Monday, September 26, 2022

Summer's End By Sacha Hoedemaker & Shere Fraser

 


Summer's End

By

Sacha Hoedemaker & Shere Fraser

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This brand new single by Sacha Hoedemaker & Shere Fraser is a perfect representation of the subject matter, the end of summer, a season we all long for and saddened to see leave, but great memories can be found with its week’s, days and hours to console us, and this wonderful new single says just that to me.

The more reflective time of autumn is now upon us, but those peace filled sun kissed days are still lingering lovingly in our minds, as will this performance by flautist Shere Fraser and pianist Sacha Hoedemaker.

I truly believe that they have composed one of the most emotive, heartfelt and memorable compositions about this subject ever, both performances are perfectly balanced and draw a blissfully warm musical narrative, one that perhaps could be used as a reminder of better days to come whilst in the middle of winter, a quality release indeed.


Friday, September 23, 2022

Chi Mai By Joseph Sullinger

 


Chi Mai

By

Joseph Sullinger

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There can be no doubt that guitarist Joseph Sullinger is one of the finest acoustic performers of his day, he has brought the world of classical and solo guitar just that little closer to the hearts of many who have listened to his wonderful creations.

Here on this latest single entitled Chi Mai he has arranged the original work of Ennio Morricone from orchestral to classical guitar, and once again has achieved greatness by doing so. I gazed for some time at the art work for this single and thought how perfectly it fitted with this splendid composition.

Chi Mai by Joseph Sullinger is a layered tapestry of calm and serenity, this is classical guitar at its very best and music to soothe your very soul with.


Standing in Motion By Holland Phillips

 


Standing in Motion

By

Holland Phillips

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Holland Phillips is without doubt one of the leading composers in the contemporary instrumental field, in this ever changing and unpredictable 21st century. I would go as far as to state that the artists compositions and creations have been one of my inspirations in my own musical manifestations, and here on Standing In Motion we take another voyage through the heart and mind of the artist.

From the first play and onward I would say that this was easily the most melodic album that Holland has ever produced, the opener and title track Standing In Motion, and the subsequent piece Finding Solace, are but two fine examples of the genius of a Holland Phillips creation, both tracks are blissfully reflective, and as always, dancing with those delicious minor and major chords.

This new release is a step forward for the artist as he touches the energies of emotion and tenderness like never before, try the sensitive refrains of Matters of the Heart, as a track that will truly move you, or the added percussive beat of a piece like Hours Until Dawn, a song that has so many textures and moods contained within.

Standing in Motion by Holland Phillips is a 10 track album that contains something for just about everyone, like the electronic nuances of Trail of the Pixies, or the moving ballad entitled Reasons to Dream, a song where the heart and soul combine to bring us utter keyboard based instrumental magic.

This is an album that will walk you hand in hand to its conclusion, that last piece is At the Close, a track that draws to the end another wonderful sojourn of quality from Holland Phillips.

Standing in Motion by Holland Phillips is a quality album of sublime mood and feeling; here the artist has really drawn a wonderfully consistent musical narrative from his emotive muse, and in doing so has manifested an album that you would be most remiss in not adding to your ever growing collection of good music, because here on Standing in Motion, is one of the finest examples of fluent heart felt contemporary instrumental music around today.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Franch plays Franck By Elisabet Franch

 


Franch plays Franck

By

Elisabet Franch

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Classical music in this ever changing and unpredictable decade is showing a level of revival that’s fast becoming sustainable and emphatic; an example of this growth is the new release by the ever creative and technical sublime flautist Elisabet Franch, and entitled Franch plays Franck.

On this release we can explore the works of Grieg, the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns and of course César Franck the composer and pianist originally from Liege.

Elisabet Franch is a wonderfully accomplished flautist, and one can see why on tracks like Edvard Grieg, Sonata n.2 op.13 in G major - Lento Doloroso-Allegro Vivace. This transcendent offering is a bliss-filled reverie of utter fluency with a harmonious structure, one that builds and moves with the grace of a mystical being within its arrangement, a piece that contains a certain romanticism and charm.

A more sombre piece now is before us and entitled Edvard Grieg, Sonata n.2 op.13 in G major - Allegretto Tranquilo. The flute of Franch here is gentle and soothing in its first essence, but then slowly builds carefully to a crescendo. The presentation and the Norse elements are all beautifully felt.

Edvard Grieg, Sonata n.2 op.13 in G major - Allegro Animato, here Franch brings a lively energy into the piece, one that almost dances with the main infrastructure of the arrangement, a wonderfully illuminating presentation indeed.

We edge to the half way marker of the release and as we do so we come across Camille Saint-Saëns - Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso op.28, this highly successful piece is performed with great style and panache by the flautist, one must also mention at this point, the performances on this album by pianist Albert Guinovart, truly masterful indeed.

