Posts Tagged ‘Mars Lasar’
Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for most people. While this is especially true for marketing retailers, they too, along with the majority of people also recognize the supreme reason for the season, and truly enjoy the building anticipation during the preceding days, weeks and months leading up to Christmas Day.
If you are like me, simply listening to Christmas music can help one transition into the holiday frame of mind. And while everyone has their own individual pace for getting into the Christmas mood sooner or later, I can always depend on holiday music to renew my Christmas spirit.
Listening to popular Christmas songs prompts an association of my own past holiday experiences with family and friends. Likewise there is a vast selection of music to choose from since many popular artists past and present, have produced outstanding holiday music for our enjoyment over the years.
The best Christmas albums in all popular genres including new age are very comparable since many artists compose their own revision of traditional Christmas songs. It seems nearly everyone is familiar with mainstream traditional songs, so for many us there is even less of an apple to oranges comparison in terms of genre. Sometimes they are so much alike the easiest way to classify their melodies is to simply call it holiday music.
Along with the Christmas holidays is the yearly task of finding a suitable gift for family and friends. One gift idea I would like to suggest is the gift of music, and it doesn’t matter whether your gift is in the form of an mp3 or CD. Music is a gift idea that is relatively inexpensive, and most people will enjoy receiving any time of the year. The economical gift of music can be the perfect choice for many special occasions including birthdays, and in some cases, weddings and anniversaries.
Finding the best Christmas albums for your holiday listening experience is pretty easy too. There is an increasing number of outstanding Christmas albums I would consider my favorites so permit me to tell you about 12 Christmas albums in the New Age genre. Listed in the order of the artist tags at my site, the 12 best Christmas albums are listed by alphabet using the artist’s first name. If you are interested in popular holiday albums for entertaining or gift giving, below is my list of the best Christmas albums with direct links so that you may sample or purchase my holiday music recommendations.
12 Best Christmas Albums for Holiday Music.
1. A Midnight Clear – Christmas in Mitford (Soundtrack) by Bill Leslie.
A Midnight Clear is an instrumental album with 16 songs of traditional and original music. Bill Leslie has another sensational new release people of all ages can enjoy listening to with A Midnight Clear. Drawing his inspiration from author Jan Karon and her best-selling Mitford series, nine instrumentalists join Bill Leslie on the newest release in November 2011 of the 12 Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
While Bill Leslie is recognized as an award winning musician, Bill Leslie is a 5 time Emmy Award winning journalist and newscaster for WRAL television network, and a recipient of multiple Journalist of the Year awards in North Carolina. He is also the composing director and soloist of his traditional and Celtic fusion music group Lorica. In 2010 Simple Beauty won an award for Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic at Zone Music Reporter.
2. Holiday High by Cadence Spalding.
Holiday High is an inspiring new age Christmas album with 10 songs with a intermingling of traditional and original holiday music from 2009. The angelic vocals by Cadence Spalding are a beautiful performance on Holiday High. The innovative talents of mixing and layering are introduced by another respected new age artist. Together with beautiful vocals by Cadence and the other artist’s special creative touch, Holiday High is a release far apart from many other Christmas albums.
Holiday High is a traditional Christmas album displaying the serene musical qualities of two great artists who have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums. Save The World by Cadence Spalding is another New Age release worthy of your consideration. While Save The World is not a holiday release, Cadence Spalding’s debut release won a Best New Age Album Award in 2009 at another blog. Her classical new age popular music is a pleasant mix of ballads finely tuned to perfection in the purest sense, and best describes the question of “what is new age music” best.
3. A Christmas Celebration by Celtic Woman.
A Christmas Celebration is a Celtic instrumental vocal album from 2006 with 15 song revisions of traditional holiday music performed with grace and style. This is the second release from Celtic Woman who is made up from a female musical ensemble with Irish origins. Recognized internationally by their charming vocals with instrumental backing, Celtic Woman is a quality group who has earned a worldwide fan base and escalation in popularity over the years.
A Christmas Celebration was certified a Gold album by RIAA in 2009 with a volume of sales reaching over 500,000 copies. Along with international concert tours in the United States and overseas, their PBS television series with special orchestra performances on CD and DVD and over 6 million in album sales, they have entertained a multitude of people worldwide.
The DVD releases A New Journey–Live at Slane Castle is one of their most popular. The CD/DVD editions of Celtic Woman, A New Journey, The Greatest Journey, & Songs From The Heart are equally popular. The sixth and seventh most current albums from 2011 are Celtic Woman: Lullaby & Celtic Woman: Believe.
