Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Travel Freely By Patricia Patrise


Travel Freely


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


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




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


Hiroki Okano


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




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


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


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


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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Crossings By Jon Durant & Stephan Thelen




Jon Durant & Stephan Thelen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The dualistic guitar paring of Jon Durant & Stephan Thelen meet up to bring us a sparkling and powerful new album entitled Crossings, this is something I found deeply fascinating as I have been using guitar effects and sounds in my own music, so it was a lesson in crafting a performance to manifest something completely fresh and intuitive for the listener.

The music has been somewhat inspired, if that is the right word, by the numerous lockdowns we have all see and been a part of in the last year, the mood filled opus of track one sets the scene perfectly ,Vol de Nuit and its long form majestically styled prowess, almost borders on the boundaries of progressive rock at times.

That aforementioned statement is increased further on the offering entitled Mise en Abyme, the floating motifs created a sublime eleven minutes plus of artistic brilliance, laying one piece within another, this is a tranquil yet very addictive musical experience that constantly keeps evolving as it plays, it is one of those arrangements that you could listen to on many occasions, and still keep coming back to examine those ever so creative nuances further.

This is a very classy album indeed; it is almost like a progressive cross between Harold Budd and Paul Speer, the amazing title track lays down a most pleasant tapestry of sound, Crossings is a mixture of musical art as has never seen the like of before, the depths of its creative manifestation is simply incredible, and is the longest track on the album at well over twelve minutes.

Seven compositions lay within the misty halls of this album, and each one is a sojourn all of its own. This is a musical ambience that has been birthed with textures so specific, and artistically moulded from the genius of two, and into the arms of each and every one of you, listen to the last track off the album entitled Infinity, this work alone is a dimension of sound on its own right.

Crossings by Jon Durant & Stephan Thelen is a master piece of minimalistic ambience and then some. The sheer imagination required to have expressed such a body of work as this is amazing, the guitars of both artists bring their own musical mastery to the table, and they build a world where one can literally drift away in an almost meditational styled reverie.

Music Portraits By John Albert Thomas


Music Portraits


John Albert Thomas

Written by

Steve Sheppard


John Albert Thomas is a pianist with an abundance of grace and definition, hearing him play is like watching a new grown flower open for the first time in spring. Here on his latest release entitled Music Portraits we have a sparkling new collection of tracks that bring a fresh sense of vibrancy to the seasons ahead.

Streams of Grace is the perfect place to start and this colourful musical narrative is picture perfect in its composition, and its embracing the craft of major and minor is simply idyllic to hear.

This is a lush 11 track collection of fluent solo piano, with radiant pieces like Blue in the Water, a track that has both depth and passion, whilst the apprehension of the mood in Life on Rails, perhaps gives us another glimpse into the artist’s musical mind, a track that is as creative as the day is long.

Music Portraits is a wonderfully full flowing album, and compositions like Light of Dawn are a fine example of his prowess on the keys, this charming and deeply sensitive performance is my personal favourite from the album, I could leave this on repeat for hours and never get bored.

The final offering on the release is entitled Legacy of Love, a very fascinating and interesting parting gift indeed, I found something quite emotive about this track, and also a sense of an anthem like energy too, which made this one for me, simply the best track to conclude this collection of fine songs with.

Music Portraits by John Albert Thomas probably takes the prize for the most reflective solo piano album I have heard this year so far, the waves of tenderness, care and attention to the finest detail by the artist here, were so wonderful to hear, and as such your life would be all that more enriched with a copy of Music Portraits by John Albert Thomas in it.


Monday, June 21, 2021

Paradise By Julia Thomsen




Julia Thomsen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Never before has such a tender album been created that says so much in such a short period of time, Paradise by Julia Thomsen is a short form album where the subject is utter beauty and transcendent bliss, within the refrains of a piano and added instrumentation.

The album opens with a piece called Touch, it is as sensitive as the title sounds; its delicacy and the accompanying strings that dance with it are simply emotionally crafted and very pristinely manifested, whilst the title header Paradise has a mood created from a deep longing, the symbiotic partnership of strings and piano are simply beyond beauty here, and this track alone is enough to move you greatly.

The flowing structures of Thomsen’s piano are receptive and impressionable, pieces like Spring Step may be small in stature, but are full of musical grace and texture, whilst Reflective Nature would be my favourite from the collection, the repeating motif wended its way to my heart, and never left.

Serene Day would paint a musical picture of a peace-filled landscape, where all is green and abundant, and Sakura, the longest piece off the release at just less than two minutes, brought us a performance of both grace and texture, the partnership of strings and piano here were never felt more deeply and caringly than on this offering.

