Archive for the ‘Ambient’ Category
Exclusive interview in 2014 with music artist James Hood.
Interview host and publicist John P. Olsen recently had an opportunity to interview celebrated percussionist and soloist James Hood, creator of the ambient electronic group, Moodswings, and former percussionist for the popular new wave/alternative band the Pretenders.
Composer, producer and percussionist James Hood has enjoyed a diverse and lengthy career as an instrumentalist. Highlights include a successful solo career, having just released a new 2 disc solo album titled Ceremony. This new release, recorded at the Integratron structure near Joshua Tree, California is currently the #1 album on iTunes Canadian World Music Chart.
James Hood is a highly respected artist who possesses, and has delivered, a versatile range of music to millions throughout his decade’s long career. During this newest interview conversation, which takes place in March of 2014, a wide variety of in-depth topics are explored.
Included in this discussion James Hood talks in detail about his new solo album Ceremony, which is performed exclusively on an exotic percussion instrument named PanArt Hang.
Information on the unique tonal qualities of the percussion instrument is provided, along with the fundamental variations of the Hang. Today I am pleased to present an informative conversation with fans and visitors.
Interview with James Hood in 2014:
John P. Olsen: Thank you so much for accepting my interview invitation James. I have been a fan of the music you have produced for years, and it’s a privilege to host your newest interview in 2014.
James Hood: Thanks John. I appreciate all of your support over the years and it is a pleasure to talk with you.
John: In addition to your solo career as a new age artist, you have enjoyed a diverse and remarkable music career, including being the originating member of the popular, ambient electronic band Moodswings. Plus you were a percussionist for several other bands, including the music icons Jeff Beck and pop new wave band the Pretenders.
James Hood: Actually it was Jeff Beck who played on Moodswings’s first CD “Moodfood.” He is a good friend of Chrissie Hynde and she loved the track “Skinthieves,” which she heard me working on while I was playing with the Pretenders the first time. It went on to be the TV theme music for “America’s most wanted” for about 5 years, which was a bit of a shock! I’ve never once watched an episode – not my thing at all!
John: You have a new age double CD album titled Ceremony, newly released on February 4, 2014. I wrote an album review about Ceremony and in preparation for our interview together I read your new solo album is unlike any other album you have produced. I now understand why. Ceremony was recorded at the Integratron structure near Joshua Tree, California, in the Mojave Desert. Why did you decide to record your album at the Integration?
James Hood: I went to the Integratron to hear for myself because I had heard that the sound there was extraordinary. And what I had been told was true; it was an extraordinary aural experience. And I thought it would be a beautiful match for this wonderful sounding instrument.
There are a number of different natural sound effects in different places inside the Integratron and we found the area that suited the instrument best. Then we just put mikes everywhere and started recording. There is something wonderful about listening to music in a building that has been constructed solely for its sound. It was an honor to play there.
John: There are 11 songs on the 2 disk CD Ceremony album. Were all songs improvised or was Ceremony played from a composer’s song sheet while recording at the Integration?
James Hood: Angelica and Biorhythmetic were entirely improvised by what I call stream of consciousness playing where I become mesmerized by the beauty and subtlety of the sound until I simply lose track of time.
With the more rhythmically melodic tracks, I wouldn’t say “from a composer’s song sheet” but I already had some melodies planned and grooves in my head when I got to the Integratron and then it just developed on the day from there.
The entire 2 hour double album was recorded in just 2 days and not much longer than that to mix down back at my place. I don’t know what happened here to be honest, ask anyone – I’m the guy who takes 4 years to make a Moodswings album!
John: The music you produced on Ceremony is near opposite in composition to the music you produced with your ambient electronic group, Moodswings, and band the Pretenders. Other people will be writing about your work so your own words James, how would you best describe your music compositions today?
James Hood: I actually don’t agree that they are completely the opposite of Moodswings. It’s simply a different sonic vocabulary. In the Pretenders, apart from a couple of co-writes, I was simply the drummer. Despite the fact that Moodswings and Ceremony sound so different, they were actually written in a similar process.
It starts with hearing a melody or a groove in my head, something that evokes that feeling of something timeless and magical. It’s just that it is found through utterly different musical modalities – really the difference between finding beauty through the digital or the analog. In the case of Ceremony by playing a concave metal plate or with Moodswings by firing off billions of samples!
John: What were the circumstances or events where you discovered the PanArt Hang for the first time, and why did you become interested in this exotic percussion instrument?
James Hood: I was at a drum circle at a British music festival. Someone had one and it was love at first sight. Having been a drummer my whole life, I was very interested in a percussion instrument that was so melodic – or a melodic instrument that was so percussive!
The sound totally mesmerized me, made me feel instantly inspired and elevated. Why wouldn’t you want to play that instrument every day? I immediately started imagining first how to play it both very fast and very lightly to create a sort of watery rhythmical momentum that I felt would be very mesmerizing.
It took me a few years to find out while I built up the finger strength, because to hit the drum consistently softly strangely takes more strength than hitting it hard. I had to train my right arm to be stronger so that I could play completely evenly which is more comforting on the ear.
John: There are several variations of the PanArt Hang since its creation by Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharerin in the year 2000. At your official JamesHood.com website you describe the PanArt Hang as a musical instrument with seven holes, and a dome in the middle. Included in our interview together are photos, but could you describe the instrument in more detail and explain the variations of this exclusive instrument?
James Hood: When PanArt first released the first generation of Hang drums, which are still my favorite, they were very adventurous with the range of tunings, both Western and Eastern scales were experimented with. This allows me like a harmonica player, to play in multiple keys. The second generation, they reduced the range of tunings and although I have a second generation hang that I love, I think the first generation are the most magical of all PanArt products.
John: What version do you play with live performances, and why have you selected this specific version?
James Hood: I perform with a first generation Pentatonic F (Metal Ambulance, Sonic Ashram, Friendly Alien), a first generation Pentatonic C (Sweet Acceptance, Imaginary Friend, A Goat Called Lavendar Angelika).These two are both very light with a beautiful chime. The second generation D Minor Pentatonic (Cherry Mandala, Fey Bedouin) is much warmer in tone, darker and almost sultry.
John: In terms of the music you produce today, was making a transition from more popular forms of music to a niche genre like new age music a challenge for you, or was the change a relatively easy one to make?
James Hood: It was both. Having produced music from an almost infinite palate of sounds, it was refreshing to limit myself to one instrument. It certainly made completing a record that much faster. But I was also aware of a sweet momentum with “CEREMONY” – everything just flowed.
As a producer it didn’t feel at all limited to just use one instrument because by using different microphones and certain different sonic approaches. I found I could get a very wide variety of sounds.
