put into life, good, bad, or indifferent. 


This is the “Hour Glass” of life we all must come to terms with. We are going from the top in little grains of sand to the bottom, where our presence here in the physical form ends. The finality of that can be daunting, not knowing what happens until you get there. I think we have some ideas based on stories of people dying and then coming back. Is it different for everyone based on what they did while they were here? Will be “Forgiven” for any wrongs and enter the next life seamlessly? I think our consciousness leaves our bodies and enters a collective consciousness known to many as the spirit world or ether at Zero Gravity, where our friends and family have left and are “Awaiting Your Return.” You can only “Daydream” until you arrive.


“Will You Dance” are steps created by the keys of a piano, subtly and elegantly, as only David can present it. As with the previous tracks, the finishing touches are the orchestrations accompanying him. Is this the dance of life, or a serenade from one to another sending an invitation to join in their dance? It is the dance the listener hears and sees forming in their mind as the song plays through. It is warm, and it touched my heart.


“Renewed” or renewal is a significant word in English. Does the music you hear energize you, or does it cause time to reflect or to come up with an answer to a question that can only be solved by looking within? Beautiful piano-based music with moving orchestrations can initiate many things for a listener. In the end, will you feel renewed in some way? I would answer that with a resounding yes, but that is for me; what will it be for you? Listen and find out.


“Childhood Memories” are so sweet and unforgettable. I felt sadness while listening to this track. Life is so fleeting, and although my childhood was long ago, I will always hold certain aspects dear to my heart. That is why I will never let go of those times and feelings. We cannot make the past come back, but we can relive parts of it, the stories that never grow old and stored in our hearts and minds. This piece was so moving for me; it did bring a tear to my eye. I, at times, long for the simple life I once had. It served as a gentle reminder of the importance of things in the past.


Those are some of my favorite tracks. Of course, there is more to be listened to and explored. And it would be best to let go of the day and all the thoughts running through your mind; finding that way is through music like David Pena can offer you Zero Gravity.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 11, 2023

01. Zero Gravity 
02. Hour Glass 
03. Dreams We Shared 
04. Will You Dance 
05. Renewed 06. 
Childhood Memories 
07. Forgiven 
08. Jeannette 
09. Daydream 
10. Awaiting Your Return

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ann Sweeten-Love Walks Through Rain

Release Date:  June 11, 2023

Label: Orange Band Records


Ann Sweeten has an extensive discography to share with music lovers. Love Walks Through Rain has assured a place amongst one of her favorite recordings. She shares her music on a magnificent Steinway piano with exceptional grace and precision. Ann returned to Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios to record her ninth proper album—as would be expected, the recording production values are beyond reproach.

The title would imply that true love can withstand life when rain comes our way. When we are in a storm, the one person we know that can be counted on is the one we love or, if we are fortunate, all those we love. In Ann’s life, she has conquered cancer twice and is currently battling leukemia. That says much about her resiliency and ability to let love help her walk through the rain. Her music is beautifully composed and performed with flawless melodies.

In addition, the timeless beauty that her piano gives a listener with each track, there are brilliant guest appearances included such as Charlie Bisharat (Violin), Eugene Friesen (Cello), Nancy Rumbel (English Horn), Premik Russell-Tubbs (EWI, Soprano Saxophone), Will Ackerman (Guitar) and Tom Eaton (Bass).

Her soul's emotional depth and impact in the music is felt strongly. Take “The Winter’s Circle,” for instance; her piano calls out to you like it is singing with the angels from heaven. The additional instruments, such as the violin and cello, are the perfect companions to emphasize the delicate touch of her fingers on the piano's keys. It is an ode to strong faith and unyielding spirituality that the artist feels and how it is transformed and envisioned for the listener to receive. The impact is unquestionable.

