Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Franz Liszt Rhapsodies, Etudes and Transcriptions By Sophia Agranovich


Franz Liszt Rhapsodies, Etudes and Transcriptions


Sophia Agranovich

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Sophia Agranovich is still basking in the success of her last major hit Celebrating Beethoven many months after its release, whilst its chart position may be waning, her influence over the world of piano and classical music is growing exponentially, and now with the release of a brand new album entitled Franz Liszt Rhapsodies, Etudes and Transcriptions, things have never looked brighter for the musician.

Franz Liszt Rhapsodies, Etudes and Transcriptions is a wonderfully strong and fluent album, and the opening piece is one of the most colourful yet impassioned performance pieces ever, in Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat Major. The intensity here is palpable; this was of course the sixth work of the 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies composed by Franz Liszt, the steady bass line and the fast moving melody is a real treat with which to start this voyage of classical delights with.

Our next piece is the creatively performed Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 in A Minor, an arrangement with a colourful Hungarian Folk ethic within its realms of wonderment. Agranovich presents this so stylishly, and her performance has an artistic flourish that enhances this early romantic offering with such a crafted and intelligent enactment, this is without doubt a piece that contains a truly engaging musical narrative for all to enjoy.

Our journey finds us at the doorstep of the following piece entitled Ständchen (Serenade), and is without a shadow of a doubt the most heartfelt and emotive pieces from this new album. Agranovich brings this mood and passion into her moving performance; this once poem of yearning is textured perfectly by the artist.

Erlkönig (Elf King) would be one of my personal favourites off the album, Agranovich creates a mood so mysterious and deep that one just literally has to follow her bright burning lights of a passionate performance. Schubert originally composed this piece back in 1815, and Liszt would arrange this for solo piano, while one of my favoured composers in Hector Berlioz would later manifest this as well as an orchestrated composition, and this tale of a boy being pursued by a supernatural being lives on within the music forever.

As we move into the deeper pools of our musical river, we come across one of the most attractive and artistic tapestries of tone and timbre and called, Die Forelle (The Trout). Originally composed by Schubert in 1817, this clever composition tells the tale of pursuit, capture and morality. Agranovich gifts us a textured and persuasive performance, one that takes us to the very clear mirrored pools of the home of the trout itself, in a presentation that is simply breath-taking and sublimely intelligent.

So we find ourselves knocking on the portal to our penultimate piece off the release, it is Transcendental Étude Ricordanza in A flat Major. This has to be one of the best performances by the pianist; the composition demands a level of sensitivity and delicate finger work. Some would regard this as long form, but the actual term is Rondo form, with a relatively brief recurring principle theme in between lengthy episodes. Here we see Agranovich rising to her pinnacle on this dream like presentation.

Our concluding arrangement is sheer genius; it is a performance that is golden in texture and iron clad in structure and presentation, on Transcendental Étude Mazeppa in D minor. Rated to be one of the hardest Études to execute, and based upon a poem by Victor Hugo, Agranovich pulls off a masterful accomplishment and a simply majestic concluding achievement, one with great speed and endurance and sublime commanding finger movements.

Franz Liszt Rhapsodies, Etudes and Transcriptions by Sophia Agranovich is a recital that you would willingly buy tickets to watch, it is a formidable collection of great works performed by an artist who has a sublime sense of technical skill, and also the creative and artistic intelligence to make it happen, one so magical that it brings to the world a recital of such class and colour, it also opens the world of classical music up, and makes it accessible to anyone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Chasing Horizons By Russ Hewitt


Chasing Horizons


Russ Hewitt

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It is so good to see a new album from Russ Hewitt hit my desk, it’s been some 6 years since his last endeavour with the release Cielo Nocturno, but now he’s back with a sparkling new compilation of great new songs entitled Chasing Horizons, and my day is looking more sun kissed and harmonious by the moment because of it.

The first footfalls of this new offering has the title Allende, a wonderfully smooth Latin feel can be found on this opening piece, a colourful and rhythmic starting point for an artist, who must be one of the finest acoustic guitarists around in this style today.

