Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Looking for the Timeless By Tom Moore & Tim Sadow

 


Looking for the Timeless

By

Tom Moore & Tim Sadow

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is much to be enjoyed by listening to an album by Tom Moore and Tim Sadow, my last outing with the duo brought me Peace in Every Moment, and a tranquillity that was sublime, now on this new offering entitled Looking for the Timeless, we are off on another sojourn of ambient brilliance once again.

Our journey starts with the expansive realm of the opening piece A Road to the Miraculous, a composition so fluent and translucent, with the main highlights for me being the delightful symbiotic dance given by the guitars of Moore and the violin of Sadow, in a wonderful presentation by the artists to get us underway.

Ones emotive senses will be peaked by this next offering entitled Listen to Your Heart, the 5 string violin of Sadow manifests a place that exists in the eyes of the romantics, and perhaps the poetry of Keats or Wordsworth. The back drop of harmonious tone is bliss in compositional cleverness, allowing the violin to manifest utter magic as it plays, “Oh sweet refrains, Oh sweet rain, ones that fall from the sky with such a delicate bliss, and drop upon a face of such a mild tenderness, to paint a new smile of love upon the day, with one simple kindly kiss” Yes, the most inspirational song I have heard for such a long time.

If you ever wished to hear a fine example of musical ambience then this next offering from the artists would be one that I could point your way, it is called The Pause Between Moments and carries the hovering intensity with an ease of a slow moving estuary, in fact this idyllic piece would best be listened to in nature, and perhaps next to a slow moving river and a peaceful natural landscape, this is the apex of all that is good in ambient music.

Our next piece, Mirage, is a vast open wide oasis of a composition, the eastern ethic is strong and its refrains suit my current location perfectly, as from my window I can see the shimmering sun batter the coast line, and the sky fills with sand from the Sahara. The added percussion and the bass here were creators of musical depth, whilst the violin of Sadow danced with the sand devils and coalesced with the heat of the day.

As we move ever onward and into the second half of the album we come across a deep composition entitled Out of the Shadows, the performance from Moore on guitars and keyboards here, really set the scene for me and manifested a moody tapestry of tone that was utterly addictive.

Gravity Free is a clever piece; I adored the delicate synths that built upon waves of hovering energy, to manifest for us a track that lifted my senses and increased my awareness. The floating and effortlessness of this song was quite moving in parts, and also incredibly ambient to behold, the perfect piece for a meditational moment perhaps?

We are spoilt for choice on this album as each and every arrangement has been tailored perfectly to garner the best experience possible for the listener. Here we have an almost classic new age styled offering that allows us to scan across the decades, and enjoy the musical journey that got us here. Reflections of the Timeless is a track that is a reflection of a musical narrative that combines age, knowledge, and a skill set so meaningful, yet so vast.

So, our time with Tom Moore and Tim Sadow draws to a close, but not without one more outstanding track and this one is called Timeless Beauty. If there was any doubt that this is a partnership of musical platitude, then this track will prove above all that we are witnessing genius in motion here, to end with a track of such class is a testament to the crafted performances of both artists, this is another sublime moment of musical emotion on offer, and the best way with which to conclude the album without doubt.

Looking for the Timeless by Tom Moore & Tim Sadow has to be the finest work that the duo has created thus far, an album of eight tracks, all of which are to be recommended, in fact it would be easier to leave the album on repeat for several hours, it will calm your soul and ease your furrowed brow easily.

Looking for the Timeless by Tom Moore & Tim Sadow is an album to be recommended at all costs, as it is one of the finest examples of instrumental music that I have heard for many years.


Change By Lisa Cullum

 


Change

By Lisa Cullum

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

The latest release to come our way from Lisa Cullum is a fantastic new single entitled Change, a wonderful release of piano with added instrumentation, in the form of strings.

The single opens with the solo piano, then the strings join in, in what I can only describe as a piece that feels very melancholy, then it suddenly opens up, and you can feel the change taking place, with the feeling of the sun breaking through the clouds, and bringing signs of a brighter future to come, in what was an inspiring and intelligent performance by the artist.

A release that is sure to be a big hit for the artist.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare By Liquid Mind

 


Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare

By

Liquid Mind

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Chuck Wild (Liquid Mind) has been relaxing our minds and healing our hearts for many decades now, it is always a pleasure to sample something so rich in texture and tenderness, and of course to enjoy blissfully when a latest release is on offer. That day has come with the arrival of this wonderfully ambient new offering entitled Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare.

The opening track is simply the best place to start; its unconditional love pours over us from Wilds synths, and as such Surrender To Love is like a home you never wish to leave, but a musical sojourn you are more than willing to take.