You will notice some changes in the mood and pace with a track likeRed – Requiem for an Old Friend.”  There is some melancholy with a requiem; however, you can also hear the triumph and hope in the song. The track runs for 5:58, which is the longest on the album, thus giving it space for several changes in pace and depth. I did appreciate the different feelings I went through, and that was the point of the track. One goes through several emotions when losing a loved one or friend, so the natural flow of the music and its changes was like an emotional mirror for the creator and could serve in the same way for anyone. The power of great music and piano-based instrumentals like those presented on Love Walks Through Rain will show you how that works so well.

Every track on Love Walks Through Rain will allow the listener to use it for healing, grieving, happiness, and sadness. The range of the human condition is far-reaching, and everyone should stop and listen to any instrumental music that can touch upon all that complexity.

Ann Sweeten has created another masterwork of piano instrumentals that will leave an indelible mark on you. You will be compelled to listen to it more than once; I can guarantee you that. With everything to gain and nothing to lose now, why wouldn’t you listen to Love Walks Through Rain?

I cannot tell anyone what they feel or how the music will be interpreted. I can promise that the pure emotion of Ann Sweeten’s instrumentals will touch you somehow. I know how it affects me, and I do my best to describe that in my own words. I hope that each listener will find peace and healing in this music. I most certainly did.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- NAMR Founder

September 26, 2023


01. Valley Greene 4:22

02. Glimmer 5:21

03. Seirios 4:08

04. The Winter’s Circle 5:33

05. Love Walks Through Rain 4:54

06. Red – Requiem for an Old Friend 5:58

07. The Hills of Riversong 5:32

08. The Shadow of You 4:38

09. Through Jasmine’s Eyes 5:12

10. Out of the Fog 4:42

11. Valley Greene Orchestral Reprise 4:26

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Lynn Tredeau-Many Branches

Release Date: October 6, 2023

Label: Independent


Lynn Tredeau's latest release, Many Branches, serves as a reflection of herself through the music. It is her ninth proper studio album.

If you happen to be looking for "Sunshine Tomorrow," you will likely find the orchestration of the keys on Lynn's piano. That track is one of twelve that will set you at ease and let the day slip away into the night.


For some of us, it isn't easy to clear our minds, put the day behind us, and find complete enjoyment after punching the clock. Because we can be so busy with work, we may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep to get needed rest. What is there to turn to find that release point and re-energize?


As you get into a comfortable space in your home and position yourself for optimal relaxation, the music encourages you to do what you need to absorb it fully. An artist's stream of consciousness is entirely different from everyday folks. As they follow their hearts and spirits, the music is created and performed, and then, after many months in the recording studio, comes the addition of other instruments; however, in this case, that was unnecessary. It is Lynn and her piano alone. Then, the final mastering. A process I cannot comprehend. I do appreciate what each artist goes through to bring such grace and beauty. Lynn has done that consistently over the years.


I did notice a particular atmosphere running through each track. Every track has a purposeful pace and mood. I heard a sadness that was hard to define (it was a mirror of my soul at the time). The tracks sound like love songs to me, but they come filled with color and ambiance that radiate hope, which, in the end, removes that feeling of sadness I felt while listening. While all that was true, I felt everything I heard was beautiful.


The one thing a listener needs to remember is that music is perceived differently by everyone. Also, their current life situation might feel like a "Carousel" of emotions and as if something emerged from the "Shadows." Still, there is always "Morning's Promise" right around the corner when the sun rises again.


When "Technicolor Blanket" started, I noticed an immediate change in the energy of the music and how my senses perceived it. The track has a more upbeat pace and shade to it. It's like a smile that begins on the inside and then shows on the outside. 


The best way to express my feelings regarding this music was to use the track titles interspersed with words and emotions. And, after all, isn't that what this is all about? Music is emotion in its absolute and honest form. If you listen closely enough, you feel the heart and soul of the artist in every note. And that my music-loving friends are our gifts to treasure.


