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

Contemporary New Age Instrumental: Michael Borowski-Gardens of Zion in the Rain

Release Date: March 4th, 2022

Label:  ‎Independent


A lot of the music I enjoy hearing is solo piano music. Many people would think that music like this would not have too much variation. If that thought ever crossed your mind, you can dispose of that right now. It has been my experience over many years of hearing this kind of music; each track receives definition by its sound and voice, and how that reaches you some way. The piano is a fantastic instrument when it finds the right hands to manipulate those white and black keys.

Michael Borowski is one of those artists that creates his compositions and plays with his definitive style. Gardens of Zion in the Rain are eleven tracks of contemporary new age instrumental or crossover classical. Anyone appreciating instrumental music would find joy and complete satisfaction in one listen. The term contemporary new age instrumental is interchangeable frequently with crossover classical. The crossover into the range of relaxation and the beauty of spiritualism is vital within the music.

Will Ackerman said, "Michael plays brilliantly, but his heart gives all of us a view into the human soul." How true that statement relates to what I was feeling and how the genre is strong on the spiritual end of the musical spectrum. It is accurate from my listening experiences how this music moves you. Michael's rhythmic and flowing playing is like a river running its course unencumbered and taking the twists and turns necessary to be flowing consistently and strongly at all times.

The album was produced by Ackerman and mastered by his leading man Tom Eaton, who Co-produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album. It has been one of the most effective combinations in recorded music for quite some time. The process these folks go through has made Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios an iconic site to visit to make their music a reality. The Executive producer was Michael Whalen, another great musician, composer, and producer of his music. I can see that this would be a dream team for any artist seeking to get the music out properly with the most refined sound possible. Their mission was accomplished.

Tracks like "This Is My Song - Frick's Field" and the rolling rhythm provided by Michael's talented fingers are one of many highlights in an album full of the amazing grace of this man's exceptional artistry on the piano. And the title track "Gardens of Zion in the Rain" radiates and electrifies a listener in all of its pure joy and shining light. It is so healing to listen to this music. Even though it could have many uses, such as meditation, just listening without a purpose is a beautiful experience as well.

If you can envision long or short walks in nature on a sunny or rainy day, then you can look at the cover art and understand what has inspired this artist to make such gorgeous music for us all to enjoy. If you appreciate the music you can fall into without words or any particular thought, then Gardens of Zion in the Rain is your one-way ticket to the bliss you may be seeking.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

March 6, 2022

01. Gloriana (3:26)
02. Brotherly Love (5:06)
03. This Is My Song - Frick's Field (5:09)
04. Penn's Woods (3:38)
05. Gardens Of Zion In The Rain (6:33)
06. Bella (3:51)
07. Adrian's Hat (2:29)
08. Jaxson's Creek (4:33)
09. Bees (3:34)
10. Time After Time (3:47) (Lauper/Hyman)
11. April Mourning (1:59)

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: David J. Pena-Winds of Change

Release Date: September 17, 2021

Label:  ‎Independent


Nearly one year ago I felt the joy of listening to David J. Pena on his Thinking of You release. Once again, his energetic, cinematic, beautiful piano playing reaches new heights on Winds of Change.

The title of the recording is very appropriate for our times. Chances are you have come across similarly addressed albums. I most certainly have and feel it is quite appropriate. Over the past two years, we have been in a whirlwind of change, that is continuing. As the earth rotates so do our lives and the musical projects we are gifted with on a regular basis.

From the majestic title track filled with sounds of lightning, you will feel the impact of this music from start to finish. It is all at once anticipatory, filled with the colors of a 4th of July celebration and the conquering sounds of drums after making it yet again to the highest peak on a seemingly impossible climb at the start. Yes, this is inspirational music that excites, brims with confidence, and fills your heart with joy and hope.

In a world where we can get information in seconds and ruin an individual’s life with a sentence on social media, we all need to slow down, reset, and remember from whence we came. Maybe “Someday” we will all take stock of our lives and realize what is really important. And tracks like that give you the clearing of the consciousness and the ability to see what is in front of you and beyond, casting aside the clutter that pummels us every day everywhere we look. It seems inescapable however we do have a choice to flip that switch and let artists like David J. Pena work his magic through those wondrous ivory keys.

