Thursday, October 27, 2022

Harmony: Lokah Samastah By Sarves Thiru


Harmony: Lokah Samastah


Sarves Thiru

Written by

Steve Sheppard


A brand new single comes our way now with the release of Harmony: Lokah Samastah by Sarves Thiru, a vibrant, yet full flowing devotional new offering by the artist.  This global vibe of a composition contains nothing but positivity, and the energy that pours from this new piece is certainly a total pleasure to listen to.

Here is a multi-instrumental moment of peace and love for all to enjoy and of course embrace, the gentle build and progression within this offering was impressive, and as such I see no reason why Harmony: Lokah Samastah by Sarves Thiru shouldn’t be a huge hit for the artist on the charts.

Melancholia By Doug Hammer




Doug Hammer

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Doug Hammer is back with a brand new album entitled Melancholia and this is an album, that like it or not, speaks to us all as we scramble to get every ounce out of the day, and as much as we can from each breath we take. Here the artist explores the dark realms of life’s rich and turbulent patterns, and it is us, the ever eager listener, who gets to travel these candle lit corridors with the pianist.

Here is an album that touches our hearts and souls, and flirts with our imaginations, for each moment passes like a feather in the wind on an October day, and is then gone, on Darkness Falls we find that truth speaking loudly to us, and even more enticing and real that the raven at the end of Poe’s bed, a sombre but honest beginning indeed, one that contains a splendid build and progression within.

The following piece really reminds me of early Harold Budd and his work with Eno on Ambient 4 from way back in the early 80’s, this is a tremendous creation from Hammer, one that manifests acres of ambience to just flow and enjoy, the lightness of touch allows us to create our own realities as we listen to the offering, The Long Night.

The following musical narrative created a somewhat European feel for me, perhaps even one from a long distant past, when films were black and white and silent. Here Hammer brings us a track entitled Long Ago, which seems very appropriate, and from the keys we can see the ghosts of two dancers still swaying to the rhythm of a long dead time, caught in the residual pathways of forevermore perhaps.

The older we live, the more we rely on our memories, sadly the more we think, the more dangerous it can be, as we can get pulled into moments in time that contain regret or sadness, and nothing can be achieved from that. Within Just A Memory, this is an opportunity to examine those thoughts, dark or otherwise, Hammer once more produces a moving onward opus of a piano piece, one that is as fragile as the memory itself, a touching performance indeed, one that drifts quietly to an end, like life itself.

It is interesting that today I have reviewed two very reflective solo piano albums, this one even more so, and here on this next track a different memory came to light, as 12 days before I was born, the Soviet Union launched a dog into space called Laika. Now I’m wondering if this song could be about this memory, this event, long passed and gone into the bin of time, but never the less, a crafted performance indeed.

That European motif is certainly strong and even more so on this creation called Monsieur Barre's Carousel. This is a timeless performance by Hammer, one that moves into a circular journey with the carousel, and gifts us a performance that still hovers in the winds of yesterday.

As we reach the half way marker on the album we come across a soft, yet reflective composition called Empty Chair, that chair used to contain the energy of one no longer, and is now just a chair, but the memories still flow like rivers across deep vales of contemplation, a delicate presentation by Hammer indeed.

The following musical tale is a haunting arrangement entitled Missing You, I had several of those moments the other week whilst Chrissie was thousands of miles away from me, but thankfully she returned home, There are many who from our lives are gone forever, but that doesn’t stop us from missing them, and here Hammer creates the perfect soundtrack for that very segment in time, one filled to the brim with an emotional performance.

Dancing Alone is a moving piece, quite sad in its overall structure, but a piece that illustrates the lost, the loves passed, and the emptiness inside, this is Hammer drawing a creative tale of a single person simply still dancing with the memories of happy days long since departed, this is without doubt one of the most heartfelt and powerful pieces off the release.

One of the hardest things we all have to master is the art of Letting Go, it wasn’t until I understood this, that I was truly able to move on. Doug Hammer always has the potential of producing absolute classics, and I believe that on this mournful and desolate piece he has done it again, the delicacy of presentation is sublime, but be ready for the actual letting go, and the march onwards with fresh energy into a brand new life moment, a truly masterful composition indeed.

