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

Audio Fidelity Inks Licensing Deal With Will Ackerman's West River Records

Ackerman's Grammy winning "Returning" coming on 180g vinyl for the 1st time!

Camarillo, CA - Marshall Blonstein, president of Audio Fidelity is pleased to announce an agreement with Will Ackerman and his West River Records. The agreement calls for Audio Fidelity, in conjunction with West River Records, to release the first 180g vinyl pressing of Ackerman's 2005 Grammy award winning recording, "Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004." Ackerman is universally recognized as the preeminent pioneer in the new age music movement, and the founder of Windham Hill Records.

In 2004, after years of growth and introspection, Ackerman re-recorded an album of his best-known songs. A greatest hits collection of all new performances.  The playing and recording of these New Age instrumentals are sharper now than on those original Windham Hill classics and Ackerman's most popular compositions have rarely sounded as poignant.

Blonstein felt one of the elements of working with Will Ackerman that would have great appeal to Audio Fidelity's music fans were simple words Will spoke at the time of the recording about why he wanted to make the album. "Today I'm recording in my own Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County, Vermont on utterly state of the art digital equipment. It all brings me closer to what I hear as I sit alone and play; touching the sound as it literally moves through my body as well as my ears. I guess I am trying to find a sound that lets you hear what I hear."

Will's goal was to take a series of 11 favorite songs and record them for posterity in a way that reflects the emotional nuances, precision, and maturing beauty they've picked up along the road. He includes the graceful and lushly melodic "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter," the sweet and melancholy "Anne's Song", and two peaceful early gems from 1970, "Pictures" and "Barbara's Song." Some were written as celebrations ("Unconditional"), others as elegies ("The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit"), but all are intricate snapshots of a vastly influential musical life that keeps inventive to this day.


Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter
Anne's Song
The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit
Hawk Circle

Side 2
Barbara's Song
In a Region of Clouds
Last Day at the Beach

Will Ackerman official website:

For more information:

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158,

Music News: Russell Suereth Creates A Spiritual Haven For New Age Listeners

New York, NY-September 15, 2015-Russell Suereth released his maiden voyage into the new age world music genre this spring with Spiritual Haven.

He created the Spiritual Haven album to provide a place where people can go to relax, and connect to their own spirit.

Russell commented: I feel there’s a connection between our life today, and the vast stream of human existence that came before us. In many ways, our spirit can help us make that ancient connection. In this album, I focused on ancient and traditional instruments to set a tone. Then I sprinkled in modern instruments and synths to contrast old against new. My goal was to create music that connects to your spirit, and connects to that ancient existence.

Based on the reception he has received for the release and all the positive reviews there is valid evidence that his final goal was accomplished and many souls were touched by the music. Spiritual Haven ushered in a new direction for Suereth. Previously he had released contemporary rock and pop music however he found that there were many elements and influences that pulled him towards creating this music.

This has to be one of the most fascinating and cleverly woven albums that I have had the pleasure to listen to for some years.” –  
Steve Sheppard, One World Music (OWM)

“One of the best New Age albums of the year … a masterpiece” –  
Robert Steven Silverstein,

Spiritual Haven was composed and performed by Suereth with Assistant Production provided by Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck and final mastering by renowned engineer Tom Eaton, who works with Will Ackerman at the famous Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont where many artists go to record their music.

Spiritual Haven combines relaxing and spiritual sounds with new age and world elements. The final result is an eclectic mix that is not easy to define specifically to one genre. This factor helps the artist to stand out amongst the many different artists creating similar music. Although the two main genres are dominant it has the ability to cross over and appeal to a wider audience. Music such as this can serve as a guide to a meditative state or just a nice soundtrack to casually relax to. Either way it is a spiritual or contemplative journey that provides so much joy and wonder from start to finish that you will feel compelled to return again and again for more listens.

Russell Suereth is dedicated to his craft and has worked tirelessly to create awareness about Spiritual Haven. Once you listen to the recording you will understand the concept and reasoning behind the intent of this prolific release. Listeners are anticipating more from Russell Suereth in the future and certainly he intends to provide more spiritual journeys soon but until then give Spiritual Haven your undivided attention, you will not regret it.

Contact: Russell Suereth
Location: New York, NY

Russell Suereth Releases Video Documenting Spiritual Haven Album

September 1, 2015-New York, NY-With the release of Spiritual Haven this year recording artist Russell Suereth broke new ground. Entering the world of new age and world music was big change for the former rock and pop artist. That step has brought the artist to new heights and success in the world of recordings.
The album features 12 diverse and moving tracks that engage the senses and allow you look inward and find yourself in another time and place. 

