Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hope By Lise Jonsson

 


Hope

By

Lise Jonsson

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is a wonderful sense of a magical nature about this new single from Lise Johnson 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

By

Zodalitt

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

 


Age

By

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

 


Epochal

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

 


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

By

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

By

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.



Spin-Off By Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time

 



Spin-Off

By

Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

To look at this album as just another blues release would be a vast understatement, and a gross undervaluing of the product we now know as Spin-Off by Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time, here you will find some of the most inventive music in this genre your ever likely to hear, and the Slovakian Blues Harmonica performer, will now take us on a journey that will open our minds and increase out awareness of the possibilities within this style of music.

The opening piece is a wonderful funk out and called Nobody's Talkin', which would make any concert opening piece with ease, the rasp like vocals, the driving blues ethic, and the fluent harmonica go to make this one of my favourite tracks off the album.

The bass breaks us into this next piece and called Spin-Off, this is of course the title track and one that also adds a little Jazz into the mix as well, which to be honest I find quite appealing. The percussive force of Matej Štubniak (Bass) and Juraj Raši (Drums) are a real engine room to compliment the harmonica of Schweigert, and the amazing screaming Hammond of Tibor Feledi.

As we move onwards we come across an addictive little composition entitled Every Four Seconds, which for the first time takes us across the oceans to a world of Reggae music, Bass is king in Reggae, and since I have had the good fortune to have travelled to Jamaica I should know. Here we have a fascinating arrangement, as we can cross the boundaries of Swing, and bring the Blues into the mix as well.

The Harmonica of Juraj Schweigert is sublime, and partnered with the bass of Matej Štubniak doubly so. Another favourite track of mine would be one that contains both and a wonderfully bluesy guitar (Zsolt Szitási) and called Stay With Me.  This is a wonderful slice of modern blues, and takes me back to the good old days of Gary Moore, in mood and feel.

She's Right is the track that illustrates to us that we have arrived at the half way marker. Once more Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time bring us prime blues, but almost adds a little Rock n Roll into the mix too, and with a clever little Latin percussive methodology into the mix as well, this has to be one of the cleverest performances on the album.

From one style to another we go, whilst the core of blues stays the same, we take another ride on this roller coaster of genre hopping with the band, as we now enter the world of Bluegrass, and listen to Straight Back. The banjo and harmonica is a combination that is as rare as sunshine at night, but it works incredibly well on this track, one that is as happy as a Friday night on the town.

Gruvgrass is up next and the mid-western theme is continued with a truly masterful performance on harmonica by Juraj Schweigert, who at times has such a skill set to make his beloved harm, almost sound like a violin. This crafted offering contains a plethora of masterful performances, but this almost free form composition is driven by a stunning presentation on drums by the quite breath taking Juraj Raši.

Once we arrive at the musical world of Shoelaced, we have return to the funky essence of the opening piece, this though is a lighter and even smoother bluesy offering, and contains a wonderfully powerful brass segment that is simply delectable, the bass here with the vocals control the narrative of the song, and making it for me another stand out track from the release.

We now arrive in the deeper waters of the album, and a wonderfully commercial feel to the next offering is laid bare before us and called Fix Me Up, this would become another personal favourite of mine and at times bore a little similarity to 90’s blues soul performer Roachford in flow and composition, one must pay homage to the classy vocals and harmonies in this very classy song as well.

The penultimate offering is Miss Chief, this ingenious offering has to be one of the most inventive and artistic songs off the album, the piece itself has great movement and originality, and is strangely addictive for all the right reasons, this is one of those pieces that you will return to many times over, just to take in all the clever little nuances contained within that you may have missed first time around.

It’s always best to finish with a flourish, and the Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time certainly do that on Drivin' Home. Classy blues harmonica, a funky guitar, and a shuffle you will never want to end, but never the less a track that is perfect to bring this smart and intelligent album of great tracks to a conclusion.

Spin-Off by Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time has to be one of the most inventive collections of superb bluesy music I have heard for years, if you like your music vibrant, exciting, and with a willingness to cross genres at a mere whim, then this is an album you must simply have in your ever expanding collection at all costs.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Bella By Rick Sparks

 


Bella

By

Rick Sparks

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is nothing I like to do more than sit and listen to the graceful poise and tone of a Rick Sparks album, and as such today I am a lucky man, I get to listen to and reveal my thoughts on Rick’s latest creation, Bella.