The dark corners of our lives are haunted by the slowing down of our very existence, and on Winding Down we have a piece that is almost as expressive as the actual moment itself. We are as melodic as ever, but sands still drift from one half of the glass into the other. A pristine performance can be heard here by a pianist, one who is clearly in touch with his emotional musical muse.

The penultimate track off this album stands before us and is called Almost Midnight, time speeds up the older you get, and the more you try and hold onto a moment, the more you wish for the hands on the clock to stop, but the quicker they seem to go. On this last but one offering we can almost hear that in the presentation, a change in speed, a juxtaposition of time versus reality in a quite stunning performance.

Our last port of call is an arrangement entitled Farewell; this sombre conclusion to a moving album sums up the entire project, with a suggestion that the entire creation of this album may well have been a cathartic journey for the artist, a wonderfully respectful and warm way with which to finish from the artist.

We live our lives in a sequence of moments, some happy, some sad, some even carry an energy of ambivalence, but here in this creative and artistic endeavour Doug Hammer has pretty much covered all the bases on this his new album Melancholia. Here is an album that is like a scrapbook of memories, and each and every crafted track upon this 13 piece album is taken, birthed, lived and felt with great emotion by the musician, a must have indeed for all fans of solo piano.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Laying in the Sand By Mythic Beats


Laying in the Sand


Mythic Beats

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is calmness of spirit within this new single Laying in the Sand by Mythic Beats, and a combination of keyboards and guitar that we have grown used to from artist combinations like Kevin Kendle and Ian Cameron Smith, one that gives us such a laid back vibe, a relaxed easy like Sunday morning feeling that drifts across your mind, and leaves a mood of total peace and tranquillity upon our day.

That aforementioned statement cannot be a bad thing at all, and the artist here has managed something of a bliss filled moment of ambient genius within this most attractive track, this is one of those compositions that could carry on for half an hour or more and you would still get lost within its serenity and fall in love with the moment you are currently in, this is a must have for all fans of the chilled ambient genres, and new age music followers alike.

Why not check out the music here: 

The Bexley Bop By Wayne Bethanis


The Bexley Bop


Wayne Bethanis

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is so much in this brand new single it’s hard to know where to start reviewing it, elements of Jazz, light added percussion, glistening guitar segments, and a fast vibrant beat that crosses many genres, in such a happy and bubbly way.

Bethanis has gifted us the perfect new single to brighten our day, and shake off the blues. It’s an unusual style for the artist known more for his expansive works of piano art, but one that really works, and as such, a track that will become totally infectious among the fans and listeners alike. The Bexley Bop by Wayne Bethanis is going to become one of those songs you just won’t be able to leave alone, so you may as well purchase it right now.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Here Now By Julie Hanney


Here Now


Julie Hanney

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The last couple of years have been an amazing time for talented pianist Julie Hanney, her growth within the realm of the solo piano genre has been nothing less than remarkable, she has now released a new EP called Here Now, and it is the title track itself we are featuring in this review, which has also been released as a single.

Here Now is a moving opus, a heartfelt piano performance of great quality; Hanney’s creations are always textured and emotive, but also contain a great depth of reflection and hope, which can be found in this offering. This specific track is abundant in all that and more, its calming repose settles the troubled mind and eases the furrowed brow, this is indeed a fine composition, and is a valuable addition to this creative compilation of 4 tracks on the EP which is also called Here Now, and is an absolute must for all fans of this genre. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

I Loved You By Lisa Cullum


I Loved You


Lisa Cullum

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Lisa Cullum is indeed an accomplished pianist, and the last couple of years have been excellent for her release wise, she is indeed truly making a mark on the genre of piano with instrumentation. However, with this new single entitled I Loved You, I think she may well have sealed a future of radiant brightness within the musical confines this, her new offering.

Delicate textures, a sublime orchestral backdrop and a sensitivity of performance like never before, this is one of those arrangements that may well be the rocket that launces the next stage of her development, and with ease her best work thus far, a big hit surely must be on the cards with, I Loved You by Lisa Cullum. There is also a vocal version too, featuring the talented Bria Sade a talented vocalist from America.