4. And Winter Came by Enya.
And Winter Came is a 2008 release from superstar Enya with 12 holiday songs with a winter theme. With over 75 million in album sales worldwide, it’s no exaggeration the Irish born Enya is loved by millions by her collection of Celtic, new age, adult alternative repertoire. And Winter Came recalls the enchanting moments of the season with brilliant beauty.
Enya is a phenomenal female artist who has won four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, in addition to an Academy Award nomination. Easily becoming one of the most popular award winning female artists in history, Enya and her trademark melodies are the hallmark of year round quality music.
Whether Enya’s holiday album And Winter Came is your first choice, there are more great albums to choose from. The Very Best Of Enya is a popular chose, like Memory of Trees & A Day Without Rain which sold 15 million copies worldwide is a very popular choice. The album Amarantine from 2005 is another fine song collection, and we certainly can’t forget her early classic releases Shepard Moons & Watermark.
5. Christmas Joy by Fiona Joy Hawkins.
Christmas Joy is a brand new 2011 release with 11 songs of four original compositions and seven revisions on traditional holiday music. On Christmas Joy, pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins introduces a bold mixture of classical and jazz influences combined with world music rhythms and instruments of Didgeridoo, Gaelic, Paraguayan harp, soprano saxophone and stringed orchestra. Fiona even lends her vocals on this release. Musicians accompanying Fiona Joy Hawkins on piano and vocals are Philip Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Charlie Bisharat, and Eugene Friesen and Heather Rankin.
Fiona Joy Hawkins Blue Dream album is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other professional artists that received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Fiona is a multiple awarding winning pianist who covers new age, classical, contemporary, jazz and world fusion music. Recognized internationally by her award winning piano and instrumentals, you can always depend on Fiona Joy Hawkins to create an exciting mix of songs that are without out exception, produced with quality.
6. Christmas for Two by Lisa Downing.
Christmas for Two is a beautiful piano solo album with 12 original revisions of traditional holiday music. Lisa Downing has a special gift herself as a top solo pianist, and this is especially articulated on her holiday music release. Lisa’s collection of original arrangements in traditional Christmas melodies are a mixture of contemplative and energizing pieces which will inspire the holiday spirit in anyone who listens. Lisa Downing has produced another winning album with Christmas for Two.
Lisa Downing did in fact win award recognition with Christmas for Two in NewAgeMusic.nu’s Best New Age Album Award in 2009, and an award for Best Holiday Album in 2010 at Zone Music Reporter. A Delicate Balance is her solo piano, new age, neo -classical release from 2009 that carries with it a special Lisa Downing touch. Along with her business endeavor and talent agency Vision Quest Entertainment, Lisa is a touring concert pianist who performs many concert venues each year, including corporate and private events. She is an esteemed concert pianist who has toured or performed with other renowned artists David Lanz, Suzanne Ciani, Liz Story, Joseph Akins and Peter Kater. Lisa Downing is a great artist who certainly belongs in this Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
7. Keys of Christmas by Louis Colaiannia.
Keys of Christmas is a piano, instrumental and vocal new age album with 9 songs in an assortment of original and traditional holiday music. Due to be officially released on December 1, 2011, Louis Colaiannia is a talented songwriter, pianist and concert performer. When you listen to Keys of Christmas, you can tell right away the classically trained pianist who explores contemporary piano, jazz, new age and chill out music, has in fact produced a wonderful holiday arrangement. Enjoy the season in perfect harmony with Keys Of Christmas.
Louis Colaiannia’s album A Moment Between Eternities is a classic, instrumental new age contemporary release in 2011. The wonderful range in thought and feel with contemporary variations of classical orchestrations express the passion in which Louis composes every one of his album releases. The 9 songs on A Moment Between Eternities are like modern improvisations on classical music by graceful piano songs emboldened by contemporary instrumentals.
8. Christmas Symphony by Mannheim Steamroller.
Christmas Symphony is a new popular instrument album in 2011 with 16 of your holiday song favorites. This beautiful full symphony sound instrumental release is performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and includes some vocals. Many of you may know this, but Mannheim Steamroller is the most popular Christmas music artist of all time. And that’s a fact. With 28 million in album sales in the United States alone, and their legendary concert tours, it’s easy to see why they have become so popular.
The vast selection of Mannheim Steamroller holiday albums include Christmasville, Christmas Sweet Memo, Christmas Song, Celebration, Christmas Extraordinaire, 25 Year Celebration, Christmas Angel, Christmas Live & A Fresh Aire Christmas. With this long list of popular holiday albums like Christmas Symphony, it’s easy to find what you are looking for.
Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis, and co-found Jackson Berkey have recently announced their annual holiday celebration “The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis” will soon begin their Christmas concert tour season, so check their website for concerts in your area. Check out their great selection of gifts too.
9. Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection by Mannheim Steamroller.
The Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection from 2009 is a 2 CD collector’s edition of 25 song favorites. The 2 CD song playlist for this excellent edition was selected by Chip Davis himself. If you are like me there are songs you will remember from years past, but it is all about the technical sound enhancements and playlist that makes this release special. After the 25 year anniversary tour last year, Chip Davis continues the tradition of live concerts for audiences around the country.
Mannheim Steamroller has also released a 2 CD disc album in their Fresh Aire Music Series that is a “best of the best” from the popular Fresh Aire series. The 25 songs selected by the band founding director Chip Davis are some of the most popular songs in the entire 8 disk Fresh Aire series. Mannheim Steamroller’s awards of 16 gold records, 7 platinum records and 4 multi-platinum records, Christmas albums and holiday concerts have made them the #1 Christmas music artist of all time.
10. Christmas from Mars by Mars Lasar.
Christmas from Mars is a new age instrumental album with electronic designs on 10 traditional Christmas melodies. This “Best Christmas Albums” recommendation simply wouldn’t be complete without including the 2007 holiday release from Mars Lasar. Recognized for his versatility and talents in electronic instrumental music, Christmas from Mars shines by the aptitude and expertize he conveys in every one of his albums.
Another new age artist performs angelic vocals on this album, so together their individual albums Holiday High & Christmas From Mars each are distinctive in their own way by their special creative touch and technical aptitude that sets their albums apart from many others in the new age Christmas album category. Both artists have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums and additional albums they have produced together. Mars Lasar’s most current is a solo piano album with 18 songs entitled Piano Moods From Mars.
11. Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Christmas Eve and Other Stories are a progressive rock adaptation of 17 songs from 1996 in a 1 CD or mp3 format. If you are familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their theatrical linage of songs, then you know Christmas Eve and Other Stories is unlike any other artist in my top albums recommendations. While I can advise every one of their songs is non-traditional, I can also say every song is special!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra has two very popular concept theme albums entitled Beethoven’s Last Night & Night Castle. Given their name, it does imply they are a Russian based act, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra is in fact a group based in the United States. Along with a huge fan following, their concert and album sales reach into the millions. Their just as popular Christmas themed album series are The Christmas Attic & The Lost Christmas Eve. Trans-Siberian Orchestra may leave you wondering if they are new age, progressive rock, symphonic, or classical music, but whatever classification you decide, you will definitely be impressed.
12. A Windham Hill Christmas by Various Artists.
A Windham Hill Christmas is an excellent release from 2002 featuring 14 song revisions on some of your most familiar holiday songs featuring Windham Hill artists. In this case, by various artists is a good thing! The Grammy Award winning founder of Windham Hill Will Ackerman even performs on the song What Strangers are These. It’s a wonderful instrumental album with a variety of top artists in the music business.
On A Windham Hill Christmas album there are so many top artists that space doesn’t permit me to list every professional. Popular artists on this release you are sure to recognize are Jim Brickman, George Winston, Tim Story, Tracy Silverman, Alex De Grassi, Liz Story, Paul Schwartz and many more. The hallmarks of this album are a relaxing, right at home feel you will notice right away. It’s some of the best songs available from the experts at Windham Hill.
This concludes my 12 Best Christmas holiday album recommendations. On January 1 2012 New Age Music World will present the Best New Age Music Album Awards for 2011. There are many great releases this year, and I will publish my recommendation for Best New Age Albums on New Year’s Day 2012.
Cover arts are courtesy of each individual artist. Photo copyright Big Stock Photo by Subbotina Anna & ppart.
The Christmas shopping season has arrived and many people are shopping for the perfect gift. I recently wrote an album review about a solo piano Christmas album by a top new age artist so let me tell you about another fine Christmas album by Mars Lasar, another top new age music producer.
Christmas From Mars is a beautiful traditional album with all of the enhancements and innovative technical leverage in which Mars Lasar is recognized. This special electronic new age album will likewise make an enriching gift year after year.
Christmas From Mars is a pleasing and joyful holiday album I can recommend for all listeners. If you are searching for a great gift for someone, or wish to revive your individual spirit of Christmas enjoyment this year and every year, this particular album is a wonderful family edition designed for traditionalist and New Age music fans alike.