Liquid Mind was indeed one of my early major influences in the realm of New Age music, and in times of stress and concern Wild’s performances always brought me serenity and healing, you can experience this too on heart felt beautiful opuses like the soothing The Joy of Quiet, or the slightly deeper Teach Me To Love.

One of the most idyllic encounters can be had from a Liquid Mind release, Wild’s music is a true panacea to cure all ills, just listen to the gentle refrains of Letting Go, one of the most important lessons to learn in one’s life, and the quite moving arrangement entitled Oneness, a moment of unadulterated bliss indeed.

Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare is an 8 track album of peace and serenity, and concluded by my favourite track off the album called Healing Hands, a piece that says it all about the entire intent of this collection of loving compositions, and the perfect offering with which to draw the album to a close with.

Chuck Wild has done it again, and manifested a new release that simply breathes in time with your own needs, Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare is an album that any serious music lover will want and should have in their collections, it is a release that firmly cements Wild’s legacy and his Liquid Mind project as one of the fore fathers of this genre, and rightly so and as such this is an album I would recommend in a heartbeat.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Rhythms of Remembering By Byron Metcalf

 



Rhythms of Remembering

By

Byron Metcalf

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Byron Metcalf is a name that’s been on my musical radar for some 5 years now, ever since the release of Shamanic Dance Trance back in 2016, here Byron gifts us another moment of musical magic, and brings us a selection of contributing artists who create a blissful synchronistic flavour to the album we can now call Rhythms of Remembering, which will be released mid September.

One of my personal favourites is the opening piece, our beloved title track Rhythms of Remembering featuring Frore (Paul Casper). Metcalf is a percussionist of amazing skills and talents, and this offering is a prime example of those craft abilities. A sensitive and scene setting backdrop of synth heaven by Frore and a smooth, fluent and harmonic convergence on drums by Metcalf, creating a perfect starting point for us all.

We move with a sumptuous delicacy to the next offering entitled Realms of Second Thoughts featuring Erik Wøllo. This partnership of synths and percussion works incredibly well, and the artist has indeed given me an idea for a new track. The hovering intensity on this track is powerful, yet not presumptuous, Wøllo’s sensitivity comes to the fore here with such a blissful reverie, and partnered with the heavenly rhythmic percussion of Metcalf, delivers a textured composition for us all to enjoy.

This one I loved for three reasons, firstly the title Back Alleys and Hard Lessons, secondly for the performance, and thirdly because of the inclusion of top flute performer Sherry Finzer.  This is a deep composition, one driven by an almost tantalising percussive beat by the artist, and added to by Finzer’s almost eastern ethic on flute, whilst the floating synth passion from Frore just hovers and grows experientially throughout the offering.

Byron Metcalf once again utilises the delicacy of synth performer Eric Wøllo on this next most splendid track entitled Seasons of Shifting Recall. The delicate EM styled performance adds a layer to the creative nuances of Metcalf’s percussion. One can, through this musical portrayal, sense a journey through the labyrinths of the psychological, the spiritual and the physical, in one, if not the most artistic offering off the release.

Layers of Holding featuring Frore is up next, there is something so compelling about this track that after just around 30 seconds I felt quite emotional. The mixture of percussion and floating synths seemed to bring forth a need to heal from me, perhaps this combination of musical craft upon this piece offers up a panacea to the inevitable release and letting go! Musically speaking it is one of the most charming arrangements I think I have ever heard from Byron Metcalf, and certainly one that truly moved me.

Eric Wøllo returns for the last time on the penultimate piece of the album entitled The Fifth Reflection. His genius throughout this entire album has been well received. This last but one piece has much to like about it, the rhythm is simply delicious, the tempo delightful, and the percussive mastery by Metcalf forms regions of measure and cadence much appreciated by this writer, a vibrant yet chilled offering indeed.

For our last and final parting gift, both Finzer and Frore created a triangle of musical intellect and aptitude, in a blissful partnership with the ever talented Byron Metcalf, and manifested a track that is beautifully serene, but hopeful in its narrative on Another Way Home, a superb ending offering and without doubt one of the calmest tracks to conclude the project with.

Rhythms of Remembering by Byron Metcalf is a timeless construct of seven truly superb instrumental compositions that you never wish to leave. Each of the team of talented musicians bring to the table sublime qualities that instinctively birth something wonderfully quieting, yet utterly compelling, this is a splendid example of an album that will never get old, and must rank in my view as Metcalf’s finest work created so far.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Earthrise By Andrea Sertori

 


Earthrise

By

Andrea Sertori

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Andrea Sertori is a name one is beginning to hear more and more on the solo piano circle and radio networks around the globe, his gentle, but thoughtful prose on the piano, have been very well received, and this latest single entitled Earthrise must surely be a further climb up the ladder of success for the artist.