The last offering is entitled Village Life Live and the album concludes with a musical narrative that almost dances its way off the stage, the tangible tapestry created here was extremely attractive.

Paradise by Julia Thomsen is scenic glance across valleys and musical meadows, its charm filled narrative is magnificent, my only wish would have been one that my sojourn within this lovely realm had been a little longer, but what I sampled was a blissful reverie of very pleasing multi-instrumental magic, and a nice sanctuary of the soul to rest within.

Harmony Of Contrast By The Song Gardeners


Harmony Of Contrast


The Song Gardeners

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The harmony and vibrancy of any Song Gardeners track is usually ebullient, but here on this latest single entitled Harmony Of Contrast, they have even nudged that up a touch.

This new offering is full of a positive energy that quite simply is irresistible, and packed with a narrative of lyrics that fill the totally truth bucket with ease. Gospe and Dunn, the two main facets of the band, are in the richest vein of their musical careers, and this brand new single, Harmony Of Contrast has chart bound colourful future, written all over it without a shadow of a doubt.

Watch the video here:


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hope By Lise Jonsson




Lise Jonsson

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is a wonderful sense of a magical nature about this new single from Lise Jonsson entitled Hope. The fluent multi-instrumental tones float across a canopy of bliss and serenity.

The performance on piano by the artist is something to truly enjoy, and the clever use of a draw back to a gentle reverie at two and a half minute marker was superbly clever, and created a dramatic effect of pause and expectation, one that only added to the overall construction of this sparkling musical narrative; a single release to most delight in.

After Midnight By Zodalitt


After Midnight



Written by

Steve Sheppard


A charming musical tale can be found on this latest single by Zodalitt, one through this multi-instrumental tale, that perhaps a liaison of night time fantasies maybe in progress here.

The arrangement has a lush and colourful feel to its construction, and one can be swept away within its dramatic and rhythmic tones with ease, the dance styled movements that breeze like a soft wind in late summer are utterly creative, and incredibly artistic and extremely enticing.


Age By Lise Jonsson




Lise Jonsson

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Lise Jonsson has a touch on the keys like an angel performing to an ethereal choir; the sensitivity that can be found on her single Age is simply idyllic. There is a cultured edge to this track that makes it so appealing, the softness, combined with a purposeful poise in performance, is utterly crafted, and incredibly intelligent, and something that makes this single so very addictive to listen to.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Epochal By Matias Bacoñsky




Matias Bacoñsky

Written by

Steve Sheppard


One of the things one tries to do as a musician is to improve and constantly move forward as an artist constantly, improve, expand and grow. Matias Bacoñsky has done all of those and more since I first came into contact with the artist back in 2016, through his album Life And Death, and since then he has raised the bar with each and every release, his new album Epochal is yet another a brand new outstanding work of genius to enjoy.

Each and every musical journey you take on this album is a soundtrack all of its own, take for example the powerful and passionate The Immortal, a single from last year, and a piece to raise every hair on your body.

One of my personal favourites from this brilliant new offering would be the composition entitled Reason to Believe, a fast paced Lord of the Rings styled cinematic opus of grandeur. Then I realised I was spoiled for choice when I fell head long into the realm of Light on the Horizon, symphonic and emotive, but also incredibly empowering and entertaining.

If you like you music as a soundtrack to your day, or a surge in film score melodies that literally make you tremble, then this album is for you. Tree of Life is a gentle starting narrative that builds with perfection to excitement, while the concluding composition is a sublime finishing arrangement, and one that contains such a wonderfully grand orchestral climax, and includes the vocal talents of the stunning Marina La Torraca within the composition.

I believe I can truly state that through Epochal, I have now listened to best work thus far from pianist and composer Matias Bacoñsky. Film makers please be on notice, here is an artist’s work that is surely destined for soundtrack work, his performances, constructions and compositions, are sublime and utterly transcendent, and that makes this album so very easy to recommend.

Still a Memory By Rada Neal


Still a Memory


Rada Neal

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This beautifully performed and wonderfully played new single from Rada Neal has many facets to it, it is like a musical diamond, reflecting its magic from a multiple of corners.

Still A Memory has as you would expect, the overall construction of this piece is a sublime, reflective and memory filled composition, but Rada Neal has added much more than that, there is a smooth and careful classical motif, and at times one that moves into a waltz. Whatever, this has to be one of the most radiant solo piano singles I have heard this year.