Visit MarsLasar.com to sample and purchase Christmas With Mars, along with Mars Lasar’s complete line of top new age releases. Album cover courtesy marslasar.com.
Mars Lasar is one of the first musicians many people recall when thinking of nature inspired music. His music with a dedication to protect the heartland is a constant reminder of this gifted artist and his ability to promptly place you there.
Mars Lasar has just released another nature inspired project entitled Tahoe Spirit. This release really puts you on location, in a sharp salute that is a natural acquisition with his large fan base. This release should be of interest for all who appreciate his artistic creations gently carved from our native habitats of woodlands and ecosystems.
The time enduring Eleventh Hour Series, Olympic National Park, & Yosemite: Valley Of The Giants, are all earlier landmarks of his dedication to conservation music that, sure as our world turns, are steadily becoming more relevant each passing day. Every one is a great album with a wonderful theme.
Tahoe Spirit is his newest declaration into New Age/World/Nature genres to virtually guide you one heartbeat away from the Great North Western Sierra Nevada Wilderness, Lake Tahoe, and deep into Washoe Indian Territory, in a trail blazing expedition illustrating the territorial lands that are a vital part of our American Heritage.
David Rose is a distinguished talent from the band Painted Raven, and principal performer on Traditional Native Flutes, while a divine new age vocalist likewise join Mars Lasar on piano, bass, keyboards, and programming. It is during their unparalleled journey together where everyone can become a part of, and be a witness to the vast open wilderness, monumental mountain horizons, and the pristine waters that reverently hold the secrets of this regional gemstone.
Mars Lasar employs a careful artisans approach while composing all of his inspired by nature music, making a lasting impression on you every time. The effective result of a delicate polish given to Tahoe Spirit results in a fine grain finish, directing you to an exceptional visit to the pristine beauty of our native woodlands all Americans can call home.
Tahoe Spirit makes a bold first impact of 10 song legacies known with a deeply moving and beautifully synthesized Tahoe Legends. Beginning with a grand opening, this Epic song makes one quickly realize the musical terrain is going to be firmly held on a plateau of picturesque beauty. The woodwinds David Rose provides are encircled by percussion effects and heart pounding stanzas that Mars expertly recreates during your guided visits to memorable discoveries in music.
The Great Spirit has more of a calming presence by woodwind interludes and echoing drum rhythms that noticeably accent an inherent note by note recollection about a past civilization of people who are an important part of our heritage and who once called it home.
Washoe Meadows has the attribute as a gentle song with a relaxing melody, articulating a pleasing sense of atmosphere, perfect for those seeking an adventurous ambiance where gentle streams and natural forestry are a realistic part of the visual beauty you will hear in this total music experience.
Lake In the Sky gives a peaceful moment of reflection by woodwinds gentle tones and dreamy melody shown by a soft tranquil flow between stanzas, while bass and drums add a range of depth by the subtle undercurrents.
Alpine Meadows makes a heartfelt impression on me every time I listen to it, in an uplifting song where the bond of this trio shines so very brightly while standing together in musical unity. Mars places an Epic, yet comforting climate controlled feel on keyboards that instantly takes you there. David instills the calming winds with haunting flute passages recognizing the presence of the people living before us there, and the new age vocalist sings a soft radiant melody, glowing like the sun by her wonderful declaration to remind everyone why we become united there.
Tahoe Spirit greatly captures your attention by a bold testimonial about our native lands worth preserving, and is a wonderful presentation from talented artists united in heart, mind, and spirit, who give you the feeling that you also belong and can go there too.
Visit MarsLasar.com to sample and purchase the Tahoe Spirit album. Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – mantonino.
The conservation minded 11.05 Revival release from Mars Lasar is the most recent project in the Eleventh Hour Series to make a significant statement in both the trademark designer music Mars continues to envision and next in series dedication to protection of our planet that arrives with just in time precision.
The Eleventh Hour Series relies on an electronic instrumental infrastructure to get the message out. It now appears clear Mars Lasar was just ahead of his time with the series. His deep exploratory music touches the senses while beating a constant rhythm in music lover’s hearts, exactly when a new resurgence in conservation is suddenly thrust into the forefront of the next generation’s minds.
11.05 Revival on the Sound Manipulation label approaches every aspect of Eclectic, Electronic, Instrumental & New Age Groove, canvassing the inherent beauty and peaceful serenity of our magnificent planet in an epic and colorful illustration drawn from one man’s timely musical perspective.
