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Archive for the ‘2010 Album Review’ Category

Its one occasion when musicians produce music at the local level, and another when top performing artists from around the globe unite in a music festival that reaches the attention of worldwide audiences and achieves a high level of acclaim.

Johannes Linstead is an Award Winning Canadian guitarist and multi instrumentalist proving his acclaimed talents once again by his current release. Showcasing his lively artisanship on Spanish guitar, Mistico becomes the well centered focal point and international meeting place for dedicated music professionals uniting from Canada, Spain, Cuba, Greece, Iran, and Venezuela.

Recently winning Best World Album & Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic in ZMR’s 2009 Awards, plus ranking #1 at eMusic.com’s World Music & Jazz / Blues charts, gives the few people not familiar with the quality of his work a little more insight.

Listing just the highlights of his music career, Johannes was recognized in the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards as Guitarist of the Year, had 4 Top Ten charting albums at Billboard, Best World Album JUNO Awards nomination, and 4 Best Album awards at NAR & NAV. With over 500,000 albums sold worldwide, the long list of awards and nominations in entirety reaches a length most artists strive to achieve in a lifetime.

Johannes Linstead has a musical style not easy to categorize since Contemporary, Latin, Flamingo, Mediterranean, and World are just some of the essential New Age influences that when synchronized with a vast array of percussion instruments, seamlessly integrate into stylish musical scores that could be more easily categorized using the word festive.

Mistico is the successful album that commands much respect, not only by the heart beating origins of another chart topping project by Johannes and his extraordinary Contemporary Latin guitar rhythms, but Mistico becomes an extravagant music festival with top international artists performing by his side.

The Happy Song ( Felicidad ) begins this rare international festival of 11 original songs with up-tempo flare, neatly tailored to the elevated atmosphere of the occasion while giving Johannes his first opportunity to sport the masterful guitar melodies for which he has become famous. The accordion composition smoothly introduces a heightened amount of ambience to the opening number with much fanfare, while groove rhythms in Rico ! move gracefully in counter beat with beautiful electric guitar runs, congas, and bongo drums to interlock in dramatic fashion.

Leisurely strides in Night Dance rely on a crisp Latin styled melody with moderate vocals to generate a nice distinction to a more casual Twilight, where the sheer beauty of guitar melodies lend themselves to a veiled feel of lively sophistication.  Otros Mundos embraces percussion claves, congas, bongo and timbale while playing rhythmic intermediary companion with guitar melodies expert runs in well defined chords.

All She is ( Ella Es ) brings a light breeziness into the storyline, while Coconut Girl outlines positive imagery of the spirited occasion on this festive album. Rhumba styled Santa Maria with accordion harmony extends a tantalizing impression of solidarity to the sunny and joyful affair. 

Durango brings the talents of many artists into the lively exotic mix, where dejembe, doumbek, and bongo percussions dispense the glitter, while guitar instrumentals and accordion intermezzos engrave the melodic sparkle. 1000 Veils conveys energetic rhythms and palmas ( hand clapping ) to make a striking contrast to violin’s and Spanish guitar’s well structured verses.

Mistico ( Title Song ) enters an extravagant linage of passion where violin and doumbek perpetuate the energetic tempo and warm festive atmosphere, uniting with resolute harmony while synchronizing to become positively dazzling.  Much like the territorial borders the world musicians in attendance encountered during the album’s production, Mistico crosses many borders itself, achieving an extravagant repertory for everyone who listens to this celebratory fiesta of music. Viva Mistico!

The global musicians uniting to form this international festival alongside Johannes Linstead include Anastasios Bigas, Frank Marcos Aular, Jalidan Ruiz, Jordan Abraham, Geoff Hlibka, Yosvani Castaneda, Sina Khosravi, and Laura Fernandez.

Visit johanneslinstead.com to sample / purchase or visit his Amazon.com pages here.

Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – Siart.  Album cover copyright Johannes Linstead.

Close your eyes to imagine a gentle breeze and warm sunshine against your skin. Add in beautiful sights, sounds, and pleasing aroma of your environment. With everything considered it makes a memorable day you could term sensational.

This scenario could easily place everyone in many favorite pastimes, but for one concert pianist who enjoys sailing the warm oceanic waters in Hawaii, this description matches the wonderful sensations realized while contemplating his next piano album.

Christopher Boscole is a classically trained pianist, composer, and musician where genre’s of New Age, Jazz, folk, and Neo Classical piano, are just some of the elementary influences of his inner expressions as a pianist finding new enlightenment while recalling his personal experiences.

Christopher’s educational achievements run deep, having a Bachelor of Arts in music as a professional music educator performing for over 20 years now that incorporate his scholastic abilities of quality.