And something extraordinary started to happen when I overdubbed a couple of different parts with the same drum. I started to hear wonderful harmonics that were simply the sum of all the individual parts – sometimes I thought could hear angelic voices and washes that are entirely a sonic mirage, caused by the pure harmony of the overtones in the metal.
I have become used to really taking my time over completing a record. I am perhaps a little bit of a perfectionist. Recording with the PanArt Hang was like learning how to produce in a different way. Because it already sounded pretty perfect in its raw form, whereas I suppose in the past I would spend a huge amount of time trying to polish samples to get to the same glistening effect that the Hang does so naturally.
I never listened back to much in the studio but would rather do a rough mix-down and then go listen to it in a normal environment like my car or in the kitchen. For some reason, I was unable to make decisions regarding the pacing or progress of a track in the usual studio environment. As soon as I took it out of the studio, it made more sense. It’s a different kind of music that wants to be part of scenery – like sonic incense.
John: I would imagine most musicians know from experience, what may appear to be an easy instrument to play is often more difficult than it looks, and vice versa. Is playing the Hang difficult, or is the instrument pretty forgiving, and relatively easy to play?
James Hood: I think it is fairly easy to sound okay on the Hang pretty fast if you know how to play a steady rhythm. Some people hit it and can’t really get a sound out of it. It’s best if you have pretty rubbery wrists! If you have to learn both all about playing rhythm and getting a sound out of the hang, I think it would be pretty challenging.
Since I already knew the rhythm bit, it was just learning the technique of how to hit the Hang. Some people can just pick the hang up, hit it and it sounds nice. But a lot of people, when they first hit the hang, it makes no sound at all, just a dull metallic clunk.
John: In relation to being a solo instrumental performer, what are the main components that set your music apart from other musicians who perform on a hand played solo instrument?
James Hood: I think I play softer than most people. I am obsessed by the gossamer light warm tone that the instrument emits when stroked very lightly. I also don’t think a record quite like this has ever been made, apart from a couple of solo performances.
Most of this record is a veritable orchestra of interweaving hang parts intricately pieced together rather like making sonic jewelry – then add into the mix (literally), a brilliant warm old valve microphone that we recorded everything on and of course the extraordinary sounding place we recorded everything – love it or not, it’s undeniably a pretty unique album. What I am trying to achieve with this instrument is to find sacred sonic moments that warm the heart and make time stand still for a while. I consider the Hang to be sacred, created by a small company with an inspired pure intention to reach the divine.
John: The sound qualities of a PanArt Hang are quite unique, possessing tonal qualities apart from all other percussion instruments, including the Steel Pan or Steel Drum percussion instruments, and other directly struck, or hand played idiophone. How would you describe this unique sound?
James Hood: I feel it is the sound of perfection, a simple pure ringing tone that sweeps thru the body and I think for other people it is the same. People react instantly when they hear it! I feel the sound has an almost primordial quality, a thin piece of welded iron that sings with a compassionate grace.
John: In addition to your current studio album Ceremony, you plan to perform live on stage playing the PanArt Hang. Are there any obstacles for you to overcome while performing a live solo act?
James Hood: My approach is rather like that of a classical Indian musician or those who play kirtan, in that I aim to birth a devotional sacred atmosphere that speaks to the warm sensitivity in people.
Live I also perform with beautiful immersive visual accompaniment going on around me, mostly created by a brilliant Russian artist, Tatiana Plakhova from complexitygraphics.com to encourage the mind to swim in this ecstatic reverie of pure sound and light.
The combination of the sound and the images form a powerful transformative experience that aims to help people fall effortlessly into that intimate pure inner space within them self where they can really access their own power and clarity thru this instrument.
When I perform my intention is first to try get out of my own way mentally and allow myself to be in a trance by the sound. If I can get there it’s more likely that that energy will transmit to the audience. There can be no stress in my mind when I’m playing the Hang. Luckily the amount of time that I have played the Hang now and the mesmerizing effect of the sound usually helps me to get into a sort of trance and awe which can have a powerful effect on both me and the audience!
John: Obviously the concert venues you will be performing at will be a lot different than say, The Pretenders and Moodswings. What venue setting would be a likely venue for you to perform live solo music, and who would one contact to book you for a performance?
James Hood: The ideal setting is an intimate seated, comfortable warm environment with lots of wood, where there is no background noise (like in a theater or cinema). You’re right in that this is a very different type of show to what I have previously done in my musical career. Simply put, I’m trying to calm people’s heart rates down rather than whip them up into a frenzy of rocking excitement.
John: I try to provide music news coverage for an artist’s fans if possible, so do you have any press information about upcoming events, your solo work or news related to Moodswings?
James Hood: Just keep an eye on www.jameshood.com and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jameshoodmusic all news will be posted there. It’s also worth keeping an eye on YouTube because I will be posting regular improvisations and other sonic snippets because I am recording all the time and it has to keep flowing out so as to make a space for the new to come in!
John: In closing I want to thank you again for agreeing to our interview James. I am pleased to present your newest interview for your fans and visitors. I hope we have a chance to visit again to update everyone on current news about you.
James Hood: It has been a pleasure! Thank you so much for your interest and support. I appreciate you and everyone who can help me reach as many people as possible with this unusual music, because this instrument needs to be heard and not many have. There are not many undeniably and uniquely beautiful things in this world, something whose beauty you can’t deny and the PanArt Hang is such a thing! It has been such a joy to learn its ways, it has already changed me for the best and I feel I am just getting started. This instrument is like a fractal-the deeper you go into it the more it reveals!
Visit JamesHood.com for more news and information. You may also sample and purchase Ceremony at Amazon.com. Follow current news and events at James Hood Facebook page. Photos and album cover art courtesy jameshood.com.
New Age Music Review: Renowned percussionist for band The Pretenders and Moodswings originator James Hood releases 2014 solo instrumental album titled Ceremony.
If you take the time to listen close enough, synthetic and natural ambient sounds surround us daily. Some sounds are preferable over others, and making the distinction of whether the sound you are listening to is one of beauty or not is naturally up to the beholder. This is especially true when it comes to the diverse forms of music.
Composer, producer and percussionist James Hood is a respected artist who possesses, and has delivered a versatile repertoire of sound to millions throughout his lengthy music career.
If you have heard and are a fan of the popular, ambient electronic group Moodswings, you can thank the group’s originator James Hood for the beautiful melodies he has produced since 1992, to present day.
The ambient electronic song Spiritual High (State of Independence) from the Moodfood album is a fan favorite of the group Moodswings, featuring vocalist Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders.