Earthbound exhibits a strong opening by first reaching out to grab, and then capture your attention by a distinctive percussion rhythm that steadily glides into full keyboard environment, giving a pulsating melody in motion testimonial. During refrains, choral vocals announce a clear message while swaying melody acts like a pendulum to once again move in counter-motion behind the energizing concept.
Parallel Worlds permits you to breath again while navigating at a gentler pace during orchestration crescendo revolving around lighter percussion, woodwinds and twinkling effects, giving brief moments of interlude during this unilateral event.
Some of the introspective songs heard on 11.05 Revival could be perceived as a warning for our ecological in-actions and resulting consequence to humanity, since several songs have a deep perilous atmosphere that rightfully command your attention.
Globalization conjures up equally deep and lighter emotions by modifying sound images in this majestic song that uniquely articulates the projection of imagery during his compositions. The deeply integrated keyboard and vocals are centered by a twinkling sequence to mirror the bright reflection of a full moon and resulting tidal effect.
Ancient Astronaut & Final Countdown take giant leaps onto the planetary surface of ambiance by having an audible feel of intensity in their own domain. While one song is geared to a constant percussion countdown timed to the precision of a second hand with far reaching melody, another explores rich orchestration by engaging brass, winds and strings that seem to defy gravity by dynamic theatrics alongside intertwined lighter and deeper orchestra concertos.
Next Millennium has a design of the future piano melody with counter beat notes and intriguing voice box dialog that competes for your attention. Moderate patterns return with several songs in a mid tempo pace and feel like heard in Evolution. Graceful Orbit has a cycling pattern by the static effect, strings and vocals. Celestial Challenge has a voice box dialog with flute in an engaging improv sequence and Guide To The Ozone shows a blend of instrumentals drawn into softer songs that float along accordingly.
By The Sea ushers in the relaxing singing of a new age vocalist, where Contemporary Jazz is introduced to softer classic vocals alongside piano and saxophone accompaniment, lending a soulful and poetic touch which nicely compliments 11.05 Revival and newest release in the Eleventh Hour Series.
Mars Lasar has truly made a bold testimonial in this timely masterpiece, renewing the true spirit behind the Eleventh Hour Series while also personifying his dedication to conservation music legacy. The positive aspects of our world worth saving are clearly shown in unison with the extreme challenges ahead, exactly when the music of today’s generation and inherent staff of conservation awareness is carefully relayed into the open arms of the next generation.
* The Eleventh Hour Series 11.05 Revival has a 10 % donation to conservation.org with your album purchase.
John P. Olsen has just conducted an Interview with Mars Lasar. The topics are about Mars Lasar’s remarkable music career, current projects, and innovative technological products. There is some informal conversation about New Age music in general, and what it feels like to be a famous musician with a history of producing impressive albums during his career.
Mars Lasar is a music celebrity known for bringing a total music experience not only to his broad multi genre fan base, but to persons not even familiar with the name Mars Lasar, since he has prepared music scores on many television and film credits over the last 25 years, along with the lengthy discography produced during his music career. During his career he has provided music scores for highly recognized global corporations, and remains a constant producer in the television and film industry, in addition to his traditional album work.
You will find Mars Lasar specializes in a vast range of genre influences with his wide ranging discography, and his nature inspired releases seem to capture the inherent pride and true spirit of the American way of life. His insightful dedication to protection of the heartland that becomes a constant reminder of this gifted artist and conservation legacy that will remain relevant and time honored for future generations.
Mars Lasar is also a professional photographer. The amazing images he has captured have been on display in galleries near and far. When you compare his musical creations to his photographic images, the fine line of distinction between the two creative endeavors are more attune to making a single artistic statement. John Olsen recently interviewed Mars Lasar, and today we are pleased to provide his fans and our visitors their conversation.
Interview with Mars Lasar;
John P. Olsen: Your lifelong career as a musician has already been marked with many outstanding achievements over the years Mars. There are also many moments of media exposure on television and film. Could you tell us some of the programs your music has been aired on past and present?
Mars Lasar: I have had my work played on many well known shows like: 24, Medium, American Idol, America’s Most Wanted, Oprah Winfrey, these are just to name a few. I have been providing music for film and television for over 25 years.
John: What are some of the greatest moments in your career on a professional level, and could you tell us about the events that were occurring during the single greatest moment to date in your career as a professional musician?