Chasing Horizons is our illustrious title track and one that features the talents also, of non-other than Nuno Bettencourt on guitar, this combination is simply undeniable and would not be the only piece where a former rock musician flows into the welcome arms of the Flamenco style.

That aforementioned comment now becomes even more relevant as former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman now joins Hewitt on this next flavour filled musical narrative entitled Vivir Libre, the textures of both guitars here flow like a mountain stream in early spring, simply idyllic.

Something special now walks these halls of musical majesty, and it is Amor Perdido (feat. Bucharest All-Star Orchestra) a wonderful mood is set here; the strings of the orchestra add such a calming layered feel to the composition, whilst the rhythmic percussion and the masterful Hewitt, produce one of the finest arrangements from the artist, perhaps of all time.

Luminous is one of those tracks that has a magical energy about its construction, I am lucky enough to live on the Mediterranean and this is exactly the sort of composition that would be a delight to drift along to in my pool, as the sun goes down and sister moon rises high in the sky, a warm and an incredibly comforting piece indeed.

It’s time for a Sunset Samba (feat. Jorge Strunz) this would be one of my personal favourites from the album, it’s chilled almost jazzy vibe made it for me, one of the most versatile and picturesque tracks on the release with ease, one that would fit many moods and occasions as well.

Luna has an almost double edge to its construction; there is a dark and moody performance here that is also underpinned by a fluent and smooth performance by the artist, this is also a track that has an almost sultry side to its persona, making it for me one of the most crafted pieces off the release.

It’s now time to take a visit to the Cubalia Café, now here is a track that has all the hallmarks of a great single, passion filled, rhythmic and redolent of a Santana fuelled moment of musical majesty, it has a melody that is utterly addictive and a hook line that screams repeat play! The added instrumental guitar genius of Ardeshir Farah is weaved into the story of this piece too, which makes this composition one of the standout pieces off the release.

A more gentle refrain can be found here on our penultimate offering entitled Serein, again another favourite of mine, the performance was so delightfully laid back, but it gave one a sublime sense of tranquillity and calm, and that in today’s crazy world, cannot be a bad thing at all.

The final offering contains the breath taking work of Tri Nguyen on Vietnamese Zither and called Return to Simitai, one must applaud Hewitt here for producing one of the most remarkable and original tracks with which to conclude the album with, this last arrangement has a blissful reflective energy and a track that simply leaves you wanting more at its conclusion.

It may well have been 6 years, but it was certainly worth the wait. Chasing Horizons by Russ Hewitt is a splendid body of work containing a vast array of musicians and skill sets within its hallowed halls. This is the kind of album that every passionate music lover of extremely good taste, must at all costs have in their collections. Chasing Horizons by Russ Hewitt is an acoustic guitar based release that will fulfil all expectations and leave you fully satisfied at its conclusion, a must have album indeed.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Reflections on Inner Transformation By Joe Kenney


Reflections on Inner Transformation


Joe Kenney

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are so many styles within the vast dimension entitled solo piano it is hard sometimes to pick something that fits your mood and preference, but within this brand new album called Reflections on Inner Transformation by pianist Joe Kenney, I think I may have found one of the best there is, and one that suits my laid back summer mode to perfection.

The first piece off this album I have now played 3 times in a row, it is so calming and tranquil, yet contains a delicate pastiche of Jazz, even a hint of a modern classical motif can be found here too; this reminds me of my global journeys, and sitting in Atlanta Hartsfield airport listening to the piano by the bar while waiting to fly home, utter magic indeed can be found on Reflection, No. 1: Courage.

The second of this 16 track album is entitled Reflection, No. 2: Grace (Libby's Lullaby), there is a delicious moodiness about this composition that is addictive; this is a deeply reflective and nostalgic performance, one that contains classical and new age notes within its presentation.

One of my favourites would be this following musical narrative called Reflection, No. 3: Connection, yes, so very redolent of a lazy Sunday morning, watching the cadence of the day and being filled with the gratitude of the moment, a ballad for the open heart, a wonderfully chilled jazz styled arrangement, made this as a presenter of a Jazz show, a moment of absolute heaven.