He is also a Master of Music in Studio Music, Jazz, and holds a Master in Teaching degree, also serving tenure as a piano teacher, concert band director, and church accompanist, all of which nicely reinforce his level of expertise.

Inner Voyages is the 2010 release by Christopher Boscole, where after the return trip home to his concert piano, inner recollections and creative observations from voyages of the day are transposed to sheet music for our enjoyment. These creative inspirations that are drawn from a favorite pastime greatly show original piano compositions as positive memories, and where his freestyle music readily equates these recollections a truly memorable experience for the listener.

A Melody in My Heart & Title Song Inner Voyages makes wonderful first preludes into the 12 songs showing inner expressions in a primarily moderate tempo recounted as an uplifting time of restful retreat and overall pleasing experience.

Heart of Romance share mid range moments of calming ambiance with very upper octaves during the final touches, while Spanish Dreamer in a more stirring melody, closely matches the joyful atmosphere of the moment by classic chords journey up and down the note filled landscape.

Land of Sea and Sky gives breezier moments that smoothly glide in contrasting horizons of calm.  The moving song Sea of Spirits reflects leisurely back and forth steps in the scales with notes that give the feeling of time well spent by the song’s more inward introspection.

Cry of the Birds in lingering moments, nicely correspond with key notes that similarly mimic sound imagery of the environment, and Suite Sunrise, has pondering contemplations by a singular key melody paired with upper octave trills where by effect, give a shimmering tint to the open flight of his personal experiences.

Christopher Boscole readily shows much versatility by his prior piano compositions totaling 7 albums. September Songs & Land Of Music are Contemporary Instrumental, while Shimmer, O Christmas Tree, & Presents Of Angels are Solo Piano, with nominations in 2 categories at ZMR. His Jazz influenced album Natural Instincts combines talents with great performers in the Instrumental Jazz category, and is a nice selection too.

Inner Voyages is a fine solo piano album where calmer winds and tides prevail during Christopher Boscole’s recollections. You will find the audible sensations closely match expectations one would discover if they were sitting right beside this music professional while he navigates the warm calm waters of his sensational inner piano compositions.

Visit ChristopherBoscole.com to sample and purchase or find at CDBaby.com page. Bigstockphoto – Palms.

Some New Age music has the power to inspire right from the moment it was first created, capturing your attention right from the beginning while standing the test of time. Inspiring music at this level is powerful, imaginative, and well defined.

Something I find just as inspiring are the true life biographies of the artists themselves and their individual success stories that sets them apart from all others, and what may be revealed in their futures. I find their innermost passions and true life stories of their careers incredibly powerful and real.

Clifford White is a musician living in the United Kingdom defining our New Age genre in many respects, and if you knew the significance of Clifford’s story, you would agree we can expect more contributions in the future. His insightful inception into the New Age genre emerged as a teen back in 1985 when he released a phenomenal hit entitled Ascension, establishing Clifford as a leading composer and producer who greatly influenced our primal genre in the process.

Ascension 2 – The Healing Touch on the MG Music label is his 2010 sequel revisiting the very essence of his younger creative spirit, now with newly enlightened perceptions as an acclaimed new age artist who produces some of the best new age albums.

The true story of Clifford White is unique from so many artists since he began a recording studio while retaining producer credits on 26 albums, founding the music magazine Sound Waves and the New Age Music Association (NAMA) persevering even more where he and top artists began promoting our genre by concerts and recordings in the early years.

Clifford White first composing the historic international best-seller Ascension back in 1985 now celebrates his 25th year commemoration by the powerful and inspiring Ascension ll – The Healing Touch. The biography of Clifford White reaches another chapter in his life and music, telling much about the man and his insightful dedication to the New Age genre.

Ascension ll – The Healing Touch has a reverent infusion into 9 classic songs, ushered in by A Blessing, where mid tempo bell tones unite in a gilded keyboard melody rising to embrace a peaceful interlude in mind calming ambiance. Orchestra stanzas enter a rich fullness in depth, giving a gentle swaying motion which readily personifies the aesthetic legacy of his insight into a genre promising peace and tranquility to all.

Eternity denotes wonderful orchestration with flugelhorn articulating an offertory role in a gentle concerto. Chimes and keyboard form an abstract atmosphere with chorals that lightly crescendo into a proclamation of relaxed contentment, while the song Luna contently adheres to a steady rhythmic keyboard pattern while upper keyboard octaves support a light shimmer to an already glistening theme.

Sanctuary gives retrospect imagery of the song Hallowed Ground from the first Ascension album, where songbirds begin verbal episodes of their creative entity, lightly recalling a past heritage.

The new melody in Sanctuary now signals in peaceful orchestra illuminations where bells signal in light contrast to a calming melody while songbirds again give a final repose about the common ground shared in melodies during the past 25 years.