So onto César Franck, Sonata in A Major - Allegretto ben moderato, this quite breath taking recital is truly something special, the fluency here is sublime on a piece that was rated to be, one of the finest Sonata’s for violin and piano ever written, Franch and her trustworthy flute bring an air of majesty into the proceedings here.

The sense of turbulence within this next offering is actually somewhat appealing, César Franck, Sonata in A Major – Allegro is a technical masterpiece and subtle nuances abound within, in a performance that is both hypnotic and riveting.

César Franck, Sonata in A Major - Recitativo –Fantasia is a land of ambience created by the composer to originally to be free of form structure and expression, so it is within each of us to listen intently, and if we feel the need, we can construct our own mental narrative whilst listening.

The penultimate offering from this deeply satisfying new release is César Franck, Sonata in A Major - Allegretto poco mosso, what was once described as one of the finest examples of canonic writing, the triumphant, almost soaring conclusion to this piece made it for me one of my personal favourites, with Franch in sublime form indeed.

Our final arrangement if César Franck – Aimer, this recital is a heavenly melodic composition, respectfully performed by Franch, with a warmth to the presentation that is particularly palpable, and quite touching, and of course a perfect moment to finish an album of great quality and style with.

Franch plays Franck by Elisabet Franch with the piano of Albert Guinovart, is an album that contains 9 pieces of works from several influential composers, and exhibits a simply idyllic implementation whilst doing so, here is a flautist of immense skill and talent, her performances on this album will light up a darkened room with crafted nuances and skilful intelligence; for those who have a preference for the classical, this is one album you must not miss at all costs.


Pirouettes By Marc-André Pépin

 


Pirouettes

By

Marc-André Pépin

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

It made such a difference to my morning to receive this up tempo dance styled solo piano single, as Marc-André Pépin gives us his latest offering entitled Pirouettes. The pianist is a much respected artiste, and it is good to see him releasing this track as a single, as the song is a full on energetic offering.

Pirouettes will grab you by the hand, spin you around on the ball room floor, and never let you go. The vibrational aspects of this whirlwind of an arrangement is most refreshing, and as such I can see it capturing the eye of the multitude of solo piano fans all around the world.


Empty Windows By Victor Birkan

 


Empty Windows

By

Victor Birkan

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Pianist Victor Birkan has been in fine form lately and his muse is working overtime to bring us some of the most passionate and colourful solo piano around, and now the artist has a new single called Empty Windows for us to lose ourselves within.

There is something quite haunting about this piece that will draw you in as a listener, and there can be no doubt that Birkan has a style that is both flourishing and moody, this masterful composition perhaps draws a narrative of an old home, where all that is left are dusty memories and of course Empty Windows, this is a classy performance by the artist, one I am sure will be thoroughly enjoyed by the legions of solo piano fans around the globe. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Odyssey V By David De Michele

 


Odyssey V

By

David De Michele

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I have nothing but positive words to express on the works of David De Michele, he is without doubt one of the finest electronic music creators of his time, and here we get the most wonderful of opportunities of being able to take yet another voyage of galactic delights with the artist, on this new album entitled Odyssey V.

First we must break orbit with our musical planet of plenty and prepare our engines to take flight, this can be done so very beautifully with the opener and title track Odyssey V. I love it when a musician places his title header as number one on the track listing, it shows me his intent and confidence that the palette created upon is utter quality, as this song most certainly is.

The softness of chords and musical structures on the previous track is continued somewhat with this next offering entitled Gateway, however, under pinned in this arrangement is a mood of expectation and excitement. Through the music one can sense a system worm hole or portal has been opened up, and the leap to our next odyssey of mystery is about to begin. The build and mood of anticipation here is huge, but De Michele retains that sense of purpose, and keeps at all times, the composition perfectly balanced.

So The Search begins, light years flash by as if in a twinkling of an eye, solar systems disappear into the inky depths of the universe, as scanners are now employed. The artist’s expressions and textures here are filled with hope and mystery, and one can feel through the tones of De Michele’s keyboards the vastness of this whole project in a track that is full of wonderment, the progression of the ethereal vocalisations and light percussion are a key element to this pieces elevation.

Some say it is a luxury to be able to look back with an objective point of view in life, indeed it is, and combined with knowledge and wisdom, doubly so, here on Retrospect we have a piece that is almost mournful at times, a track that through its chords and repeating motifs is one of the finest examples of synth based space styled music there is.

We find ourselves at the midway point on our journey and the pull of a planets orbit has kicked in, this next arrangement entitled Gravity explains the mood perfectly and one can almost feel the grip of this world gaining strength, the pulse styled percussive effect that runs through this track is vital to its overall compositional structure, and it also adds a layer of exciting tension into the composition as well, whilst at the same time the artists soft synth pads manufacture a blissful reality of confidence that all will be well.