Likewise, if you admire the musical sounds produced by music icons Jeff Beck and the pop new wave band The Pretenders, you also have James Hood to thank, having been a band member of these popular bands, each with millions of fans worldwide.
Ceremony is the new solo album by James Hood, officially released today on February 4, 2014. To say this album is an exploration in sound is somewhat of an understatement. Everything about Ceremony expresses a definitive statement in relation to beauty and sound creativity.
What makes this new release special is the performance by James Hood on a relatively new percussion instrument named PanArt Hang. The sound effect of the instrument, classified as a directly struck, or hand played idiophone is one of peace and tranquility.
This exclusive percussion instrument is related to the more recognizable steel drum, but the musical sound qualities are much smoother and produce, in my opinion, a richer less metallic sound texture.
James Hood is a versatile artist whose creative achievements for producing musical sounds of beauty just took an enormous leap forward. The sounds performed on Ceremony are designed to be inherently relaxing, and the result is a remarkably effective one.
Another quality is a cinematic effect, making it a good instrument for movie or film scores. No matter how you perceive this new album, you will be hearing more about percussionist James Hood and his Ceremony album going forward.
Although this is a solo album, the unique sound structure of the PanArt Hang would blend well with an orchestra too. Either way I hope you take the time to listen to James Hood’s newest adventure in sound production.
The 2 disc Ceremony CD’s 11 songs are: Metal Ambulance, Sonic Ashram, Faerie God, Cherry Mandala, Friendly Alien, Angelica, Imaginary Friend, Sweet Acceptance, Fey Bedouin, Biorythmetic & A Goat Called Lavender.
Coburn Tuller from Springfield Missouri has released an innovative new album that has rapidly caught the attention of many review publicists recently. One reason for the upsurge of interest may be in direct relation to the unique melodic sounds heard on his first album, which are sounds produced from a musical instrument he invented named The Tones.
Coburn Tuller had first conceived the idea for his one of a kind instrument during a nighttime walk in 1996. After hearing wind chimes lightly touching in a gentle breeze he discovered the random series of sound sparked his creative imagination. Coburn then determined that aluminum tubing of accurate length, diameter and dimension produced an original sound modulation when struck with a mallet. Coburn then devoted the next 15 years perfecting his unique instrument.
The Tones is a musical instrument that stands over 8 foot tall, and consists of 3 pyramid structures supporting 90 aluminum and brass tubes of various size and dimension, which range from 7 inches to over 6 foot in length. The sounds produced are like a new form of ambient music by the sound modulation which is totally unique, but one most likely considered a percussion instrument normally used in an orchestra like tubular bells. Regardless of how this instrument is classified the distinctive sounds, unlike drum beats, enable the creation of an independent melody.
Butterfly Tones is a relaxing album featuring 9 melodies which reveal this instrumental freedom of melodic expression. This natural resonating characteristic of bell tones becomes apparent on every piece, where multiple layers enhance a distinct harmony while Coburn ascends and descends through the scales using select octaves and tempos.
On the Butterfly Tones release you will notice every note produces a clear and precise harmony rather than a series of arbitrary sounds like you would hear on wood or metal wind chimes. The natural tone reverberation on his instrument is apparent on every octave of the bells which ring true, and create a tonal echo which can linger for minutes during a song. This is the most exclusive characteristics of the instrument with the only exception being the ingenuity of the inventor.
Visit the butterflytonescd.com homepage and read what others are saying on Coburn’s reviews page. To sample or purchase or visit his CDBaby.com page or Amazon.com page. Below is a song video of Once Again from his Butterfly Tones release. Read my review on our page dedicated to Coburn Tuller.
Rarely does an artist of any genre create an entirely new and unique sound identity they can claim entirely as their own. Butterfly Tones by Coburn Tuller, featuring 9 songs of melodic bell timbres is definitely one of the most exclusive musical arrangements I have ever heard. Coburn Tuller has not only created an innovative source of beautiful harmony for a broad multicultural audience, but his first contribution to the New Age music genre is by the same token, a new source of inspiration.
If one takes a minute to listen close enough, beautiful ambient music is all around us. It’s only natural those who live in the countryside have more time available to enjoy the serenity of a peaceful atmosphere verses those who live in an urban environment. Regardless of where you live, undesirable noise can strike any time of the day or night just like clockwork.
Coburn Tuller from the Springfield Missouri area, truly enjoys the best of both worlds. Not only does he live on the outskirts of a metropolitan area where annoying noise is at a minimum, but he also invented a musical instrument that produces peaceful and relaxing timbres any hour of the day or night he desires. The inherently unique musical creation he fabricated is named The Tones, and the relaxing qualities produced from this innovative instrument are the foundation for his first exclusive new release titled Butterfly Tones.
Coburn Tuller is first and foremost a talented musician, having reached a level of expertise on numerous instruments over the years including acoustic and electric guitar, dulcimer and piano. Coburn conceived the idea for his music innovation during walk around midnight back in 1996, when he heard wind chimes lightly touching in a gentle breeze.
While most of us are familiar with the sound of various wind chimes, and would think nothing further about this blend of manmade and natural ambience, the random series of sound fascinated him and sparked his imagination. Coburn then theorized this ambient sound could be taken to a whole new level, and determined that aluminum tubing of accurate length, diameter and dimension would produce an original sound modulation when struck with a mallet. He then accepted the challenge and spent the next 15 years perfecting his one of a kind instrument – The Tones.
Butterfly Tones features 9 songs of melodic bell timbres that are without a doubt one of the more unique forms of music I have ever heard. The Tones itself is a musical instrument that stands over 8 foot tall, and consists of 3 pyramid structures supporting 90 aluminum and brass tubes of various size and dimension, which range from 7 inches to over 6 foot in length.
If one were to classify the musical invention, I would imagine it would most likely be categorized as a directly struck idiophone like tubular bells or a xylophone, both of which are percussion instruments most often used in an orchestra arrangement. But their distinctive sound also enables the creation of an independent melody.
The 9 songs on Butterfly Tones highlight this instrumental freedom of expression to create some beautiful pieces. During Coburn’s performance you will notice like I did that every note struck produces a clear and precise harmony rather than a series of arbitrary sounds. One of the most interesting effects is the natural tone reverberation in every octave of the bells which can linger for minutes during a song.
This natural resonating characteristic of bell tones is apparent on every piece, where multiple layers enhance a distinct harmony while Coburn ascends and descends through the scales using select octaves and tempos. I also noticed the array of notes struck in the bass range often transfer the background theme for each song in the treble range, but the delivery of treble notes likewise act as a counterbalance for bass notes during each arrangement. I would also say the vibrant resonating sound produced is either close to, or the equivalent of the same note intervals and harmonic pitch found on the diatonic scale. Regardless of which musical scale is used, the tones sound perfect in pitch on every octave and ring true.