Stop and listen to the Many Branches on Lynn Tredeau's music tree. It will take root and grow as soon as you start listening.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

September 19, 2023


01. Room with a View 2:51

02. Sunshine Tomorrow 2:52

03. On a Distant Hill 3:38

04. Sail Away 3:10

05. Moon Jellies 2:59

06. Desert Rain 4:25

07. Envisaging 3:47

08 .Ilunabarra 2:46

09. Carousel 3:14

10. Shadows 2:57

11. Technicolor Blanket 3:06

12. Morning's Promise 4:19

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Swim To America Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)

Release Date: April 28, 2023

Label: Independent


When a musician becomes a fan of another musician's music, things can happen in extraordinary ways. In matters of life circumstances, social media, and a combination thereof, Doug Hammer became acquainted with Stephan Eicher

Swim To America Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is the first of three volumes of music Doug plans on releasing this year, covering tracks from the Eicher catalog. It is the 16th release for Doug.


Doug's interpretation of the Eicher compositions encompasses the thirteen tracks of this large-scale project for volume one. Covering one's tunes would be the easier route. However, the artistry and musical intelligence of Mr. Hammer takes the road less traveled. The level of difficulty covering someone's music your way takes tremendous patience and creativity. Taking each piece as an inspiration and springboard to jump off, the process begins with respect and love for the music you are paying tribute to.


That fact becomes evident from the first track to the last of this release. Remember that this is only the piano, nothing else supporting Doug. There are 13 tracks of purely instrumental music falling squarely into contemporary instrumental, influenced strongly by the classical and new age. Then again, classical music has been here on this earth for so long that it only makes sense that everyone is influenced by it in some manner, musically speaking in general terms.


However, because many tracks hold such beauty and a relaxing ambiance, I must give new-age music much credit as a vital underpinning, reflecting the artist's original intent. It is a show of respect and joy for the music. And it celebrates both artists at the same time.


That is a beautiful thing to witness and hear. It also creates some curiosity for listeners to seek out the background and music of the celebrated artist Stephan Eicher more in-depth. The length of the tracks is just right, not too long nor too short. Doug Hammer uses all his tools to create beautiful music from an admired composer and makes it his own. That is a more remarkable tribute than just covering the compositions. He breathes new life into the music following his intuition and heart, and it works out beautifully. One creation blossoms into another, and that is how it should work. 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

May 12, 2023


01. Ce peu d’amour 4:00

02. Cendrillon après minuit 4:15

03. Déjeuner en paix 3:26

04. Für Immer 3:43

05. 1000 Vies 3:18

06. Je te mentirais disant 3:30

07. Manteau de gloire 4:30

08. Swim to America 3:21

09. Autour de ton cou 3:13

10. Si tu veux (Que je chante) 2:54

11. Djian's Waltz 3:20

12. Prisonnière 2:43

13. Nocturne 3:17

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Terry Lee Nichols-Metamorphosis

 Release Date: May 8, 2023

Label: Independent


Terry Lee Nichols has released a significant piano-based instrumental recording
Metamorphosis takes the listener on a worldly adventure. It is a story about humans and their history, including migration and beginnings. To be more specific, he traced his ancestors, which makes for an exciting recording. There is more to it than that, but that is the general idea.

When you listen to the music on Terry's site, you can click on the note beside the first track, and it will automatically tell the story of each composition with artwork to accompany it. For instance, the joy in "Grandma's Good Ol' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits" is an upbeat, happy tune.


As one would anticipate, the pace and color within each composition mirror the track titles. The music is contemporary instrumental with strong influences of classical and all its ebbs and tides. The combination is stunning.


"Once Upon a Time" has a picture of a hand reaching down in a wheat field, and to the right is inscribed "If I know what love is, it is because of you." - Hermann Hesse. It is a delicate track, as soft as the woman's hand in the picture. 


You will enjoy a multimedia presentation; everything fits together. Music, art, and video are the perfect combination. However, a talented artist must make this something new and fresh as it is commonplace. Terry Lee accomplishes that quite successfully. 