Mars: I must say I’ve had some rather unusual adventures. Being a composer/artist and sound designer with a very large sound library, I was asked to compose all kinds of things from making an orchestra with wildlife sounds to creating hit song productions for the artist Seal. I sat in Abbey Road Studios and spoke music and technology with Alan Parsons, had a cup of tea with Kate Bush, worked with Herbie Hancock and his production team on cutting edge music, wrote video-game music for Sega and Sony Play Station with Keith Emerson from Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
I appeared on the Queen Mary and joined astronaut Buzz Aldrin on topics of energy conservation for Earth Day International, I played synthesizers on street corners dressed in a space suit, assembled an audio rainforest in a dome-shaped butterfly sanctuary in the city, opened for Mike Oldfield on his Tubular Bells tour, traveled to Latvia to represent Russia in the Eurovision contest for which I wrote only the music, the lyrics were in Russian (artist Tatu), I took a shotgun microphone and recorder into the Australian outback and recorded frogs and used them for percussion instruments in my albums, I sampled orchestras that walked out after they found out we were sampling them (in the 80′s), I recorded choirs in France who hid the one that was out of tune. So you see, music and technology led me to many interesting adventures.
John: Recently when I had an interview with another artist, I asked if making her first individual CD/DVD release of Save The World was easier than she thought it would be. I wanted to ask if having the tables turned by helping the artist with her release was what you were expecting, and were there any memorable moments during the album production?
Mars: Save The World was probably the most work I’ve ever done with multiple vocals. It was like making a king size quilt with silk and a needle. The stitching involved was never ending and required almost surgical accuracy.
I’ve always been fascinated with the technique of multiple layered vocals, even back when we were using analog tape in the late 80′s. During my years of music production I used this technique wherever possible, but with she being a choir singer and theory whiz, I was really able to push her to the limit.
It was an exhausting 1 year production but well worth the end result. Sometimes the production focus became so intense we just had to break out in laughter during vocal takes, and sometimes in tears. She is a multi-talented artist that often makes appearances on my new releases. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from her in the near future.
John: You have produced 2 nature inspired projects related to America’s National Parks. Olympic National Park was your first album, and Yosemite: Valley of the Giants your second. I heard through the grapevine you have just completed another nature inspired project. Is this right Mars, and could you provide some details about your latest National Park project ?
Mars: Yes, I finished another nature CD dedicated to the Four Corners. This one has plenty of Native American Indian influences. It depicts the vastness of the desert and surrounding canyons, with titles like: Hovenweep, Dead Horse Point, Canyon Lands and White Buffalo Woman. The CD is called Grand Circle and should be coming out late 2009.
John: In working alongside other respected musicians like yourself, including Hans Zimmer in the Days of Thunder Soundtrack, the musician Seal on the album titled Seal, and Herbie Hancock on the Dis Is Da Drum album among the many others. What is it like to work with other great artists like yourself, and were there any memorable moments you would like to share with us?
Mars: There is a deep respect when collaborating with artists and producers that are just as into the skill-set as you are. When collaborating in this manner, you’re looking for a perfect talent match for the customization of the end task, or the “brief”. Sometimes the music comes easy, and other times not so. Every artist I have worked with have their own unique eccentricities, and they change according to what is going on in their lives at that time musically and personally. It’s a detailed puzzle. Even the simplest songs can take forever to accomplish.
John: From 1998 to 2001 you released the following albums: Sapphire Dreams, 11.02, When Worlds Collide, Karma, and Star Is Born, among others In addition you have produced a number of series projects like the Mind Scape series and Baby Escapes. Was 1998 to 2001 the busiest period in your career, or was there another point in time where producing music was in the forefront? Is there a reason you were so creative during the time period?
Mars: From the time I discovered music at 11 to now, I’ve been busy making my own versions of what I call “emotional mathematics”, evoking an emotion from music particularly with the latest technology was my thing. There has never been a dull moment. I just follow my art where it takes me.
The key was How do to make money from my art, so I can continue doing it? Being a composer means you must diversify your talents to survive, and that information varies on so many things that can happen in the industry at the time, which can actually take you off-course for years. I found that once I had the talent, distribution, audience and experience to release multiple works, there was no stopping me.
John: The Eleventh Hour was a successful album. Could you tell the events surrounding The Eleventh Hour time period?
Mars: The only way to explain The Eleventh Hour success was the timing in the environment at the time. Many people were talking about cell-phones frying their brains, they were big and cumbersome in the early 90′s. My song from the cd Cellular City with all its phone noises and technology driven Jazz seemed to hit that chord. Next thing you know it’s playing on heavy rotation on American radio. I went all out on that CD to show my true talents as a composer and sound designer.