Russell Commented: I wanted to provide my listeners with something that would really help them see the story in the album. I had done a few radio programs about the journey inside the album, but I didn’t feel that it really hit home for my listeners.

So along those lines he decided to engage his audience and potential listeners through a video storybook.

Russell wanted to have the story narrated and felt having another voice tell the story was more appropriate. A friend suggested Steve Sheppard of One World Music and things began to take shape.

So now with the video released listeners are invited to a guided tour through what the album has to offer. In essence the video provides a holistic spiritual voyage for the listener while expanding the breadth of the new age experience. And finally, it combines the original music of the Spiritual Haven album, and the story of the journey inside, to form a creative work that is new and memorable.
Music, spiritual destinations, meditation and new journeys are all part of the Spiritual Haven experience and with the release of the narrated video any one appreciative of those healing practices will find enjoyment viewing the video stream.
Contact: Russell Suereth
Location: New York, NY

20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition Begins

April 29, 2015

 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition Begins

Song entries are being accepted for the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Entrants vie for a top prize of $50,000 worth of cash and merchandise. Winning songs will receive radio airplay. 15 different song categories include Pop, Rock/Alt, Folk, R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Instrumental, etc.

USA Songwriting Competition is sponsored by: Sony, D'Addario Strings, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, New Music Weekly, Loggins Promotion, Airplay Access, D'Addario strings, PRS Guitars, Audio-Technica, Full Compass Music Stores, Propellerheads, Presonus, Notion Software, Sonoma Wireworks, IK Multimedia, Alfred Music, Sonicbids and more. 

USA Songwriting Competition has a long history of having winners getting recording and publishing contracts, have their songs placed on the charts as well as having their songs placed on film and television. The 2013 top winner "American Authors" hit #1 on the Billboard Charts and went double platinum, selling over 2 million copies. The 2014 top winners Justine and Kerris Dorsey (pictured) had their winning song "Best Worst Day Ever" placed in a Box Office Hit Movie "Alexander the Terrible..." Starring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carrell.

The top two winners of 2011: Nenna Yvonne and Alexander Cardinale were signed to Interscope Records after their win. The 2007 winner hit Top 10 on the Billboard charts with his winning song. The 2005 Winner of the Country category had his winning song cut by Country Superstar Faith Hill. The 2005 winner of the Pop category was signed by Interscope Records; she went on to hit Top 10 on the Billboard 200 Album charts. Our 2008 winner appeared on David Letterman TV show and was signed to a record label.

In it’s landmark 20th year, the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is currently accepting entries from now till May 29, 2015. For more information, visit:

Music Industry Veteran Launches New Music Pre-Production Service For Indie Artists

Boston, MA-April 23, 2015-Long time music industry journalist and webmaster Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck has launched a service to help Indie Artists in the early stages of recording their music.

To date Hannaleck has been involved in three projects with more lining up, from beginning to end in helping artists to create their albums. Tracks are evaluated in their most rudimentary form for the artists. The input is invaluable at the beginning stages all the way to the final mastering and sequencing. 

The process goes through four stages and can last anywhere from 1 to 3 months or longer.

Russ Suereth Commented:  Keith was patient during the initial creation process. I must say that the initial drafts were not great, because I was still trying to find my place within this new space. Keith was there to help guide my focus to an area that listeners were expecting to hear, and once I got on track I was able to take off on my own. Keith helped with a few final thoughts at the end, and also provided thoughtful and detailed descriptions of the tracks. They were very helpful in marketing my music to other people in the industry.

Any artist would benefit from Keith’s insights, experience, and deep knowledge of music and the greater music industry.

Hannaleck currently runs 4 different blogs that concentrate on music, Write A Music Review, Prog Rock Music Talk, New Age Music Reviews and Rate The Tracks. He has been in the music industry for over 16 years and is the founder of the website which went offline last year due to an ownership change. That did not deter the man from carrying on and he continued to be a relevant part of the online music industry contributing music reviews with his staff and posting streaming media and news.

Regarding The Pre-Production Service Hannaleck States-The goal is to provide each artist with an honest assessment of each individual track. A further recommendation for additional instruments or removal of the same helps to make the tracks better in sound and overall texture and presentation. After several iterations of evaluations and short reviews of each track the end result should be a complete album ready for final mastering. My knowledge and connections in the music industry will assist the artist in taking their music to the next level and making recommendations for mastering and publicity.

