Friday, July 31, 2020

The Pale Blue Dot By Terry Lee Nichols

The Pale Blue Dot


Terry Lee Nichols

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Two years previous I was literally blown away by the Terry Lee Nichols album We Have Only Come To Dream... I rated it as one of the best albums I had heard in that year, I am once more at that very point with this absolutely breath-taking new album by the artist entitled The Pale Blue Dot, an album that plots the transition of our home from its beginnings and the journey thus far.

The artist in creating this his own miracle in music, has once again manifested something beyond brilliant, a colourful and picturesque start on In the Beginning... (Quantum Fluctuations) and a virtual cinematic explosive masterpiece entitled First Stars; Terry Lee Nichols through this track alone proves himself to be a master painter with sound and tone.

For the listener there is so much to enjoy and to dive deep within, perhaps it could be the utter ambience and vocalise of Stardust (Clouds of Gas and Dust) featuring the talents of Rebekah Eden, or it could be a sojourn with the piano based symphonic gestures of East of Eden, a track that contains one of the most fluent performances you are ever likely to hear, or maybe one could simply give into the simplicities of the track Child's Play.

Terry Lee Nichols is one of those composers who can literally reach into your chest and touch your beating heart. The ending track says it all as we revisit in a fashion, a composition on a former album with the piece The Pale Blue Dot - Train to Dachau Redux. This one made me feel deeply reflective, for we live on such a beautiful planet, but all we see is fear and what we fear we never truly see. A beautifully poignant end to what is an album that deserves all the plaudits it gets, listen specifically to the spoken word in this incredible composition.

The Pale Blue Dot by Terry Lee Nichols is probably going to be one of my top five albums for 2020; it is a quality release of natural beauty, and a sublime presentation from a musician who clearly wears his heart on his musical sleeve. The album is one of those rare collections of musical perfections; it is a release that speaks to the population of the planet, and without doubt must be regarded as the apex of what is called the contemporary instrumental genre, it really doesn’t get any better than this.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Zentronique By Michael Regina



Michael Regina

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A completely chilled and fascinating experience can be had by listening to the latest release by artist Michael Regina and his brand new album Zentronique. Here is an album that is packed with an abundance of smooth yet classy compositions, and one that I have just enjoyed listening to in its entirety just before writing this review.

The journey starts with the Vangelis styled opus Frontiers, a grand beginning full of power and electronic flavour, with a little hint of David Wright in the mix as well.

This most illustrious of openings leads us into one of several charming chill out tracks, this one entitled The Gates. As an ambient keyboardist myself I found the arrangement particularly interesting, the melody was warm to listen to and gave the listener an utterly charming film score like musical narrative to enjoy.

All Good Things is our next port of call, a beautifully fluent piano styled arrangement which seems to just drift past like an errant summer cloud. The performance here was deeply enjoyable and gave a certain feeling of ambience to me that I found particularly pleasing.

The next offering entitled Connections seemed familiar to me; the percussion added more depth to the song, and manifested for me a wonderful sense of musical movement that carried me along as a willing partner.

As we touch the half way marker we come across a beautiful opus called Human Condition. There was something so very moving about this track; its gentle symphonic gestures reminded me in parts of David Whaler at times. This offering would turn out to be one of my personal favourites off the album, partly because of the amazing transition at the 1:40 mark, from a new age floaty offering into a full blow and empowering cinematic sound track of a composition.

The time has arrived for us to enjoy the title track, and thus Zentronique is before us, this wonderful chill out arrangement has all the hall marks of becoming a classic track that will be remembered by fans of this genre, and more so the electronic one for ages to come. Here is a piece that flows like an April stream, the percussion is perfect and the keyboards swirl to manifest a wonderfully mesmeric state.

Maxim M Chill picks up the pace and escalates the albums energy to a completely higher plain. This is music for a hot summer’s day by the pool, and one composition that is just about to get selected for my next chill out lounge playlist.

We have a state of complete bliss before us now, one that creates its own musical narrative by its chilled beat, and defines itself by its classy production and performance. Regina’s musical prowess has grown with each passing track and this masterful piece of electronic wizardry is another fine example for you to enjoy, and called In The Ether.

The mixture of EM meets chill out is idyllic for my tastes as I hope it is yours too, with that in mind, we are now swimming in the deeper waters of this release, and as we do so we come across another movie styled opus called Hybrid. The perfect measures of synths, keyboards and percussion deliver an almost Sci-Fi arrangement.