Remember When By Catherine Duc feat. Jonas Isacsson


Remember When


Catherine Duc feat. Jonas Isacsson

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There could be many ideas and thoughts of the genre that Catherine Duc could be moving into with this new single entitled Remember When, regardless of that, she employs the talents of Jonas Isacsson of Roxette fame on guitar and in doing so, the keyboards and synths used, manifest a wonderfully addictive new single.

The symbiotic performance from them both was fascinating, and reflected back to the 90’s and the growth of the electronic genres from then on. The major and minor chords were simply idyllic here; on this most smooth and chilled creation entitled Remember When.  

What I Didn't Tell You By Sylvain Millepied


What I Didn't Tell You


Sylvain Millepied

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The latest single from Pianist Sylvain Millepied is now upon us, it is a wonderfully reflective arrangement, in what is a clever and crafted performance by the artist. What I Didn't Tell You has a sense of sadness and even reticence within the composition, which is extremely rare to find in an arrangement these days, which is why it makes Millepied’s performance even more special on piano, and a must buy option for your playlists of choice.

There is also a really nice version performed with piano and a mournful Cello as well, this increases the depth of feeling of the piece and the simply mood filled experience within this new offering.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Peace Valley By Michael Borowski


Peace Valley


Michael Borowski

Written by

Steve Sheppard


For me the name of Michael Borowski was new, but after listening to the glorious refrains of Peace Valley by the artist I am very glad I did so and very glad to have come into contact with the artists music, Borowski brings a wonderful slice of ambience to the table of the ever packed solo piano genre, and does so, I may add, with such style too.

I felt particularly moved by the performance on the opening track Firefly; the gentle opening to this composition was beautifully crafted and wonderfully played, so much so that by the latter half of the piece Borowski elevated the intention and intensity just a little, a moment of magic that added so much to an already beautiful arrangement.

Peace Valley is like a self-contained bubble of life and flow, it is 12 tracks of fluent and picturesque narratives of full flowing piano based music, an example of that is the abundant radiance that lays in the arms of the piece Arches, or perhaps one could simply drift into the calming waters of the title track Peace Valley, a stunning and attractive presentation, and by his performance he sums up the tranquillity and serene qualities of the entire project brilliantly.

One of the most melodic pieces from the album is Morning Cycle; this is one of those tracks you could upload to your device of choice, hop on your bike, and allow this wonderful melody to be your soundtrack for your day time perambulations, a lovely piece indeed, and a sublime way to conclude the album.

Peace Valley the debut album by Michael Borowski is indeed one of those solo piano albums I was very happy to come across today, it has brightened my mood and lifted my spirits. The artist’s clear, crisp, but sensitive performances, in my view have created a solo piano album that really needs to be taken seriously, listened to with respect, and enjoyed with an open heart, it is transcendent and thoroughly recommended.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Wanderlust By Masako





Written by

Steve Sheppard


Waiting for a Masako release is like waiting for Christmas day to arrive, you know the present is going to be good, but you can’t wait to open it anyway, as you know that inside will lay some of the most pristine and soothing music of the piano genre there is, so we have to wait no longer as her latest offering is upon us and entitled Wanderlust.

Wanderlust can be described as a desire to travel, when one gets itchy feet and wants to move on. I can imagine that there is a lot of that right now, but we can now let the gentle and calming performances by the artist take us there vicariously perhaps. We start with a short form opener called Lily of the Valley, this solo starting point is the perfect door opening composition to an open book of musical beauty.

As one who is lucky enough to live near the sea, I can completely relate to this track, one that is named Ocean and You. This is truly a superb performance, the depth of presentation here is as immense as the vast ocean itself, the strings and multi-instrumental flavours just create an even richer palette for us all to enjoy.

I simply adore natural sounds being used to enhance a musical creation, I do it myself, it can create a wonderfully redolent arrangement, and Masako has done this here by composing the track Wintering Birds.  The mournful string section and the ethereal vocalisations all go to manifest a simply beautifully reflective opus indeed.

The memory palace of this next piece called Forestology is a sublime arrangement, one that inspires many moments of wonderful times in woodlands for me personally; these happy thoughts are further enriched by this very composition, it is also one that is a perfect example for any students wishing to understand further, build progression within a composition. The smoothness of presentation by Masako here is something truly special and very serene.

We touch the half way marking point now and as we do so we come across the title track itself, of course I am refereeing to Wanderlust. This performance by the artist has some splendid moments of a reflective nature, also an increase in power and intensity, when perhaps one feels like moving on again, this is exactly what the title header should be all about, a perfect overall description of the whole project.