This Pre-Production service is one that is greatly needed in the highly competitive and at times confusing music industry. Experience, honesty and a straightforward approach is something that is an invaluable resource that any artist seeks. Hannaleck hopes to make this service an integral part of the industry for years to come. All of the sites, social networks and services are available to access on one page at

Contact: Keith Hannaleck

Kitaro: Nature and Sound Dream As One

By Jeff Kaliss

Source Link 


His reputation as a founding father of New Age music is something Kitaro accepts, and arguably cashes in on, but really doesn’t have much use for as a creative artist. In fact, it’s something of a relief, at age 61, to be blurring genre boundaries with his first-ever Symphonic World Tour, launching on Valentine’s Day with the help of the Santa Rosa Symphony, at Weill Hall, a short drive from the home and studio he shares in Sebastopol with his musician wife, Keiko Takahashi. The concert is a benefit for the Sonoma Land Trust, the Symphony’s educational programs, the Everybody Is a Star Foundation, which links special-needs kids to entertainment professionals. 

Born Masanori Takahashi in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan, Kitaro left home in his teens to become a songwriter, guitarist, and keyboard player with rock sensibilities. While touring with the Far East Family Band, he was introduced to an early synthesizer and German electronica by Tangerine Dream veteran Klaus Schulze. Kitaro launched his own career, and an important contribution to what would be called New Age, with a couple of solo albums and the soundtrack to an NHK Tokushu documentary series, The Silk Road. His global fame was furthered by a deal with Geffen Records and a collaboration with Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart. Kitaro’s soundtrack for Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War feature Heaven & Earth won a Golden Globe in 1993, just before his signing with Domo Records, based in Los Angeles and Sonoma. Since New Age became a Grammy Awards category in 1987, Kitaro received nominations a record-setting 15 times, and a win for Thinking of You in 2001. Two days after this year’s Grammys, where the tux-bedecked Kitaro was nominated yet again for Final Call (Domo Records, 2013), he shared a bento lunch and conversation still influenced by his native tongue, at Masa Sushi in Novato, with SFCV and his close friend and Domo Records executive Howard Sapper. (Eva Sapper, Howard’s daughter, is a singer diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child and the inspiration for the Everybody Is a Star Foundation.)

Tell me about the Santa Rosa program.
Harold Sapper: We’re doing 12 pieces of music.

Kitaro: We have from Kojiki, which was several weeks on the Billboard [pop] charts, in 1990 [unusual for a New Age album]. The theme is the genesis of the world, to remind us how the world should be. And we’ll do Thinking of You, which won a Grammy. And from Silk Road, the title song we’ll do. First part is with synthesizers, then change to the Symphony. We’ll have four keyboards; two are my signature sound, analog, and two are digital, but still old, not too fancy. [He notes that he favors Korg synthesizers, and that he advised Tustomo Kaito, Korg’s chairman, on modifications of the instrument.] 

HS: It’s been a long time since we played at home, so it’s a coming-out party for him, with all proceeds going back to the community. We’re protecting nature — Kitaro is a person whose life is really inspired by nature — and taking care of two forms of gifted youth: the classically trained, and those with development delays who are gifted in music. It’ll also be a baptism of fire, but [the Symphony players] have had the score for maybe three weeks, and should be well-prepared. We’re going to rehearse for three hours in the afternoon, perform at night, and then leave one day later for St. Petersburg. Then we’re going to Ukraine, Istanbul, Belarus, Poland, Romania, and a whole layover in Southeast Asia — each of those nights with a different orchestra.  

Kitaro, four of your Grammy nominations were for the first four albums in your series The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai. Please say more about that. 

Kitaro is a person whose life is really inspired by nature — and taking care of two forms of gifted youth: the classically trained, and those with development delays who are gifted in music. –Harold Sapper
K: Thirteen hundred years ago, a well-known monk called KÅ«kai, he created 88 temples. It’s all Buddhism, but a different type [Singon]. Right after 9/11, I went back to Japan and start to record the temple bells. I went wintertime, because it’s much colder and the sound is much clearer. Everything was eight-channel, multitrack. I try to use each temple’s bells for a song. It’s my most expensive sampling patch, 88 different bells. We released four albums, but there’s still four more. I was using analog in Colorado, then when I moved here I went to digital, now I’m analog again, two-inch machines. And we also have vinyl. Sebastopol has a nice cutting plant [Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab].
Are you Buddhist? Do you do zazen [meditation]? 
K: Yah. And also, I’m studying the tea ceremony. Every day, with my wife and me teaching each other. She’s a composer, too. After Thinking of You, we made Spiritual Garden [Domo Records, 2006]. That’s both Keiko and me. Also, at the September full moon, every year, I do drumming, almost 500 people, all night long. Kids and my parents came, the last years; my dad is 89 years old. We changed the place, from Mt. Fuji to Nagano, because we are counting [radioactivity] very high, and I am worrying about the kids. 