Communion is our penultimate offering and this anthem like arrangement is a perfectly placed calming composition that allows us a little time of reflection. The tranquil keyboards are so redolent of the subject matter, then the percussive marching beat gives us a sense of something all coming together just at the right time, a fine example of build and progression within a musical composition can be found here.

So we have reached the last gateway to the album and it is entitled Hello Together. I listened to this a few times and would have to agree this is the ideal track to end the album with; it has a narrative that seems to wind up the entire experience of the album. The melody is cheer filled and happy, and a more fluent and charming performance you would not find in many musical places, what a great and sublime parting gift indeed.

Zentronique by Michael Regina is a thoroughly enjoyable album packed with chilled tracks and crafted electronic performances, the melodies flow like an abundant musical river, and this is without doubt one of those releases that is utterly timeless in its presentation. Zentronique by Michael Regina is a must have electronic chilled release that will bring comfort calm and happiness to your day and that can’t be a bad thing can it?

Walk In Beauty By Bearheart Kokopelli

Walk In Beauty


Bearheart Kokopelli

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I must say I simply adore the energy of a Bearheart Kokopelli composition, the production quality is excellent, the structure and arrangements are sublime, and to be blunt, they are absolutely delightful to listen to.

This new single of the artist brings us all that and more and called Walk in Beauty, something I try to do each day. This vibrant and exciting new single has much to offer, a delightful tempo and a multi-instrumental nature that incorporates Didgeridoo, flute, percussion and more.

The composition grows with each minute played and leaves the listener in a garden of musical heaven; I can see this one being very popular with the fans and followers of really good music, and expect to see a decent chart position for this charming new offering.

Friday, July 24, 2020

From My Heart to Yours By Ken Noland

From My Heart to Yours


Ken Noland

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Ken Noland is back and fresh on the trail of his chart topping success with the hit album Walking the Path of Peace. This new organic offering is entitled From My Heart to Yours and contains many fascinating insights into the world of solo flute and nature as well. 

The first few footfalls are partnered with the refrains of the woodland bird community, as Noland gifts us his opening piece Greeting a New Day, the symphonic choir of nature sings in perfect harmony with the artist on this new beginning. 

We have many elements of originality within this new release, one that even contains either a toad or a tree frog, we have them here, but the sound is slightly smoother. However this is a truly clever performance as one can feel the symbiosis with the flautist on the piece called, My Old Friend

The longest piece on the album has a virtual choir of nature around it, this harmonic convergence entitled Free Me was one of my personal favourites from the release, combine this with the rustic fire crackling opus of All is Well, and you have two of the finest offerings off the album, this one in particular reminded me of flute performer Paul Adams and his work on the Sleep the Dreaming Flute

The healing sanctuary of water is our next stop; it truly feels like Noland has taken us for a magical walk through the countryside on this musical sojourn and Peaceful Time with its ever flowing stream continues that theme. 

A sublime moment of solo flute will fall upon your very soul with the quite breathtaking Creator Hear Me, if ever there was a true song of respect, this would be the one, a deep and heartfelt performance. 

Breath in the Air has to be one of the most original compositions I have heard for years, connecting with the elements is a wonderful idea, but I don’t think I have heard a musical song to the air done so well and as fluently as this one. 

We are now solidly in the latter half of the album and as we move ever onward we come across a warmly performed tune entitled Joyful Soul. There is almost a motif of a dance within this performance that is so addictive to listen to, one with a backdrop of nature to aid the way as well. 

The scene is set perfectly by the artist on Raindrops. There is a mournful repose to his performance that gives time for thought and reflection, the rumbling distant storm in the background was absolutely sublime and moved us into the next piece with ease, an after dark composition entitled Night Voices, once more the mood was captured perfectly and the sounds of the dark hours danced with Noland’s bright and celebratory flute. 

On I Hear Your Voice, we have a deep resonating flute; one that tugs at the very emotions of the listener, this one resonated with me greatly and reminded me of flautist Chrissie Sheppard’s Raven Cove in the context of the oceanic energies and spiritual sentiments. 

My Heart To Yours takes us into the darker regions of our musical forest, and this solo performance sets us up perfectly for the penultimate track off the album entitled Heart Song, a track of natural rustic nature. 

We have now arrived at the last meadow of our woodland concert and here we have the gift of Hello World to take us out of the album, Noland uses a lighter flute for this ending composition, and finishes with a crisp and clear arrangement. 