Coburn Tuller has discovered a steadfast new source of peaceful ambience whose finely balanced sound qualities are available day, night, or anytime the bell tolls. If you listen for yourself I am sure you will agree this exclusive album presented on CD or MP3 has an elegant rhythm and symmetry for relaxation you can count on, just like clockwork.
Photos are courtesy butterflytonescd.com.
Music For Commuting by Ken Elkinson.
Ken Elkinson is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles, California. As a young adult, he was part of the competitive Classical piano circuit, who later studied Jazz and Pop piano, picking up guitar, bass, saxophone, clarinet and French horn along the way. In college, Ken took classes in music composition, percussion, recording studio techniques and improvisation to enhance his music education. It was during this time he began work on his first original Solo Piano CD, Midnight Conversation, which was released in 1997.
After 9 solo piano albums, Ken Elkinson decided to begin composing ambient music, and the result is a new 6 CD box set entitled Music For Commuting. Featuring 60 tracks and over 4 hours of music, Music For Commuting has 3 double length CDs which represent progressive days of the week. The music was composed specifically to help calm drivers while commuting, but his calming music is well suited for massage, yoga, meditation, and academic studies.
On this 6 CD collector’s edition, Disc 1 Monday-Tuesday begins the work week in a deep and droning manner, as if shuttling the commuter through the hardest days of the week. Disc 2 Wednesday-Thursday is much brighter while featuring upbeat, anthems and 1980’s synth-pop elements. Disc 3 is made for Friday and the weekend, taking the commuter into an enjoyable relaxing mode by spacey and futuristic music filled with a perfect sense of optimism. Songs can be purchased by individual mp3 downloads.
Music For Commuting is an all instrumental mix of Ambient, Chill Electronica and New Age music, but most are from an ambient perspective with lighter melodies. All 60 songs blend beautifully into one another, and Ken performed every note you hear, so there was no instrumental programming involved during production. Ken Elkinson instead used a combination of 8 keyboards and synthesizers on this value packed collector’s edition CD which enables the listener to arrive at their destination in a calm and relaxed attitude.
Some love relationships begin with an introduction or maybe the sparks ignited after the very first gaze into someones eyes. Regardless of how it began, if a relationship progresses into something special it may lead to the divine word we call love, and while there are no definitive set of rules governing love, the first attraction determines a lot on what happens next.
Grammy Nominated Paul Avgerinos from Redding Connecticut happens to have a new release called Law of Attraction that his prodigious fan base is certain to fully embrace with open arms, and do so without hesitation. I would imagine this great ambient album will also succeed at winning over many new fans for Paul Avgerinos, new fans who will go directly to the heart of his widely popular Round Sky Music website to hear for themselves, so for some of you, let me be the first to introduce you to this award winning musician.
Paul Avgerinos has in all honestly based the Law of Attraction theme in regards to authors Esther and Jerry Hicks and their bestselling self-help books, but after listening to his thirteenth album I discovered Paul Avgerinos Law of Attraction has such a pleasingly rich sensation of expressive delights, I just had to respond myself by concentrating more precisely on the melodic wonderment and charismatic appeal of this sensational new release, which if it was a library book, Law of Attraction would be classified and shelved in the romantic therapy section.
Law of Attraction is after all quite compatible or along the same wavelength with his prior Love album, which is another positively feel good release with a passionate and dreamy intonation paired to the divine word we call love. The Love album did after all achieve a desirable level in 2009 by 2 nominations at ZMR which included Best Relaxation / Meditation Album.
Law of Attraction is an exciting fusion of New Age Ambient and World Music styles from the Middle East and India, and of the many earlier releases that garnered success, Law of Attraction has the same instrumental music essentials to his earlier award winning Garden of Delight.
Paul Avgerinos further album awards do include Garden Of Delight which won Best World Album in 2007 and notable Gnosis had 5 Best of nominations total, while winning the Best Relaxation / Meditation Album award category in 2006. Muse of the Round Sky which made the airwaves on over 2000 radio stations worldwide was the album that had first introduced Paul Avgerinos as a top artist and Grammy Nominated musician.
Paul Avgerinos has composed the 10 songs, performing on bass violin, Fretless bass, 12 string & nylon guitars keyboards, vocals, percussion and sound design. Kevin Braheny Fortune is featured on Electronic & Classical flutes, and Steve Gorn on Bansuri flute join Paul, as do the seven essential talented musicians I have credited below.
This group blends vibrant instrumental fusion into an intricate musical project fascinating for the senses to behold like heard in Gentle My Love & Ask and It Is Given which are deep, exotic, and mesmerizing. You will find every song holds a diverse kaleidoscope of elevated ambience, but these two songs in particular are quite unique from anything I had ever heard before since multiple guitars and ethnic vocals infuse a sensual calm and steadiness to where they seem spellbinding or even hypnotic at times.
The Vortex is another picturesque song that intermingle keyboards, guitars and lyric less vocals into wonderful patterns that are like a magnet by attracting you into a beautiful sound adventure made for the senses. Follow Your Passion & Art of Allowing are two songs showing ingenious geometrical patterns of his Ambient music like Law of Attraction ( Title Song ) they have gentle curved surfaces free of any abrupt edges or distant note to note sound plateaus leading to nowhere. If one was to compare the textural sensations of touch to this release, it would be as smooth as silk when you ran your hand across it, and you will see what I mean when you sample this perceptive new release.
It is pretty easy to fall in love with Paul Avgerinos music whether you have been officially introduced or not, and you may be interested to know that in addition to his eloquent skills as a composing New Age musician he has worked on over 100 television and film projects. Paul was also the primary bass player for The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and toured with many Popular, Contemporary, and Jazz groups over the years, having been involved with numerous Platinum album productions while collaborating with popular music acts Aerosmith, Jewel, Run DMC, Willie Nelson and Deana Carter.
Your introduction and credits for the additional musicians are Trina Basu on Violin, Brahim Fribgane on Oud, Rafiq Khan on Indian Sarangi, Rohin Khemani on Tabla & other percussion. Steve Waite on 12 string & electric guitars, Christine Yandell on vocals and Malika Zarra on French & Arabic vocals.
Big Stock Photo – SSilver.
Ann Licater has just released a brand new follow up to her opening debut Following the Call, a release which received nomination of Best Native American Album and listing in the top 12 Contemporary Albums in 2007.