Reflection, No. 4: Commitment would give us a special moment to enjoy; this song could well spur a new sub tier genre, perhaps classical new age. There is a powerful even tempered intent here that is so listenable, and indeed this performance is one of the finest solo piano presentations I have heard this year with ease.

So let’s dive into the deeper waters of musical emotions through the piece Reflection, No. 5: Immersion, the juxtaposition here between styles was simply wonderful, a colourful classical new age style, mixed with some powerful ambient flavours, all of which go to create a blissful and passion filled arrangement that I absolutely loved.

Time to let loose with a little unadulterated jazz magic on the song Reflection, No. 6: Respite (Jazz Break), grab a glass, play for fun, and enjoy with a smile, this light hearted reverie is just what was need, and perfectly placed.

One area of musical intelligence is the ability to capture fluency in an arrangement, and here is a prime example to hold up. Reflection, No. 7: Dynamism is a charming and flowing offering that is so easy to listen to, enjoy, and savour each delightful moment of technical craft with.

Another favourite is heading onto my playlist of musical moments of brilliance; this one is called Reflection, No. 8: Authenticity, once more the artist has a perfect sense of inbuilt harmony and grace, one balanced with an essence of humility and integrity, a piece that is filled with a performance that is so real and truthful.

On this next track the title says it all, Reflection, No. 9: Depth (Dakota's Dance) simply put, it does what it says on the can, and this simple yet effective solo piano dance styled presentation has lightness about its construction that portrays a wonderfully happy feel.

There is a gentle cadence to this next piece that is so idyllic, it’s called Reflection, No. 10: Spirit (Mirabelle's Minuet), a track that flows with such a warm sense of gratitude and peace in a new age jazzy style, this is one of those tracks that impossible not to fall in love with.

Time to go short form now on what is in fact the shortest creation from the album called Reflection, No. 11: Compassion. The performance by Kenny here is simply idyllic and utterly picturesque.

Reflection, No. 12: Discovery is our next offering, the tempo picks up on this track, where a full on sense of movement can be detected within that is also emotive and reflective at times too. A powerful sense of the classics mixed with a little new age style, gifts us a track of supreme craft and intelligence.

As we swim to the far banks of this vast lake of solo piano music, we come across a composition that is warm and all-encompassing and called Reflection, No. 13: Presence. One could imagine sitting and just watching the cadence of the day unfurl to this timeless track, and most certainly an arrangement that assists us to staying the current moment with ease, probably one of the most artistic pieces from the album, a song that truly expresses itself with simplicity.

Reflection, No. 14: Expansion has a powerful intent and a direction that it will not be swayed from, but also written within the weave of the song is a wonderfully intense and emotional background; here Joe Kenney plays with his heart on his sleeve, and presents a flourishing musical story for us all to enjoy.

The penultimate offering from the album is entitled Reflection, No. 15: Catharsis, this bright, empowering piece is a crafted arrangement indeed as it seems to hold both the heart and mind in full focus throughout the composition, it is both emotive, yet inspiring, emotional, yet victorious.

The last song and concluding musical tale is called Reflection, No. 16: Transcendence (For Florence), here can be found a tale of memories, a final piece that floats on the wings of time, and disappears within the mists of life’s reflection, a sublime way to end the album indeed.

Reflections on Inner Transformation by Joe Kenney has to be one of the best solo piano albums I have heard this year, it is a 16 track album jam packed with sublime performances, by an artist who truly knows and understands his skillset. Each and every track on this release is a pleasure to listen to, and is a story as of yet untold, Reflections on Inner Transformation by Joe Kenney is an album I would recommend in a heartbeat.  

The Heart Of Joan Of Arc By Paul Vens & Friends


The Heart Of Joan Of Arc


Paul Vens & Friends

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A tale known by many is expressed in song and music by Paul Vens & Friends, on this latest single entitled The Heart of Joan of Arc. The song is wonderfully created and produced, with the vocals both male and female lead on the composition being the apex of this style of song, which is a mixture of a folk and new age ballad, with even a little hint of country in the weave as well.