The Winds of Change are coming through every day and we can embrace it or walk against its force. I for one wish to listen, try to understand it, how it affects my daily life and reality, and how I as an individual can help push the change along with a little help from our friends. Thank you once again David for brightening my day and creating a clear sky with sparkling shining stars to gaze at and witness the miracle of life and wonders that are given to us. Through music, we can all heal. Now is the time to “Take Flight” and go on your “Wise Men’s Journey.”

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
September 13, 2021

01. Homecoming
02. Awakening
3. The Arrival
04. Remember When
005. Winds Of Change
06. Someday
07. Windy Shadows
08. Willow
09. Wise Men’s Journey
10. Take Flight

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Timothy Crane-Halo

Release Date: January 22, 2021

Label: Independent



As we work our way back to some kind of normalcy after the worldwide devastation of Covid, who do we have to thank for surviving it, keeping a job, and getting vaccinated? Timothy Crane knows all the angels that sacrificed all of their time and lives to help others. In dedication to that special group of people in healthcare or any other industry, he has dedicated his most recent release Halo. And for those of you, and there are many, that lost a loved one or are digging out of a hole financially, there is hope in the music and love and help from so many giving people and institutions, so let the music direct you to that.

My last encounter with Timothy’s music was in 2017 with

The Fall of a Sparrow. Three years is a good stretch in between albums from an only listening perspective. I of course enjoyed the last piano-inspired journey and would expect nothing less on this listen. The expectation of hearing something I know I will enjoy is comforting and having that link and or familiarity with an artist. It is that much more natural to let yourself melt into the music. It is a mind, body, and spirit melt if you will.

As I was looking through the tracks my attention was drawn to “The Boxer.” Ahh…instant recognition to Simon and Garfunkel. This was a great choice and addition to anyone’s list of tracks. The interesting part will be his take on that track.

The album starts off most beautifully with “Waterfall Secrets” and sets the tone and atmosphere just right for the rest of the tracks. The title track “Halo” clocks in at 9:50 and is absolutely gorgeous. I kept getting the chill you get when something really strikes you as special, a moment in time that is captured directly from the aural soundscape that is surrounding you. This is something that happens often enough but I still consider it special, a blessed moment to remember. This is a prolific track and it surely came from the heart and soul of a gifted artist.

As listeners and seekers of a natural therapeutic, we all must remember the healing power of music, especially the instrumental variety with the foundation of a new age mindset and a contemporary approach and classically influenced sound. This is Contemporary New Age Instrumental or for those of you that prefer brevity, instrumental piano will do. It is all of those things but much more can be held dear to your heart if you believe why the artist created this music and appreciate who he dedicated it to.

Many of these tracks have a mesmerizing effect like the first two. Then with the third track “The One About Light,” fits the description perfectly. It has a light and airy feel to it. I felt waves of happiness and the coolness of air against my skin on a hot summer day. Something that could happen on an evening walk, which is very simple and normal, yet something recognizable, enjoyable, and appreciated even more now because of this music engaging me with those thoughts.

Those are just a few of the things that can happen for you if you are an attentive listener and let yourself flow along with the music, taking the journey, your own film flickering through your mind’s eye. It is a beautiful thing isn’t it now?

Getting back to “The Boxer,” it is done with great care and a wonderful tribute to the original. I found myself singing along to it. It is an epic track full of the right amount of emphasis and a musical statement that deserves all of the accolades for being so spot on and moving. This was an unusual treat, being a Simon and Garfunkel fan from way back, it was easy for me to appreciate. These piano instrumental-based albums do not have covers like that included normally. It was a definitive step away from the norm but it also showed the diversity of Timothy’s abilities to jump from one type of style to another with ease.

I must also mention the superb orchestrations on these tracks. One of the good examples is “Cards.” It sounds like a stirring movie soundtrack or something that would accompany a nature or wildlife documentary with majestic mountain peaks, flora and fauna, and the great creatures that inhabit those environments. It is so inspirational and uplifting, as a matter of fact, Halo is exceptional in that frame of reference in many instances during this recording.