From My Heart to Yours by Ken Noland proves the artist is on the right pathway to becoming a very well-remembered flute performer, his cultured, organic and heartfelt performances all work beautifully with the constructional theme, and the natural sounds are simply idyllic, if you’re a fan of solo flute music, you’re going to want to have From My Heart to Yours by Ken Noland in your collection as soon as you can.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Eternity: Improv in B-Flat Major By Tim Neumark

Eternity: Improv in B-Flat Major


Tim Neumark

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Tim Neumark has to be one of the finest male solo piano performers around today, his touch, his style and sensitivity, are simply outstanding and enjoyable, talents to bathe in. Now the artist has happily brought out a major new single for us to enjoy in this time of confusion and despair called Eternity: Improv in B-Flat Major.

The performance is indeed eternal, and the continuing motifs on the keys bring us a never ending example of beauty in presentation, then the increased elevation in power and then the slow pulling back was truly crafted.

The key element for any listener was the warm and friendly melody, one that gave hope and comfort; this is one of those singles that you will find it impossible not to like. Eternity: Improv in B-Flat Major I am sure will be destined for the higher echelons of charts with ease.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Across the Evening By Jon Durant & Robert Jürjendal

Across the Evening


Jon Durant & Robert Jürjendal

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is something truly ambient and all-embracing about this latest release by Jon Durant & Robert Jürjendal entitled Across the Evening. This is without doubt a fine example of contemporary instrumental music and how to create a pastiche of colour through tone and sound.

We push away from the docks with the quite brilliant opener entitled Early Evening Colors, one of many personal favourites for me this one; the repeating motif throughout the piece was beautifully layered, and the textured guitar work utterly transcendent.

There are several moments on this release I like to call sublime genius, the next two compositions in particular are fine examples, and the first is called Distance Groove. The elevated tempo and crafted performances on guitars by the duo were simply delightful to drift upon, and then to literally float into an ocean of musical bliss with the track Reflective Sea, this was akin to touching the very clouds of heaven themselves, we must also tip the hat of appreciation in the direction of Aleksei Saks on Trumpet, an instrument badly underused within this genre, and I have not heard something so good since Kevin Kendle employed its use on his winter album back in 2006.

Mirage started with an exciting percussive beat, and that Middle Eastern flavour excelled further across this musical desert with a crafted electric guitar presentation by Robert Jürjendal. There was a harmonic resonance about this composition that created a wonderfully addictive energy to the arrangement.

As we tip-toe into the second half of the album we come across another charming musical narrative that contained layers of both ambience and colour, a nod of appreciation goes to Colin Edwin for some delicate but purposeful fretless bass on this offering, a track that almost had a sense of late 60’s early 70’s rock about its overall construction too.

There was a lightness of presence about this next track entitled Beguiling Eyes. For me there was a distinct familiarity also with a previous opus entitled Mirage, and a top class performance by all can be found here on this rhythmic arrangement especially Andi Pupato, whose percussive genius at times took me back to the great days of Hossam Ramzy.

As we now drift smoothing into the deeper rivers of this album, we come across a truly beautiful creation called On the Water. The guitar work on this offering was exceptional and manifested for me a vast wonderland of ambience to musically sail upon, this would also become another personal favourite of mine, I must own up to having listened to this one several times, as I seemed to just hover away with the sublime tones each time I did so; this I believe could be tagged as utterly majestic.

Return to Russia is the longest track off the album and one may also add performed live for the release. The Trumpet of Saks returns and manifests such a heartfelt mournful repose, it is hard to not be moved by its transcendent beauty, mix that with the caring and crafted performances on guitar by Durant and Jürjendal, and I believe you have here, an offering that sums up the entire project, and a composition that literally rivets you to the spot and demands your full attention; this is contemporary instrumental music at its very best.

The last track off the album is the only one that we see the use of vocals being used, and they come courtesy of the talented Inna Kovtun on the track Balkan Blue. There was a sense of a slight folk ethic within this creation that made it even more compelling, and a clever way indeed to leave what has been a truly fascinating album to have journeyed with.

Across the Evening by Jon Durant & Robert Jürjendal is a reminder to all that the genre of contemporary instrumental music is alive and well, the performances on the album are all beautifully crafted, wonderfully produced and sublimely performed, the narrative is strong and consistent and takes the listener on a musical journey of great class and professionalism, this of course makes it so easy for me to completely recommend this offering to you all.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Spells from the Moon By Santiago Trigueros

Spells from the Moon


Santiago Trigueros

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This new single from Santiago Trigueros has to be one of the smoothest electronic arrangements I have heard for absolutely ages. A full floating musical narrative can be found here, one that will literally transport the listener to brand new heights musically.