There can be no doubt that Paul Vens has assembled a fine band with his friends, and this new single is an emotional respectful and heartfelt new offering, one surrounded by some excellent guitar work and simply sublime harmonies, and I am sure one to be treasured by those who appreciate truly good music and storytelling.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Evening Whispers By Craigology


Evening Whispers



Written by

Steve Sheppard


Craigology has been on a total roll over the last couple of years with many charts hits, and here with his latest single Evening Whispers he may just have the biggest one on his hands ever. This beautifully performed Jazzy styled dance single is a blissful tapestry of colour and texture.

The charming melody that flows from this creation is deeply memorable and thoroughly enjoyable, the keyboards and percussion create an addictive and beautifully balanced arrangement, one perhaps that could even be used in a summer film sequence, and this without doubt is the best work of the artist thus far, full marks Craigology.


Within By The Song Gardeners




The Song Gardeners

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The Song Gardeners are an inspirational new age band; they have literally changed the course of the genre over the last few years with their upbeat, almost pop mantra style, with many hit singles and a superb debut album, they are now trail blazers for this type of music. Here once more they walk the path of brilliance with a new single entitled Within.

It’s always worth noting the lyrics on a Song Gardeners release, they are as usual as inspirational as the music itself, the words that resonated with me were, “it all begins with gratitude, it all begins with forgiveness and compassion”, never a truer word said.

Within by The Song Gardeners is a bright, positive new offering by the band, one that is destined for a super high chart spot, this new single should be played as a positive mantra each morning before the day begins, sublime work from the band indeed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Waltz in the Desert By Victor Birkan


Waltz in the Desert


Victor Birkan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Victor Birkin has a new single out and its tones are wonderfully artistic, as are its flowing peaks and troughs of vibrancy, like a dune across the widest of deserts, or the dance of wind and sand, perhaps the movement of the moon and stars on a warm summers night, great imagery can be found here in this flowing solo piano performance.

The delicate touch on the keys allow for a sensitive frame of mind to consider the colours and narrative of this craft-fully created piece. Waltz in the Desert by Victor Birkan is fascinating arrangement by the artist, one that could be used in a film segment perhaps, but certainly a song that should resonate with the legions of solo piano fans across the globe with ease.

Monday, August 15, 2022

ConTempoRary Violin By An Vedi


ConTempoRary Violin


An Vedi

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are those performers who have a wonderful technical ability, those who play instinctually and those who play so beautifully from the heart, and then there are those like An Vedi who encompass all of the above, and embrace the talent of being a story teller of great skill.

On ConTempoRary Violin you have a 17 track release that is cleverly created and crafted, the first 8 pieces are from the master Johann Sebastian Bach, all of the parts are from the whole Partita No. 1 BWV 1002, and one of the longest that Bach created for Violin. Vedi and her amazing skill set start the journey with a transfixing presentation of Bach – Allemanda and into Bach - Allemanda Double, never has ten minutes been better spent listening to those two tracks, the imploring and emotive narrative is completely compelling, Vedi would also present to her audience renditions of Bach Tempo di Borea and Bach Tempo di Borea Double, two stunning performances that literally danced before and within me, the mirrors to the musical soul so to speak.

An Vedi and her violin are a symbiotic partnership of sublime talent; as we approach the more modern styles within the album, we touch on the shoulders of composers such as András Derecskei, Jan Tamzejian, Jay Reise, Colette Mourey and of course the artist herself. The presentation of Andrās Derecskei’s Amorf reminded me of my time with the music of Olivier Messiaen, while Vedi’s gift of Jan Tamzejians – Heyran (Imaginary Kurdish Love Song), was very redolent of the folk music that can be heard floating through the mountains of my home here in Cyprus.

One of my personal favourites from the album would be the following piece, as An Vedi produces Jay Reise - Starless Nocturne with such an emotional hand on the bow, with elements of an ambience manifested in a minimalistic environment, she had me from the very first note played in a quite breath taking performance indeed.

Vedi also gifts us a textured universal overview of existence with the classy presentation of Colette Mourey’s - World's Theorem Mov.1 through to 4, a fascinating sequence and collection of tracks that I would find so very easy to get lost within, and then to conclude this amazing manifestation of classical class.