The opening piece is one of the most charming and ethereal offerings I have heard from Rick for a while, and of course I am referencing to the title track Bella. The art work reveals all here, and the child on the cover, glows of an innocence that is beautiful all on its own, and shows the honesty and unconditional love she has.

There is a decided Celtic motif to this next arrangement entitled Twilight Dreams that is really colourful and quite pretty. The mood of this track is so serene, one could easily drift off and into a blissful sleep whilst listening to it; this pristine performance by Sparks on keyboards is simply delightful.

The piano starts us off on another long road of ambience, and this time the song is entitled Smiling, the symphonic beauty here reminded me of a mixture of Kevin Kendle’s nature musings, and of course Sparks personal favourite Vaughn Williams in feeling and mood, here is a track that is so moving, it truly brought a tear to my eye.

My Valentine of course was released as a single earlier on this year, and was and is a beautiful addition to this album, the flute here makes a wonderful symbiotic resonance and is utterly transcendent.

The first few notes of Autumn Rain simply says it all, it is a time of the year when we all perhaps need to slow down and reflect. The gentle piano narrative allows me to visualise myself sitting by a window in early November, watching the seasons change and reflecting on the lessons of the past, learning from the actions taken, and then just floating with this mood filled opus of emotion and sincerity.

As we move into the second half of the album we come across what has now become my personal favourite Rick Sparks single of all time, and called Highland Road. Here is a Celtic melody that is so strong, fluent and colourful, it is an undeniable and a thoroughly picturesque portrait of instrumental music that you ever likely to hear in this genre.

The long hovering and floating musical narrative of Last Goodbye is now upon us, and here Sparks utilises his skill set of manifesting a composition and building upon its early constructions, and possibly into one of the finest symphonic creations on the album. A moving arrangement indeed, and redolent of some of the early new age styled tracks from many years hence, a sparkling heartfelt reminiscent opus indeed.

We have made it to the deeper realms of the album now and as we do so we come across a wonderful piece entitled Going Home, however many might also know it as Dvorak’s New World Symphony, what many will not know was that this piece was my original introduction to classical music, by my father many years ago, and it was the bridge to a better relationship with him too, thank you Rick Sparks for its inclusion, and what a glowing and emotive arrangement it was as well.

The following and penultimate offering is, and could be described as the extension of the previous composition, and called A New World. Here Sparks creates a companion to the aforementioned track, could this piece be the performance that at last reveals a new age in this new world, where the energies of love and kindness for ever nestle closer to each other, in a oneness of spirit, sounds like Sparks has nailed that for me.

I must admit leaving an album and wrapping things up nicely is a really hard thing to do, but here Sparks does it so beautifully by playing out with the final piece called Her Prayer. A soft piano takes us to our beds, and we can reflect upon our stunning musical journey with the genius that is Rick Sparks and his latest album Bella.

Bella by Rick Sparks is yet one more page of bliss in the vast catalogue of musical brilliance by one of the finest instrumental artists in the new age field today. With each album Sparks brings us calmness and serenity, and on Bella he adds innocence, charm and kindness to the menu as well, how could one not recommend an album of this elk, music like this is a panacea to cure all ills.

 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Time To Feel By Francois Mathian

 


Time To Feel

By

Francois Mathian

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The stringed wizardry of violinist Francois Mathian has been wooing the listeners for some years now, his unique style of new age, electronics and violin, has beautifully created a niche in a genre that has given him a remarkable distinctiveness from many others, and on this brand new album entitled Time To Feel, he pushes that envelope even further across the desk of brilliance.

The opening track is called Into The Yin, and strangely I am now on my third consecutive listen, Mathian’s impressive inimitable genius here is so fresh and textured that the tracks hovering intensity on keyboards and violin, becomes utterly addictive.

On Connecting we have a horse of a different colour, there is a clever mix of ambience and electronic mastery, that carefully edges within and across the boundaries of an Eno styled complexity, the string plucking and smooth transition into a fluent violin manifested a passage that is deeply creative to swim within.