The performance on keyboards and synths by the artist is exceptional, and the quality of production even more so; the use also of female voice overs and harmonic convergence created by the almost ethereal and angelic vocals, took this single to a whole new level.

Kudos must be given to Santiago Trigueros for bringing this new single into our musical arena, the style and professionalism with which this new creation has been manifested is sure to make it a huge hit with the listeners along the way as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Songs for Elodie By Philip Campbell

Songs for Elodie


Philip Campbell

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is always a time when solo piano fits the bill perfectly, that moment for me came this afternoon, after listening to an album of dark intent and then gazing at the news headlines of 2020, that’s never a good idea, so I gave myself to the moment and decided to dive in deep with the debut album from Philip Campbell, entitled Songs for Elodie, and was extremely happy I did so.

Now while there is a strong link to the U.S style of what can be described New Age piano, I actually found Campbell’s style and performances refreshing and absolutely original, with warm musical narratives like the opener Sweet Dreams, the artistic deep and reflective moods created by No Way Out, and the stylish and mesmeric performance of arrangements like Strange, the latter with a little classical flair in the weave as well.

This is what is special about Campbell and what he has to offer, the traditional solo piano and those much loved New Age overtones and motifs are all there, but masterfully brought up to date with a little classical styling, and pieces like Daydream and Gentle are but two fine examples that will back up my aforementioned statement.

Campbell also has a talent for manifesting a fluent narrative into a song as well, Almost Home was my composition of choice with respect to that comment, and a piece I never wanted to leave, it is both powerful and tender at the same time.

Songs for Elodie from the Northern Irish composer Philip Campbell, is a delightful collection of new solo piano music that you must really add to your music collections as soon as possible, especially if you’re a seeker of truly beautiful and moving music, and this being the artists debut album, makes this even more exceptional. I am sure that his daughter, whom the album is named after, will be proud of her father’s first musical manifestation, it is certainly a winner for me.

Galactic Underground Vol 2 by VENJA, ft Michael Stearns, Erik Wøllo, Nyoko Mizuki

Galactic Underground Vol 2


VENJA, ft Michael Stearns, Erik Wøllo, Nyoko Mizuki

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This brand new almost dystopic album from VENJA, ft Michael Stearns, Erik Wøllo and Nyoko Mizuki is a graphic work of art that pulls the listener into an almost cinematic styled opus and never lets them go.

The opening offering entitled Out Of Control and the following piece Darkness (featuring Michael Stearns) sets the scene perfectly, the keyboards and synths give us a backdrop of an utterly hopeless situation, the use of spoken word was a sublime idea and added even more weight to what is a truly crafted album.

The soft and mysterious elements in tracks like The Stars Are Better Off Without Us, morph into a dark and harsh reality of musical tone, one that is extremely poignant, mix that with the mechanical dimensions of the offering Glitched  and you have a dark mood filled panorama.

This 13 track release is one of the most addictive albums I have listened to for months, compositions like the outstanding Event Horizon, with its dualistic electronic intent, almost took me back to the days of Tomita, and the full flowing and inspiring arrangement Awe, manifested a reality for me of hope in the grand structure and mechanics of the universe perhaps, and were my personal two favourite tracks from the album.

Galactic Underground Volume 2 by VENJA, ft Michael Stearns, Erik Wøllo and Nyoko Mizuki is a true work of art in motion, a descriptive musical narrative that holds the listener rigid with anticipation from the first note to the last utterance of the album, a crafted work of electronic genius by all the artists concerned, and a release that absolutely deserves to have its socks played off on radio, an easy album to recommend indeed.

Alta Vista By David Correa

Alta Vista


David Correa

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Summer is now in full flow here in the Mediterranean, and this new album by guitarist David Correa entitled Alta Vista is going to be just perfect for the occasion, such fluent and warming Latin styled guitar now reverberates around my sun kissed studio, with a sense of unadulterated bliss.

The title track starts our journey with a fast paced and lively musical ethic, one that sets the scene perfectly. Alta Vista is a fine example of perfect Latin styled fluency, performed with some very delightful dynamics and rhythms, and of course the ideal place to start our voyage through music.

As a guitarist myself I truly enjoyed this next piece called Esplanade, it has a certain emotive quality and passion built into the performance that was so enticing. The presentation by Correa was sublime, smooth and colourful, and the added use of percussion along with the build and progression of the piece was crafted to perfection.

As we move ever onward onto this sunny beach of Latin music, we come across a wonderfully tranquil yet rhythmic offering entitled Angel's Landing. This brought back some fine memories of other musical friends like Incendio or Mark Barnwell.