Vedi finishes with a piece that has such colour and mood, with eastern European flavours, and a performance that will make you cry from the sheer passion and emotional power of the presentation, it is Fantasy on Tokaver's Cranes.

ConTempoRary Violin by An Vedi is an absolute must for those who adore the tones of a violin and wish to be taken on a musical journey that they will never want to return from. Here is a musician, who has created a symbiotic relationship with her instrument of choice, and Vedi’s Violin gentle weeps tears of sublime professional beauty with each passing measure, simply put, classical violin doesn’t get any better than this.

Blue Skies, Yellow Fields By Helen Green & The Mayfair Arrangements


Blue Skies, Yellow Fields


Helen Green & The Mayfair Arrangements

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is a lot to be said for truly good solo piano music, if the composition is right, it can create some of the most soothing and memorable moments, here on this brand new single by Helen Green & The Mayfair Arrangements we have just that and more.

The artists paint a wonderful tone here, one that just seems to just ebb and flow, like a summer tide onto the sandy beaches of evermore. This is a beautiful arrangement indeed; one dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Blue Skies, Yellow Fields is a gentle pastiche of colour, a tranquil tempo of a peaceful reverie, and a single release that will remain as a constant panacea in the hearts and minds of those seeking a musical sanctuary of sorts.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Into the Ether By Arrizza


Into the Ether



Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s always a really good sign for me, when my first reaction to a new song is an exclamation such as wow! This word was the first one I uttered when I first played Into the Ether by Arrizza, this is a stunning new single and it is simply one of the best instrumental offerings I have heard this year.

Arrizza has become a well-known name on the radio, with recordings that date back as far as 2014, and I believe that Into the Ether will propel him quickly up the charts once more, this new offering is a wonderful example on how to build a single, progress a composition, and grow an arrangement.

Into the Ether by Arrizza is a mixture of keyboards and guitar, with a delicate ever onward beat, one that stays in your mind for ages and never lets you go, a sure fire hit without a shadow of a doubt can be found here.

Dreams of Youth By Andrea Sertori


Dreams of Youth


Andrea Sertori

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Andrea Sertori must now be regarded as one of the most accomplished pianists of this decade, over the last couple of years the artist has produced a double figure amount of single compositions, and with the release of Dreams of Youth we may have just found one of the most sensitive and gentle songs of his career.

A tranquil, yet harmonious performance can be found here, this presentation is so redolent of the subject matter, as I draw into my mid 60’s, I don’t dream of recapturing my youth, I just wish I had the sense of calm, peace and tranquillity, that this piece brings me now, when I was a youth! Still I have it now, that’s the main thing, and I also have Dreams of Youth by Andrea Sertori, which I rate to possibly be the best work thus far by the pianist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Reflections (From Taking Flight) By Julie Hanney Written by Steve Sheppard


Reflections (From Taking Flight)


Julie Hanney

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Julie Hanney has been in a fine vein of form over the last couple of years, and her muse has created some of the most atmospheric solo piano you are likely to hear. On this brand new track entitled Reflections from her EP Taking Flight, Hanney explores the more imploring narrative of memory and reflective energies.

This is a beautifully played and performed offering; its mood seems to dance with the cadence of the day, and in between the tick and tock of an unrelenting clock, her piano creates scenes of sparkling oceans, and long passed memories of walking along the beach of forever. Hanney has indeed manifested a wonderful composition here, it is one that captures the heart as well as the ears, and leaves the senses totally satiated. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Sonic Light By Jacquelyn G. Kleine


Sonic Light


Jacquelyn G. Kleine

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It is always a delight to listen to a beautifully produced ambient music album; this genre is a great peace maker, one that manifests oceans of calm to get lost within, and on Sonic Light by Jacquelyn G. Kleine the artist has created a veritable sanctuary of tranquillity to willingly drift with.

The very opening track gives us a great hope of peace and serenity and is a wonderful tapestry of what is to come, the title track for me is always special, and as such Sonic Light is a weave of wonderful electronic ambience, and a manifestation of smoothness and fluency.