Earthrise has a depth and a texture to its performance that is so pleasing to the ear, and a steady onward motion to be eventually concluded by a charming upbeat ending.

I have a feeling the Earthrise by Andrea Sertori will be a popular composition, for his ever growing band of eager listeners.




Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Timeless Beauty By Tom Moore & Tim Sadow

 


Timeless Beauty

By

Tom Moore & Tim Sadow

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The latest single from the duo of Tom Moore and Tim Sadow is one of those singles, that when you listen to even just a few moments of it, your heart fills with emotion and your mind with unabated pleasure. Timeless Beauty is one of the most beautiful singles I have heard this year, and the keyboards, the multi-instrumental nature and the fluency and colour of Sadow’s violin, manifests something to simply bathe within blissfully.

The hovering soothing narrative of the synths and keyboards of Moore, create something so deeply compelling and utterly emotive, this is music for a vast scene in nature at sunset, an opus for an endless enigma of multiverses, it is a timeless composition that should go down as one of the finest examples of ambient music creations of this decade, and of course is utterly recommended by this music writer.




Monday, July 19, 2021

Minimalism No. 1, Venus by Raphaёl Novarina

 


Minimalism No. 1, Venus

by

Raphaёl Novarina

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

Raphaёl Novarina is a name that is relatively new to me, but he is a composer that has been around for quite some time, composing in a variety of styles, but mainly contemporary classical piano, and this single Minimalism No. 1, Venus is a perfect example of that style.

The feeling that is poured into the music is a delight to listen to; this is quite a deep piece, even if only a short composition of around 2 minutes. Whilst listening to the music I can see an image of someone in an old French movie, perhaps in a moment of sadness after their loved one has just left them. I think this is because I can feel a sense of sadness deep within the music.

This one is part of a series of pieces called Minimalism, of which there are 7 in total. For me personally it was a great and colourful piece, which I just wish had gone on just a little bit longer, as I never really wanted to leave.

 

 


Friday, July 16, 2021

Wishing Well By UMA

 


Wishing Well

By

UMA

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is nothing quite like a little chilled music to ease one into or out of the day, and this new collection of soothing songs by UMA really hits the spot. Firstly let’s introduce the band; I give you guitarist Robert Jürjendal and Trumpet performer Aleksei Saks, and of course the album Wishing Well.

The opening piece is one of the finest examples of a mixture of ambient music and jazz, the smooth approach highlighting a truly blissful feel good effect, and thus the title track Wishing Well is born.

The charming musical nuances of guitar, trumpet and percussion are wonderfully played out in the piece entitled Old Diaries, while the chords and structures that created the following musical narrative were blissfully emotive and moving, Pilgrim’s Path has an aged and almost worn feeling about its purpose, but that made the offering even more addictive to listen to.

The album is 10 tracks of some of the most delightfully performed, easy on the ears music your likely to find in this day and age and genre. One of my personal favourites would be the moody yet wistful Lost a Dream, as Jazz meets a contemporary instrumental ethic.

This is one of those albums you could leave on repeat for hours and never get bored, the tones of tracks like My Days a composition with the perfect depiction of reflection built into the weave, and then to conclude with a real night time opus called Beyond Skyline was just a stroke of genius, both presentations by Jürjendal and Saks, knocking the ball out of the park here with one of the most sensitive tracks from the album, and absolutely the best piece to leave the release with.

Wishing Well by UMA is an album of utter class, if you have friends round for dinner, this would be one of the first albums on your playlist to feature, and would manifest a really chilled vibe and mood, however, if you needed your day to finish with a relaxed smile on its face, then Wishing Well by UMA would certainly be the one I would wish to use, and as such I find this incredible album very easy to recommended.

https://myndstream.fanlink.to/Wishing-Well 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3D08rkkZ1Q 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World By Jim Kimo West

 


Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World

By

Jim Kimo West

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Jim Kimo West has been bringing us smooth chilled acoustic compositions for some years now, and it is always a pleasure to kick back and listen to the wonderfully calming performances of the guitarist. Born in Canada, Jim lives in the US, but his heart is most certainly in Hawaii, where he spends several months each year and is a place that is a constant source of inspiration for the musician. Once more we get to take a musical holiday with West, as we listen to his latest offering Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World.

This new offering is packed with healing vibes and such chilled refrains; one cannot help but be relaxed by the content within the album, like the opener Frangipani, a piece that is full of happiness and light, then my personal favourite, the quite gorgeous Cloud Forest, a track with an almost eastern ethic, and one very transcendent flute too.