Let the dance begin; now if memory serves me right, I believe that Tamarindo is a town in Costa Rica, and while I have never been to this country, the music I am engaged with currently is a good sales pitch for me to take that up one day, when safe air travel becomes possible again, but until then I am more than happy to enjoy this sublime and full flowing performance by the artist.

We now move to a track called Eau Rouge, this one announces our arrival at the half way juncture of the album. The smooth and serene tones that drift from my music player are idyllic, as I listen to Correa play, I watch my palm trees sway and light fluffy clouds drift into a back drop of blue. Enjoy also the rarity of an electric guitar on this piece, one that creates a symbiotic partnership with the overall acoustic nature of the piece.

Correcaminos is one of those styled compositions that I loved to try and play to my neighbours during our lockdown, if I could have only been as half as good as Correa on this. This is a wonderfully happy performance and one that is as bright and cheer filled as a summer’s day itself.

It is time for a dedication now as we arrive at the arrangement entitled Leo's Song. This is once more a fine example of the artist fluency and skill set. Apart from the performance, the song has a wonderful compositional structure, and comes across as a quite emotional song in parts as well.

We are now swimming in the deeper waters of the album, and while we do so we find ourselves greeted by a new composition called Revuelto.  Rhythmic and passion filled certainly, but there is also an extra depth here that is tantalising, this combined with the percussive backdrop and the delicate bass, all of which goes into making and creating a truly crafted song.

Well that penultimate track off the album is now upon us and called Vuelo Del Condor. There is a delightful lightness of performance here that is so appealing, the energy created through this offering is bright and sun kissed. It is one of those pieces that you simply just have to press replay on multiple times, the nuances and dynamics on guitar here by the artist are both clever, inventive and very classy indeed.

Our last track and before we hide from the heat of the day, let’s hit the ocean and enjoy Beach Cities. I’m guessing Limassol here in Cyprus maybe as close you can get to one here, but the beaches are both clean warm and inviting, much like this final song of the album, as David Correa leaves us with a happy feeling and a track that moves the body to the tempo one more time, a splendid way to finish the release indeed.

Alta Vista by David Correa is an album of magical acoustic guitar; the performances contained within are powerful, warm and passionate. Here is a release it will be almost impossible for you to keep still too whilst listening. Alta Vista by David Correa is a Latin based album that will perhaps evoke many happy memories of places visited and long summer nights had, and is that perfect musical sketchbook to carry with you on your future journeys perhaps, or maybe just sitting by the pool, whatever, here is an album that is as enticing as an ice cream is on a warm August afternoon and as such thoroughly recommended.

One Day at a Time By Louis Colaiannia

One Day at a Time


Louis Colaiannia

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This brand new offering by pianist Louis Colaiannia called One Day at a Time is like a breath of fresh air in the genre, the added instrumentation to the artist’s ever trusty piano is sublime at creating a multiple of moods throughout the single. There is something quite special about the piece, so much so that it creates a feeling of wanting to leave it on repeat for quite some time, especially as there is so much in here that you may miss on the first listen.

I am now on my fourth play, and I adore the textures and musical narrative that Colaiannia has manifested here, this composition seems to have everything, a running melody, a crafted tapestry of memories, and perhaps even a message that all will be good again, we just need to take things one day at a time! I have a feeling this one is going to be a big hit.

Monday, July 13, 2020

When Eternity Touches Time By Jim Ottaway

When Eternity Touches Time


Jim Ottaway

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Jim Ottaway’s stylish music has been in my life for some years now and many of his albums grace my hallowed musical database, now I can add another to my electronic playlist of choice it is entitled When Eternity Touches Time. This vibrant new offering has a whole new energy about its construction and I love it!

The power play of the opener is terrific and called Parallel Worlds and reminds me in style of AD music’s Ashok Prema (Electric Eyes of Man).

This exciting new offering contains variances of electronic genius and textured intelligence; an example for me would be the temperate offering of Second Sight, a piece that seems to hover with a sultry intent, and a backdrop that is literally holding back and building anticipation along the way.

There is something about this album that contains a real freshness of approach and a freedom of expression, the rhythmic tones of Clouds Hide The Sun is a perfect example of that statement, the keyboards and synths here are creative in mood building, and offer a lush layer of musical creativity.

After only listening to a quarter of this album I realised that I was probably listening to the best work yet from Ottaway, this is EM at its very best and tracks like Playing With Fire prove that point. The artists muse is in full creation mode here, with essences of some incredibly smooth synths and mixed with a crafted sequential progression.