There are seven exciting tracks on this album, and on Liquid Sound we can hear the stylish and natural flute presentation, one that floats through the forest as if on a mid-summers night’s dream, while pieces like Elderspeak have an ancient vibrancy about its construction, one with a pulsating electronic rhythm that plays throughout the eons of time.

Lemuria: Symphony of the Dolphins was one of my favourite pieces, its new age roots were firmly established in this piece, and it greatly reminded me of when Kevin Kendle joined Llewellyn to give us Journey To Atlantis, that vast roaming quality of ambience was there within this track, one that will give you a desire to seek further and to search the mystical pathways of an alternate reality, on a track that is utterly majestic in its cinematic like qualities.

Gentleness of tone and timbre can be found on Tranquility, an offering that is wonderfully meditative, and the penultimate offering Breath Of Water brings a depth of energy to the proceedings like none other, the natural sounds of the sea were perfect, which is not an easy thing to do, I have just released a single myself with the same sound and getting the balance right is vital here. It must be said that this piece alone is one of those that is utterly addictive, so much so, that you never truly want to leave its sandy beaches.

The last composition offered here on the album is entitled Synthia, an arrangement filled with a symbiotic partnership of a repeating electronic vibe and a sparkling flute, one that created for me the perfect ending offering, and a great way to conclude the album.

Sonic Light by Jacquelyn G. Kleine has to one of the best New Age albums I have had the pleasure to review this year, each and every track has a blissful, rich and smooth production quality, and within this colourful pastiche of tone lays a sonic delight of many textures and tastes, each composition is a narrative unto their own, and as such this release should be a huge hit for fans who love their music to take them somewhere they will never wish to leave.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Light of Hope By Ian Cameron Smith


Light of Hope


Ian Cameron Smith

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I must admit it quite shocked me when I looked back and found I had been following, listening, and thoroughly enjoying the music of Ian Cameron Smith for over 20 years now, and here he is once more back in my life, with a beautiful and tranquil new single called Light Of Hope.

Hope is something many of us need now more than ever, and this sometimes emotive, sometimes soothing musical narrative, could well be the anthem for the realisation of that dream.

Cameron Smith plays an acoustic guitar with so much feeling and that mood is transported to the listener with ease, and is a true panacea of peace and calm, making this new release, Light of Hope, yet another success in a long line of work created by one of the best new age guitarists in the business.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Mysteria By Louis Colaiannia




Louis Colaiannia

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are many pleasures in life, music is one of the biggest there can be for me, and then with regard to piano, one of the most descriptive of all instrumentations, there are those who can literally paint with the keys in the same way as Van Gogh did with his trusty brushes, a rare and priceless skill set indeed, in my view Louis Colaiannia is one of this rare breed, and listening to a new Colaiannia release is like receiving a Christmas present early, with that in mind we can now walk through this veritable art gallery of music entitled Mysteria with the artist.

I remember the opener well; it was a single release back in the dark bad old days of the year of 2020, a year that everyone wants to forget due to the pandemic, however One Day At A Time was an oasis of calm and a gentle flowing piano based multi-instrumental narrative that was a total joy back then and now.

Colainnia’s magical touch comes truly to the fore with the following piece entitled Gentle Touch, the string section here is quite beautiful and almost seems to dance with the artist’s piano, this has to be one of the warmest compositions I have heard from the musician.

As we move ever onward drifting in a dream of musical majesty, we come across a classy and clever arrangement entitled Along The Road; the keyboards here created a crafted soothing backdrop of sound, whilst the strings partnered Colainnia’s piano with all the love and respect it deserved.

Lonely Bird was another 2020 release that brought solace to our fearful hearts, this was a careful tender and delicate song that has stayed in my mind’s eye for an eternity, the stylish performance here by the artist is actually quite moving and emotional, and one can picture a bird in flight through the empty waste lands of time. Here one will find passion, empathy, intent and a sense of a building drama too.

On A Song Of Thanks (For Delome) different memories come to mind, the simple delicacy of this piece is a wonderment all of its own. Released back in the year of hope 2021 as a single, this almost anthem styled offering is a prime example of Colainnia’s artistic intelligence, and his fearless attitude of building an arrangement of such intense emotions and colours, and with a gentle running stream towards the end as well (a tribute to his childhood music teacher), ingenious indeed.