Halo will be a great addition to any music collection. It is music for any setting and not just for something nice to have to play in the background, this is music that will lift you up and keep you there from beginning to end. If you are not listening and paying attention to all of the sounds and vibrations emerging from your speakers you would have lost the entire meaning of this album. When it was over, I had one succinct feeling, gratitude.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 7, 2021

01. Waterfall Secrets
02. Halo
03. The One About Light
04. The Boxer
05. Cards
06. Uberchic
07. Southern Steps
08. Chelsea Walk
09. Tenants of the Heather
10. Covenant
11. I-70 Sojourn
12. Solaris

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Force For Good-Innocence

Release Date: February 1, 2021

Label: Sprout Recordings


I had the pleasure of listening to and covering the Force For Good release Passions nearly one year ago. This is a group founded by Jonathan Sprout.

And just as I mentioned in that review, a new album would be forthcoming in February of 2021. They are right on schedule with his latest instrumental recording Innocence. That word is one that I did not hear in 2020. It was just the opposite all year long. How could you focus on the innocence of a child, or a beautiful animal with the world in turmoil? These things I am sure were presented to us at one time or another during the year. That is a decision we all can make to enjoy those pleasures in life regardless of what is going on around us or is on the news 24/7. If you need some music to help you I have just the right prescription.

We are going through a fundamental change worldwide, although I am unsure of where it all will end, I have hope in humanity, our resilience and common sense collectively. Music is the healer and it always has been, although I did not come to that realization until I reached adult life and was presented with spiritual music to gather my thoughts and emotions to change my outlook, only then would it change significantly.

So, what does all this have to do with the music of Force For Good and the album Innocence you may ask? It is the natural elegance of contemporary new age instrumental that brings all of these thoughts and emotions to the forefront and I feel compelled to share it. As this musician is immersed in his music and the meaning of it all, my experience follows that process. For me as a listener this all intersects and merges into one thought process and translates to spiritual awareness and growth.

I think many listeners looking for enlightenment and healing will find it in Innocence. In that one word we can find love, spirituality, humor, happiness, and above all a slice of heaven we all can use to our benefit.

There are fourteen tracks on the album and consistency and the flow prove to be some of Jonathan’s best work to date. Potential listeners must look at each track title and listen carefully to what is inside the music that relates to that inference. “Adirondack” which is the longest track clocking in at 8:19, is the culmination of one man’s beliefs, process, and innermost thoughts that drive the creative process. Certainly, the track is a tribute to the Adirondack Mountains and the essence of its natural beauty, colors, sounds, and the awesome power of natural occurrences and wildlife that populate the area. I believe the track captures the spirit of all of those thoughts within the song and because there is so much to discover in those mountains, he had to make sure the track flowed and gave the listener a glimpse of beauty held within nature.

Another high point was the orchestrations in “Plastic.” This is one that would be well suited for a soundtrack or documentary on our environment. The apex comes just before the four-minute mark and will leave you floating on a cloud as it transitions back in the softer layers of the track. “Oceans” was impressive as well with so many changes and the varied instrumentation made it inspiring and unforgettable.

Those are a few examples of a masterful performance and significant achievement for Jonathan Sprout and A Force For Good, it is what we need for these times. Innocence will surely be recognized as one of the best releases this year in the genre of contemporary new age instrumentals.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
January 31, 2021

Track List:

01. Natural    3:12
02. Uplifters    3:51
03. Reverence    7:10
04. Vinyasa    6:17
05. Wilderness    4:07
06. Adirondack    8:16
07. Hunger    4:25
08. Plastic    5:46
09. Homeless    7:10
10. Oceans    5:20
11. Wind    3:10
12. Force - Acoustic Version    0:15
13. For - Acoustic Version    0:22
14. Good - Acoustic Version    0:31

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Louis Anthony deLise-Natural Light

Release Date: July 1, 2019
Label: Bocage Records

My very first journey into the music of Louis Anthony deLise proved to be quite special. Natural Light is a stunning recording. Right from the outset, I was mesmerized by this music.