Tradewind Serenade is typical West territory, slow, laid back and easy on the ears, and those of us that live in really warm countries appreciate this, I can honestly tell you.

Another picturesque portrait of perpetuity was the boundless beauty of The Sleeping Waterfalls, a simply idyllic track that offers up so much tranquillity from a wonderfully serene and masterfully calm performance on guitar by the artist.

This is most certainly one, if not the most personable and listenable albums I have had the pleasure to encounter this year so far, it has 12 tracks of idyllic beauty and one fine example of that is the penultimate offering Tropicbirds. Only last night in our pool, we watched with awe a flock of beautiful sea birds heading for home at sunset, this song would have been the perfect soundtrack for that event.

West is joined on the album by bassist Jimmy Johnson, violinist Ben Powell and George Abe who plays Japanese flute and bells.

Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World by Jim Kimo West is going to be a constant on my player this summer and I hope it will be on yours too, each and every track is a world of tranquillity all of its own, each and every song has been manifested into this world by a man who clearly knows how to give the people exactly what that want. I would recommend this album to anyone, it is blissful beyond comparison.



Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Lost In Love By Natasha Hardy

 


Lost In Love

By

Natasha Hardy

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There comes into everyone’s life now and then, an unbridled beauty of musical mastery, this time it is in the form of a vocal album entitled Lost in Love by Natasha Hardy.

The sensitive texture of her voice is illuminated by a single of hers, and the opening track off the album entitled In Too Deep, beautiful string work weaves a wonderful pastiche of tenderness of Hardy’s vocals, and mixed with a delicate multi-instrumental collective.

 Mi Ritiro has a mysterious quality about it that I personally found fascinating, perhaps it was the hovering ethereal qualities of Stefano Marzanni’s piano; regardless Hardy’s performance was as if she was singing to the angels herself, this is one of the most powerful offerings I have heard for quite some time.

Tempest In My Heart was quite special in many ways, the smooth approach to her vocals on this piece were sublime. The energies of this track were immensely appealing, a textured offering that contains a build and progression to be truly proud of. One must add that the violin of Dermot Crehan is spot on in creating a cinematic mood; this would be one of my personal favourites from the album.

However when we reach a track called Take Me Home we find something that is so emotive, it is hard not to allow yourself to be moved by the song that is about to unfold. The composition of the piece is so artistically creative and so emotionally imploring, and Hardy’s voice raises the rhythms and pulls back with utter perfection.

A fine melody and a beautiful song is next, and one can certainly see why this was released as a single, this is like Enya but warmer, and entitled Enter The Gate. The chorus is appealing and layered to perfection in the most beautiful of ways; I think two words sum up this song perfectly, Idyllic and charming.

The half way marker is breached once we arrive at a piece called Crossing The Highway. The piano, and actually all the instrumentation performed by Michael A Levine, is sublime, and a mood filled creation of delicacy in tone, thus it creates a wonderfully open canvas with which Hardy can present this beautiful song to the world; haunting yes, but in a wonderfully warm method of presentation.

Il Segreto has a fluency that is simply inspired, there is a sense of tone here that is rich in texture, but pristine in quality, please also note the wondrous performance on Cello by Alice Sophie. The layered new age mood here also has a slight global ethic to its manifestation, hats off also to the artistic segment on piano by Marzanni, who creates a symbiotic performance here with Hardy.

The feeling of this album is certainly idyllic, and certain tracks can literally take you to the source of the composition, such can be said about Tales Of The Alhambra, I had strangely been playing another track with a similar name, and about the same place moments ago, there is a lively energy that is tempered by a lush and colourful narrative here, one that contains harp and some rather powerful percussion, kudos to Anna Quiroga and Tom E Morrison for that.

Our penultimate piece is named Beautiful Chaos; the performance here by Hardy is so powerful that it could bring tears from the eyes of an angel with ease. The elevation of this song and the smoothness of presentation really made this piece for me, one of the best tracks from the album, and one that really moved me utterly.

Our last track is called Strong, something we have all needed to be recently, the lyrics here are wonderfully empowering and very poignant, and it is a track that could also make a good rock song if a guitar was added to the engine room of the percussion. Well what can one say, simply the best way entirely to leave an album of this crafted quality.

Lost In Love by Natasha Hardy is a unique album, each track is crafted with such a wonderfully fluent skill set of sublime vocal constructions, and a rich tapestry of multi instrumentation. Here is a release that has clearly been created from the heart and soul of the artist, and no stone, no emotion has been left unturned in the making of this collection of great songs.