We now move ever onwards to the piece Contemplating, the crafted ambient ethic continues its symbiotic entanglement with the strings of the violin, and so much so, that an almost meditative eastern styled ethic can be found here, one that I personally garnered a lot of satisfaction from. This is truly a wondrous and emotive performance on strings by Mathian. 

An electronic drop takes us to a new realm called Solitude, and this world of tone and atmospherics is so amazingly performed by Mathian that it is literally mesmerizing in its construction. If you ever wanted to hear one of the most stunning performances on violin by an artist in this field, then dive in here head long, it is spectacular to say the least, the hovering chimes reminded me of my Tibetan bowl; this offering would be all too easy to lose one’s self within completely.

Our penultimate composition is entitled Drift and such a dazzling moment of electronics and Violin has never been seen or felt as this, with the ambient measures of Eno and Deuter combined, Mathian’s performance here is a veritable floating cloud of meditative bliss.

Mindfulness is our last port of call, and the artist sets the narrative firmly into the now. Whilst listening to this I believe it would be possible to perform Tai Chi to it, the keyboards, bowls and chimes give us a truly cathartic energy to enjoy, whilst the fluency of the composition is controlled masterfully by the violin, to bring a wonderful grand stand finish to the album.

Time to Feel by Francois Mathian I rate as one of the foremost works of art in the ambient contemporary instrumental field I have heard for absolutely ages, The crafted and mindful presentations are eye catching and exquisite. Here is an album that if there was any justice in the musical world, would become a seminal work of art that would live on forever, in a timeless gallery of masterpieces entitled, focused intellect. An outstanding album indeed and one thoroughly recommended by this music writer.



Monday, June 7, 2021

She Dances in the Moonlight By Annie Locke



She Dances in the Moonlight

By

Annie Locke

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Annie Locke is one of the great narrators of the solo piano genre, her warm musical presentations are always something worth waiting for and eagerly anticipated, and so it will come as such a relief to all who adore her work to fall in love with another brand new single by the artist entitled, She Dances in the Moonlight.

There is a subtle but beautiful sway in construction here that is so appealing, one can see in the mind’s eye, the moon girl herself is dancing with the shadows of the night’s beacon of silvery light. The delicacy of Locke’s performance is utterly sublime and also quite emotive in construction at times. In my view She Dances in the Moonlight is Locke’s most moving piece thus far created, and most certainly a guaranteed big chart hit for the artist.




Dancing on Light Ice By Alan Moore Music

 


Dancing on Light Ice

By

Alan Moore Music

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The depth and textures of this amazing new solo piano single by Alan Moore is remarkable and well worth multiple listens, the performance on piano is just shy of two minutes long, but this tapestry of a full flowing narrative is deeply compelling and graphic in nature.

Dancing on Light Ice is one of those compositions, that in its short duration says everything that needs to be said, and the energy of the piece also leaves you with a sublime sense of calmness at its conclusion, and that can’t be a bad thing at all can it?




Friday, June 4, 2021

Hummingbird By 2002

 


Hummingbird

By

2002

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I postulated a while back on the health of the new age genre, and wondered what its current status is; thankfully I can now state without a shadow of a doubt that it is alive and well, and flourishing, especially after a shot in the arm from the world’s greatest new age band 2002, by the release of their latest album Hummingbird.

This journey of utter colour and smooth textures starts with the abundant beauty of Rainbow Cove, which in my view must be the best starting composition I can ever remember on an album of this style, its fluent, graceful, charming, and its multi-instrumental nature simply sublime.

The Copus family are well versed in the skill set of creating a compelling musical narrative; now they are three young Sarah only adds so much to the trio. The Harp here on Walela is transcendent, the string sections and symphonic backdrop simply mystical, and very redolent of a movie theme, can such beauty be before me? Yes it can, via this amazing new album called Hummingbird.

The mood filled guitar of Randy Copus brings us Gathering the Clouds, a track that manifests more and more growth and progression as it goes, there is a native feel to this piece that I adore so much, the flute of Pamela Copus brings us that image, and the strings just carry us away on a tone of delight and bliss.