Through the eyes of David De Michele we are taken on a voyage with each track created, he is without doubt a master narrator and deserves all the plaudits that he gets, on the track Pinnacle, there is a level of sensitivity that is so palpable and emotional. I found this track deeply moving, its emotional energies were strong and powerful, whilst the composition its self was soft and akin to a warm embrace.

We are at our goal, the journey has been long and fascinating, and now through the offering Arrival we can celebrate this almost concluding voyage through the stars. We are greeted by synths that are gentle, creative and uplifting, and with the very delicate added percussion we are gifted a true treat, one that reminded me in parts of early Vangelis in build expression and texture.

We finish with the longest piece off the release and called Timeless, this is an incredibly stylish way to conclude an album indeed, a repeating keyboard motif, and one that may reminds you of a certain mister Mike Oldfield. With a progression that was so carefully worked and crafted, it was a pleasure to listen to over and again, with true care and attention to detail De Michelle has ended with all flags flying in an opus of brilliance.

Odyssey V by David De Michele is a journey of musical pleasure, it is a voyage of an explorative nature, so beautifully narrated by the artist it leaves you wanting more each and every time, and trust me you will listen over and again. David De Michelle is a musician that takes each note he manifests to the universe seriously, and then covers them all with a warm blanket of confidence and colour, on this album we have a collection of stunning tracks that gives you the very best he can offer, it certainly is a musical journey you will never want to return from.


Raindrops By Ross Mitchell

 


Raindrops

By

Ross Mitchell

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is a time that comes every now and then in all our lives, when we just need that little shard of serenity, that little touch of tranquillity, and that small offering of peace, and within this brand new debut album from Ross Mitchell we have just that, and ever more. Raindrops is an art form created by a wonderfully talented pianist, who will paint for us through this creation, a multitude of calming sanctuaries to relax within.

The opening offering is powerful but with a gentle start, and speaking of someone who lives near the sea, I can say without doubt that Ocean's Breath, is both picture perfect and an idyllic representation of the energies of the planets water system; a fluent, charming and multi-instrumentational narrative can be found here.

For Amina is a track released earlier on this year as a single, here lies something deep, yet passionate, a composition filled with integrity, but also one that contains light touches of great beauty and calm, I found something so very soothing within this creation.

We run out into the title track Raindrops, this is a delicious up tempo offering, and I for one will be running out into the rain to this composition in a few weeks when the season begins; a soft orchestral backdrop and a fast based performance can be found here from the artist.

On Reverie we have the complete opposite of the last track, as this piece is crafted into a tranquil oasis of sound and textures; I enjoyed bathing in its tones and floating in its heart felt notes of great quality, one that ended with a climatic, but tempered conclusion.

The penultimate offering off the album is up next and I must say it was my personal favourite from this new debut release. Rivers of Glass is the title and I thoroughly enjoyed the fluency of this arrangement. Mitchell’s thoughtful yet purposeful performance on the piano was one of the best I have heard for quite a while, this is one of those special tracks that comes along once in a life time, but thankfully never leaves.

For Amina (Wedding) is our last port of call and this symphonic arrangement is a wonderfully colourful creation indeed, the orchestration brings this performance to life, and sets a scene for the artist to lay down a sublime concluding offering, one to certainly be proud of.

Raindrops by Ross Mitchell has been for me one of the most attractive piano based albums I have had the good pleasure to listen to this year, there is much within the realms of this compilation to enjoy, and as such I can see this new debut release obtain a pretty good chart position, and also a whole heap of praise from fans peers and friends alike. 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Luminous By Chakuna Machi Asa

 


Luminous

By

Chakuna Machi Asa

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The essence of any truly good single in this new age styled genre, is the ability to create a combination of tone serenity and ambience, all wrapped up in a production that embraces the moment, and I am glad to say that Luminous by Chakuna Machi Asa has done just that, and much more.

With vibrant intentions Luminous comes into our view, a respectful and soothing chant is contained within, and this deeply mystical new offering hovers among us, like the spirits from our ancestors around a campfire.

The rhythmic energies manifest a special magical moment as the keyboards drive the composition along on its merry way, this is a wonderfully illuminating new single by the artist, and I am sure one that will be a big chart hit for her as well.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Wind Within By Peddlers of Joy

 


The Wind Within

By

Peddlers of Joy

Written By

Steve Sheppard

 

The Tank Centre for Sonic Arts in Colorado is the location of this brand new spontaneous album of quality, multi-instrumental music named The Wind Within, and performed by Peddlers Of Joy. I have never been to this location, but the music projects recorded at it are some of the most inventive, artistic and connected I have heard.