In a counter beat melody, Reawakening joins with strings, soprano choir, and percussion woodblocks in a peaceful realm, while The Answer & The Power Within embrace ethereal sensations in synthesizer projections that evoke supreme auditory notes, residing in high melodic textures that reach for the stratosphere in harmonic purity.

The Healing Touch ( Title Song ) is a lightly ascending piano melody where an invocation with celestial harp gently strums a transcendent likeness, remaining well versed with the ethereal theme.

Ascension ll is another great testimonial to the aesthetic values of Clifford White and his time tested principal leadership towards a music genre that promises peace, relaxation, and calming tranquility with every defining moment.

Clifford presides over his multi faceted 21st Century New Media Ltd business, specializing in media consultation of Internet, film, software, television, and media related training courses.

Visit CliffordWhite.co.uk to sample or purchase Ascension 2. Read about his new age albums on my page for Clifford White.

Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – dndavis.

In a dream of fascination, one man’s New Age Symphony moved light years ahead in time by his first release on the AMAdea Records label based in Bulgaria. This visionary dream now advances into a deeper realm by his second release to become a world class symphonic revolution.

Bryan El is the artist title with a minds eye resemblance when confronting electronic music and where his first album Out Of This World began to witness a calculating number of people to his quickly multiplying fan base. Those familiar with the classic symphonies of Bryan El would be compelled to look you straight in the eye then admit his music carries a modern day or futuristic atmosphere, and some might even say his visionary projects are somewhat revolutionary.

Northwest Europe is the geographical homeland where Bryan was educated and currently lives, arriving at his stair stepping music ambitions after having studied Graphical Arts at Belgium’s Holy Technical Institute, along with a professional career and creative interests in website design.

Spiritual Evolution closely examines the challenging theories that make synthesized music a great formula and what can be interpreted from the use of electronic components. Integrating Contemporary New Age, Electronic, Groove, and Chill Out, touch every precise beat becomes relative motion in this modern day configuration.

Spiritual Evolution marks the second Bryan El album, where some stereotypical guidelines in music are crossed, and synthesizer boundaries seen in many modern electronic influences begin a new interpretation. To me, Bryan boldly speaks this universal language loud and clear, marked by his spirited crusade of premium brand electronics in a fascinating second symphonic proclamation.

Ascension makes your first trek into the deep symphonic creations of 13 song origins known front and center by an escalating song of beauty. During keyboards methodical exhibit of eerie ambience, glowing strides measured out by cellos back and forth inclinations, sway in time behind strong percussion rhythms in an effective blend of unifying ambience.

Dreamscape literally rises above like a hand waving crowd given the pronounced upper tempo showing the lofty abstract of this logistical dream escape. While rising to a high plateau on synthesizer, the keyboard staccato notes nicely contribute to equal groove timing, and deeper bass percussion entertains a pronounced beat while progressing into a conjoined helix of modernistic apparitions.

Lightly steady rhythms give Sunburst & Airwave a well blended symphony along with a modern common denominator akin to song Moonshine, with the exception of a more elevated tempo. The mid range Arcana hazily drifts towards an ethereal plane, much like the heavier percussion and choral backed piano heard in Soulbound.

Fantasia first appears to have a light linier florescence on the outer surface, yet there lays a deeply mysterious vector line etched parallel within this song. This imaginary line soon unfolds in a moderate tempo harmony with timpani, bass, and snare percussion holding steadfast in their revolving rhythms.

When keyboards enter a beautifully drawn out melody, soprano vocals strongly unite with their tenor and deep bass equivalents to incorporate powerful sketches of light contrasting mystery.

Solaris XL is an iconic song most popular with fans of Bryan El and while this upbeat revision holds a vogue mindset with a completely new matrix, the spirited melodic glow that made this selection most popular, is once again expected to acquire renewed acceptance and favor of those loyal to Bryan.

Those familiar with the name Bryan El have surely acquired this newest world class symphony for their collection. Newcomers will hopefully visualize their first opportunity to discover the candescent fascination behind Bryan’s unique brand of great symphonic music most are sure to see as revolutionary.

Visit bryanel.com website to sample / purchase or CD Baby.com page. Be sure to visit Bryan’s profile page at amadearecords.com website and the large selection of great musicians showcased at the AMAdea Records label.

Picture Copyright Bigstockphoto – sgame.

When searching by computer for talented artists in your favorite genre, a couple of simple search terms might quickly get you good results. If not, you can try searching the many recording labels to help you find talented artists, or at least point you in the right direction.

Lisa Downing is one name to search for, and Vision Quest Entertainment is another search term you can try. With either result, Lisa Downing’s name will appear since this business was originally her own record label and now a combined talent agency doing business as Vision Quest Entertainment, representing over 1200 musicians in Colorado.