Sunlight in Rain hovers like an expectant and heavy cloud in late October, the radiance of a long past summer has gone, but the remnants of those beautiful days linger on, and then showers upon the surface of the Earth fall, like tears from a new born child; this is a breath taking performance by the band, the combination of keyboards, strings and harmonics is just mesmerizing.

The half way marker is reached by the arrival to the land of the Sacred Mountain. This is the traditional playground of the band and this full flowing and lush style has blessed our weary ears for years, as we approach the midway segment of the song we are gifted some of the sweetest vocalisations your ever likely to hear.

I thought I at first had gone back to the 30’s and had a feeling that there really is no place like home when I first heard Through the Rainbow. The band have manifested a wonderfully warm and all-embracing composition here, this is like a musical arm around the shoulder, or the equivalent of a warm bowl of musical chicken soup, almost a lullaby, certainly film score, but at all times startlingly brilliant, and deeply caring in composition and arrangement for each and every one of us, oh yes, and of course your little doggie too.

Courting the Moon, there is little in the night sky that holds my attention than the white globe we stare at during the darkness of the night, and sharing a moment of love under it is something both Chrissie and I do on a regular basis, little did I know that 2002 would create a soundtrack for that moment, and an amazingly beautiful one at that. The ambience of this track is deeply felt and the keyboards here deeply emotional, I would say this is music to cry happily to.

We are floating into the deep waters of the album now, and as we do so we come across another stunner entitled Jasmine Rain. I have a Jasmine plant, just need some rain now, and the scent from the Jasmine is so redolent of summer and all that warmth of compassion that comes from it. Once more 2002 manifest a segment in time, a moment that may flicker like a sparkling star at night, but done so with such an amazing skill and crafted purpose; the combination of artistic endeavours from the Copus families multi-instrumental genius, is felt so strongly here on this piece.

The penultimate track from the album is now up and entitled Wind Dancer, the piano starting ethic reminded me so much in mood and feeling of David Lanz in texture, the symbiotic nature flowed so beautifully with the combination of string and flute to bring us, the ever eager listener, a wonderful tapestry of music as our last but one offering.

The last track on the album, and I almost don’t want to write it, as it is the end of the release, because you really will want the experience to last for an eternity, anyway, I must, and therefore I give you First Day of Spring. What a clever and thoughtful way to end with a track that could signify the beginning, a little Enya feel at times, but as is always the case 2002 as a band, warmer in composition and full bodied in arrangement, but how can this just not be the best symphonic moment of magic to leave any album with.

It is hard to explain this, but whilst writing this review I haven’t spoken, drank, or moved, and barely even breathed, and only just realised I hadn’t even saved my work, this is how amazingly great this album is, I kid you not, this is without doubt the best instrumental album that 2002 have ever created. Hummingbird will probably go down in musical history as one of the best examples of 21st century New Age music there is, as it really doesn’t get any better than this.


https://myndstream.fanlink.to/Hummingbird-2002


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Riccos Beach By Steve Sheppard

 


Riccos Beach

By Steve Sheppard

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

The latest release from Steve Sheppard is a moody creation, a lone bouzouki, the waves crashing on the beach and those long deep musical notes; they really set the scene for what is a journey into the dark days of lockdown. A seaside destination, without the tourists, the beaches are empty and no one is around. This is the story that is being told within the music, which is ambient in nature, but with glints of something bright trying to break through.

As the music progresses, we can see that last statement taking shape more and more, as things improve, but with tentative steps, people are looking forward, but that storm still there lingering, in the background. The piece ends with children’s laughter, a sign of a brighter future to come.

A special mention must be given to Andy Rogers who assisted in the creation of this wonderful composition. I am sure this is going to be a big hit for Steve Sheppard.




Heartbeat of Dubai By Graeme Drum

 


Heartbeat of Dubai

By

Graeme Drum

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Graeme Drum has to be one of the top world percussionists around today, his magical style and performances have lit up many a musical light across the planet, and Heartbeat of Dubai is going to continue that theme into 2021.

The sensuality of the music is quite palpable, and is also beautifully layered and textured; the ethnic Middle Eastern mood has been crafted wonderfully, and Drum’s percussion skill set, has once again brought a superb new single to the ears of the willing and the hearts of the faithful. Singles chart be ready, Graeme Drum is back!