Here Peddlers of Joy manifest seven heartfelt opuses of serenity, with flute, light percussion, acoustic guitar, vocals and a veritable myriad of other instrumentations, for example track one called Crossing of Paths, has a blissful ambient vibe to its overall musical narrative, the piece moves slowly and carefully, akin to a stranger walking through a misty forest at night, the appeal of this meditative offering is strong and very enjoyable.

Above is our next track, chimes greet our arrival and a gentle almost distant flute draws us in further, the build by Friedman on flute is fantastic, and one that creates a feeling of a wondrous energy moving toward and away all at the same time. The harmonic value of this track alone must not be underestimated. The best part of creating long form music is that you have the opportunity to create art within art, introduce the listener to many facets of your project, and that has been done exceptionally well here by Peddlers of Joy.

Part one of four suites is now up, the first is entitled Four Directions Suite: Black, this honours some of the sacred teachings and traditions of indigenous peoples, and done in such a way that it brings a sense of harmony peace and tranquillity in alignment with the mystical narrative, the distant vocalisations of Freyja Wild are simply idyllic and thoroughly mesmeric, whilst the chimes and slow hovering build are ambience personified, timeless music indeed.

Four Directions Suite: Red is our next portal to peace, long form magic is created here by the Peddlers of Joy, I sat back and enjoyed its reveries for 17 minutes plus, and the addition of Friedman’s harmonica was not only a stroke of genius, it was also incredibly inventive and artistic, the use of it manifested a slightly sharper edge to the arrangement, one which coalesced sublimely with the compositional structure of this improvised offering.

We point now to Four Directions Suite: Yellow, this contemplative arrangement is slightly deeper in its initial tones, the guitar here is brilliant and reminds me of old style Pink Floyd, with that shadowy vibrational energy, Wilds ethereal vocalisations seemingly drift around, akin to a mist on an early summer morning in June, the Tank must manifest that all-encompassing brooding musical reality, where all music is everywhere.

The penultimate piece off the album is also the shortest at just over 11 minutes long, there is a nice rhythmic essence to this offering that I thought played out well within this magical realm of the Tank and called Four Directions Suite: White. The whole piece was pristinely manifested and the chimes started a slow movement to an offering that built a fair depth and profundity to its narrative; this was with ease the most intense track off the album.

So we now conclude with the last offering entitled Within, this is also the longest composition from the album at well over 20 minutes long, here the group explore the distance, and the complexities of their location with a truly incredible arrangement. Vocalisations hovered like a distant storm, and chimes and tones drifted like smoke from an extinguished candle, this is one of those tracks that it would be very easy to get lost within, and while you’re doing so, time actually does becomes irrelevant.

The Wind Within by Peddlers of Joy is a new release that you would be wise to check out, it has seven simply harmonic and meditative long-form compositions of a multi-instrumental nature, it has the energy of a location that is fast becoming a hot spot for the more new age styled artists, and those that wish to float within their own creations; as such this is an absorbing new album that must not be missed at all costs, if you like long form ambient music, then you would do well by checking out The Wind Within by Peddlers of Joy.


Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love) By David Lanz & Kristin Amarie

 


Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love)

By

David Lanz & Kristin Amarie

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There are times in one’s life that light you up to a point where your own radiance and emotional output is stronger than any sun residing in the universe, this latest release by David Lanz & Kristin Amarie has done just that, and as an album that also contains many luminaries of this style and genre in David Arkenstone, Charlie Bisharat and the amazing vocalist Alex Panayi and the Italian lyric collaborater, Tony Mangione, who contributed to four of the tracks, must surely make Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love) an award winning album with utter ease.

Such beauty is created with consummate simplicity by the world’s leading pianist in David Lanz on Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love). I have long waited humbly for a track to rival Cristofori's Dream, and I believe that within this piece I may well have found it, the classic Lanz sway and swagger is there, the pin-point build, creation and crescendo’s, and all backed by stunning vocalisations, and a symphonic nature so proud and empowering, there can only be one exclamation I can find here after 6 listens in a row, and that’s, wow!

However we don’t stop there, as we reach one of the most stunning reveries in Il Giardino Incantato, utilising the most spectacular talents of both vocalists Kristin Amarie and Alex Panayi, this partnership of striking brilliance is simply idyllic, deeply emotive, and one of the most fully flavoured and passionate tracks I think I have heard, for at least the last decade or so.

Our next portrait of fabulous texture and timbre is the former single Aria, Kristin Amarie must have one of the best voices in the genre today, and her range, power intensity and passion, sparkles like a beacon in a midnight sky, on this quite splendid song.