John: I recently wrote a album review of your At The End Of The Day album, and I found it a nice fusion of Jazz and New Age, noting the fact that many of your albums are a fusion of genres. Do you think this is why your music is so popular, and do you purposely blend genres, or does this just happen naturally for you when creating an album?
Mars: My curiosity for music and art never ceases. It’s the never-ending exploration. For me it’s all about expressing yourself in as many ways as possible and sharing your discoveries with the world. I never wanted to be pigeonholed into the one genre, I just have way too much to express. Because of this my fan base is very broad. From mediation to industrial electronic to jazz. This is also why I like writing for film and TV.
John: Earlier in life you worked 8 years for Fairlight Instruments developing innovative multi-track synthesizer sequencers. Could you tell us about the products you developed and the events you were involved with during your early years?
Mars: Back in the early 1980′s I was heavily into “concrete music”. This was very abstract and non-eventful music, but the techniques were interesting to me. I would put a blank cassette tape into my shortwave radio tuner, press record and pause, look for a neat sound on shortwave (lots of squelching to choose from), hold a stopwatch and together I would release pause and start the stopwatch for one second then press the pause again. Then I would look for the next shortwave sound and repeat. In doing this you could make crude but interesting rhythmic patterns and tones. Essentially I was sampling audio and playing it back. At 18 with my knowledge of sampling and classical training on the piano I fell into the lap of Fairlight Computers. The first music computer based production tool in the music business.
I worked day and night with the R&D team, explaining the intricacies of music and making the first music sequencer “Page R”, it was the shortwave concept but to the next level. I helped to built the massive sound library that came with the machine, packaged in a cardboard-box the size of a large refrigerator. I quickly became very knowledgeable on the computer and traveled the world demonstrating the Fairlight at trade shows, and personal demonstrations to: Duran Duran, The Divinals, Captain and Tennille, Mike Oldfield, Herbie Hancock, Hans Zimmer, Alan Parsons, BBC, Kate Bush and plenty more.
My compositions came with the computer and at a price of $70,000. After helping to get the Fairlight off the ground, I started working freelance. Today the machine is obsolete, PC music software is at a fraction of the price and 100x more powerful, some examples are: Logic, Performer, Cubase and Cakewalk.
John: In your art & photography pages at MarsLasar.com I saw some pretty unique paintings along with your CD album collectables and prints available for purchase. I also read some of your oil paintings are created in more of a process than by just using art brushes. Could you tell us a little about how your original works of art are created?
Mars: I grew up with art. My mother is an exceptional fine artist, she taught me how to paint oil on canvas, I was immediately hooked and spent every moment I had figuring out the behavior of oil paint on canvas. At the age of 14 was asked to hang my works in my high school and I just kept going from there. After painting my canvas I would take a high resolution photo and manipulate the image even further in Photoshop. Photography became a natural progression as soon as it became digital, I wasn’t too keen on the darkroom and chemicals in the early days. Now, I take my camera gear everywhere, and most who know me know that I’m off taking photos when I should elsewhere I enjoy making art from music to art design to the business, it’s all the same to me. The most important thing is that I translate my concept across to the audience so you can enjoy the experience.
John: Your earliest music studies as a young adult were the classical works of Beethoven, Chopin, and Bach. Do you believe this classical foundation at a young age carried through into your earlier compositions and even into present day compositions?
Mars: Absolutely. The emotional mathematics behind classical music is deep and well thought out. I connect with my classical roots in most of my work. I think it’s an essential tool for young composers. When it comes to classical music, you can never know enough.
John: The family oriented Baby Escapes series 1 – 8 is intended for relaxation. Was there a personal reason that led you to create the more family oriented recordings, and what specific goal did you have in mind with this series?
Mars: BabyEscapes was a sonic experiment made to keep my baby daughter asleep. Made in the 1980′s there wasn’t much around in sleep therapy, so I made my own. It worked so well we had to wake her up during naps. The idea was to create a repetitive cyclical loop that essentially massages your mind to sleep. The secret to this is the choice harmonic resonating tones. There is so much to learn about the strength of music and vibration.
John: Clearly you have many professional interests like music, art, and new technology. It makes me wonder if you have any just for fun hobbies and what you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Mars: My hobbies start as hobbies then turn into businesses. There is only so much I can do in a day, so I just have as much fun as possible while I’m here for this short stay on earth.
John: I would like to close by saying Mars, that you are perhaps the most talented individual I have ever been introduced to in recent memory! Our readers, and myself do thank you for taking time out to give everyone some insight into both your professional career and personal life.