This first effort began her journey of recognition as a top solo flutist performing on Native American, World and silver alto flutes and had begun the chosen pathway towards her next success.
Doorway to a Dream is the 2010 release from Ann Licater that again displays her level of expertise in both traditional and indigenous flutes while accentuating the fine attributes woodwind instruments can produce. The 14 original songs and improvisational compositions this time around however are during collaboration with accompanying musicians and becomes a perfect album discovery for those who appreciate the smooth sounds of tranquil and relaxing music.
Ann Licater is well rehearsed in classical silver flutes having began her own journey into Native American & World flutes years ago after listening to the unique sounds indigenous flutes can produce, having studied with master flutist R.Carlos Nakai at the Renaissance of the Native American Flute which nicely reinforces the comprehensive skill level of her already accomplished classical flute studies.
Many of the indigenous instruments Ann plays on this album are selected for their unique tonal qualities and include Native American-style, Chinese Rosewood Xiao, Zapotec Triple Clay, Anasazi and Alto flutes.
In addition to her recordings, Ann Licater teaches in workshops and during concerts, describes to her audiences the origins for each of the clay and wood instruments featured during her appearances.
Doorway to a Dream is a natural contrast to her first solo album by inclusion of recognized artists who incorporate their talents and help expand her original compositions by collaborative instrumentation of Middle Eastern Tar, African udu Coral electric sitar, Edo period Japanese shakuhachi, flugelhorn, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard and World percussion.
Whether you are searching for music with the unique intonation flutes can produce when placed in the hands of an accomplished musician, or simply enjoy the finer sounds produced by music professionals, Doorway to a Dream is a natural choice.
The world class musicians accompanying Ann Licater on various songs throughout this album and you are sure to recognize are Jose’ Neto, Jeff Oster, Peter Phippen, David DiLullo, Troy Arnett, William Hoshal and Shambhu. This album was mastered by award winning Engineer Stephen Hart.
Photo courtesy of Greg Crowder.
In the millennium before the nation of America was founded and a new way of life was envisioned, Native Americans lived brave and free throughout the land. History tells of the conflict and injustice imposed upon indigenous people thought to be hindering this new way of life, but in fact Native Americans were already living the proverbial American dream in sacred lands they viewed as paradise.
Michael Stribling has released an album to commemorate the past while honoring every Native American who lived and died protecting their sacred homeland. To me, Michael’s dedication struck a familiar chord concerning our present values and the high price we pay to keep the diverse ethnicities comprising the America of today free.
Paradise Lost is Michael’s seventh in an enduring lineage of New Age Electronic albums making an impact in the genre, winning awards and universal acclaim during his years as an accredited musician producing outstanding ambient music. His electronic discography like recent The Promise which dealt with life transitions is indeed a success and in my role as review publicist, quickly identified his exemplary artistry in the first few measures, so Paradise Lost is not worlds apart from earlier albums, but is clearly a monumental one as those familiar with his music would agree.
Paradise Lost has 12 symbolic songs defined by three movements and while retracing the ancestral life experiences of Native Americans, the perspective I determined from this viewpoint ranged from total relaxation to energetic, so you will find Paradise Lost is not gloomy or somber and I felt more epic in nature. Another point worthy of mention knowing this album recounts the Native American experience, conceptual electronic orchestrations are the expressive medium given during this rendition so a harmonious contrast to more traditional depictions by wood flutes, chanting or bass drums.
Prairie Dawn is first of 5 songs to reveal a distant gaze upon the clear majestic landscape and of people living during this historic period, now emerging with a more ambient view of tribal culture where spacious orchestrations echo the expansive lands of our past.
French horn heralds in Guardian of the Plains, then strings become like strands of wheat gently moving in the breeze while flute sets the melody upward in flight during Forest Heart. Synthesizer projects an airy windswept Eagle Above, River Below, then growing excitement and tempo ensues while racing among the scenic timberlands in Hunting Party.
March of Destiny is first of 3 songs to reference the battle over territorial supremacy and true to song title, a crisp drum cadence is timed in lock step rhythm to a salutary march across the open wilderness. Horns make a melodic call to arms to a swirling crosswind of mystery surrounding the ambient Approaching Storm with blended electric guitar strides. In Vision Quest a drifting cloud of haziness finds origins by long extended atmospheric notes.
Paradise Lost ( Title Song ) is first of the final 4 songs to represent the loss of humanity and prized territories, shown by contrasting synthesizer runs, an elevated prominence boldly reaches an ascending summit while heightening the majestic image this project in entirety symbolizes. Lament for the Land is more tributary by a solemn narrative that is likened to the soulful Hymn for the Fallen.
Return to the Spirit World is a song telling of a higher perspective during Michael’s closing adaptation, and while entering into an ever rising plateau of instrumental ambiance, each expansive layer also finds equable ground for every note to build a foundation upon, coinciding with the present unified territories everyone observes today from every corner pointing North and South, East and West.
Visit the leela-music.com website to sample or purchase at his CDBaby.com page and visit Michael where he hosts a free online radio program at leela-radio.com website and my pages dedicated to Michael Stribling.
Cover art copyright Michael Stribling – Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – ta_samaya.
New Age Music is a wonderful medium for any musician to express the more creative aspects of their music apart from what we regularly expect to hear from someone any given day. This change can be just a slight adjustment from their select style or in many cases, one giant leap while traversing the starry twilights into new zones and uncharted territories.
Julian Ray is a New Age musician from Canada making a more exploratory departure by his current release produced while in the comforts of his home studio suite. His newest revision in Ambient music with a story to tell is based in theme on the Argonauts of Greek mythology fused into an innovative territorial journey of the cosmos transposed by his just released creation in New Age, Ambient and Experimental music.
Julian is an independent solo musician from Toronto Canada with a lengthy presence in the music industry and member with the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada ( SOCAN ) and is active in theatre, psychology and philosophy, so perhaps this transition arrives quite naturally.
In addition, he and his wife Katrin Ray are design artists recognized by prestigious awards in Europe and North America during numerous design exhibitions around the world so during their team production strategy Katrin designs the cover arts and other contributing roles which help advance the artist title of Julian Ray Music.
Julian Ray has planned the itinerary for his cosmic explorations on Argonauts of Kosmos as one of true excitement. While on this expedition into the outer zonal boundaries of electronic music, novel melodic landmarks are created and mysterious territories are revealed to become an experimental project in spatial music ready for your discovery.