As we carefully edge further on through the forests of superb creations, we come across another symbiotic manifestation of genius in another previously released single in SonataAlex Panayi and Kristin Amarie create a magnificent moment to revel in here, one that reminds me in part to Phantom of the Opera with those delightful oceans of grandeur.

Time to breathe, wipe tears of joy from your eyes, and sit back and enjoy another partnership of genius now, as David Lanz and Charlie Bisharat bring us another anthem like opus in the piece Matters of the Heart, which David told me was originally written by their long-time friend and workshop attendee, George Whitehill, as he wrote it as a tribute for his father’s memorial service, but David and Kristin have worked their magic into the arrangement. I do not know how he does it, but the older Lanz gets, the more heart felt and artistic his compositions become, this one another dramatic creation, and is one that contains honest emotive and reflective nuances by the bucket load.

One More Night brings us the dream team of Amarie and Panayi one more time, and this fluent narrative of never ending love flows with all the passion of a mountain stream in early spring. This is another exquisite and impressive arrangement of power vocals, emotional intensity, and neo-classical genius, which means that only one word sums this piece up, perfection.

Alone is just that, as Amarie takes the solo vocal reigns, and has us literally hanging on to the edge of the seat waiting for the next delicious spectacular moment to occur, this is Amarie in her best story telling mode, and a song that literally takes you to the very edge of your emotional cliff edge, and peaking over the edge.

We now are swimming in the deeper waters of the release, and as we drift past time itself, we come across a piece that is so very beautiful in all aspects of its creation and called Lovers' Bridge (Ponte Dell'amante). This was also a single earlier on in this year of freedom 2022. Once more classic Lanz can be found here with, with Charlie Bisharat’s sublime touch, in an eye catching melody that will remain in the heart for an eon or more.

The penultimate piece is an instrumental arrangement called The Enchanted Garden (Il Giardino Incantato), I must admit to having played this track several times before writing this, my emotions got a hold of my heart, and I was lost in a lost world of love and memory for a while. I would be amazed if some intelligent film producer did not at some stage use this as part of their production, they certainly should.

The last part of our journey can be taken with Lanz bringing us a mesmerising performance on piano, with Amarie’s imploring vocals, and a tip of the hat to also Hector Ulisses Passarella on bandoneon, and Cameron Stone on cello, this is the way to end an album, this is the way to conclude a project that has gifted us some of the finest work musically I have heard this century.

Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love) by David Lanz & Kristin Amarie is an album that will move you, it is a release that will take you by the arm, sit you down and demand to be listened to, it is that good. Lettere d'Amore (Letters of Love) by David Lanz & Kristin Amarie is jam packed with passion, beauty, and romanticism, it is also a release you really should not think twice about purchasing, after all your heart will love you forever, as you will then have one of the finest musical recordings of its time in your worthy collection. 




Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Farewell To Memories By Orchestra Indigo

 


Farewell To Memories

By

Orchestra Indigo

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This new album by Orchestra Indigo is a beautiful musical journey through the many paths and walkways of one’s life and memories; as we crawl out of the pandemic, a situation that gave us endless hours of solitude and plenty of time for reflection, we are receiving a lot of new material inspired by those moments of lockdown, and this album is a real treat to bathe within.

Farewell To Memories by Orchestra Indigo or Rick Randlet as many may know him by, is a wonderful sojourn into the world of instrumental music by the artist. The beginning opus is the perfect place to start, as it is the glorious title track Farewell To Memories, the back drop of sound swirls around us, whilst a steady onward moment and progression on the keyboard manifests, there is also an anthem like feel to this opener that makes it even more attractive.

Upon this 12 track release we will each find our favourites, but Randlet is truly expressing himself wonderfully here, especially on pieces like A Time Of Solitude, which could easily illuminate many of our separate journey’s through the pandemic, the hovering uncertainty here created by the artist is simply awesome, and there is a mournful repose to this piece that makes it so very emotive.

Sparkling compositions can be found within the realms of this bliss filled release, like the glistening tones of Lights On A Distant Shore or perhaps Hope Eternal, an arrangement that holds a handful of anxious  moments its fingers, Randlet’s presentation here is deeply moving and very heartfelt, one can indeed visualise a fragile hope through its tentative tones.

The art in music creation, especially album compiling, is to start well and finish memorably, and always leave the listener wanting more, on the artists last and concluding piece he does just that, with one of the most amazing departures ever, One Last Look is a song that will bring tears of respect and gratitude to your eyes, it’s a wonderfully emotional piece, and yes, perhaps we can look over our shoulders at the voyage taken, and sigh with a certain relief, sheer crafted genius to end with such style and panache can be found here.

