Showing posts with label Michael Whalen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Whalen. 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

Instrumental Ambient Track Review: Michael Whalen-Phonic (Summer Flight Series)

Release Date: August 27, 2021

Label:  ‎myndstream


“Phonic” from the Summer Song Flight release on the myndstream label, is Michael Whalen’s new featured track.

I have always thought Michael was one of the most innovative and eclectic artists I have listened to over the years. He continues to surprise and delight with refreshing combinations of sounds, colors, and instrumentation on” Phonic.”

On the pastel colored cover, with the welcome mat at the doorway reading the label's name (look closely), and the door to new sounds and the anticipation of those sounds, you feel the energy rise as the track plays.

This is different, with bells and all kinds of layers devised by Michael and his massive array of keyboards and synths.

You did again for me Michael, I love it!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
September 2, 2021

Ambient Electronic Review: Michael Whalen Sacred Spaces

Release Date: March 6, 2020
Label: Solace/Myndstream

This will be my third voyage with Michael Whalen. I previously enjoyed Kiss The Quiet in 2018 and Cupid Blindfolded in 2019. Now his most recent work Sacred Spaces has filled my living space. I say with that with all of the sincerity I can muster. This is ambient electronic music with a definitive new age spirit and temperament, just the way I like it.

When I first started this voyage exploring new age music it was only that, one genre, it has grown and branched off into many pleasurable sub-genres. This one of those albums that branch off of the new age mindset and approach. It explores all the electronic and ambient textures and colors within each track that a mixture of genres could possibly offer.

The very first track sets the tone for the entire album. “A Metaphysical Morning” is an apt title for the track and it sets you up for relaxation, deep relaxation…if you choose to let it take you there. I will do all that once I leave this space of consciousness of actually discussing the music with potential listeners. Those of you that have already listened, you will click with what I have to say.

This surely is Sacred Spaces. As the music progresses each track unfolds a new and interesting path of sounds to let your consciousness absorb. This is so beautiful and inviting I am sure you could reach another plane of existence or an out of body experience with these sounds and vibrations. After all, isn’t that what our mind, body, and spirit react to on a daily basis? It is the yin and yang of our spiritual and physical existence. Thanks to the music and extraordinary artists like Michael Whalen for these gifts, these ultimate realizations I find in the music become my reality.

The array of keyboards Michael uses for this project is quite impressive. I can see why there is so much going on in each track. There is no surprise that sound is so terrific with Tom Eaton at the helm doing the mastering, he is a true craftsman and artist in his own right. If you listen to tracks like “1000 Paper Cranes” you can hear the exceptional musicianship that comes together and fine production values intersecting. That is with any track actually, that one happens to be one of my favorites.

I always end up coming back to the greats of instrumental electronic music such as Jarre, Kitaro, and my all-time favorite Tangerine Dream. I know it may sound redundant but for me it’s comforting and makes my heart smile when I can relate to music in that capacity and perhaps some of you will too, and seek out the artists I mentioned for more of this kind of experience.

Sacred Spaces is very interesting in that it was years in the making as it started off as a classical project then morphed into a modern montage of electronic beauty. Indeed, the music is sacred as the picture on the cover of the CD depicts. It is quite fitting for what you will hear on this fantastic recording.

The years and music pile up like a bookshelf you continue to fill. As long as it remains a passion and you hold a deep reverence for the music, the books (of music) and the shelf never gather any dust.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
May 21, 2020

Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Track List:
1. A Metaphysical Morning
  2. Sacred Spaces
  3. Ordinary Miracles
  4. 1000 Paper Cranes
  5. The Pure and the Calm
  6. The Inbetween
  7. Devotion
  8. In the Footsteps of the Blessed
  9. The After Life

Instrumental Piano/New Age Review: Michael Whalen-Cupid Blindfolded

Release Date: July 12, 2019
Label: Real Music

There is nothing better than an instrumental piano recording when you need to relax. I hear a lot of this music all year long and never tire of it because of the multitude of value it provides. It can offer total relaxation during a quiet time you have every day or evening, or provide beneficial focus and help you clear a cluttered mind, or simply invite you into a meditative state.

My introduction to Michael’s music was the 2018 release Kiss The Quiet. I thought that was an ingenious title for the recording and it fit the music like well-worn jeans. I think we have the same instance with the newest edition to his catalog, Cupid Blindfolded.

An artist like Michael Whalen is at the forefront of the Instrumental New Age/Piano genre. You have to be on top of your game to compete with similar artists and capture the imagination of the listeners.

For me, the first thing I take a good look at is the album cover. With the title being Cupid Blindfolded, that is the first thing you see. It is nothing that makes you think too hard or plays tricks on your eyes. Sometimes that is appropriate and is just right for the music, in this case, that is a perfect match.

Cupid may be blindfolded but if she opens her eyes, she can see through the thin red veil that is wrapped around her head. That is a clue as far as I am concerned. People, in general, may have a “veil” of some sort over their eyes but all it takes is for them to open their eyes to see right through it, right? This is a conceptual frame of mind I am coming from. Music and images tell a story and I have found that if there are no words set to the music, it can still relay a powerful message. As I always say, it is up to each listener to decide what the music means to them or could mean to them at first glance of the image.

Cupid Blindfolded is 10 tracks of exceptional solo instrumental piano music. The album has a steady flow to it, like a river after it rains, it moves right along with that sort of momentum. Each melody intrinsically connects to the next one, like mother nature at work in a musical sense of the word.

Talented ivory ticklers like Michael Whalen should have ample opportunities to license their music for a multitude of areas including soundtracks for commercials, documentaries, etc. I do want to stress that this music is first and foremost for a listener to enjoy any time of day or evening, and course the previously mentioned uses it can afford.

Cupid Blindfolded is an excellent group of tracks and it went by much too fast for me. When an album is really good and it catches my ear, it has a strong meaning for me personally. And that is the way it works and that’s a good thing!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
July 5, 2019
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. Cupid Blindfolded
02. All of My Heart All of My Soul
03. Reflection of My Affection
04. Sunrise in the Desert
05. The Muse
06. At the Touch of a Lover
07. Standing in the Rain
08. Serendipity
09. Isle of Skye
10. City of Lights