Argonauts Of Kosmos is his Cosmic, Ambient, New Age, Experimental release in 2010 and 10 song modification from his more New Age Ambient classified In Flow of Light release earlier this year. This is also a more categorical illustration away from the Jazz, Easy Listening, Instrumental sounds heard on Wonderful Life & Seashell Stories but for those familiar with his discography know this is just a matter relevant to the creative itinerary he has in store for his listeners at the time.
In the case of Argonauts of Kosmos it appears considerable effort was made to create interest and kindle the imagination since the musical landscape is a consistent medium to upper tempo atmosphere with prevailing keyboard melodies transmitting the radiant episodes.
Star Bridge & Milky Way are good examples of the excitement and liveliness since they are so far distant from the lonesome plateaus and solitary note landscapes often heard in some ambient space projects.
Venus : Deep Forest & Stardust have keyboard melodies taken a step further along with the wide range in percussion and clave enhancements of woodblock which increase the interest to the already dreamy atmosphere. This can also be said about the more ambient song Deep Space Mission.
Orion’s Belt & Argonauts of Kosmos ( Title Song ) are the most experimental given the voice box encounters and lightly drifting notes that divuldge new territories in electronic explorations where the outer boundaries are readily defined for the listener so they may make their own individual excursion by using a little creative imagination of their own.
More importantly this over an hour long album is aglow in bright ambience and the deeply mysterious moments enhance the bold adventuresome qualities of the music without ever leaving one wanting more or stranded all alone in the twilight zone.
Cover design copyright Julian Ray Music courtesy of Katrin Ray.
Bruce Kaphan from California has taken pedal string guitar to a whole new level in New Age music for years, making this instrumental transition not only a surprising one but a dazzling one too, giving even music purists a reason to love pedal steel guitar with his earlier release Slider and now Hybrid.
Bruce Kaphan is easily recognized in the music industry since he began an early career as a studio technician, engineer and producer for many highly recognized artists in other genres and had either played a role with the recording production of their album or performed with artists such as REM, Jewel, The Black Crowes, Thomas Dolby, John Lee Hooker and a vast selection of popular musicians.
The list of popular artists Bruce has encountered as a musician and during his tenure as a recording artist is quite lengthy and will surprise you as it did me when you visit his website. During the early days while living in San Francisco he was also a member of Indie / Alternative band American Music Club plus his music has been featured on many film scores and television broadcasts.
Hybrid is his current album that I recently wrote a review about here at New Age Music World. The 12 original compositions show pedal steel guitar as an appealing choice while clearing a new path of creative improvisations in light ambience and emerges as a natural contender in the vast field of music.
Bruce Kaphan and his music is described below in my review quote, along with the song video of Oregon Fire from the Slider album. This is a nice selection of Bruce performing on pedal steel guitar behind a backdrop of beautiful photography by Nick O’Kelly. Visit brucekaphan.com website to sample / purchase his music or visit his CDBaby.com page. Read his biography page and view his collective discography page. Read my review of Hybrid on our page dedicated to Bruce Kaphan. Studio photo copyright Bruce Kaphan courtesy of James Saxon.
Bruce Kaphan makes a bold statement on Slider and current Hybrid album which features pedal steel guitar as the primary instrument. You will find his music is a unique blending of unrivaled beauty freshly harvested from another cross section in the vast field of music. It quickly becomes apparent this new emerging beauty will remain a lasting entity in the world of music.
Julian Ray is a Toronto Canada based musician I have had the pleasure of meeting right when Canada was hosting the XXI Olympic Winter Games. His freestyle New Age Ambient and Meditative discography meets and exceeds our gold standard for providing our readers defining music and I will soon be writing more about him.
Julian Ray’s presence in the music industry is lengthy in duration and he is a current member with the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada ( SOCAN ) and an independent solo artist who produces all of his music in his project studio suite.
His current releases are Seashell Stories, Saga, Wonderful Life & In Flow of Light release that I had published a review about recently on our main pages. Always looking ahead, 2 ready for release are Argonauts of Kosmos & Garden of Mysterious Souls. Starry Tale, Evolution & Path To The Moon are future projects with song samples available at his julianraymusic.com website.
Julian’s educational background and interests are well centered in music, psychology, theater, philosophy, and art, plus he is a design artist along with wife Katrin Ray, who plays an important role by album art design and her assistance with helping advance Julian’s musical career to the next level. Their design work together as a couple has been greatly recognized by many prestigious awards in Europe and North America during numerous design exhibitions around the world.
In Flow of Light is his current release with a lighter form of easy listening ambient music affable for at home or on the go relaxation with keyboard and percussion effects that nicely reinforce the trademark easy to recognize discography of Julian Ray.
Silence is one song from In Flow of Light that gives a measurable indication of Julian’s characteristic approach since this particular song has more of an atmospheric casual feel that makes traveling or relaxing at home even more enjoyable.
Visit julianraymusic.com right here and read his biography page. Be sure to take a look at his current albums page, his future projects page then our page dedicated to Julian. The album quote from my review titled New Age Music Canadian Style, and the atmospheric song video Silence are shown below to give you an example of Julian Ray’s individual freestyle approach to music that indeed makes the winner’s circle.
Julian’s current album In Flow Of Light has a casual ambience while hosting the 10 uplifting song melodies in a relaxing format, great for travel or winding down right at home. His prior releases Saga, Wonderful Life & Seashell Stories maintain this relaxing and uplifting concept, with all having a noticeable individualistic feel that indirectly tells you it was produced by Julian Ray.
David & Steve Gordon are internationally acclaimed 30 year music legends pushing the musical boundaries yet again by 2 releases in 2010. The time consuming search for finding great music just got a little easier and I plan to bring you more about the band of brothers who founded the Sequoia Records Label.
The Gordon Brothers are easily recognized by many since these Award Winning producers, composers, and classically trained instrumentalists also founded the acclaimed Sequoia Records 26 years ago and will find they are a reliable and trusted source for great music.
Knowing their defining contributions to our genre and after my recent introduction to David and Steve, I look forward to telling you about their new releases since they consistently shape the landscape of New Age, World, Ambient, Nature, Chill Out and Electronic music in many respects.
New Age explorers of music by their early conception of nature sound creations and early dawn of their Sequoia Records Label, these 2 music innovators have attained world class recognition, grossed over 1.6 million units in sales worldwide and in the process, and even helped write the definitions for our primary genre and subgenres.
David and Steve Gordon have been recognized too since their original music was commissioned for many film and television scores over the years, charted several times on Billboard and a recent New Age Music Retail survey has listed the team as the fifth overall favorite in our beloved genre which tells you about their fine achievements, recognition and life work.