I also appreciated how touching some images were on "Bedtime Stories." The music is perfect while taking the explanation of Dad, an otherwise ordinary man, and turning him into a hero, storyteller, and singer of songs. It makes you remember those precious moments of child-rearing and those you may be fortunate enough to enjoy right now.

Terry Lee's piano is gorgeous, fluid, and very telling of each storyline. The pictures will give a little nudge in figuring out why the music flows. The piano playing is very intent on emotionally moving you; it certainly did me. And you can tell the artist was in this heart and soul; you can feel it with every touch of the keys. And that my music-loving friends are what I would describe as prolific. 


While I gave you a glimpse into what to expect, I will leave the rest to each listener. It is essential to let you, the potential listener, find the gifts in each offering. This music has happiness, pure joy, and sadness, which is how it should be. It makes you pause and reflect on the meaning for you.


Terry Lee does go through a Metamorphosis inside the music, and I believe you can as well if you decide to follow along on his website here

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

April 25, 2023


01. Metamorphosis 04:16

02. Out of Eden 03:03

03. Let Us Rest Beside the Cool Waters 03:08

04. Grandma's Good Ol' Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits 02:06

05. A Day in the Life of a Cocktail Pianist 03:11

06. Once Upon a Time 04:42

07. Bedtime Stories 03:50

08. This Was Once a Love Poem 01:17

09. The Dangling Conversation 02:20

10. Barcelona 05:09

11. Mom, which picture will you use for me? 03:45

12. Thinking Back 03:59

13. One Molecule Away from Madness 02:45

14. The Long Goodbye 5:17

David J. Peña-The Journey-Contemporary Instrumental Review

Release Date: January 6, 2023

Label: Independent


David Pena’s 
The Journey starts with “The Sun Will Rise Again.” As you look at the image on the album cover of the soldier, some light is behind those darkened skies. A piano player extraordinaire takes us on another contemporary instrumental journey.


I am a veteran, and my father was a WWII veteran. So, there is some sadness attached to that. That first track felt emotional, and I was sad but had some hope around the corner. And that hope and energy were found on the next track, “Kaleidoscope.” When you hear that word, the first thought is a panorama of colors and light. That is the kind of positive energy I needed after all the feelings initiated by the first track.


“Tribute to W. Tx Pianist Doug Smith” transitions to softer touch on the keys. There is warmth and honesty that comes through. The connection from one artist to another was unique, and David provided a lovely tribute.


“You Took My Heart With You” sounds like it will be a tear-jerker and some reminiscing. The title certainly paints those feelings on the musical canvas. The orchestrations are gorgeous as they accompany David’s nimble fingers on the keys. 


“The Journey” continues with upbeat and high hopes as the instrumentalist reaches for the highest mountain and invites you to come along. The piano is rich with rhythm and purpose, and the orchestrations are exciting and moving. The emotions ebb and flow like a river after a rainfall, then it slows down and ends. 


“Eerie Night” sets the stage for pensiveness. As David starts to play, it does not create that feeling until the song is around the 1:50 mark; then, it climbs the ladder of musical anticipation. The stage is set, and the atmosphere is appropriate as you wonder what is coming next.


Fortunately, “Good Feeling” comes your way for a dramatic turn of moods. The fast-moving instrumentation opens the door to better days. David’s piano sounds bright and fluid and, yes, happy. I felt those good chills go up my back and down my arm. I knew something special was happening while listening.


“Stargazing” can be an exhilarating experience and, at times, a spiritual one. My son told me he was looking at the night sky one night, and I felt small. I thought that made sense. The vast and beautiful expanse of planets and stars can be mind-boggling. Well, at least it has been for me. David’s eloquent piano paints the right picture.


“New Beginnings” gives you the hope and promise of a new day. In our fast-moving technological world, we forget to be grateful to wake up every day. You think about those things if you are close to losing your life, which happened to me last November. The underpinnings of the new age genre run through this track like a golden thread holding it all together so beautifully. 