Excerpt From Artist Website: Louis Anthony deLise is an award-winning composer, record producer, arranger, and conductor. His compositions for soloists and ensembles have been recorded and are often performed worldwide. His arranging and conducting work appear on albums alongside that of many of the world’s top pop artists including, Carlos Santana, Sheila E., Wynonna Judd, Kanye West, CeCe Winans, and Paul Shaffer.

That is enough to pique any music lovers’ interest I would think? With one look at the artwork on the cover of this CD, and I could tell the right message was being relayed to a perspective audience and more importantly to me, the next listener.

All of the instrumentation is incredibly good. Louis plays the acoustic piano, amongst other things, quite brilliantly. And it does not hurt to have on hand Jeff Oster (trumpet), Nancy Rumbel (oboe and English horn), Christine Hansen (flute and alto flute) and Marjam Ingolffson (cello) added to mix to complete each individual track with taste and preciseness. 

“Spring Rain” was the first track that gave me the warm and fuzzy feelings of satisfaction. The rain in spring by definition brings the hope of a new day, sunshine and the coming of summer, flowers blooming and all the trees turning green. With added sounds of nature on the track, I felt like I was inside the song, living the moment within the time and space that mother nature does her work. It’s a beautiful thing to understand and accept how we are intrinsically linked to the earth and all living things.

“Autumn Twilight” brings another season as the leaves turn, the air gets crisper and the colors are vibrant along roadsides and in the mountains of the Northeast. I live it every year and absolutely love it. Ask any New Englander what is their favorite season and I bet they say the fall. Then, of course, the imminent old man winter comes in to freeze the earth and put our grand Mother into hibernation on “Winter’s Chill.” The progression of the tracks is perfect, in sync with the balance of nature and most certainly with this listener. 

After all, this is the reason I was so taken right away listening to this album, its musical perfection as far as I am concerned. There probably is not a musician in the world that would say their music is perfect but from where I sit, all I needed to hear was the 11 tracks of new age instrumentals. The occasional elements of jazz painted in and around the canvas of this musical vision made it all even tastier. It is a picture I would want to look at more than once and so will you once you hear it!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 11, 2019
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Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. Mosaic (album version featuring Nancy Rumbel)
02. In the Edge of the Water (piano solo)
03. Spring Rain (album version featuring Jeff Oster)
04. Variations on Moonlight (piano solo)
05. Early January
06. And Then She Was Gone (piano solo)
07. Autumn Twilight (album version featuring Nancy Rumbel)
08. American Darkness (piano solo)
09. Winter’s Chill
10. But Not Forgotten (piano solo)
11. Natural Light

Contemporary New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Dulin-My Beloved

Release Date: January 20, 2015
Label: Indie

Michael Dulin has released several recordings over the years but never one as personal as My Beloved. It is his special ode to his wife.

Dulin’s style is flowing and purposeful and it always has been on all of his releases. He is an extremely talented pianist that is adept at translating his feelings through the ivory keys.

Each track focuses on an enduring love and the beauty and passion that it can bring in a couple’s life. Relationships are a work in progress and too many people run away at the onset of difficulties. This is a testament to his commitment to marriage and his wife.

“Beloved” is the most poignant and meaningful to the artist and as a listener I can understand why. Its sheer beauty and magnificence transcends all barriers and time becomes merely a concept to ponder.
“Devotion” has a title alone that supports the meaning of holy matrimony. It is the perfect follow up to “Beloved.” It goes hand in hand with the meaning and purpose of this recording.

The album closer “Rhapsody” exudes clarity and beauty with a definite accent on the different colors a musician such as Dulin can create within the music. The pace creates joy and peace but it maintains an energy and buoyancy that closes out the album with strength and definition.

Michael Dulin has produced a brilliant palette of tasteful instrumentals that brings one instrument to the forefront without a single distraction. The only focus is the piano and I found it very enjoyable and quite amazing how one remarkable instrument can convey so many emotions and a lifetime of love and devotion.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Beloved, Devotion, Rhapsody

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

December 14, 2014

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