Discovery V By David De Michele


Discovery V


David De Michele

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The journey ladies and gentlemen is about to start so please strap yourselves in while we leave space dock.  It is always a pleasure to fly into space with the subtle and stunning tones of David De Michele, and this brand new voyage we are taken on is one that takes us forever more into the cosmos, with a new release entitled Discovery V.

The opening offering is an outstanding beginning, and of course proudly it is the title tracks itself, as we lift off with in Discovery V. This is classic De Michele, but here the artist also brings forth a wonderful sense of anticipation within the composition, one that pays the respect forward to its oncoming journey, but builds a level of excitement and certainty as it does so.

The gentle flowing tones of the artist’s synths pave the way now for a delicate composition called Reflections; this is a blissful harmonic convergence of a track that is now one of my personal favourites from the artist’s entire catalogue. One can imagine looking back on our planet, perhaps with a tinge of reflective sadness, but an underpinned reality of tales of a future yet to come to pass, this is such a moving opus of fluency indeed.

First Light can now been seen, there is a slight trepidation to the build here which is simply fantastic, each segment towards the main body of the track is paved with small nuances of utter class, here is a piece that really needs to be used in a soundtrack to a movie, it is so expressive, so vast, and the build within this arrangement simply sublime.

Mid-way into this heavenly new release we find a real gem, it’s entitled Quantum, the word quantum refers to the smallest amount of something that you can have, here David De Michele pulls of a master stroke by creating a sense of quantum minimalism, by manifesting a wonderful ambience within the song, yet juxtaposing that with an ethereal uplifting chorus, sheer genius indeed.

The starting point to this next track, Resonance, had a vibrancy that you may find in the opening segment of a progressive rock release, here is a build so powerfully created by the artist that was absolutely impressive, perhaps even Tony Banks of Genesis back in the day would have been proud of it. The use of a constant forward moving percussion added to the splendid shimmering synths made this track for me simply innovative and artistic with ease.

Switching moods somewhat the artist brings us another reflective moment of magic on the composition Memories. The softness of this track fills me with emotion the way Tomita’s interpretation of Ravels Pavane for a Dead Princess did back in ‘84, the soft pastiche of moving synth work floated around me like veils of regret on a winters day, emotive, moving, and deeply touching with every note played.

The penultimate track off this most illustrious of albums is called Contact, something we perhaps hope for, something that would show us that we are not alone in the universe. This track has that energy about it, a mixture of keyboard work here that ranges from the great works of Vangelis, to the expansive halls of the works of England’s Kevin Kendle. The progression here on this piece is nothing more than a collation of classy fluent passages of musical intelligence.

Our final jump to warp speed will be given to us by the last parting gift from the artist, this is the luminous and accomplished concluding piece called Culmination. This track is like reaching the highest point of a summit and expressing all you feelings of the view once you arrive there, one has to say without doubt, this is a breath taking way to leave the album indeed.

Discovery V by David De Michele is another wonderful addition to the ever growing catalogue of sublime electronic space music by the musician; I could honestly leave this album on repeat for hours and still be in ecstasy at its final conclusion, listening to this release will affirm David De Michele among the ranks of some of the finest electronic musicians of his day with ease.

Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity By Liquid Mind


Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity


Liquid Mind

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The works of Chuck Wild, known for decades as Liquid Mind, were probably one of the few New Age artists I was originally introduced to when I first started showing interest in this genre of music, since then, and till now, I have been a fan of this all-time legend of the industry, it’s a given fact that when a Liquid Mind album is on offer, you just know it is going to be blissfully brilliant, and this latest release Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity, follows that narrative of sublime calm perfectly.

From the very first track Transcendence, we are gifted an uplifting yet tranquil musical voyage, one so beautifully paced, played and produced; it would be very easy to just float off into an ocean of serenity to. The album itself is a colourful and pleasurable 7 tracks of new age genius, as drifting harmonious keyboards guide us by the hand, through sensitive pieces like Simplicity, one that raises the emotional energies so carefully.

Simply put there are seven places of musical sanctuary within this album, all of them equally comforting and tender in tone, tracks like In The Moment, a place I strive to stay within each passing day; it’s soothing vibrancy make that reality much more real for me.