Farewell To Memories by Orchestra Indigo is one of the most delightful albums in the instrumental field I have had the pleasure of listening for quite some time, each and every composition is constructed with care and attention to detail, and as such the entire album is a flowing pastiche of colour and tone like no other, this is one incredibly beautiful album destined to bring the artist many plaudits.  


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love Wins By Ragnar H

 


Love Wins

By

Ragnar H

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

A new artist drifted my way today in the guise of Ragnar H, the pianist has a new single out, and it is one of the most delightfully composed solo piano creations I have heard for a while, it is called Love Wins.

Here is a song filled with a calm sense of confidence, a soothing, fluent narrative, and a gentle river of calm. Ragnar H and his creation is a pristine and serene new offering, played with a tender touch on the keys, and an all embracing energy of truth whilst doing so.

Love Wins by Ragnar H is a really easy piece to fall in love with, and as such I can see this becoming an integral part of any listener’s future playlists.


The Light of Life By Angelo Nicola Giuliano

 


The Light of Life

By

Angelo Nicola Giuliano

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Really good solo piano is produced when the said artist engages both their muse and emotions, the full flowing nature of a passionate offering is then achieved with great skill and dexterity, and here Angelo Nicola Giuliano does just that on his latest single The Light of Life.

At times a classical motif can be found here, the emotive strains of a Pavane perhaps, the impassioned appeal of an artist who paints with sound most certainly, Giuliano is a superb pianist, who has once again produced another heart felt single to embrace us all with, a sure fire hit without a doubt can be found here on The Light Of Life.


Peace in Our Hearts By Diane Wheeler Dunn

 


Peace in Our Hearts

By

Diane Wheeler Dunn

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The award winning Diane Wheeler Dunn is with us again on a new musical voyage of pleasure, this time this flute based reverie of charm is entitled Peace in Our Hearts and a delightful journey with this illustrious and proficient musician it most certainly is.

This 10 track album has sublime moments of utter ambience, the opening piece is a prime example of that serenity and called Petunias are Stars, this composition is also a fine presentation of how to build and progress a composition, the sensitive percussion is also a soothing addition.

On each and every track the greatest attention to detail is paid, listen to pieces like Imaginal Realm, a track where an almost East meets West vibration can be found, or Float The Boat, a hovering arrangement with some incredibly inventive percussive elements and flute magic.

There can be no doubt that the artist has sealed her place among the many layered dimensions of flute performers across our globe, perhaps tracks like title offering Peace in Our Hearts will emphasise that, here lays a song of great quality and almost haunting in its depths and textures, while songs like While the Rabbit Sleeps offer a rhythmic pulse to the proceedings, this is a beautifully fluent composition that raises the rhythms of the whole album.

This stunning new release is concluded by the last offering from the album entitled Pause for Peace; this song is so very valuable and indeed meaningful especially at the moment, and here the artist manifests an energy of stillness and calm, allowing the meaning of the title to take full effect, a very smart way to finish the album with indeed.

Peace in Our Hearts by Diane Wheeler Dunn exemplifies just what a good flute performer she has become and is becoming, this crafted body of work has tone, multi-layered textures of sound and intention, and is without a shadow of a doubt the artist’s best work to date. Peace in Our Hearts by Diane Wheeler Dunn must be an instant purchase for those who love flute based music, and also to those who seek a sanctuary of the soul in search of that much sought after commodity, peace!


Monday, September 12, 2022

The Enchanted Castle By Annie Locke

 


The Enchanted Castle

By

Annie Locke

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I always find it such a pleasure to listen to the works of Annie Locke, she has a spellbinding talent that few can even get close to, and on The Enchanted Castle, Annie creates a tale to last through the ages. Her narration skills are only amplified through her performance on piano, which is always delightfully fluent and charming.

Here the artist manifests a mystical world of magic and myth, and produces one of the most compelling solo piano performances I have heard for a while. One can find many nuances within this colourful arrangement, all of them paint musical pictures within the listener’s minds, and leave them feeling totally fulfilled at the conclusion, a sublime new release indeed.


Piano Perspectives by CrusaderBeach

 


Piano Perspectives

By

CrusaderBeach

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This brand new album by CrusaderBeach is certainly one to ear mark for a listen, this is a crafted new release by the artist, and one that deserves a big thumbs up. Piano Perspectives is well named, and I for one found the whole experience both illuminating and deeply satisfying.

The opening piece Nightfalling, started my voyage of plenty with a beginning that was totally unexpected, a blissful use of the minor nature of music, and a performance on piano that I truthfully listened to five times in a row, because I was so in rapture with the piece.

This glorious 10 track solo piano release has it all, the dance liked structures of the flowing Bittersweet, the cautious and breath taking beauty of Afterglow, and the my favourite CrusaderBeach track of all time River Drift, a track that presents both memory movement and colour in such a sublime way, it is no wonder that this classy performance was a successful hit single.