“Breakout” is the curtain closer. And it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, as David cuts loose and gives the keys a workout with tremendous energy and feeling. The track is panoramic and full of color and life with the growing pace of the orchestrations and the piano. I love the way this album closes out.


The Journey is everything it says it is and more. David J. Peña has released a recording to remember.


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

April 10, 2023

Track List:

01. The Sun Will Rise Again

02. Kaleidoscope

03. Tribute to W. Tx Pianist Doug Smith

04. You Took My Heart With You

05. The Journey

06. Eerie Night

07. Good Feeling

08. Stargazing

09. New Beginnings

10. Breakout

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Michele McLaughlin-Luminous

Release Date: November 25th, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


This will be the seventh release I have listened to and covered by Michele McLaughlin. I had not given it any thought, but she must be the most frequent artist I have had the pleasure of hearing since 2015. Luminous, based on the first glance of the album art, gives the impression of something spiritual coming right from the soul. It is a commonplace for this artist, however. 

Her solo piano works are portraits of a grounded individual with the innate ability to speak to listeners through music.


Michele said this about the new release:

This is a special edition album written and created using a softer and more delicate playing style by utilizing some of the more expressive features of my piano in order to change the tone and timbre of the sound and to illuminate the more expressive aspects of how it can be played. In doing so, I was able to immerse myself into a softer and quieter style of writing to compliment the changing elements of my beautiful piano. The music on this album is themed around different aspects of light and dark.


And indeed, that does put it all into proper perspective. You will feel the sadness of "When You Hurt, I Hurt," and the ever-changing colors of the bright "Kaleidoscope" will lift your spirits. Thus, the experiential journey through the dark and the light. And masterfully depicted may I add. I am not surprised by this in the least. Michele has been one of the most consistent and on-point artists I have enjoyed.


This year, more than any previous, I have heard more sadness in the music. I am sensitive to what is happening worldwide, which certainly has much to do with my perception. I am not mistaken, however, as many artists have released "pandemic" themed recordings. The many pressing issues we now face on our planet reflect our times. Hence the music that you will hear will envelop your consciousness. Even though there is that element of sadness, we can always find hope and healing in this talented individual's simplistic beauty.


With Luminous, you will find the light inside just like Michele did. She offers you that doorway to where it is and helps you realize that music is just a tool to get there. We all have it inside, and some of our light has been extinguished by life events over the last three years that changed us forever. I feel blessed that I have not got sick, lost anyone, and kept my job. That doesn't mean I don't feel the world's pain daily and realize my mortality with each passing year. It makes me very concerned and sad.


Hearing Michele making her way through these ten tracks of instrumental contemporary grace and beauty puts a different perspective on everything. And honestly, that is the goal of any artist, so mission accomplished once again, Michele!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

November 1, 2022


01. Droplets of Grey 5:06

02. When You Hurt, I Hurt 5:12

03. Kaleidoscope 3:56

04. Shimmer 3:20

05. Moonlit Shadows 2:59

06. The Golden Hour 3:43

07. Luminous 3:09

08. Fireflies 3:37

09. Adrift 2:22

10. Lanterns In The Sky 3:40

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Ed Bazel-The London Sessions – Reflections From Studio 2

Release Date: October 7, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


Ed Bazel's The London Sessions – Reflections From Studio 2 is eleven romantic melodies recorded and mastered in June 2022 at Abbey Road Studio 2. 

With November peeking through the doorway and the subsequent winter months ahead in the Northeast, this type of music is comforting, relaxing, and reassuring. The music does warm my soul and heart.


I hold music dear to my heart and with great respect and gratitude. Ed Bazel is a fine pianist. I had the opportunity to enjoy Homecoming nearly three years ago. It was a wonderful experience, and just as the first track, "Morning Glory," began, I knew it would be a similar journey. This is where my reference of reassurance applies once again. Familiar feelings of audio pleasures bring me great joy. The therapy of instrumental piano music with the elegance of strings and some percussion can do wonders for your attitude and well-being. 