You simply cannot go wrong with this new release by Liquid Mind, there truly is something for everyone on this album, and it was the concluding offering that took me to another level completely, and called A Gentle Rain In My Soul. This is how to bring to a close a sublime moment of musical magic, by producing a track with such a gentle narrative; the soft rain sounds, I may add, were some of the best I have heard on a recording, they set the scene so beautifully, and from then on, it’s just up to you to simply let go and enjoy a sojourn into a realm of peace and serenity, one that you may have never touched before.

Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity by Liquid Mind is a wonderful album, it will slow the listener down, allow any healing to take place, and throughout the entire duration of the album, bathe the listener in a lake of peace and tranquillity perhaps never felt before. Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity by Liquid Mind has to be one of the best New Age music releases of the year, as Liquid Mind, does it yet again, by producing exactly what is needed in this most confusing and chaotic of times, by gifting us a musical sanctuary of the soul.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Memories Through Birds By Chrissie Sheppard


Memories Through Birds


Chrissie Sheppard

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are somethings in life that take time to mature, take time to come to fruition, and need to grow with an expectancy with each passing day, until that moment comes that you feel you are now ready to finally complete your life’s dream, as Stephen King once said “Everything’s Eventual” sooner or later, but here we finally are, after years of growth, expectation and patience, the debut album from my lovely wife Chrissie Sheppard, Memories Through Birds has finally been brought into reality.

This sojourn of reflection and serenity starts with the opener and former number one single Song of the Skylark and containing the keyboard skills of M.G recording artist Andy Rogers, who you will find on other tracks on this album as well, the Skylark for me always represents fair weather and warmth, and here with the natural sounds and the sultry tones of her flute, Chrissie creates an idyllic moment, fond memories can be found within the refrains of this song, of watching the lark disappear high into the sky and beyond on a cloudless day in June.

This 8 track album is full of pleasant surprises, one of them was Sparrow: Childhood Memories, a delightfully cheerful composition, with the flute imitating the birds energetic musings, the children’s happy chatter added to that mood, whilst the skill use of synth chords to push forward and pull back, made this track for me one of the cleverest from the release.

The master thief is upon us, as The Cuckoo Awakens, I always used to love hearing my first Cuckoo, a sign that summer was close, here Chrissie brings a really creative process to the fore, and manufactures a wonderfully warm and almost sultry moment for us to enjoy, the notes here are delightfully long and mood filled, as indeed are the very gentle keyboards within the back drop of this most artistic offering.

I have my own memories of this track, I guess when you all listen to this album each of you will have your own special thoughts and reflections, here on Blackbird Memories, a very poignant memory comes forward to be acknowledged, a moment on in the hill sides of the Isle Of Wight at sunset, and as Chrissie stood under a tree playing her flute, the Blackbird sang out his heart above her in the branches of an old Oak, also listen for the bell, what a very crafted inclusion indeed.

Another huge hit single is now upon us and called Raven Cove, this single obtained an award for its art work, but the music contained within, is a magical representation of a small bay at the bottom of our road, one we go to when summer is done and the pool is too cold, this is a haven away from all the scurries and hassles of life. Here Chrissie draws a fine narrative of a lonely mystical place, where the ocean, nature and birds are the masters; the hovering intensity in this piece reminds me to this day of Gheorghe Zamfir’s music for the movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Interestingly enough here in Cyprus this bird is a constant vocalist, it’s even in two of my tracks as well, Laughing Dove swirls and moves around the listener in an almost mysterious way, listen very careful to the natural sounds in this track, it is a true work of art. The overall piece is rather moody and simply blissful with headphones. For us, this is an early morning reverie of peace, with a mysterious flavour to the arrangement.

There is a tale of the legend of Zeus’s temper here, with his penchant for turning people into animals or birds, in this case The Kingfisher and Persephone are one in the same, it is said that if you see two kingfishers on Christmas Eve, then luck will follow you forever, this has happened twice for us so far here in Cyprus, it seems to work! Chrissie’s imploring flute dances with the natural sounds, floating keyboards move slowly across the mist filled scene, where magic is real and anything is possible, another sublime performance of great colour can be found here in this picturesque offering.

The concluding piece is truly fun, and may remind some of you of a certain time of year, the use of electronic wizardry and chimes added so much to this clever arrangement entitled Robin Redbreast. Listen carefully to the light percussive elements here, they all add to the pastiche of the piece, and hover perfectly to end the album with an utter flourish, in the same way Kevin Kendle once did with a track called Awaken on his release First Light.