One can find a world for all within this delightfully created collection of creative compositions, an example of which would be the soft tones of a heart-felt piece now known to us as Angels Dream, while around the corner we can find more heaven waiting in the piece Open Road, a penultimate track with power and freedom as its keywords, this is a presentation that is a picturesque narrative of great quality.

The artist finishes with a pristine performance entitled Hearts Cascade, a track solidly in the realm of what is described as New Age Piano, here the pianist creates a picture book narrative in a piece that oozes honesty love and truth, and as such, simply the perfect way with which to conclude the album.

Piano Perspectives by CrusaderBeach is a fine body of work by the musician, it represents all that is good and comforting in the world of solo piano, and each and every musical narrative is a rock pool of its own imaginative construction. Here is an album that will fulfil the demands of the most ardent of piano music enthusiasts, but more importantly an album that is open, heart felt, and artistically intelligent enough to make this genre much more accessible to anyone who wishes to listen, a sublime release indeed.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Critical Moments by Forrest Smithson

 


Critical Moments

By

Forrest Smithson

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Forrest Smithson may normally be better known for his works of sheer genius on synths and keyboards, those delightfully memorable layered moments that drift across the horizon of time, however here on this brand new release we have Smithson in Solo Piano mode, and what a resonating delight it truly is.

An amazing vast body of 20 tracks lays within this new release and some of the work so ambient that it actually manifests a whole new realm of music entirely; examples of this new found brilliance can be found on the opening offerings Inlays and Array, both pieces swirl within a dimension so peace filled and calm.

This style of solo piano is so creative, my musical internet friend of some 16 years in Michael Harrison creates a similar vibe, but here Smithson brings us track after track of pure artistic craft on offerings like the dream filled reveries of Entry, and the title track itself Critical Moment, a header that is so rich in its ambience that it’s literally transfixing.

We can be relieved that we have 20 compositions here to enjoy, each one a rock pool in its own universal dimension, tracks like Abundance, with its careful delicate and pristine progression, and another favourite of mine in Faithfully, a piece that almost asks an unknown question, and leaves room for an equally unknown response, a truly magnificent performance can be found here.

Drifting in a reverie of serenity we find a track entitled Wondering, a track that does exactly what it says on the can, I can see myself walking the coastlines in winter, in a land void of humanity, and being in absolute bliss with the emptiness, and this most descriptive music.

The album is concludes with an arrangement entitled Just Enough, Smithson leaves us with easily the most gentle and calming composition from the release, and a thoroughly pleasing way with which to conclude this voyage through musical ambience with.

Critical Moments by Forrest Smithson could well be some of the finest work by the artist thus far; he has taken a side step away from the more electronic natural nature of his musical muse, and opened up a whole world of sublime solo piano pieces on this 20 track creation. Critical Moments by Forrest Smithson is with ease the best ambient piano album I have heard for years, it is expression in full motion, an artistic delight of many textures and colours, this album is a true sanctuary of the soul.


River of Memories By Annie Locke

 


River of Memories

By Annie Locke

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

Annie Locke is back with another new single, it is a gentle piano piece entitled River of Memories, a delightful arrangement that allows you to drift down that gentle river with consummate ease, remembering how things once were, those delightful memories of yesteryear, that just come flooding back if you allow them to.

I must admit, I could just visualise Annie sitting in a boat on the river, just drifting along, remembering those pleasant days, those days when we didn’t seem to have a care in the world, when everything seemed perfect, okay, I know they weren’t, but it did feel like that.

River of Memories is a real delight to listen to, and will be loved by fans of solo piano and by those who enjoy music to relax to, a sure hit for the artist without a shadow of a doubt.


Always By Dan Chadburn

 


Always

By

Dan Chadburn

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Ever since the album Solo Piano in 1998 Dan Chadburn has been on my music radar, over the subsequent years the artist has produced some of the most heartfelt piano ever. A new release by Dan is always a pleasurable experience; it’s one of those moments that brings a reassured smile to your face, as you just know it’s going to be good, and on this new offering entitled Always, we have just that, and much more.

The opening piece is always an important matter, and when you grace it with the title header Always, you are on to a solid winner of a composition. I once gave Dan the title of the world’s most sensitive pianist, and on this track the evidence is crystal clear why I did so, this is the most perfect composition with which to start the album with.

However one of my personal favourites from this new album was the explorative and fascinating opus entitled Uncharted Waters, Chadburn quite cleverly takes the front seat and drives this piece from calm waters into a fast paced, up-tempo realms and possibilities.

There is always a time for a classic, and they probably don’t come much more so than O Shenandoah. Here Chadburn pulls off a memorable presentation and adds a whole layer of feeling and emotion into the arrangement to boot.

