Saturday, July 31, 2021

Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare By Liquid Mind


Liquid Mind: Musical Healthcare


Liquid Mind

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Rhythms of Remembering By Byron Metcalf


Rhythms of Remembering


Byron Metcalf

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Earthrise By Andrea Sertori




Andrea Sertori

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Timeless Beauty By Tom Moore & Tim Sadow


Timeless Beauty


Tom Moore & Tim Sadow

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

Monday, July 19, 2021

Minimalism No. 1, Venus by Raphaёl Novarina


Minimalism No. 1, Venus


Raphaёl Novarina

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard


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

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

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



Friday, July 16, 2021

Wishing Well By UMA


Wishing Well



Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World By Jim Kimo West


Ka Honua Maluhia: Peaceful World


Jim Kimo West

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Lost In Love By Natasha Hardy


Lost In Love


Natasha Hardy

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, July 12, 2021

Song of the Violin By Ronald Van Deurzen & Prapad Kwanpradub


Song of the Violin


Ronald Van Deurzen & Prapad Kwanpradub

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

Monday, July 5, 2021

Celebrating Beethoven By Sophia Agranovich


Celebrating Beethoven


Sophia Agranovich

Written by

Steve Sheppard


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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