Diamonds in the Rain is another fine mood filled opus that has a grand sense of the cinematic about its presentation; one could sense the Jean-Michel Jarre force within the weave of this beautiful song. This would make one very good single, the melody is deeply memorable, the tempo and construction doubly so and yes one of my personal favourites off the release.

At the half way marker we come across a tentative little number entitled No In-Between. A clever offering this and one placed in the perfect position on the album, it is as if we are crossing from one energy to another, a delicate and mysterious piece that seems to float around you in a whole new realm of ambience.

As we tip-toe into the latter half of the release we come across an almost angelic offering entitled Perpetual Epiphany. There was a wonderful resonance about this piece that I adored; the performance was bathed in a more mystical tone, rather than one of a mysterious nature; the synth and keyboard work here in this composition contains one of the finest examples of build and progression you will find in this genre.

The Skies the Limit is up next and this positive and vibrant offering is a truly exciting and powerful arrangement, one that I simply got utterly lost in whilst listening to Ottaway on his synths. This is classic EM and another superb offering that I was completely blown away with, and at times one that reminded of electronic musician Geigertek.

I regarded this next piece with total respect, the work here manifested by Ottaway was thoughtful and purposeful in its approach, and the synths used to create a wonderful sense of art on the composition Between Truth and Dreams were delectable. The tempo within this piece is utterly addictive and the little nuances contained within truly crafted.

Now for that moment when we walk hand in hand with the title track of the album, that blank canvas that is an opportunity to give us eager listeners an true overview of the entire concept, and of course called, When Eternity Touches Time. There is a wonderful pictorial lightness to this arrangement that I loved. I also sensed a well of emotion here that was so strong in the performance that it moved me to tears, what a title track indeed, a masterful opus of truth and love, a heart on the sleeve moment.

Our penultimate piece is entitled Isolated Realms, Ottaway picks up the pace here and raises the energy in another wonderfully rhythmic arrangement, this is one of those offerings that is hard to resist, and its percussive bass is a delectable and tantalizing offering, an almost funky at times.

So we are at that final dimensional rift, but before we cross over and back into our realm of reality, we have one more gift from the author of this fabulous new album, it is called Eternal Changelessness. Once more thanks to Ottaway’s stylish genius of performance I drifted away to this almost ethereal opus of brilliance, for me it was a wonderful 12 minutes plus of heaven.

When Eternity Touches Time by Jim Ottaway in my view, and I hope Jim doesn’t mind me saying this, is his best work so far, I am going to rave about this offering to everyone I can for a long while to come, it is packed with well written arranged and composed compositions, it weaves a narrative beautifully throughout the album, and even more so Jim Ottaway has in my view made the genre of electronic music vastly more accessible in 2020, thanks to the release of this amazing new collection of brilliant songs.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Promise of Love By Alan Hanslik

Promise of Love


Alan Hanslik

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I felt a certain calmness of spirit trickle over the cadence of the day, and felt in need of some blissful new age vibes to complete my eager bliss, I got this in plenitude via a brilliant new album by Alan Hanslik, with his latest release entitled Promise of Love.

Now it’s not that often that you see an artist place the longest track off the release to start the musical journey, but I am very glad Hanslik made that choice, as the title offering Promise of Love is literally idyllic and a perfect place to begin, its warm motifs and reveries washed over me to set the scene for an absolutely beautiful musical sojourn.

You will utterly revel in this album; the heart felt sereneness of this next piece is a fine example, and called The Hope. Please enjoy the textures here; they are multi layered in a soft temperate style. This is the type of music I could listen too on repeat for hours, the headphone effects and change in tempo and structure at the midway point was cleverly done, to leave us still floating on a cloud of musical peace.

This album is a veritable soundtrack of tones and textures, mixing long form and short, and as we traverse the offering Home we are gifted a composition that seems to create its own musical narrative as it goes, the structure of the keyboards here are magnificent and there is also a slow sense of movement deep within the weave of this nine plus minute arrangement that is undeniably clever.

The story continues with this next composition entitled Anticipation, this is something that Hanslik has built up beautifully so far on the album. We have a little sharper sound here to enjoy through the refrains of this fascinating piece, the keyboards and synths bring us a real sense of an excitement building through this enthralling musical narrative.

As we edge towards the half way juncture we come across an arrangement called She's Not There. There can be now found in this offering a feeling of apprehension or concern for the first time on the album, the title probably explains all, has our hero been stood up? However this gives the artist plenty of time to manifest a whole realm of classy ambient music for us to reflect with, the build and progression here by the artist is also wonderfully executed on this quite deep, but colourful composition.