We can now make our way down the hill of the release perhaps to Lake Willoughby. The brass segment here was sublime at manifesting a reflective mood, and the natural beauty of this area is brilliantly portrayed by the passionate and heart felt narrative of Masako’s piano. There is a slight change in intensity here that pulls back with such style as well, and I wondered, if ever music created something so picturesque, then this must be the track that does so.

The multi-instrumental collective that lays a tapestry of tone here, manifested a wonderful sense of bright thoughts and deep remembrances on the composition Shades of Memory. A flowing onward energy can be found here, the subtle use of brass and strings were simply delightful to heighten the piano to even greater glory.

Diversity is our next track and here we have a tranquil and an easy on the mind solo performance by the artist. A crafted presentation indeed by Masako and also with a remarkable sense of emotional energy too. This is one of those pieces that simply drift in and around you.

We now drift into the calmer yet deeper waters of the album and as we do so we come across a track piece that is transcendent and called Year of Love. This is a song that is also quite haunting in structure, made even more so by the angelic vocalisations and wind instrumentation contained within, Masako connects the dots between the piano with instrumentation genre and new age with utter ease.

The almost symphonic beginning to this next piece was so charming and deeply moving, and entitled Aquifer. There is a delicacy here on our penultimate offering that is so mystical and magical; here is a composition that you could easily get lost within, the repeating motif from the artist drives the arrangement with such a purpose, that one could imagine water bursting from a spring and trickling down over rocks and woodlands, the most inventive and crafted track of the release indeed.

Our last road home comes courtesy of Masako’s creation named Wisdom of the Heart. The perfect ending track indeed, its energetic and empowering tones were mixed sublimely, with a touch that was as crafted as a master painter putting the last dabs of paint upon the canvas, and of course in doing so, wraps up this wonderful album with the most colourful piece you would ever wish to conclude with.

Wanderlust is another album in the ever growing catalogue of brilliant releases created by pianist Masako. Her charm filled performances are all so beautifully played and performed, that it really is a simple pleasure to allow yourself to enjoy these timeless reveries and lose yourself in its beauty. Wanderlust is without doubt an album created by a sparkling talent, and that talent is called Masako.

Wild Threads By Wind Weaver


Wild Threads


Wind Weaver

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I found myself in need of some solace this sunny afternoon in June, and as usual, I would find that within music, but the album that chilled my senses and calmed my thoughts, would be a flute based compilation of smooth and serene arrangements entitled Wild Threads.

The gentle opening offering entitled Summer Clouds was the perfect place to start this recovery, and this charming composition was idyllic and totally fit for purpose. The sweetness of the flute on this track alone created a beautiful backdrop of tone to relax to.

Wind Weaver is the duo of Terry Mack (Flute) and Paul Bezooyen (Acoustic Guitar) and on this next track we hear that very combination bring us something that held for me certain Middle Age energies within its lush constraints, it is entitled Enchanted. One could see with ease a princess walking through the greenwoods of England to this melody.

Bezooyen strikes the opening few notes on this next piece, before Mack joins the dance to a lively number called Coming Home. A song that contains a wonderfully happy narrative to its progression, this is music to make you smile with ease.

Fluid Ooze was a truly interesting creation, a fluent vibrant flute in absolute symbiosis with an almost Middle Eastern percussive beat. The rhythmic nature of this track made it incredibly addictive to listen to; this would be one that the melody would run on loop within my mind unceasingly for the next few hours.

As we move towards the middle part of the album we come across a short form piece entitled Sundance, this light and warming performance brought a wonderful sensitivity to the release, and one that I utterly enjoyed, again Mack’s presentation on flute was truly charming and incredibly clear and natural.

May we once more touch the hem of the 16th century; mayhap we can do this with the track Jesters Feast. The lively and excitable energies of this piece are performed craft-fully by Mack’s sublime playing, while Bezooyen creates a rhythmic narrative that is utterly compelling.

We now move to the track entitled Ariel Wandering, which also happens to be the longest offering on the album, we can make use of that extra time by enjoying the almost folk styled performance on guitar by Bezooyen, while Mack’s flute drifts energies of a Native feel across the skies of this quite beautiful offering.

The title track is up next and of course I am referring to Wild Threads, the guitar manifests something quite moving and reflective at times, there is also a real late 60’s early 70’s feel to this presentation as well, I have to admit this makes it even more appealing, one can get lost in the theme and narrative of the song by flowing with the colourful melodic structures.