This music holds the simplicity of one instrument and its effectiveness to significant effect in every track. Although this is considered a romantic collage, the album art would also hint that the culture of England brings it all full circle when looking at the entire project and absorbing all its elements.


One of my favorites was "After The Rain," and of course, the Beatle's classics "In My Life" and "Yesterday," which are emotional tracks for me. If you are older and your children are gone, and many relatives and loved one's have passed, it hits home. I sang the words to myself as Ed's piano played them perfectly.


I heard some sadness in the piano's keys and then a flow and splendor that gave me moments to pause and find the colorful notes filled with pleasure and hence a surrender to its magnificence. It is like the silver lining in the clouds, they are always there, but you must see them and recognize the importance of the entire picture being painted right before you. You don't have to look too far to see this happening; it is rather apparent quite quickly if you feel the music's mellow approach giving hints of sadness and reflection. It is like a quiet "Evening Stroll" through your mind's eye. The music helps you paint the images within and process them all internally and externally.


Ed Bazel has painted a musical masterpiece that is both timeless and memorable. At times the simple things in life are the medicine we so desperately need in this complex, unforgiving world we live in these days. Moments to pause, reflect, and take stock of what to be grateful for can be a positive experience that will affect you and everyone around you. 


This is a must-have if you enjoy beautiful instrumental music with exceptional production values! To romanticize in the music framework is commonplace; it is another thing to make it into something extraordinary, and Ed Bazel accomplishes that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 27, 2022


01. Morning Glory 2:18

02. Mountain Serenity 3:22

03. In My Life 3:48

04. Old Friends 3:02

05. After The Rain 2:39

06. Soaring 3:24

07. Mountain Joy 2:59

08. Daydream 2:41

09. Evening Stroll 2:42

10. Passages 3:21

11. I Will Think Of You 2:38

12. Yesterday 2:39

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer-Melancholia

Release Date: October 28, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


The definition of Melancholia is severe depression characterized especially by profound sadness and despair. This is the title of Doug Hammer's latest release. Don't let that definition give you the wrong idea about what you will hear; there is more to that.


Doug has released many recordings over the years (14), and I have enjoyed my share dating back to the 2015 release Christmas Lights. I have never heard anything like this artist's 13 tracks on Melancholia.


The title is very descriptive, and the cover depiction is interesting. Looking at the lilies bursting out, the two wilted against the backdrop of a clock indicates the message transmitted. Does this suggest that your happiness can fade like a flower without water (as a matter of reference) over time? Or are we subject to reacting to the events that surround us daily, which include our personal lives and the influx of communications from various electronic means, whether you ask for them or not? I like to think all of the above apply, but that is a personal interpretation.


Doug Hammer's thoughts and feelings regarding this subject matter relating to being melancholy come through the keys of his piano. When you look at the track titles, they also tell a story. The opener, "Darkness Falls," is more than the disappearance of light; it purposefully sets the right tone going forward. There are two other tracks concerning the night as well. "Missing You," "Empty Chair," and "Farewell" also have a significant meaning and impact on the perception of a prospective listener. And that is the way this is intended. Although life has its beautiful times and memories that we can relive in our minds, we all fall upon darkness more than once in this life.


I don't think the intent here is not to depress anyone; it is about feelings I am sure we all have felt over the last three years due to the pandemic, inflation, and an ongoing war in Ukraine. Some, I am sure, have been overwhelmed and distraught. We all feel it in different ways. 


This music is simplistic yet effective in gently asking you to reflect, look inward at your soul, and be honest with how you feel. Once you take that step forward, the process begins. That process can vary, again, depending on who you are. For me, any of this kind of process is like healing. The music beckons me to listen, letting it take me away. That is as simple as it gets, for me, anyway.