We now arrive at the half way marker, and to usher this change in we are given a short but memorable offering entitled Turnaround. The electronic flavours here are delicious and offer a total change of energy, the bass and keyboards seem to be manifesting a reality of confidence and positivity that seems to be building.

The Shift continues the theme of the previous offering; Hanslik is now in full flow with the more electronic energies that revolve within this arrangement. That manifestation is beautifully crafted and through the music we can feel a sense of creation occurring, something new and exciting, check out the smooth and chilled shift, making its announcement at the half way juncture of the piece with a lush percussive beat, in a truly magical style.

Rebound is up next and offers us all a doorway to some of the most creative ambient and instrumental music I have heard for some time, with elements even of Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Music in the mix for me too. This was a masterful composition, that to be honest, I had a hard time moving on from.

We should all dedicate a little time to Reflection. This allows us to gaze over our journey thus far and make any alterations needed, and to learn perhaps from any mistakes. Hanslik’s gentle touch on the keys here is much appreciated and once more reminded me in style of another ambient artist I know called Laraaji.

So we have arrived at the penultimate portal to the album, it is entitled Rendezvous, the sensual soft tones of this track are sumptuous and utterly encapsulating, it is hard not to just drift away to its subtle inevitabilities. The keyboard was carefully played to give the listener maximum enjoyment on this continued voyage of musical plenty. The arrangement was also cleverly worked, and as a listener, one had to do so intently so as not to miss a single nuance.

So we finish with the happiness felt from the last track off the album, and of course entitled Promise of Love Medley, there is something in here for everyone, and something from the entire album for us all to enjoy, this is absolutely the perfect way to sum up the entire concept of the release, leaving the listener full filled and happy.

Promise of Love by Alan Hanslik is a wonderful work of art, a sound track for a silent movie and something so calming and serene one could use its lovely contents for many reasons. The artist has manifested something of natural outstanding beauty with this release, and I know I shall be playing it for many days to come, which makes it quite easy for me to give it a big thumbs up, and without reservation recommend this beautiful collection of creations to you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Myst by Bergi




Written by

Steve Sheppard


I was listening to this song on the radio only the other day and it had me transfixed; the imploring nature of the piano was so moving and emotive, that I just had to listen to see where it would take me.

Myst from Bergi is an outstanding single from the artist, the performance on piano is utterly reflective and deeply emotional, and a song that would easily fit into the category of being cinematic in its overall energies as well.

If a composition stops me in my tracks it must be good, and Myst from Bergi is most certainly that, it is music that will conjure up memories moods and images within the mind, it is a song that may well bring a tear to your eye with its tones of reflection and sad beauty, but overall, it is a piece that I am more than happy to recommend to anyone who likes their music to move them to the very depths of their soul.

Misty Window By Ramesh Kumar Kannan

Misty Window


Ramesh Kumar Kannan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I regard myself as a newbie to the world of Jazz, my four year journey has sealed a love for this deep and wide genre, and my appreciation of truly superb tunes is now at its peak, and Misty Window by Ramesh Kumar Kannan would certainly have to go down as an absolute must for my Jazz radio show as well.

Misty Window by Ramesh Kumar is a smooth and laid back Jazz composition that creates such evocative images of Jazz clubs throughout the ages, the calmness of performance here is sublime, the light percussion and beautiful bass all adds weight to this crafted new single by the artist, as his presentation on piano is one of the best I have heard this year in the Jazz genre, and one I find extremely easy to recommend to you right now.

Calling County Clare By Fiona Joy Hawkins

Calling County Clare


Fiona Joy Hawkins

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This I must say comes at a very good time for me, as I have just been asked to guest host a Celtic Music radio show, so it’s going on my playlist right now. The multi-instrumental nature of Calling County Clare is truly magnificent, with a full flowing percussion, smooth and tranquil guitars and whistles all guiding us around the landscape of County Clare; it really doesn’t get any better than this.

Fiona Joy Hawkins piano literally sings in a joyful repose and positivity, and the colours that flow from her keys are truly sublime, and at all times quite moving too. Sometimes I have it easy when presented with such sublime compositions, as such it I am blissfully happy to recommend Calling County Clare to anyone who likes truly beautiful instrumental music, here is a song that will take you on a journey, and leave you with a smile on your face whilst doing so.

Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu By The Song Gardeners

Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu


The Song Gardeners

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Many would call Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu, written by Corrie Dunn a devotional track, perhaps spiritual, well yes it could well be, but apart from that it is another outstanding new single by The Song Gardeners who with their other new work Love Flows are capturing the ears of new listeners all across the globe.