We have swum with great care into the deeper waters of the album, and as we do so we have arrived at a gateway to another track entitled Welcome, there is something so warm about this performance, and it just makes you smile at its simplistic beauty. The acoustic guitar never sounded better, the steel strings create a natural feel to the presentation, which manifested a safe arm around the shoulder musically, well done mister Paul Bezooyen for this classy solo performance.

The penultimate offering is upon us and it would turn out to be one of my personal favourites from the album. Moonlit Reflections is the perfect dreaming flute performance by Terry Mack, adding natural sounds to the composition was stroke of mastery, and one that helped manifest a beautifully angelic solo flute arrangement.

The final piece off the album is entitled Elemental Chant; this brings back a few memories for me, but that’s another story entirely. Here Mack and Bezooyen combine sublimely for one last track; it is the perfect piece that sums up this wonderfully fluent and melodic nature based album of outstanding natural beauty.

Wild Threads by Wind Weaver is an album of pure quality from two musicians who clearly known their trade, and just love to show it. The perfect symbiotic partnership has created here an album of 11 artistic and serene songs, all with a sensitive natural touch, and a lot of care and attention to detail. Wild Threads by Wind Weaver would be a very valuable addition to you music collection, a collection of soothing musical narratives to ease the soul and pacify the mind without doubt.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Into the Woods By Douglas Morton & Russ Jones


Into the Woods


Douglas Morton & Russ Jones

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I have long been a fan of melodic and reflective flute performances, so as I sit to review this outstanding work by Douglas Morton and Russ Jones entitled Into The Woods, simply put I am in musical heaven and honoured to be able to dive in deep with regard to this chart topping album, as combined with the flute are some of the most magical moments a keyboard has possibly ever created in this genre too.

The opening piece is utterly spell binding and called To the Caves, this could be where the lair of the bear may lie, and the powerful energy that flows from this quite breath taking performances could certainly suggest so. This is a multi-instrumental moment of sublime genius, the key boards add such a vast layer and texture to the proceedings here on this beautiful starting piece.

A haunting flute calls to us from deep within the woods; a tribal beat can be heard in the distance… Divides is certainly a scene setting gift that is vibrant yet controlled. The flute of Russ Jones grants us an audience to a sacred moment of musical magic that stands at the cross roads of all there is, and will be; a mysterious and masterful performance that brings a nice level of ambience into the proceedings as well.

We now move onward and further along the path, until we reach the track Under the Canopy, the hovering intensity here describes for me the vast realm of the woodlands we sit within, the flute of Jones instructs the very energies of this realm to pay heed, whilst the keyboards of Morton manifest a never ending dimension of colour and textures in this deep yet moving opus.

A symbiotic partnership between Morton and Jones coalesces further on this next offering entitled Morning Fog, a wonderful subject to write music about, and one that has given my muse a few ideas for further projects. The stillness created here is crafted genius; layer upon layer is built here, and with great feeling too, until a veritable tapestry of tone is manifested.

The fluency of Steaming Rivers is abundant in brilliance; Douglas Morton’s crafted methodology here on keyboards almost creates a John Carpenter styled moment, Assault on Prescient 13 mood, to the early textures of this track, whilst Russ Jones and his flute takes the offering to the next level with a mournful, but powerful performance.

The curiously entitled Unrest, To Rest is upon us next; here we have a sublime intensity that seems to drift from one corner of the woodland to the other. The synths here are so creative and descriptive, that one could be watching a lone flute performer standing by a vast Oak, as the sunrise burns away the early morning fog, a simply stunning reverie indeed.

The penultimate track is in fact the title header and of course called Into the Woods. Harmonic in structure, with an elevated sense of energy and intent, this incredible arrangement is enough to light up an entire valley with its powerful tones and imploring musical narrative; its compositions like this that make title tracks truly special.

We are gifted one more song to take with us on our journey and it is entitled Canyon Deep, from the burning hot midday sun, these wastelands provide us with a natural area to hide from its glory, while creators messenger (the eagle), flies over head and cries its message to us below. From Canyon Deep, these are my musings, gifted to me from this quite picturesque long form arrangement, one just shy of 10 minutes in length, but both performances here by the artists concerned, were utterly amazing in every context possible, and of course the perfect way to end the album.

Into the Woods by Douglas Morton & Russ Jones without doubt deserved to become a number one award winning album and will always be remembered so. This is crafted and intelligent musicianship, manifested from the heart of two sublime performers to you. Into the Woods will be known as a seminal body of work, created by two artists who clearly know their trade, and love it.