Gratitude is their latest contribution in the Relaxation and Meditation series highlighting Native American flute with enhancing keyboard imagery that when integrated as a whole creates a natural feel with the pairing and becomes conducive to a revitalizing atmosphere.
Gratitude has a calming sensation which briefly takes you back to their innovative days of nature sound ambience first heard in primordial album Misty Forest Morning if you listen close enough. On their current however a more prominent Native American Flute interchange becomes extended when partnered with drawn out electronic enhancements, nurturing depth while maximizing the level of richness in tonal balance.
The electronics blended with woodwind passages impart moments of peace and solitude in a relaxing sanctuary of refined ambience. While sharing equal time and thought on this album, the Native American flute passages at times, becomes the calming voice from the past that shares a respective dialogue with modern day electronic ambience.
Buddha – Lounge 7 is the second release and a compilation of Chill Out Electronica tracks from around the world, and a great choice for those pursuing exceptional Chill Out music that also happens to be widely popular these days. This Sequoia Records album enlists an array of 9 hand selected global talents sporting their interpretations of Electronic Chill Out, Groove and Lounge, with David and Steve taking a role on 3 originals of the 12 songs which presents over an hour of first class music.
Buddha Nova, Secret Lotus & Cobalt Transport are the 3 songs from David and Steve, and it is always a challenge to pick just one favorite, but lively percussion enhanced Buddha Nova with a light tonal keyboard melody did make an impression on me.
The progressive feel of Secret Lotus and mesmerizing percussion enhanced Cobalt Transport are first class too and you will find my favorite pick is simply a matter of personal taste. This compilation album in entirety features Achillea, Tya, Jens Gad Presents, Artemisia, Paul Heinerman, Helene Horlyck, Jaya Lakshmi, Lodestone Resonator, and Opera to Relax.
Buddha – Lounge 7 is just one in the edition series in an even more expansive 16 Chill Out / Groove compilation albums from the production and mixing team of DJ brothers who showcase an abundance of global music talents you will recognize in addition to their individual album arrangements, making your search for fine music so much easier.
Here is their Chill Out Electronica collection page and where you can sample the latest Buddha – Lounge 7. If you are new to The Gordon Brothers here is a link to their best sellers page. Photo Copyright Sequoia Records.
Michael Stribling is a licensed family therapist who knows much about life’s transitions. The Promise is his current album under consideration at ZMR, and this video of At the End of the Day from Another Day in Paradise shows an ocean sunset while giving another example of Michael’s appreciable ambient music.
Canada is a country currently making the news daily by hosting the XXl Olympic Winter Games and Like B.T. Fasmer said in his recent article, New Age Music for Driving, listening to calming music to relax with while driving in Vancouver or surrounding areas, is a great idea.
Julian Ray is a Canadian citizen and member of SOCAN, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, active in theater, psychology, and philosophy and award recipient as a design artist. In addition to keeping up with current events in his country, Julian is promoting his 2010 release In Flow of Light, placing well in a winners circle of New Age, Electronic, Ambient music categories.
In Flow of Light is a lighter form of easy listening ambient music, with the title song In Flow of Light and second track The Call, a mid tempo blend of synthesized ambient music, with abundant keyboard effects affable for relaxation while also exhibiting a more pronounced upbeat rhythm I would classify as distinctive.
Silence & Mountain Air are toned down in tempo to a more atmospheric level, in a more casual presence, keeping up a measurable level of his individual style, likewise felt in the abundant runs on keyboard based Soaring.
This ambient music with a more casual tone of 10 uplifting melodies makes one relaxing album, great for travel or winding down right at home. His prior releases Saga, Wonderful Life, & Seashell Stories give you much to choose from too, with all having an individualistic tone that indirectly tells you it was produced by Julian Ray.
Between Earth and Sky has a windswept beginning before keyboards entertain a lighter melody, and the synthesizer background gives an enticing angle in tone by the voice box impressionism.
Towards the Sun reaches a higher peak of performance on percussion, along with upbeat rhythms, where New Morning takes off with a slower start, only to increase in speed, gaining momentum by the smooth flowing keyboard melody. Percussion rhythms happily dance along with a more mid tempo theme as the song progresses, making a fine finish at the end.
New Age Music and Canada seem to have a natural presence, and music from Canadian teams has always made the grade with me. Julian who resides in Toronto, likewise goes the distance with current In Flow of Light by providing a measurable amount of relaxation with his individual freestyle of ambient music. Since several new projects are on the way, and I am now more familiar with his music, it should be easy to recognize his freestyle compositions at any event.
Cover design copyright Julian Ray Music courtesy of Katrin Ray.
Salva Moreno of Psicodreamics is the predominate musician widely recognized in Continental Europe, the U.K. and overseas, where his unique fantasy and mythology inspired music creates a magical divide from many New Age artists.
Valencia Spain is where Salva takes the stage to portray his principal role as Psicodreamics master of ceremonies, and into the hypnotic realm of the dark unknown. He exploits this select style of fantasy music cloaked in an intriguing shroud of mystery every time, as if he were a music magician pulling another album out of a black hat.
AzhDark Passion is a project based on a novel by Tanith Lee titled Night’s Master, and although composed years ago, the project is relevant today as it was yesteryear.
In a surreal form of Ambient, New Age, Neo Classical, and Chill Out, with symphonic interludes, the 12 songs offer one a chance to make their own conclusions about his openly mysterious music, performed to the beat of her chilling adventurous novel.
Title song AzhDark Passion is a perfect example since the first few measures in music immediately place you in a past century, watching a cloaked figure on a black horse drawn carriage that steadily travels past you on a cobblestone street, before disappearing into the night.
Psicodreamics beautiful array of mysterious albums make a great contradiction in sound and effect, becoming like a roller coaster ride of sensations, where you are taken close to the thrilling edge, but without the danger of losing your grip and falling into complete darkness.
The Sweetest Gift is gentle like a soft lullaby making you feel safe and sound, but a hint of mystery lurking in the shadows is waiting behind each note. Song of the Living Night conjures up much of the commingled fight verses flight feelings also, since woodwinds lull you into a relaxed state of mind by the bright melody, while symphonic undercurrents make you suddenly realize that creatures of the night may actually live under your bed.
The Forge places an emphasis on choral vocals harmonizing in unison, while percussion timpani drums add precise measurements of rhythm as if an alchemist were adding ingredients to a copper caldron.
Morning Light features Priscilla Hernandez in contrasting female vocals to become the silver lining in this song, blending with generous percussion and sound effects full of mystery, in a rhythmic pace that balances together quite well, considering colorful vocals are encased by darker images from the distant past.