How can you argue with the lyrics that state “May kindness be your guide in this world”? There are a few world leaders who need to learn that lesson, and quick!

The multi-instrumental nature of this track, the outstanding vocals, the message of the song, and the sublime production quality of this single are just what the world needs right now, just what my soul needed right now, and I am guessing if you’re a fan of really good music that can and will empower you to raise your own energies, you too will fall in love with Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu By The Song Gardeners, it is that good.

Love Flows By The Song Gardeners

Love Flows


The Song Gardeners

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I have come to expect quality compositions these days, the genre that could loosely be described as New Age is on the upward march and now embracing the ever growing singles market, but today I was utterly blown away with this latest single by the band The Song Gardeners entitled Love Flows, written by Mary Gospe.

The combination that brings the magic to our ears is singer/songwriter Corrie Dunn (vocals, piano, guitar), singer/songwriter Mary Gospe (lead vocals, guitar, flute), and Chris Day (bass) with additional guitars are by David Scheibner.

As a guitarist myself I loved the work on this new single, its music to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Love Flows is simply musical beauty at a whole new level, and I testify to that, as this is now my fifth consecutive play and it won’t be my last.

Here is a composition bathed in something we desperately as a planet need now, positivity, it is without doubt an absolute must buy song indeed.

Monday, July 6, 2020

In This Moment By Laura Christie Wall

In This Moment


Laura Christie Wall

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I listened intently to this album in its entirety several times before even thinking about creating a review for it, I felt indeed of some calm, some solitude and inner peace, this world is a little crazy right now, but thankfully due to the performance by Laura Christie Wall on this beautiful album entitled In This Moment I found all three desires.

I try each and every day to keep in the moment, after all, it is all we will ever have and this album was a testament to that bliss that I like to call a halcyon occurrence. Each piece on this release is utterly blissful and creates a space within the minds eye, to ease back and reflect in a calmness of serenity. The first track on this eight part offering is the shortest of them all and called Do You Remember, a perfect opening portal to a world of lush and smooth solo piano.

There is a vast depth about this next offering that is so appealing and well suited for the state of the planet now. Going Under has a sense of reflection about its energies that will touch your mood and emotions, but there is also a delicate essence of hope built into the weave as well, something we all need.

Then with a flip of a musical coin we are gifted a pristine composition called Euphoria (Piano Solo). This version stands out as one of the most emotional offerings off the album, played with such a precise delicacy it is blissful to just listen to over and again and still be lifted. The melody is upbeat and offers much to allow the senses to become euphoric about its overall construction.

At the half way juncture we come across another favourite of mine and this is called You Win. Whether this is a statement of resignation or one of saluting a victory of another is up to you to call, the fluent piano here will bring a certain feeling of serenity, and a well meant energy of surrender to the musical soul that all will enjoy; the use of pause here also has to be applauded, it has been executed brilliantly on this track.

We now move into the latter half of the release and as we do so we come across this charming musical narrative called Beautiful You. The artist’s piano here is like a truth machine, you know the moment when your loved one looks into your eyes and says you are so beautiful, and you know they actually mean it. The elevation in tempo and energy near the middle of the piece gives a moment of delightful interplay, one that was so beautiful to enjoy.

The clock ticks away and somewhere between that tick and tock, the night crawls into this dimension of sleep and restful ambience, and dreams begin to grow, usually for me at Quarter Past Midnight, which just happens to be the title of this very composition. This is one fine performance of solo piano, one that depicts this time of day to perfection, one that also illustrates just what a colourful pianist the artist is, and this ability to paint with sound manifested for me here, one of the best offerings off this release with ease, a track I could listen to for an eternity.

As we reach the penultimate track off the album we find we are gifted another moment of reflection through the composition Someday. This is a wonderful memory kissed offering that has a creative change of tempo and intensity built within its own weave, listen also to the blissful fluent performance here too, it is gorgeous.

So we have reached the very last doorway to the album and it is called Found. I always find a concluding track of an album could be a powerful roundup of all that has gone before, or one that gives hope perhaps, or in the case of this album and this track, one of the most serene and contemplative ways to leave what has been a truly wonderful journey of solo piano.

In This Moment by Laura Christie Wall was indeed the panacea I needed today, the tone of the album brought back my balance and each and every composition allowed a sense of musical clarity to grow within my day. Here is an album that you just have to bring into your musical realms, solo piano never sounded so good, so crafted and masterfully creative, and this is an album that with ease, will fill your world with much needed peace and tranquillity that we all need right now.