Transcending Fear By Eduardo Gutierrez

 


Transcending Fear

By

Eduardo Gutierrez

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This is one of the most intelligent single solo piano releases I have heard for quite some time, Transcending Fear by Eduardo Gutierrez is utterly brilliant, the pianist creates a dark backdrop of sound, and utilises the piano beautifully to emphasise the battle between light and blackness of mood.

The elevation of tone and construction of this single is simply magnificent, and to listen to Gutierrez build a composition that raises its energies to victory at the conclusion of the piece, was simply sublime and thoroughly enjoyable.




More Than Time By Ryan Michael Richards

 


More Than Time

By

Ryan Michael Richards

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Ryan Michael Richards is a unique acoustic guitar performer, he produces rich and textured compositions, but also narrates the melody and arrangement so well, that you can literally hear lyrics within your mind as he performs, this skill set is masterful and allows the listener to conjure up their own musical journey and imagery as they drift within the tones of delight.

A fine example of this is the ever onward offering entitled Moving Forward, a steady and purposeful narrative is employed here, and a clever use of pause as well; the fluency of this piece makes this track the most perfect beginning point of the album.

At Your Leisure is one of those pieces that is so very beautiful to listen too, listen to the repeating motif on guitar as well, it is so beautifully crafted and escalates brilliantly as it weaves a tale of lyrical intent throughout the track. This song is further enhanced by the talents of Premik Russell Tubbs and Michael Manring.

At the mid-way point we come across a track called May I Have This Dance? This blissfully includes the genius that is Charlie Bisharat, and those strings never sounded so good, the symbiotic partnership with Bisharat and Richards here is sublime, they seem to dance from one segment to another with consummate ease, on a track that is as warm as they day is long.

One my favourite songs would be the penultimate offering entitled Friday At Five. There is a slight mournful repose here that cannot be denied, the elevation and tempo of the piece is generally more powerful than perhaps you would expect, which is partly what made this track so appealing to me. Richard’s guitar here is really intense at times, and that grabs the attention of the listener with ease.

The album finishes with the perfect ending piece entitled Timeless. The composition is indeed that, and given further energy by the returning Russell Tubbs on brass, simply idyllic, and without doubt the best way possible to leave this very chilled collection of smooth compositions.

More Than Time by Ryan Michael Richards is a blissful sojourn into the world of Acoustica, and never a better time was spent, than listening to this new offering. Richards has such a calming performance style, but one that manifests a story within each composition thus created, this is one of those albums you would be foolish to miss out on, and as such it is one that is utterly recommended.



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Yellowstone Lake By Bill Freas

 


Yellowstone Lake

By

Bill Freas

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

One of the most scenic albums to be released in 2021 has to be this latest creation by Bill Freas entitled Yellowstone Lake; this gentle amalgam of a multi-instrumental nature, with keyboards and a symphonic backdrop, courtesy of The Cottage City Symphony Orchestra is simply idyllic.

Starting with the ebullient Sunset Majesty and leading into the almost tribal Incantation of the Elk, here is an album that will cater for the tastes of all who love really crafted and well worked instrumental music that embraces the world of nature.

The album is packed with colourful offerings and has 10 tracks that create the compilation, such as Violet Valley Chorale, which sets the scene so beautifully, one of wide open vast realms that slope up and down, and one can feel the embracing wind all around us, and then a rhythmic and almost pulsating composition can be found on Moonscapes, one that manifests an almost addictive sense of energy.

The penultimate offering would be one of my personal favourites and called On Wings of Eagles, the cry of creators messenger can be heard from the off, and the floating keyboards hover with respect, the added chimes and vocalisations give the piece both depth and a sense of ethereal allure.

This wonderfully charming release ends with the track Lakeside, in Stride, a percussive beat and an almost chilled rhythm lead us out of the album with a fine chilled vibe.

Yellowstone Lake by Bill Freas is a graphic novel of music, put together to represent a place of natural beauty and in doing so, Freas has created an album of the same elk, no pun intended. Bill Freas has manifested something quite unique and incredibly compelling here, and as such Yellowstone Lake should appeal to all who seek good music, which reflects a natural theme, within its musical boundaries.