HS: [to Kitaro] Tell him a little more about [the latest album] Final Call, which just got nominated for the Grammy, and he’ll understand your elements.

At the September full moon, every year, I do drumming, almost 500 people, all night long. Kids and my parents came. –Kitaro

K: Before this one, The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, volume 4 [also Grammy-nominated] was from 9/11. This one is from Fukushima. I lost a couple of taiko drumming friends by the tsunami [which led to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima]. And right after that, we went to Asia and Japan and immediately we made a concert to send money to the Fukushima people. My words are not strong enough, but my sound will work something, and that’s what the Final Call is, it’s against the people who control the power. And it’s still going on. 

So it’s a wake-up call? 
K: Yes! [He notes that some of his older friends, including Korg’s Kaito, seemed to have “said goodbye” — that is, died — as a reaction to Fukushima.] And so I decided, this is the time for my dream, with the symphony and the [Korg] analog keyboard playing together. 

How did you end up in Sonoma County? 
K: I used to have a big place in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains, where we did so many albums with nature. But the place was very isolated, which means I worked alone; it’s really more intense. Nine years ago, I had a really bad snowstorm, one night 12-foot snow, and right after that, me and my wife talk about, “let’s drive to California and take a look.” We drove from Los Angeles along the coast, and stayed and ate [at different sites]. Right at that time, Mickey [Hart] called me, he was rehearsing his band, and we stopped by [Sebastopol]. I thought, wow, this is nice! This is another journey with nature. And in the Bay Area, me and my wife have a lot of friends — woodcarvers, photographers, painters, lots of artists. That’s another reason. 

What engendered the New Age genre in the late ’70s and ’80s, and how has it changed over time? 
HS: There was a paradigm shift going on the world. There was a lot of anger coming out of England, and the punk movement was at its zenith, and disco. Instrumental music was nowhere. Jazz and classical were in a very flat period, commercially. We believe that we gave a huge break to all instrumentalists, because we “captured the ear” again. People took time to listen to music and to the instruments. There was Windham Hill and our company and others, and all of a sudden people started listening to jazz again, and classical. And most of the artists we were working with came from serious classical training.

I hope every country, they understand, world peace is the basic message. –Kitaro

That’s the part which is totally misunderstood [about New Age], how deep the schooling and background are. We weren’t calling it “New Age” in the beginning, we were just making Eastern and Western fusion classical music. Then The Wave came in — KKSF and other radio stations — as places for it to be heard. We were just gathering musical and spiritual elements from around the world and putting them in a beautiful musical format. People could call it whatever they wanted, and if you look at Kitaro’s music, or Vangelis’ or Jean Michel Jarre’s and put it next to George Winston’s solo piano, these are as different [kinds of New Age] as metal is from bluegrass. 

Who’s in the ensemble you’ll be pairing with the Santa Rosa Symphony? 

K: Stephen Small is the conductor/arranger and pianist. I have four keyboards — my wife, Keiko, has two of them. We also have an electric bass and electric drums and timpani.
HS: The musicians, except for Kitaro and his wife, are coming here from New Zealand. We searched for a long time for the right person to actualize a symphonic work. Stephen has quite a background in classical music, and also scoring for rock. Kitaro has the guitar experience, so you have to understand him and his music to bring it to life in a symphonic way. 

Do you have classical training, Kitaro? 
K: No, fortunately. [Laughs] 

Why is that fortunate? 
K: Because synthesizers do not write it down. My section is an open space. 

Like jazz? 
HS: Stereotyping [New Age] doesn’t understand either the improvisation or the composition involved. 

Are there Japanese elements in your music, Kitaro? I hear them in your scales, pentatonic and otherwise, and in your rhythms and tempos. 
K: Something there. But it’s not at the front; I think it’s behind, an invisible part of the music. It’s maybe spiritual. I was born in Buddhist country, and we grow up with rice paddies. 

Will the inspiration for your tour be understood abroad? 
K: I hope every country, they understand, world peace is the basic message. 

And will you be playing more gigs at the Green Center? 
It’s our local place, so maybe we can come back in the summertime, and they can open it up. I’d like to make something new.

Jeff Kaliss has written about opera and other classical forms for the Marin Independent-Journal and The Oakland Tribune. He is based in San Francisco, and also covers jazz, world music, country, rock, film, theater, and other entertainment. The second edition of his authorized biography of Sly & the Family Stone was published by Backbeat Books.

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New Music
Kitaro Symphonic World Tour 2014