Now that we know Lisa Downing as a businesswoman, let me tell you about her busy career as composer, recording artists, and concert pianist. Lisa performs in many concert venues including corporate and private events, along with conducting workshops and concerts with Liz Story and Joseph Akins, among many additional reputable artists.

Teaching piano along with her academic studies, Lisa attended the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State College to study music and piano performance. Graduating with a degree in Traditional and Nontraditional Music with Keyboard Emphasis in 1982, her educational pursuits appear to be nicely balanced too.

A Delicate Balance is her 2010 Solo Piano, New Age, Neo Classical release, in an album title that is pretty well equal to her business and creative endeavors as a Solo Pianist. What’s interesting about the inside cover of this CD is the special written diary about the thoughts behind each song’s composition which uniquely portrays Lisa’s intimate expressions during some rather personal moments in her life. I did enjoy reading her diary of songs while listening and preparing for this review of A Delicate Balance since it meticulously brought her personal recounting for each composition into the picture, giving her piano melodies a conclusively heartfelt and well spoken reflection.

Without giving away all of the diary secrets, many songs like The Gift, reflect a wonderful positive expression by the classical phrasing leading to the uplifting feel given by full register piano runs. This song aligned in a moderate tempo made me think of the intrinsic treasures a gift giver feels and the unexpected joyful surprises a recipient receives.

The song Lost nicely portrays the first quiet moments in piano composition before well placed notes makes one realize that someone dear has lost their way, leading to deeper moments of pause and curiosity by her intonation. After bolder dynamic chords suggest a winding road of lost hope, an upbeat conclusive ending happily points to a more familiar direction, ending with a more moderate calming tone of security. Indecision is a faster moving piece where treble runs are shown like racing thoughts of indecisiveness, and lower register chords lean towards equal balance in an affirmative way, reflecting the decisive moments in life that are pretty much universal to everyone.

No Matter What I Do involves a special dedication and meaning to Lisa and does reflect this by quieter phrases giving way to pause, leading to a wider path, where positive chords suggest a new resolve in this scenario, ending in a more relaxed contemplation. Lisa’s prior albums Think On These Things is much like her current personal melodies with well timed moments of reflection, and her Holiday CD Christmas for Two are traditional holiday arrangements you will easily recognize and are easy to find CDs.

A Delicate Balance is a fine Solo Piano album with the personal Lisa Downing expressive touch. Reading her song diary while listening to her latest musical gift about finding many delicate lines during the search for perfect balance is sure to please everyone, provided they take the time to search and then find this talented artist for themselves.

Visit this Vision Quest Entertainment artist at LisaDowning.com to sample / purchase or visit her CDBaby.com page here.

Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – og-vision.

Just like an orchestra conductor standing on a podium, one New Age artist first held his raised baton in hand, and began to cue the first downbeat gesture for his debut album.  What emerged after the final cutoff gesture was made, led to an upbeat direction for his first album’s achievements, and proclaimed admiration for this relatively new artist.

David Wahler is the musician orchestrating Antiquus in a like manner, where his time signature expertly directed a unique phrasing in tempo, dynamics, and articulation, leading to welcoming salutations of praise during the final reception at the end of his first orchestration.

Antiquus  is a greatly applauded 2009 album surprising many by the paramount success granted to such a relative newcomer in the New Age music industry.  The consistent airplay and high ranking in Zone Music Reporters charts is widely recognized, along with pending nominations for 2009 in 4 categories, yet to be decided.  Likewise you will find Antiquus is held in high regard with our own NewAgeMusic.nu Best Albums of 2009 Awards, so these merits do speak clearly.

Music itself is not new to David since he began playing piano by ear at age 7, then formal music studies in college academics before directing several theater productions, performing with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra & New American Theatre, while also teaching music appreciation to disadvantaged and handicapped children.

David again steps onto the conductor’s podium for a second time.  With all eyes watching, and with several decisive taps of the hand baton, he confidently cues in his current 2010 release  A Star Dances, in an encore performance notably holding great expectations. 

Composed, performed, and arranged solely by David Wahler, this album represents a heartfelt narration surrounding his family circle past and present, where resolution of personal life challenges are reflected as a unique source of inspiration for his music’s identity, lovingly embraced by his close family heritage. 

A Star Danced is New Age, Contemporary, Electronic, Ambient, Neo Classical, and Orchestration, nicely displayed by his directing hands, where it becomes apparent this second release sharply manifests a sweeping one and two and timing, in relation to the precision delivery of his already admired discography.

The song Quest is the Epic alpha and omega heralding in 14 classics of A Star Danced, and perhaps a fine talking point of those like myself giving their own conclusions about his second release.  To me, this sensational wonder is a revelation to behold, given the heavenly virtuoso trumpet intonation with pronounced percussion taps unveiling moderate rhythms while keyboard and tenor vocals gently mesmerize.  Having these bold dynamics and a contrasting sheer ambience of lightly drawn out vibrato notes, it could be telling of a more calming and peaceful resolution made during some of our most challenging moments.