A New Day had a special feel about its construction, its build, progression and purpose reminded me of my dear friend David Lanz in style. The ever onward movement on the keys is utterly charming and almost reassuring for some strange reason, this piece had, and has, all that we need as we step into a brand new day, hope!

We move to the other end of the mood scale now with the track Melancholy, the sombre yet colourful narrative here is still a charming yet reflective tale to take in, and the artists presentation here, also has a haunting, almost jazzy energy to its overall composition.

The intrigue of this next piece had me riveted; Discovery manifested a careful, slow and explorative styled progression, one that reminded me of Timothy Wenzel at times, but Colainnia’s artistic genius pushed the musical ball even further, and created an almost soundtrack of a musical narrative that simply would not allow you to leave its court.

The opening to this next song was so wonderfully expressive and called Old Mountain Town. Strange really, because we’re about to visit some old mountain villages in our country in a couple of weeks’ time, and I am pretty sure that as we do so, this heart felt melody will still be running its course through my mind, this is with ease one of the most artistic pieces off the album without doubt.

One of my favourite parts of any new album is the title track, and that is where we are right now, lying in the arms of the creator and his creation that all was birthed from, the composition Mysteria. This is a powerful opus packed with suspense and intrigue and performed with a colourful flourish by the artist; this is a full flowing musical moment that is simply blissful to behold.

The penultimate offering off the album is called Reconnections, and this last but one treat has a real heart-warming feel to its manifestation. There is a charm about this piece that is so warming to the touch, a memory palace of a composition that has a crafted reflective arrangement built into its proud elaborate construction.

Our final parting gift from the artist is called Dreaming, this concluding musical present is a sensitive presentation, and a track that allows us as listeners to be grateful for the journey we have taken with the musician this time around, a classy way indeed to end the album.

Mysteria by Louis Colaiannia is a vast body of work with many memories and many moments that are completely unforgettable, here Colaiannia allows his muse full reign of his artistic skill set, and the result is one of the finest albums he has ever produced, and simply a must for lovers of truly good contemporary instrumental music.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Kindling Flame By Ask Askr

Kindling Flame


Ask Askr

Written by

Steve Sheppard


In this new and exciting world of music and music production, there is always the opportunity to try something new and ground breaking, to a certain extent Ask Askr have achieved that with this brand new single Kindling Flames. The skill set required to successfully cross borders and genres is not an easy one to navigate, but on Kindling Flames, Ask Askr have pulled of an intelligent musical coo.

The tranquil tempo is created with a steady onward keyboard, and then with a creative stroke, guitars are added to a delightful mix that could fit with ease into several genres, Chill Out, Rock, even New Age, but most certainly Contemporary Instrumental. The balanced mood and crafted guitars on this debut single are perhaps even part of a new movement, perhaps we see the rise here of what could be described as Ambient Rock!

Whatever the outcome, Ask Askr have most certainly created something addictive, cogent and classy on Kindling Flames, and I have a strong feeling that this is just the start of a sparkling new future for the band.


Continuum [single] By David De Michele


Continuum [single]


David De Michele

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The sheer beauty and translucent grace that can be found from this brand new single from David De Michele is some of the most stunningly transfixing and all-encompassing I have heard for simply years. Continuum is a single like no other; the synths used paint a wondrous inner dimension of sound, and the artist’s musical ear and his compositional skills, reign supreme at bringing the listener the perfect soothing space styled narrative to get lost within.

As a single Continuum will delight Ambient and Electronic music fans alike, it will enthral and delight followers of truly good instrumental music, with an arrangement that would easily be good enough to be featured as part of a space movie soundtrack. Continuum is as good as I have heard for a long while in this genre; so make the next click, the purchase to bring this classy new offering into your musical world as soon as possible; if you like the music of Kevin Kendle and Jonn Serrie, you will utterly adore this.

Physics of Light By Vicente Avella


Physics of Light


Vicente Avella

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This latest album by pianist Vicente Avella is part of an ever growing collection of wondrous compositions created by the artist, however this 16 track creation now touches on one of my all-time favourite subjects, the qualities and physics of light. Physics of Light is a true journey through music and via the medium of the artist’s piano, I cannot wait to feel, hear and be part of this experience.

