Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NOVA: An Acoustic Journey By Juliet Lyons & John McLean Allan


NOVA: An Acoustic Journey


Juliet Lyons & John McLean Allan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This has to be one of the most interesting and fascinating albums, especially a collaborative one, that I have heard for quite some time, so let’s take two artists in Juliet Lyons & John McLean Allan, remove the instrumentations their best known for, vocals and Bagpipes, and then let the muse run free, the result a wonderfully crafted and smoothly created album that anyone can enjoy.

On the borderlands of instrumental music, there lays a land where talented artists go to manifest unique and new music, and from this musical realm of calm comes NOVA: An Acoustic Journey, the opening piece is a fine place to start, and a masterful piece of build, construction and progression; John McLean Allan on a crisp and melodic guitar and Juliet Lyons talents on piano and synths can be found, right here on Luminous Radiance.

Chaco has a mysterious ethereal feel to its arrangement; one that drifts through the woodlands of creative tone on a late autumn day, the guitar of McLean Allan manifests warmth in performance here, which in partnership with Lyons on both flute and piano, brings us something so moving and at times quite emotive.

On Stones and Circles I drifted back to my days of roaming the English countryside, coming across many standing stones and circles in places I never knew existed. This though is a wonderfully light and thoughtful composition, one that has a progressive energy built within its complexities; a talented performance on both keyboards and acoustic guitar can be found here.

How interesting, I have just completed several reviews where the subject matter of Northern Lights has been in vogue, perhaps a hint for me to see them one day? However, this is one of my personal favourite pieces off the album, I would class this as good old New Age music, it comes right back from the early years of the genre, reminding me of artists like Phil Thornton. This piece is so beautifully arranged and performed, what is there not to love about it.

Vedana is our penultimate offering and probably one of the most uplifting tracks off the album, there is a real energy here of a feeling so strong, a sense so appealing, that one is in total harmony with not only the music, but perhaps even life itself, a wonderfully powerful, and fluent presentation by the artists here.

The concluding track to the album is called Emergence and the delicacy of Lyons on Piano is simply idyllic, and John McLean Allan on acoustic guitar took me right back to the days of Tony Iommi on the track Fluff. This was a splendid way to end what has been a total charming album indeed, and most certainly one I will be spinning again, as I hope you will too.

NOVA: An Acoustic Journey by Juliet Lyons & John McLean Allan is exactly what it says on the can, an acoustic voyage, and once aboard this craft of tone and timbre, you never wish to disembark. This is one of the most listenable albums I have come across for months, it has a gentle and calming sense to it, that manifests a blissful sense of wellbeing, and that is exactly what we all need right now.

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