The atmosphere in the Title Song by soft soprano and tenor vocals echo nicely behind droplet-like keystrokes and percussion rhythms blending into one relaxing starlit entity.  The Seeds of Time are generously sown by guitar soloist Brent Gunter, where his evolving impressions are backed by moderate keyboards and celestial choir. Come Gentle Night has a light sway led by beautiful keyboard bell tones similar to Peaseblossom & Reverie.  Sigh Away Sunday & Vespera are new images holding a conforming poise from the well conducted Antiquus album, giving fresh ambient patterns to the ensemble of songs.

Yvonne is a heartfelt rendition where harp and piano melody embrace to portray a positive affirmation when keys changes bravely touch on an optimistic tone. It is this song where piano, strings, and harp join in a tribute to a special person, and where the significance of someone dear to David is personified.

Missing You is first composed in singular piano notes where a solemn melody gives a peaceful and serene placement of solitude in the earliest moments while nicely responding with a graceful tribute.  Piano notes resolve in a most dignified phasing, giving rise by a reverent conclusion, where ordained notes of respect and solidarity become intertwined in the loving arms of melancholy. 

Quest ( Reprise ) makes a return odyssey to the dynamic opening impressions, becoming the concluding exodus to again reveal the bold aesthetic testimonial of David’s second album.  Devoted to his unique signature which retains your interest and imagination from the first cue to the final cutoff note, I do expect honorable recognition will be given to David Wahler & A Star Danced, pending this album’s overall final reception.

Visit davidwahler.com to sample and purchase or at his CDBaby.com page.  You may read our own NewAgeMusic.nu Best Albums of 2009 Awards and my review of Antiquus on our pages dedicated to David Wahler.

Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – pressmaster.

Today’s computer enhanced technology is amazing, and when skillful composing is combined with live performers and instrumentals, the resulting musical outcome can become a creation of natural beauty.

Timothy Crane is an artist using a creative touch with the music technology of today by composing piano music and then intregrating key instrumentals along with orchestra effects that become full structured works of music he and his close friends enjoy creating.

Dragonfly is the second release where Timothy plays a leading role as pianist and co-producer of his second album, along with Jason Rowsell who also played bass and mixing. Friends Rick Henly performs on guitar and percussion effects, while Ryan Day engineered and mixed the album. One last credit I don’t want to miss, Jason Rowsell’s young daughter has a cameo role by quietly laughing on cue during the beginning of song, A Child’s Goodnight.

The Other Life I Dream is the first album I enjoyed equally from Tim and this talented group. When asking Timothy what was the primary objective on this current release, and what set Dragonfly apart from the first album. Here is his reply:

With Dragonfly, my focus was more on the composition. Each piece reflects an attempt to craft an instrumental tune that is memorable, unique to the overall album, and noticeably piano-driven, produced by independent musicians who want nothing more than to continue to create and play music.   Timothy Crane

Dragonfly is where I discovered more natural forms of instrumentation become closely acquainted with an animated entity in 11 song classics. A few songs carry the rhythmic tones that might remind some of a highly recognized female artist at first glance, but I soon discovered every song is composed with a unique singular structuring in each melody belonging in a New Age, Piano, Contemporary Instrumental, Cinematic theme.

Dragonfly indeed takes flight with first song 2×2. In a graceful piano based dance of the keys, a real beauty of a melody greatly captures your attention by the upper tempo modern rhythms.

Well placed staccato notes from strings carry this steady motion while wonderful orchestration carries the appropriate rhythms that lead to a natural form of musical attraction.

Sylvan Grove holds much of the same beauty by piano leading in an upbeat theme while horns and strings inscribe a smooth blend into another most positive melody. Higher octave piano notes in Star Cross Moon are the first gentle indications of a nice correlation in melodic shades, and when numerous major to minor key changes make a full emotional presence felt during refrains, the result is gratifying.

A Child’s Goodnight is a playful theme that soon matures in a full chord and heartfelt movement, while Salish Sunset in again, a more moderate tempo, along with light recollections in piano phrasing, join with oboe to impart warmer tones of orchestration to enhance the open atmosphere of splendor.

Theft in Eb Major has more of a classical thought in composition with major and minor chords extending vibrant hues while building momentum as the song progresses. The woodwinds warm breezy notes blend with background choral vocals to instill a more celestial feel with this song.

Theme of Rachel Scott is another focal point where medium range keystrokes give way to lower chords feel of depth and richness, blending nicely with orchestration to become one exciting entity. Vasilissa the Beautiful entertains a most peaceful beginning only to be suddenly interrupted by an enthralling performance from piano, choir, and deep thunderous percussion, quickly taking flight as if suddenly startled from a comfortable resting place.