For me personally it’s unique, as this is the first time I have written a review from someone born in the same county in the UK as myself, bizarre I know, but the voting from the Hertfordshire jury is a huge big 10.

 


Monday, July 12, 2021

Song of the Violin By Ronald Van Deurzen & Prapad Kwanpradub

 


Song of the Violin

By

Ronald Van Deurzen & Prapad Kwanpradub

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Award winning Ronald Van Deurzen has joined forces with violinist Prapad Kwanpradub, to bring us a brand new single that literally oozes class from every single musical pore. The melody is rich in texture and tenderness and is simply idyllic and called Song of the Violin.

Van Deurzen has added a symphonic touch to this new offering that is simply undeniable and utterly addictive, there is a resonance of a soundtrack from many years back here, but the overall energy is of two great artists showing the absolute love for their specific instrumentation, especially the violin, and how it can produce a wonderfully moving and fluent composition.

Song of the Violin by Ronald Van Deurzen & Prapad Kwanpradub is a new single that will drift into your open musical hear and never leave.


Monday, July 5, 2021

Celebrating Beethoven By Sophia Agranovich

 


Celebrating Beethoven

By

Sophia Agranovich

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The master and utter genius that was Ludwig Van Beethoven, is regarded as one of the finest composers and pianists that has ever graced this most beautiful planet, and we can now reflect on this master musicians time, with an album released to celebrate what would have been his 250th birthday, so let’s reflect and enjoy this quite breath taking new release from Steinway artist Sophia Agranovich.

Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich is a true classical reflection of an artist who deeply cares, and shows such a vast level of attention to the smallest of details and performance structures, from the abundant refrains of Beethoven Fantasia Op. 77 through to the albums conclusion, and the presentation of Beethoven. Tempest III. Allegretto, a masterful work in its own right, and it must be said, Agranovich’s performance on both pieces is incredibly stunning.

One of my personal favourite performances by the artist can be found by enjoying the incredible efforts given on the piece Beethoven  Pathetique I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio. It has pace, power, intensity and a wonderfully fluent sense of balance and texture.

A few years ago in the vast reaches of our existences, I came across this offering mainly thanks to my father’s love of all things classical, and I have loved it ever since, it has a sensitivity that sometimes is hidden by Beethoven, a smoothness of approach, and a gentle refrain to utterly bathe in, and of course called Beethoven Pathetique II Adagio cantabile.

This is an album of pure culture and made accessible by the masterful performances and open interpretations of Beethoven’s work by Agranovich, from the artistic nuances of Beethoven.  Pathetique III. Rondo allegro, and to the loving arms of one of Beethoven’s most famous works entitled Beethoven. Moonlight I. Adagio sostenuto, a body of work used in so many movies and musical arenas worldwide over many years, and beautifully played by Agranovich, with such heart, sensitivity, and an almost symbiotic energy, it is as if she is literally channelling the grand master here.

From start to finish, from page to page Sophia Agranovich flows with the essences of Beethoven’s crafted compositions, on the light energies of Beethoven. Moonlight II. Allegretto, into the intensity and powerful force that is known as Beethoven Moonlight III Presto agitato, a track that has an abundance of depth, complexity and tone.

One can also deeply enjoy the tapestry of a crafted performance on Beethoven. Tempest I.  Largo – Allegro, a presentation where two opposing sides seem to literally dance around each other in a chaotic energy of dominance.

The penultimate offering on the album is entitled Beethoven. Tempest II. Adagio and Agranovich’s performance here was delightfully subtle, profound in its presentation, and perceptive in its overall tones, one which would of course lead us to the final concluding offering, the aforementioned Beethoven. Tempest III. Allegretto, a more fluent presentation you will not find, and performed with such an amazing technically emotive performance, but one held within the musical constraints of the piece beautifully, but adding a deeply compelling romantic hint into the weave of the composition.

Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich celebrates the anniversary of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and she does this with such style and panache. Each and every performance on this wondrous new album is utterly sublime, and I am sure the grand master himself would have been very pleased indeed at the penetrating, profound, assured, and eloquent presentations given here. If you are appreciative of the works of Ludwig Van Beethoven, then you really must have a copy of Celebrating Beethoven by Sophia Agranovich in your musical collections as quickly as you can.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Travel Freely By Patricia Patrise

 


Travel Freely

By

Patricia Patrise

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is something utterly unique about the performances upon this uplifting album entitled Travel Freely by Patricia Patrise. The album borders on several genres, but seems to balance itself beautifully as it flows, Patricia’s uniqueness is one that she can sing in Polish and English, and here she manifests something truly new, fresh and innovative.