The starting opus is entitled Light Particles and the expressive performance here by Avella is both steady, with an onward motion that slowly builds with an underpinned confidence, one that leads perfectly into one of many favourites for me on the album entitled Radiance. Long have I admired the radiance and sparkling qualities of light on other objects and matter, for example the ocean, here this fine presentation is a flourish of magic that manifests the moment perfectly for me.

The slower and more moody aspects of Where Light and Shadow Meet is simply sublime and is another personal favourite of mine, the reflective minor chords and notes, bring about a blissful juxtaposition between light and shadow on this well-crafted piece.

A former single is up next and released back in 2021, Ultraviolet and its ebullient melody, still plays its harmonic bliss within my mind’s eye and reminds me of just how good a pianist Avella actually is, a tune also that wends its way into the arms of the next piece wonderfully as we arrive at the doorway of Oscuro, a song with a unusual structure, but never the less a track that is dark in parts, and also incredibly addictive to listen to.

The expressions, emotions and scientific reasoning about light is a subject that can spawn much debate on these next pieces, the artist does that perfectly well and illustrates this ever changing medium. Resistance has a quality of purpose and intent built into its narrative as well as containing a charming melody too, while Color Spectrum, has a deep rooted emotional mood within its construct, one that plays beautifully with the heart, whilst Claro elevates the senses to a height, one that almost lifts the soul from the body and into the universe itself, in what is without doubt one of the best performances off the album by Avella.

However when we reach this piece entitled Penumbra, we can honestly say we have reached a point of brilliance, as the artist plays with both light and shadow at the same time, in a presentation that is magnificent in all its aspects.

I love to stand in the late autumn and watch the beams of the sun dance with the first mists of the evening, October is especially magical with regard to this, this is the perfect time to engage Reflection, and just enjoy as the moment unfurls all around you. Vicente Avella on this piece has manifested my awareness of this time perfectly, in a track that is artistically sublime with each note played.

Time for a little Intermezzo, time to relax and enjoy a slice of peace and tranquillity with the pianist before he moves us to a whole new world with the track Opaque Object, here lies a sombre yet colourful tale, and a truly moving piano performance by Avella, a man who is fast becoming one of the most descriptive pianists around in this modern day.

We are now in the deep and darker waters of the release and as we drift on or boat of tone and timbre we come across Umbra, we can all witness this during an eclipse. Avella’s stunning performance here is so proud and resolute that it literally makes the hairs stand up upon the arm, probably one of the most intense pieces the artist has performed to date.

The slow slide into this next song is perfectly timed and placed as we move now to Infrared, an up-tempo presentation that creates a truly focused composition, one that flows perfectly into another favourite of mine in Antumbra; Vicente Avella’s expressions are so passionate here they are actually palpable and so very moving.

The final and concluding musical narrative is Visible Light, this was a truly clever move as this parting gift has a sense of an anthem about its construction and build, and reminds me of another composer Doug Hammer in parts as well, but simply put, the best way and composition with which to leave the album.

Physics of Light by Vicente Avella in my view is without doubt the best work of the artist thus far; this is an album of textures, colours, expressions and presentations, joined with the science of light itself, it is a superior release and probably one of the best in the solo piano genre this year with ease. Physics of Light by Vicente Avella is a must have collection of outstanding well created and crafted musical narratives, a true gem of an album simply too good to be missed.

Arioso in Red By Dave Mohan


Arioso in Red


Dave Mohan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The new single by Dave Mohan is a complete work of art that deserves a whole heap of respect, it’s cool vibe is perfect for this time of year, but its tapestry of tone is utterly sublime, a perfect song to kick back to on a hot summers night.

The vocal brilliance of Carolina de la Muela embraces the sensuality of the piece with great style, whilst Nicholas Ojeda on bass and of course the illustrious talents of pianist Dave Mohan, manifest a song that crosses the borderlands of music, and even offering a little light Jazz ethic within the weave too; this is one of those compositions that is simply undeniably wonderful with every note played.