Title song Dragonfly is an impassioned piano solo signaling the finale of this lightly animated album, in a conclusion where I felt every colorful detail was closely examined while producing this incorporated album, becoming the perfect choice for many people desiring popular music creations having a natural attraction.

Visit timothycrane.com website to sample / purchase.  You can also visit his CDBaby.com pageor Amazon.com page.

Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – FOTOCROMO.

Michael Brant DeMaria, PH.D, is a recent Grammy Nominee making the news lately. Likewise, our recent interview together gave many people an in-depth look into the life of a clinical psychologist, composing musician, poet, author, and dedicator of his Healing Sound Series.

Knowing Michael better now, it’s clear to me his music is an instrumental model in itself, much like his art, books, and poetry, all of which have acquired U.S. recognition, along with international acceptance in Australia, Europe, Russia, and other parts of the world.

In his psychotherapy practice, Dr. DeMaria created ONTOS (Greek for Being) to help people live more meaningful and effective lives by ambient music interwoven as relaxation therapy. I feel The Series can be perceived much like a form of cognitive conditioning, becoming an audible portion of his personal inner message by design, helping one acquire a new perspective and begin a refreshing journey on a path to wellness through calming music.

The River first began the Healing Sound Series, with Ocean his second project based on over 25 years of personal and professional research in the fundamental principals of sonic healing techniques. Ocean was conceived to help hurricane survivors much like himself, begin anew and return to a more peaceful existence.

Where our rivers are a beginning source during their natural paths across the landscape, The River by Michael Brant DeMaria is like a template to discover a new direction, if even for a single day. In addition, while help customarily arrives in the form of understanding words from this highly educated man during his medical practice, Michael’s healing music has a similar philosophy. It is where gentle curves in The River now become the stimulus equivalent for discovering a natural direction in which to travel.

Siyotanka is the third story based narrative that won a Native American Music Award in the Native Heart category, and placed him on the Grammy ballot for Best Native American Music Album, also retaining the # 1 position on ZMR Top 100 charts in December 2009. “The River is an album dedicated to all who listen from the heart” are words Michael used to analyze this first in series. More than familiar with his music, I find this a true description of his work.

Descriptive song titles likewise assist in what you will hear on The River, which relies on Native American Flutes, keyboards, piano, and indigenous percussion to form the reservoir, rising momentum, and infiltrating sunbeams heard in beginning ambient songs First Light, The River & Sunlight.

Journeying is one of the more intriguing songs to me, having a rhythmic percussion and keyboard enhanced xylophone effect that paints a serene picture.

When left to the imagination, Journeying places one in a forest habitat, residing right beside gently lapping water’s edge in a restful moment of singular, peaceful solitude.

The Rain features an indigenous flute solo while a thunderstorm’s echoing claps can be heard in the distance as if releasing every negative thought from afar.

The imagery of light water droplets dispersing transform to create a colorful sunset at dusk, leading into piano and woodwinds calming sounds in a quiet Night Fall.

Moderate keyboard sequences, along with single touches on the piano keys treble octaves make positive reflections in Moonlight & Stillness lightly glow by their conforming ambient phrasing, while indigenous woodwinds direct a more solemn indication to denote the threshold hour of Midnight.

The River’s 10 song origins instinctively find a natural pathway to The Sea where most rivers lead. In comparison to seas partially confined and bound by land, Michael’s directive of these rivers hope to point towards a new concept releasing everyone’s unlimited potential, in relation to the vast open horizons observed in our five greater oceans.

Visit ontos.org here and then sample / purchase on his music page, or CDBaby.com page. Read our interview on our page dedicated to Michael Brant DeMaria. Picture copyright Bigstockphoto.com – WizData.

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.

Visit julianraymusic.com to learn more.  Sample / purchase on his website album page, or at Amazon & iTunes.

Cover design copyright Julian Ray Music courtesy of Katrin Ray.

It’s pretty easy to get sidetracked from doing what we really want to do everyday, and a 25 year departure from songwriting was longer than what this artist had in mind, but his migration back to composing have many people moving to new heights.

Bill Wren is often referred to as the Rare Texas Songbird, in a declaration I thought appropriate having the surname Wren, yet it uniquely describes his musical aspirations and return flight to perfection. First playing bass in a Rock band, Bill realized after one stellar show in front of a crowd gone wild audience, music was his final destination.

One day in a Life is his release already gathering attention, having many songs winding up #1 or in the Top 10 at SoundClick.com & Broadjam.com, with songwriting awards in Indie & International Song Writing Contests. Reading everything I could on Bill Wren, I also learned that lifelong friends played a major role leading to an early formation of his musical biography that endures even to this day.