Memories Through Birds by Chrissie Sheppard, the question must be asked, was it worth the wait? The answer an emphatic yes! Contained within this album are 8 artistically manifested tracks, all with a reflective moment contained within, it also allows you to add yours as well. This debut album from flute performer Chrissie Sheppard has set the bar incredibly high, but with complete unbiased honesty, this is an album destined for the higher echelons of the charts and perhaps, even an award, it is that good, and you would be most remiss not to have this one in your collection of quality music.

Wondering By Stephen Wallack




Stephen Wallack

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It’s always good to see a brand new album from pianist Stephen Wallack, you just know the content is going to be fulfilling, and the narrative one of great depth and texture, and this new endeavour by Wallack does not disappoint as we walk through the hallowed halls of what we will now know as Wondering by the artist.

To be stunned by the first track off any album is a rarity, but here on this new release we can listen to, in my view, the best composition that Wallack has ever created called Beyond, here is a piece that has depth, power and intensity, and a minor moody construct that simply delights me in the same way as it did back in the day with artists like Elton John.

After that breath taking beginning we float into the arms of Castles, a track that is as easy as a Sunday morning, but also that wonderful reflective vibration, one that seems to gently guide us through portals to the past as it plays.

Wondering by Stephen Wallack is a 10 track release that gifts you all you will ever need in the solo piano genre, the artists inventiveness here, and his artistic prowess is incredible, listen to pieces like Sorry, a mournful repose that is bathed in a truth that cannot be denied, but one fading into the mist of yesterday, or perhaps Games, another mysterious opus that leaves you with a level of expectation and intrigue, there is also the lightness of the penultimate piece off the album entitled Wolves, where Wallack draws a musical narrative that has us literally running through the forests in winter.

This glourious new album ends with the track Goodbye, which in my view could easily be a single; with this piece, the aforementioned Elton John comment seems even more relevant now, a fluent chorus line, an addictive hook, it’s all there, and would make a sublime song, and I am sure a huge hit.

Wondering by Stephen Wallack I am pleased to say, is by far the best work ever by the artist, once again he has taken to his trusty piano and has drawn, into one amazing compilation, easily his best and most reflective album thus far, there is much to enjoy on this brand new collection, and one that I would dare to say is possibly even award worthy as well, this is a must have album for all solo piano enthusiasts.

The Gift of Fire By Anantakara & Jack Hertz


The Gift of Fire


Anantakara & Jack Hertz

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Anantakara & Jack Hertz have combined to bring us one of the most compelling electronic music offerings of 2022. The Gift of Fire is a moody mystical and sometimes dark work of art that is simply inspiring and incredibly addictive; here is a work that listeners and purveyors of sublime instrumental music that would be all too easy to get lost within.

The opening piece, A Moon in a Cave, is a swirling almost hypnotic arrangement that has many cogs to its musical wheel, the music and performances on this track alone are sublimely created, and draw the listener in with consummate ease, this would be one of my personal favourites from the album.

I love long form narratives, and now I am a creator of such compositions myself, I appreciate them even more. Manifesting a long form opus is like writing a short story, you must allow your muse free will, but have an idea where the pathways of tone and timbre will take you. Here on The Princess and the Dragon, we have a duel arrangement, one that drifts on the winds of tone and texture, but also one that is singularly inventive and free, a truly wondrous art form of a composition.

The Gift of Fire by Anantakara & Jack Hertz is an eight track album of great quality and artistic intelligence, and tracks like the amazing Bird of Redemption is a fine example of that aforementioned statement. This dark novella of a piece allows its shadowy figure to float in the dim realities of the arrangement, flowing from one electronic passage to another with such style, while the emphatically entitled Guardian of the Threshold simply demands to be listened to, but even though this track has its electronic signature firmly stamped on its cover, its base lies with a hovering intent on a bed of ambience that is both deep and at times almost sinister.

The final offering off this truly magnificent offering is entitled Ceremonial and is the shortest piece off the album at just less than 4 minutes in duration, there is lightness to it that is well received, and a composition that concludes the entire project brilliantly.