Compositions like the opening piece, and to all tense and purpose the title track TF4, hold a sublime beat and a crafted use of major and minor chords, her keyboards creating a clever build and progression into a semi-pop, almost new age styled vocal.

On the track Languages we have a mysterious progression that is addictive and compelling, the hovering intensity partnered with the delicate vocals and chilled back beat have an almost reflective energy about its creation.

We now move deeper into the weave, and as we do so we come across a song entitled simply E4. Pristine vocals hover across a landscape of a gently roaming keyboard, one that slowly builds to eventually manifest a depth of soul by the latter half of the track.

One of the gentler tunes within this collection of unique tracks was one of my personal favourites and entitled Inspiration. The flow was natural and creative, and the symbiotic performance between vocals and keyboards brought an almost Enya like performance, here is a track that should indeed be released as a single.

We now arrive at the half way marker and as we do so we come across another addictive slice of cleverness entitled Screens. A crafted manifestation utilising a rhythmic beat and a little electronic magic, which leads us perfectly into the next piece named Bangladesh, which in my view may well be not only the best track on the album, but also a composition that is sung with such harmony and positivity that is really raises the spirits, the full flowing keyboards gift us a treat of sheer magnificence.

TRIP is a horse of a different colour; an almost retro-pop vibe resides within this arrangement, the soul and heart of the song is true mixture of good cheer and possibilities, the chorus and melody is also something to enjoy.

The beat on this next track Layover is reflective in its content, and reminds me of the 90’s, its mysterious floating vocals almost tease us to move closer, in a siren like composition that calls to us from across the seas of musical time.

Our penultimate offering could well be another classic in years to come, as Holidays has a sensitive and reflective manifestation to its ever onward narrative. There was something quite emotive and moving about this piece that resonated with me, again the major minor interplay here was incredibly addictive.

We arrive at the last track of the album and this final parting gift is called For the Women, this is without doubt the most powerful offering off the release and the songs flow at times is quite tribal too, and is a piece that gathers an intensity and depth as it flows, a clever way indeed to conclude the album.

Travel Freely by Patricia Patrise has to be the single most unique body of work that has crossed my table this year, this is one of those albums that really has something for everyone contained within its musical realms, and it is certainly one of those releases that will hook you in until its final conclusion.



Bohemian Strings By Johannes Linstead

 


Bohemian Strings

By

Johannes Linstead

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

It is so nice to see an album by Johannes Linstead on my desktop for review, he has to be one of the most vibrant and exciting guitarists around today, his depth and fluency resonate beautifully here, especially in the Mediterranean, and this is partly the location of this musical sojourn we traverse today, through the medium of the album, Bohemian Strings, where he is joined by a selection of musicians from around the world.

Old style Europe is full of passion and colour, and I am lucky to live in it, this musical extravaganza by Linstead brings back those days of fun, colour and summer heat, like one of the places where I spend a good deal of time, La Taberna. Linstead portrays this laid back venue so brilliantly that one can almost smell the Coffee and hear the wine corks popping.

There of course is always time for romance, and the track In the Stillness of Love is a reflective composition that watches the sun slowly set in the arms of a love one, performed with a wonderful partnership of guitar and keyboards, and such a delicate almost chilled percussive beat, which made this one my favourite tracks off the album.

Quite appropriately there are 11 songs on this eleventh release by the artist, and each one is picture perfect and idyllic. The Garden of Forever is another personal favourite of mine, this sun kissed performance warms its way into our hearts, whilst always keeping in the shade of this musical summers day, listen specifically to the guitar solo just after the mid-section of the track, it is outstanding and builds to a crescendo, to what I believe to be one of the best performances of Linstead’s musical career.

The penultimate piece is our title track and of course called Bohemian Strings, a more vibrant sensual offering you will not find, the album is then concluded with El Presidente, a smooth Latin offering that sums up the entire project perfectly.

Bohemian Strings by Johannes Linstead is probably the most colourfully energetic albums that has fallen across my desk this year, and its vibrant and exciting compositions are exactly what we all need right now, to lift our moods and raise our spirits, and of course this makes it simply, and so very easy for me, to give Bohemian Strings by Johannes Linstead a big old thumb up, because you got to give the people what they want.



Friday, June 25, 2021

Transition By Eric Chapelle

 


Transition

By

Eric Chapelle

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Eric Chapelle is back with another brand new single, but this time and for the only time I can remember, he features on guitar, and on one of most mellow offerings I have heard from him for quite some time, the performance is incredibly chilled and wonderfully relaxing.