Wren states the album’s success is due in part to the arrangement and production work of Frank Ralls, along with musical assistance of Terry Winch & Ike Strum, with a host of vocalists and instrumentalists who together, have assembled a refined album with a right at home presence.

One day in a Life is like a beautiful bird of paradise and where Bill Wren excels the most, in heartfelt compositions that exhibit the very essence for each characteristic style given by every performing musician on the album he calls a friend.

One day in a Life answers the call to 11 songs in New Age, Orchestration, Neo Classical, along with structured blends of Jazz, Blues, and Rock, building a comfortable resting place to display his versatile compositions. The calm acoustic guitar strides heard in the title song characterize the overall attraction given to the entire album, giving a hint of the harmonious novelty waiting within each well rounded song.

Daybreak shows the smooth artistry of this album sporting a fragrant touch and vibrant flare, where rich orchestration plays the intermingled leading role while supporting soloist and softer vocals.

Much like En Mai, lavish cello entries appear to drift and sway in time to gentle winds and deep sentimental overtones, with an emphasis on instrumental soloists as the chosen method to hallmark every occasion in this album of versatility.

Ocean Breeze features acoustic guitar giving the arrangement a moderate tempo and under closer examination, exhibits a form of poetry in motion while gently transitioning to a more complex guitar rendition, making the move during nice orchestral balance and light percussion effects.

I Will Waltz For You glides right into motion filled pirouettes in time to dance rhythms, while Lovers Rendezvous has a moderate tempo with saxophone and piano adding an impassioned rendition, contributing to a pleasing sense of atmosphere. Setting the ambiance again is Heart to Heart, in singular key piano melody and Night Fall, where piano, saxophone, and soft vocals maintain the beautiful colors perceived in this albums theme.

The song Old Friend provides the forethought in this lighter flute melody backed by a full symphony of warmth and sincerity, and since everyone is great as an individual soloist on the album, it does help me summarize with certainty. The qualities I discovered in One Day in a Life, facilitate a level of relaxation one person can easily enjoy alone morning, noon or night, but with an engaging album like this one, is always best experienced in the company of good friends.

The musicians on this album are, Frank Ralls, Terry Winch, Ike Strum, Sandy Williams, Nick Curry, Janet Planet, John Gibson, Jim Farrelly, Kyle Wehner, Michael Houston, Kelly Willard, Tom Washatka, Patrick Harshbarger, and Chris Lieber.

Visit the Rare Texas Songbird at billwrenmusic.com to sample and CDBaby.com to purchase.

Picture copyright Bigstockphoto.com – Ardith.

Classical Orchestral Harps can be thought of as divine or celestial instruments, having origins dating to around 2500 BC. The harp as an instrument often reminds one of angels and religious cherubs poised in a statue.

Lizary Rodriguez Rios is the harpist I had in mind while writing this first sentence taken from an earlier review of her Harp Therapy album which invites listeners to relax by the soothing music this stringed instrument can provide.

Valentines Day is approaching and a great time to tell you about this music professional and bring up the celestial instrument, since the harps early origins are ironically thought to be modeled after an archery weapon.  Given this fact, even Cupid would like to own this instrument since it strongly resembles a bow and arrow.

Lizary Rodriguez Rios credits are quite impressive, securing a Doctorate in Musical Arts and 4 time awards winner of international harp competitions around the world, touring with the Grammy Award Nominated Harp Fusion Ensemble.

The many concerts and festivals people have attended, like the prestigious Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, venues in the United States, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Spain and Russia have enjoyed the experience, so chances are you will too.

The recipient of a Centennial Achievement Award is a respected one of many, in an overall long list of awards and recognition she has achieved, drawing attention around the world as a harp soloist and composer, so expect a right on target delivery.

Harp Voyage was her first album, and much like her Harp Therapy are specifically composed for relaxation, massage, and yoga, while also finding a comforting niche since the songs serve as the perfect auditory background music during church services, memorials, hospitals, and even weddings.

Lizary has informed me she is presently working on a Christmas album, so another fine project of her specialized music is expected in the future.

While Lizary’s harp CD’s are not exact centerline New Age music, her high level of expertise as a harpist is decidedly front and center by delivering a highly regarded level of comfort, from a natural talent who is devoting much of their life achieving the very highest in musical standards.

For your next special occasion or great classic music to relax by visit lizary.net here.  Sample at CDBaby.com here, and read our pages dedicated to Lizary.

The Piano as the leading musical instrument can be appreciated using just a few simple well placed notes. It’s the pianist who takes the leading role by their note by note delivery to determine the style and complexity of the note structure in hopes of creating a classic piece of music everyone can appreciate.