Let me put this into perspective from where I sit. When you are "Winding Down," and it's "Almost Midnight," it is time to say "Farewell." My point here is that words and music, used correctly, can be so powerful and have meaning for so many people. In the case of Doug Hammer and his contemporary instrumental tracks from Melancholia, that very idea and journey are lived through each of us. This is soothing and thoughtful music to listen to at any time. That fact alone should tell you how sound this recording is.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

October 24, 2022


01. Darkness Falls 4:08 

02. The Long Night 3:17 

03. Long Ago 2:29 

04. Just A Memory 3:14 

05. Laika 2:29 

06. Monsieur Barre’s Carousel 1:58 

07. Empty Chair 2:32 

08. Missing You 2:53 

09. Dancing Alone 3:01 

10. Letting Go 4:10 

11. Winding Down 2:23 

12. Almost Midnight 2:56 

13. Farewell 2:41

Contemporary Instrumental Review: Vicente Avella-Physics of Light

Release Date: August 8, 2022

Label:  Pandora’s Boombox Records


Physics of Light is about many things besides what the title would indicate. For Vicente Avella, there is a story behind the music; there always is. If you have a curious disposition and want to know the how and why of a recording, then you will love the story behind the music. 

Vicente recorded during COVID. For most artists, this was a blessing in disguise if it did not affect them in other ways, like contracting the virus or losing someone because of it. It was an opportunity for this artist to do all the recording himself because everything was closed. So, he went to the Boston GP 163 piano to start his process. The piano he had wanted to play to record on for some time.

It was destiny, and Physics of Light was born. Sixteen tracks of instrumental piano music to calm the nerves and refresh your being are now alive and well for everyone to enjoy.

The recording started with some trepidation from Vicente, but he did a fine job and then sent it off to be mastered. And now he has this beautiful recording, knowing he does not need a studio to get an album done. The world works in mysterious ways; there was a roadblock at the time. After further investigation and taking a chance, another door opened. He just needed the faith to walk through it.

What I found interesting was the thought that went into the entire presentation. The artwork Vicente envisioned was to be something that Da Vinci had created. If you are familiar with that, the attained visual is perfect. It had to be scientifically and mathematically correct, so he had it checked by a composition student and now who is also a Physicist. After that, an artist in Italy (of course) was commissioned to take Vicente’s chicken scratch and make it look like a work of Da Vinci’s. Once again, it hit the mark. It was essential to convey the images and thought process encompassing all aspects of light while listening. Then looking at the track titles and hearing how they came out in the audio spectrum is the next step. It is up to you to delve further to compare the similarities or differences between the two ranges.

So, for me, the listener and reviewer, reading about the story was fascinating and made the music more enjoyable and thoughtful. Yes, it is very scientific, and there was a process; however, once you hear the music and its sheer beauty and simple perfection, you will wholeheartedly agree that this makes sense in all its totality.

Sometimes I wonder what else to say about another solo piano instrumental album. The truth is, I always find enjoyment and something new. My fascination with how this all came together and the thought and care that went into making it a “complete” artistic rendering of audio recordings was the key that unlocked my mind. It all connects and makes sense. And to think one man’s fascination with the Physics of Light could create such beauty and picturesque sounds through one instrument. It was a lonely process, but that is the X factor in creating a successful recording. It would be best if you were alone with your thoughts, the process of creation, and no distractions to take you off the course that brings it all home.

Vicente Avella has triumphed over all the obstacles to release one of the most rewarding albums of his career. And for the listeners and followers, this is to be enjoyed for many years. Physics of Light will be your beacon to some well-deserved musical fulfillment and relaxation.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 13, 2022

Track List:

01. LIGHT PARTICLES                            

02. RADIANCE                                       


04. ULTRAVIOLET                                  

05. OSCURO                                          

06. RESISTANCE                                    

07. COLOR SPECTRUM                          

08. CLARO                                             

09. PENUMBRA                                     

10. REFLECTION                                  

11. INTERMEZZO                                

12. OPAQUE OBJECT                                    

13. UMBRA                                         

14. INFRARED                                     

15. ANTUMBRA