Electronic in New Age music plays many roles, and the select role of mystery and imagination Salva Moreno performs as a musician, is composed using an effective sleight of hand that magically transports you into a world of fantasy.
The Ambiethernum album is a compilation of Psicodreamics best Ambient and Space music from his many projects to date, and is a great way to discover more about the magic behind Salva Moreno. You can also read my album reviews and my recent interview with Salva Moreno by visiting my pages dedicated to Psicodreamics. Visit Salva at Psicodreamics.com and sample or purchase albums by Psicodreamics at Amazon.com. Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – DanTe.
Katrina is a name that brings up vivid memories and sense of helplessness for all who witnessed the hurricane’s massive devastation and became the largest natural disaster in American history.
Michael Brant DeMaria, PH.D. is a clinical psychologist, composing musician, poet, author, and dedicator of his Healing Sound Series to all hurricane survivors past, present, and future. In his psychotherapy practice, Michael created ONTOS ( Greek for Being ) to help people live more meaningful and effective lives, and his ambient music is designed as therapy to help assist survivors by easing their return to coastal living again.
While writing this review I learned Michael was among those who lost their family home during the 2004 – 2005 hurricane seasons, so his therapy support does arrive from a first person perspective.
The River began the Healing Sound Series, with Ocean second in the series based on over 25 years of personal and professional research in the fundamental principals of sonic healing techniques, helping survivors relax and return to a more peaceful existence through ambient sound techniques.
His third release Siyotanka won the Native American Music Award in the Native Heart category, being placed on the Grammy ballot for Best Native American Music Album, while retaining the # 1 position on ZMR charts in February 2009. His music, art, and poetry acquired U.S. recognition while gaining international acceptance in Australia, Europe, and Russia, touching the lives of many persons.
The Ocean album helps reclaim the natural bond we share with our greater oceanic waters, rejuvenating our vital relationship by interweaving calming ambient therapy, in a bright reflection that restores a more positive link with our mysterious, life sustaining hydrosphere.
Ocean responds by calming ambiance and some unique blending of World & Contemporary instrumentals of Native American flute, African Djembe, Middle Eastern Doumbek, Indian Sruti box and Aerophones. More traditional keyboards, piano, and percussion also form the connection into 11 songs reflecting titles in the theme of our primarily blue planet.
Open Water begins with a compelling quiet stillness, approaching more subtle moments before synthesizer starts the slow emergence into woodwinds equally calming approach, nicely illustrating the vast waters that comprise over seventy percent of the Earth.
Light ambient notes appear in Moonlit Sea to instill a moment of solitude before woodwind flute begins a comforting reflection by softer drawn out notes, generating a gentle shimmering effect like small surface ripples moving outward on top of peaceful waters.
Transformation enters a flute prelude with graceful motions that show like soft sound waves quietly lapping against the shoreline and ambient notes soon appear like airy clouds that drift alongside bass percussion signaling an ancient rhythm. The distant chants put forth a revitalizing atmosphere while deeper tones give an impression of deep universal depths, before bringing the lighter theme back to the surface.
The commingling of deep and shallower notes are also heard in Remember, conveying soft chants and woodwinds while interacting with a deeper mesmerizing background, defining the chosen ambient theme for the album as a pleasant and relaxing one.
In Search Of Home divulges into intrigue I felt was natural, enchanting, and just right for a final reflection about the Oceans since we enjoy, yet depend on them so much. Just like our hydrosphere which pretty much remains a universal unsolved mystery that completely surrounds us.
Picture copyright Bigstockphoto.com – argus456.
Since everyone must make life transitions whether they really want to or not, let me tell you about a musician from Fresno, California who has a successful history of making life transitions himself, and can perhaps offer you and I some insight on the subject of change.
Michael Stribling is an award winning New Age music composer who readily embraces change having already made many positive adjustments in his lifetime.
The newest album release entitled The Promise smoothly arrives at the next stage of his long career in music with a look and feel that confirms and conveys an admirable composite of electronic and ambient music.
His transitions include earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, work as a radio announcer, performing in theatre musicals and playing percussion for Johnny Mathis just for starters.
Michael Stribling’s story gets even better since after becoming a successful Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist offering help to those who needed a hand with their transitions, he returned to his love of music and formed Leela (Divine Play) Music.
Michael Stribling’s return to music is beyond more than just promising since Michael’s first album release Songs of Hope and Healing made it to #1 on the Top 100 in the Zone Music Reporter charts, securing the Electronic Lifestyle Music Award in 2006 and Out of the Darkness, Into the Light, lit up the #2 spot on the Top 100 in January having 2 nominations for the Zone Music Reporter Lifestyle Music Award in 2007. Another Day in Paradise is indeed praiseworthy, while Love, Light, and Water, earned ZMR nomination for Best Relaxation/Meditation Album in 2008, making each day even brighter for this independent recording artist with an optimistic outlook toward the challenge of change.
Michael Stribling has clearly made many successful transitions in his musical lifetime, giving him a first hand perspective to help others cope with change. The positive yes responses shown in his earlier music and in this brand new release only proves his natural composing abilities for bringing hope and inspiration to others.
The Promise is Michael Stribling’s newest album to deliver 14 original songs like his newest composition in musical ambiance is an autobiography of his attitude, comprehension, and inner thoughts drawn from daily observations, then transcribed into beautiful music.
Beginning with Bright New Day a crisp new perspective is announced by abundant keyboard activity that vividly lights the occasion while percussion distinctively beats beside a synthesizer full of energy, creating much animation by the opening number to forecast what lies beyond in future melodies. Daily Living likewise moves right along in style and tempo by the upper register bell tones that counteract with middle range melody like the positive vibes given in Angular Reasoning and the uplifting theme projected during All In Good Time.
Like many songs in his earlier projects, The Promise album does take timely breaks into the deeper hues of contemplation and reflection.
Forgotten Dreams exemplifies this apparent yin and yang transition to a more down to earth reasoning with a single oboe tone melody bordered by a mesmerizing and hazy background, touching on a bit of sadness which is after all, a valid part of the total human experience.
Love’s Anticipation brings a realistic and happier yes response by the lighter melody along side piano passages, much like the easy going natural feel presented in Distant Shores.
Title song The Promise begins with a quiet moment of solitude in a melancholy horn tone wrapped in sadness, but this moment gently advances forward in a creative moment of divine intervention nicely provided by the artist.
Changing the piece by one moving sweep in music composition, this percussion backed melody gently makes a beautiful transformation from an already graceful song into a lovely song of splendor, very much like a caterpillar cocoon would change into a butterfly, keeping the promise of inner peace and harmony everyone discovers in the final stages during each of life’s transitions.