Ann Sweeten is one musician widely recognized for her classic style. She also sets a high standard in quality among many pianists in the wide range of genres employing piano music as the chosen manner for pleasing an audience. In a skilled full range delivery on a Steinway Baby Grand, her classic signature sound deserves respect in a natural way, lending itself to beautiful music that many have found, gives new meaning to the term music appreciation.

Just This Side Of Spring showcases her latest composing lead performance as a Steinway Artist and music professional, with several talented artists at her side. Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman performs on acoustic guitar on the title song, along with co-producing the album with Ann, who also conducts vocals and synthesizers. Andrew Eng on viola & violin, along with bass performer Michael Miksis, and Trisha Craig on Flute are the accompanying musicians of several songs contained on this album, who do excel in terms of fluidity as a collective unit.

Being the author of numerous solo piano reviews in the New Age genre, I promptly identified an admirable level of richness and depth in tone I rarely hear in many comparative piano solo albums. Stylish tonal qualities held in even the quietest patterns give complex sequences and a prolific feel of realism within every individual phrase. I likewise concluded the classic instrumentals supporting Ann Sweeten on Just This Side Of Spring clearly strengthen this opulent quality, validating my initial first impression.

Ann Sweeten is a Steinway Artist & Composer, and her achievements are numerous, including voting privileges in the National Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences, ASCAP Popular Award Recipient starting in 2002 thru the years 2009.

The ZMR nominations and awards are just as numerous and her talents are not limited to music achievements and concert performances on piano. Ann is also a professional actress, singer, and ballet dancer, realizing many achievements in her diverse life.

Just This Side Of Spring is a thoughtful Piano Instrumental album that holds many elegant touches leaning towards the classical side of life, while shown in a natural realistic way too, becoming a great follow up for her previous Piano Instrumental album Grey Sky and Bittersweet.

I concluded that both Just This Side Of Spring & Grey Sky and Bittersweet make you feel a pleasant sense of comfort and enjoyment in a much desired way, given by a qualified pianist who delivers an admirable performance on a Steinway Baby Grand, in another new release of her music almost everyone can appreciate.

Visit AnnSweeten.com to sample or purchase. Find at popular music outlets like Ann Sweeten’s CD Baby.com page.

Music is an important aspect in many people’s lives, with just one specific genre becoming their favorite form of musical entertainment. That’s fine really, but most realize it does limit the total music experience, and a vast range of enjoyment found in all forms of music.

Isaac Shepard from Southern California is like many of us who share the same philosophy when it comes to the unlimited resources for finding great music in other genres, becoming revitalized in the process, and similar to the way Isaac put it, just might make you appreciate your favorite form of music even more.

Isaac began playing piano by ear at an early age and this early love of music began as a family circle of musical talent while performing with his father during many community venues in California, including benefits for homeless shelters, social gatherings and church events.

I am pretty sure this early introduction and appreciation of all music genres was a rewarding first step in the right direction as he began a well rounded approach into his individual projects as a piano soloist.

The Renewing is Isaac Shepard’s most recent form of expression as a solo pianist, where his individual composing performances offer relaxing ballads, classical progressions and beautiful melodies in each of the 10 songs composed with a pleasing source of renewal in mind.

Exploring the musical space and taking in all that it has to offer is a universal calling and can be life-changing. You might discover a genre that pushes your boundaries and leaves you wanting more, or you might come away being that much more thankful for what you call your own.     Isaac Shepard

Tears Can Fall is a peaceful balled where an extending range of emotion has a presence in both the keyboards and what you will find in your first sample song in new music discovery. Lead off phrasing is like a gentle question and answer session with treble notes asking the need to know questions and lower octaves blending in a responding reply that contrasts the upper octaves curiosity in important matters pertaining to harmonic togetherness.

Doors of Life has quieter moments in the earliest measures, moving into classic timed refrains before climbing to full heights in terms of the growing melody heard during this piece with steadiness like a soulful march. While piano keys move to greater distances in this song, the melody flows and sways by nice runs along the keyboard while sweeping notes trickle right in time with a more moderate background.

All Smiles like the name suggests is motion moving in an upward direction in an easy going natural movement shown by classic form, with strong stanzas recognizing a positive fullness in depth. The rich fullness of a quiet melody blossoms while reaching full cord progressions with classic touches filling in the outlining shades of color, giving a more dignified tone to the overall feeling of happiness in this pretty song of joyful contentment.

The Renewing tells of dancing rhythms resting beside moments of introspection, becoming a nice getaway from the pounding beats and winding guitars competing for your attention. Whatever your favorite form of music is, here is an opportunity to explore Isaac’s latest solo piano release and become pleasantly refreshed in the process.

Visit isaacshepard.com to sample his unpublished music, popular soundtracks, and two prior solo piano albums, Swept Away & Deep Joy. Visit CDBaby.com to sample The Renewing.

Big Stock Photo copyright – Wilmy.

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.

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.

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