Turning Point is a sweet song, manifested by the hand of a soul that truly feels his music; this is classic Chadburn, full flowing, emotive and proud, a charming reverie indeed, and one of the most passionate songs off the album. The artist dances with his own composition creating moments of intrigue and segments of an almost cinematic posture.

Time to give a little short form up with the track Yesteryear, this friendly little offering is actually more complex than you would at first think, and it is certainly worth numerous listens to pick up on several Chadburn styled nuances contained within.

Always by Dan Chadburn is a 12 track album, and at the midway point you will find a new age styled opus entitled Minuet, the rhythm here is simply idyllic, one could with ease dance across moonbeams to its tone and timbre; a light hearted reverie of great texture can be found here.

The deep notes and chords of Uncertainty bring a whole new feel into the proceedings, the moodiness of this track creates a somewhat nervous and cautious energy, the minor nature of this song is sublime, but deep within the weave of this wonderfully manifested arrangement is one thing that Chadburn always holds deep within his musical heart, hope.

On Missing You we have a standard created by the artist that only he is able to reach its heights over and again. This is one of the most soulful songs from the release, packed with that full flowing sensitivity I mentioned in the early lines of this review, this piece conjures up images of a piano, an empty room and a lonely heart, utterly beautiful.

We now drift into the welcome arms of this next offering entitled The Wishing Well. Here is a short musical narrative that is almost pristine to the touch, and akin to a musical fragrance floating over a crisp summer meadow in August.

We drift into the darker whirlpools of the release now, and we find a moving creation called Sacred Breath, here lays a tentative arrangement; one that slowly grows with a gentle hand at the tiller of time. Chadburn is masterful here at manifesting a reverential and respectful mood, with what seems consummate ease.

The penultimate offering off the album is probably one of the most important and called Synchronicity, this is something I have been aware of for years, but only in the last 10 or so have I been acknowledging this universal truth, and now my life is bliss, and in some ways this is what the artist has manifested here, listen to its cautious start and its confidence building mid-segment, and onto the bright and positive conclusion, sheer brilliance from Dan Chadburn indeed.

How else to end an album than with a track called Final Curtain, the Chadburn flourish is here, the smooth almost sunset styled conclusion, and a performance that will leave you feeling calm, happy and totally fulfilled with the very last note played.

Always by Dan Chadburn is a truly splendid album, we may have waited a while for the stars to align, but here is an album that is very special indeed. With style and panache Dan Chadburn has brought to the world one of the finest creations of solo piano the planet has seen this year, one full of rich flavours, bathed in delightful aromatic chords and melodies. Always by Dan Chadburn is one of those albums that is an absolute must have at all costs, after all, your ears will love you for an eternity for doing so.


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Isle of Shadows By Christopher Boscole

 


Isle of Shadows

By

Christopher Boscole

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I have been following the pathway musically of pianist Christopher Boscole for some 10 years now, from Floating On a Melody to Dawn Of Love and now into the most welcome arms of this current voyage through piano entitled, Isle Of Shadows, featuring music from the classical genre, some that are known well and some lesser explored narratives.

The familiar tones of Chopin flow from the keys of Boscole on the tracks Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in Eb Major and 24 Preludes Op. 28 No. 17 in Ab Major, the former containing a wonderfully emotive performance, and the latter a presentation that is as fluent as a spring mountain stream.

One of my personal favourites is featured on this illustrious release in Pathetique Sonata No.8 Op. 13II. Adagio Cantabile originally by Ludwig van Beethoven. Here Boscole creates a sublime performance that captures the essence of the master, and that imploring sense of drama and passion, Beethoven is also represented twice, the other presentation probably one of the best known of all times in Moonlight Sonata No. 14 Op. 272I. Adagio sostenuto, one has to say that Boscole’s rendition is a brilliantly deep execution of the original, and one I could listen to many times over.

As previously stated some lesser known works are also represented here, and one I simply adored was the title track itself Isle of Shadows 6 Lyric Pieces Op. 28II. Skuggornas o by Selim Palmgren, a fine exhibition, one that I felt created a whole raft of ambience, and among the many great choices; there was even time for the artist to showcase a new track himself, with the piece Until We Meet Again. This was a sumptuous way to conclude the album, and one that had an almost cinematic energy about its construction as well.

Isle of Shadows by Christopher Boscole is a 12 track album of class and elegance, a release of masterful performances, and an offering of passionate performances that remind us of some of the all-time classics, and shine a much needed light of quality on those lesser known ones as well. There can be no doubt that Christopher Boscole is an elegant pianist and a crafted composer, and here on Isle of Shadows, there can be found 12 performances that raise the artists stock tenfold.