The keyboards and guitar manifest a delightfully soothing refrain that one could easily enjoy at the end of a hard day, and feel sublimely at peace at its conclusion. The structure of this new offering is also quite addictive too, and its chord structures manifest a blissfully smooth refrain to drift away with, this one surely has to do well in the charts.


Emergence From Awai By Hiroki Okano

 


Emergence From Awai

By

Hiroki Okano

By

Steve Sheppard

 

The testament of any truly good long form opus is that you will lose yourself in the work and time will become a mere irrelevancy, that has just happened to me, I sat to review Emergence From Awai (Music for Helio Compass) by Hiroki Okano and near enough 28 minutes from the 49 plus minutes of the album had passed, and forever into a state of dimensional meditative bliss.

This isn’t the first time the skill set of the master of compositional genius, one Hiroki Okano has done this, a similar occurrence happened on his last album Quantum Leap Breeze (another Helio Compass album). Here on this wonderful new offering we are gifted almost 50 minutes of the best global ambience you are ever like to find.

The serene qualities of this album are beautifully performed and produced, and Okano’s sensitive presentations which included natural sounds and of course his delightful flute, create here, something to completely relax and even meditate to.

The artist is joined by the sublime genius of Akira Ikeda, and both go onto paint a wondrous tapestry of work that illustrates among others, a year in the world, planetary alignments, and much more, all the music within this release is also in a perfect symbiotic harmony with nature, and the very spirit of the most beautiful planet we are graced to live upon, and whom we should pay a lot more respect too.

I’m now on my second listen in a row to this masterful long form gift called Emergence From Awai by Hiroki Okano, and it is still true that time just floats past with the grace and posture of a late summer wind, whilst opening the heart and mind to this most amazing of musical experiences.

I must say that I have enjoyed the music, understood the message of a truly transcendent creation of, Emergence From Awai by Hiroki Okano, as I hope you will have done as well, this is one to buy, this is something so beautiful that you will just adore this creation to be part of your life too, as it will bring that essence of peace back into your existence, by manifesting your own global musical sanctuary for you, a truly remarkable album indeed.



Convergence By Lunar Octet

 


Convergence

By

Lunar Octet

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

It’s a fantastic thing to start your day off with a little vibrancy, especially one that will usher in a fun weekend, that makes it doubly so, and I can do this today by listening to and reviewing this sublime new Jazz release by Lunar Octet entitled Convergence.

Never could you find a better start to an album than with the upbeat and swing filled opus of Norm's Nambo. The brass driven masterful starting composition swings our ears into action, as we move around our metaphorical and musical dance floor, a brilliant beginning indeed.

Toote Suite and its brass construction was perfection in build and progression, this is exactly how I love my Jazz, full of passion, smooth and fluent, built around a cascade of instrumentation, and driven by sax; hats off to the classy creation by the outstanding Steve Hiltner, and the performance by Keaton Royer on piano.

Percussive cleverness can be found on the track Oye, through the medium of Bongos and Congas by Aron Kaufman, which glided us seamlessly into the arms of the next offering entitled Subway Tension, with its sultry Latin styled opening and into a city styled Jazz fest, the dark corners of the underground are felt here through a fine performance on guitar by Sam Clark, touching the hem of Carlos Santana at times.

There is enough fantastic material on this album alone to fill my Jazz playlists with magical Jazz music for months, this piece is destined for that, and called Mambossa. The bossa never sounded so good and felt so right, this has to be one of the most alluring and sensual pieces off the album, the smoothness of presentation here is amazing, as is the skill set of Brandon Cooper and once more Sam Clark, and of course Olman Piedra percussion, the rhythmic pulse of the piece was beyond colourful, and without doubt, outright enjoyable with each note played.

We move to Flugel Tune, thus giving the opportunity for both Hiltner and Cooper to shine, however there is one part of Jazz music that sometimes gets over looked, so when listening to this classy brassy offering, also pay attention to the bass of Jeff Dalton, he is absolutely top notch.

Anyone up for Dancin' in the Doghouse, this is one of the more ambient arrangements off the album, as we hit the half way mark of the release we have a rhythm driven opus, but one that is bathed in a smooth calmness all through the song, which makes it a delightfully sun-kissed, fun and light-hearted reverie to enjoy.

As we take the first step into the second half of the album we come across the curiously entitled Elephants. The flourishing piano of Keaton Royer here is some of the most inventive work I have heard for some time in this genre, it’s worked perfectly to introduce the main theme of the track, the piece then has a slow steady onward movement built within, and is simply one of those pieces that you just can’t help but love.