Mars: Thank you. I have worked hard to deliver our creative expressions to the world. I hope that through our art I can make a difference, and inspire others to do the same.
Visit MarsLasar.com and sample albums at his music store or Amazon.com page. You can visit Mars Lasar’s art pages & photography pages and my page for Mars Lasar. Art and photos are courtesy marslasar.com.
Recently I announced an interview with Mars Lasar. Today let’s explore Mars Lasar’s best New Age album with a beautiful Jazz influence. Its a great album whose tonal qualities set the stage for a memorable Jazz experience.
Mars Lasar has a diverse discography ranging from New Age, Electronic, Contemporary Instrumental, World, Jazz, Ambient, Chill Out, Classical, and a host of sub genres that are so unique they have yet to be classified. This revered man of many talents has touched the lives of millions of people with his diverse music while showcasing his innovative abilities during his lengthy career as a professional musician, along with his many related artistic endeavors.
At The End Of The Day creates a wonderful example since Classic Jazz music is introduced to New Age music in a manner that I felt lends itself to a high society level of sophistication, yet it is delivered in an easy going approachable manner that gives one a relaxing right at home feel of comfort.
This should give you some insight about what is in store for you, and how effective Mars Lasar is with creating beauty from contrasting images, yet there is so much more to discover from this album, plus the full scope of his vast discography.
Mars Lasar layers his mixing production talents to full advantage on every song in this Contemporary Jazzy 10 track album that highlights his artistic abilities in a just right, toast of the town in house feel. His fans will adore this release, being such a strong example of what they love, recognize, and have come to expect from Mars. Here we find soulful saxophone driven melodies, considerately subdued from completely stealing the show while keyboard, flute, and guitar melodies prove themselves just as capable while taking a turn in the solo instrumental spotlight. The song Uptown is a favorite among his fans who already own the album. Perhaps they recognize this fine song as one of his best since fusion between old school Jazz and Contemporary Jazz are intertwined to reach a playful commingling of the two styles.
Mars Lasar has an enduring ability to captivate an audience with his music by personal adaptability, mindful at using technical leverage, while also generating a creative spark of imagination. I believe these skills, plus his strive for perfection is how Mars can offer a higher level of versatility simply not present with many artists within many genres.
The song Warm Nights is a mid tempo, Jazz festival of fun, where guitar and percussion first set an atmosphere like a playful night in a downtown club. Just like we are there on location, I can imagine an illustrated solo saxophone player sharp and colorfully dressed, playing a warmly lit tune that contrasts well with the darker shades in note phrasing heard in the beginning measures of tonal imagery.
The colorful music is noted by the upward raised saxophone and soulful eyes closed expression made during the opening woodwind solo.
If you try you can imagine the seated piano player is all smiles while making their keyboard runs in distinct counter beat with saxophone while upper octave piano notes twinkle in unison, exactly as our solo performers glance at one another to give a quick nod and wink of approval.
Come And Join Us is a nicely done new age jazz mix with an inviting tone that keeps the momentum going in a positive upbeat direction.
When the bass cello player starts this in house session with a resonating pluck of the strings and then several spins of the cello, the rhythm is set by the warmer tones and expertly delivered bass runs that capture the crowd’s approval right from the beginning.
Joining in the session, piano and flute quickly step forward to contribute their fragrant ambiance by taking turns during moments of improvisation while the crowd waves their raised hands back and forth to the beat.
I can even picture everyone moving closer to the stage as our saxophone player once again steps into the spotlight with a dramatic solo while flute makes note filled runs, then several trills during each refrain as percussion places their cymbal taps and well timed snare beats with exacting precision.
While listening to this album it’s easy to visualize every instrument sparkling brightly under the lighting while all players make their runs through the scales in this album having an uptown beat, capturing the moment and memories for the entire evening in the final closing notes. Then, as everyone slowly starts to leave and the band begins to pack, it is pretty clear the audience was captivated by the sights, sounds, and sensations, after just having heard this Jazz influenced album produced by Mars Lasar that mirrors the very ultimate in the downtown Jazz experience.
Let me introduce the players who performed on this (studio produced) album on the Sound Manipulations label. Let’s give a big round of applause for Mars Lasar, Nicholas Gunn who played flute, and the vocalist. The guitarists include Winslow Crockwell, Jeff Burak and Carlos Villalobos. Greg Vail played the saxophone and flute. This is a list of the artists homepage: Visit nicholasgunn.com, carlosvillalobos.com and gregvail.com.