Time for a little something special on Samba Diabolico, the brass and drums were perfectly symbiotic here, as you would of course expect from a dance styled composition, but this offering had something even more deep within the weave, an addictive rhythm and a vibrant but controlled beat, one that brought a considerable amount of musical sunshine to the proceedings.

As we move forever onward we come across a track called Cruisin', this would be my personal favourite from the album. A big thanks for the performance on piano by Royer, he blissfully made me feel like taking a journey on the A Train once again. A beautifully delivered track, I would deeply enjoy watching this startlingly brilliant presentation performed live here in our Jazz clubs of Cyprus, an outstanding composition indeed, and a sublime all round great performance by the band.

So much within the realm of Jazz bands relies of the cumulative effort of all, and on the global fusion creation called Heart of Congatar, we have just that and more, listen to the overall collective input on this almost world music jazz vibe, its simply idyllic and extremely artistic in its endeavours, with perfection from all four corners of the outfit.

The talents of Steve Hiltner can be heard on this next composition entitled Until I Hear the Words, but also in the aspect of being the songs composer as well, this shows a wonderfully fluent and sensitive side to the artist and the band in general. This emotive arrangement is blissfully received by us ever eager listeners, and its rhythmic yet slower pace utterly enjoyed.

Oldavai Gorge summons forth an almost rock styled guitar opening from Clark, partnered with a full flowing piano on the penultimate track of the album. The multi-instrumental nature of this composition is sublime; I had to listen to it several times to completely enjoy each and every musical nuance set before me.  This is another wonderfully elaborate and spectacular collective band effort, one that has everything any true music lover would wish to revel in, and I would imagine it would be another amazing arrangement to be seen performed live.

So we finish with something that falls over the musical landscape like a cloak of musical cleverness from Lunar Octet and entitled Samba Over Easy, a tip of the hat has to go to Jeff Dalton on bass for that opening segment of smiling profiling and styling, then the combined efforts from, and let’s get those mentions in now below:

Brandon Cooper, Trumpet and Flugelhorn supremo, and on my left Steve Hiltner, Alto Sax and Clarinet, the amazing talents of Paul Vornhagen on Tenor and Soprano Sax, and of course Alto Clarinet, the stylish skill set of Sam Clark on Guitar, lets mention the man on the keys, the incredible and adaptive mister Keaton Royer, the aforementioned Jeff Dalton part of the engine room of the team, along with Jon Krosnick on drums and Olman Piedra on percussion, lest we not forget the ever present and ever vibrant, mister Aron Kaufman on Congas and Bongos.

Convergence by Lunar Octet has to be one of the most excitingly fresh and rhythmically sublime Jazz releases I have heard for many years. Each and every track on this 14 piece offering is well performed, presented and produced, thus bringing the truly eager listener a wonderfully full flowing and exciting jazz album to enjoy, and it is without doubt one that I certainly will be more than happy to endorse.


Waterford Remembered By Annie Locke

 


Waterford Remembered

By

Annie Locke

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

I was spellbound whilst listening to the latest single from Annie Locke entitled Waterford Remembered. It has a Celtic lilt to it, but still has that wonderful comforting caress that all Annie’s music has, the feeling of being wrapped up a musical snuggle blanket, where all in the world is right.

It was interesting to find out that Annie wanted to create something with a Celtic feel, something she had not done before, and as her partner was born in a beautiful area on the coast of Southern Ireland where the famous Waterford crystal glass is made, she decided to call it Waterford Remembered, a fascinating story that just adds to the piece.

Waterford Remembered by Annie Locke is another chart topping single for sure!

 

 


Thursday, June 24, 2021

I Will Return To You By Wayne Bethanis

 


I Will Return To You

By

Wayne Bethanis

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

You know, I’m going to be honest here, I have had this new single by Wayne Bethanis on repeat for a while now, and I just cannot get enough, I rate this to be the finest emotional composition that the artist has, as of yet created.

There is much to be admired here, from the off, the bell and nature sounds are scene setting and the David Lanz like arrangement and performance is something to be deeply proud of, the chords, the build and crescendos, all make me think I am perhaps listening to a new number one single, it deserves to be so, without doubt this could be the music that concludes a movie with ease.




The Butterfly Cluster By Wayne Bethanis

 


The Butterfly Cluster

By

Wayne Bethanis

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

One of two new singles released from the mega hit album Measures of Light by Wayne Bethanis is now upon us, and what a sublime choice, to choose one of the most powerful and compelling compositions from the album as a single offering. The beautifully fluent repeating motif and the colourful build and progression here is cinematic in proportion, and packed with a radiant positivity which is really something we all need right now, a sublime performance by Bethanis indeed.