The Gift of Fire by Anantakara & Jack Hertz is a classic example of really good electronic music from two artists who really know there game, and are not afraid to show it. Here is an album that manifests realms and levels of electronic genius like never before, and they invite you in to wander freely, walking around its mysterious art gallery of vibrational tone, depth and misty creations. This is simply an album that you would be crazy to miss out on, and an absolute must for all fans of electronic music around the globe.

Traveling the Blissful Highway By Darlene Koldenhoven


Traveling the Blissful Highway


Darlene Koldenhoven

Written by

Steve Sheppard


If you’re looking to get away from this crazy world, you would do no better than to get a copy of Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven and disappear off into a wonderful sanctuary of calm for at least 50 minutes; this has all the hall marks of a truly great album, and just what the planet needs right now.

I’ve been a fan of the artist work in this style since way back in 2014 and the release of Tranquil Times. Here Koldenhoven takes us by the hand and leads us on a blissful global journey; tracks like Cheerful Mohana start our journey, a piece released earlier as a single, here is a perfect starting composition one that also contains some masterful work from percussionist Venugopala Raju giving us all the light-hearted global vibe, and we’re off on our voyage of plenty.

Darlene Koldenhoven has also become quite adept at manifestation mood with use of her keyboards and synths as well; the following piece is a fine example of that colourful prowess and called, Time Traveler.

Upon this recording you will find 12 sumptuous compositions, all created with such skill, care and tenderness. Offerings like Birds in Paradise are utterly picturesque in their endeavour to take you off to heaven; this track would be one of my most treasured favourites, a light and positive piece, one that contains the skill sets of both Courtney Jacob with a crafted flute solo, and the ever brilliant Charlie Bisharat, whose violins I seem to be writing a lot about recently.

It is hard to choose one track over another as each and every one of them offers so much beauty charm and textured serenity. However we can drift on the harmonic energies of tracks like the ambient Sweet Peace, or float in total peace with Joanne Lazzaro’s spiritual flute on the track Native Star, the compositional quality and arrangement of this song alone is phenomenal.

Koldenhoven is a stylish multi-instrumental artist, and on Highland Mist that flowing Celtic flavour comes to the fore, as once more the artist treats us to another delicious track in her menu of a global sojourn, hats off to Ron Korb on this offering that gifts us a perfect Irish pipe and whistle, in what is the penultimate track off the album.

The release concludes with the perfect title piece entitled Blissful Highway, a floaty moment of tranquillity brought to us by the artist, and joined by guitarist Mike Miller, to bringing to an end this expedition of ecstasy.

Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven is one of those rare albums that you could listen to a multiple of times over and enjoy the 10th as much as the 1st!  Here is an album that emphasises all the good in our world, the colours, textures and indeed bliss, it is a constant heavenly narrative throughout this amazing new album, one that I personally rate as the best instrumental release ever created by the musician, and as such, you would be crazy not to purchase a copy of Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven, it is a veritable sanctuary of the soul.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Phire Elaam By Ban Brothers


Phire Elaam


Ban Brothers

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Ban Brothers are an act that produce quality music in whatever guise they choose to do so, and within the realms of this colourful new single Phire Elaam, we have a release that has a true multi-cultural flavour, and one beautifully sung it has to be stated as well, tip of the hat there to one Anugraha Raphy; we must also give a mention to Debasis “Babu” Shome who features on whistle and keyboards too.

The vibrancy within this new offering is very addictive; it is certainly one of those pieces you could leave on repeat and never tire of, the global fused vibe is simply fantastic, especially if you like Asian music with a Latin styled guitar. A nod of appreciation to Mark Barnwell for that little acoustic magic, which in my view is unique and wonderfully artistic, and if you are a fan of bands like Incendio, then you will love it.

Ban Brothers must surely be on their way to having a big hit with Phire Elaam, for here is a new single with sensitivity, textures and colours, and a sublime heart felt and fluent vibration.

Wind By Minna Ora




Minna Ora

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It takes something special these days for me to sit up straight and acclaim wow! But this I did, whilst listening to the latest single from Finish singer Minna Ora called Wind. This is a stunning new vibrant offering from the talented artiste, and one that crosses a multitude of genres, and could even be one of a growing number of musicians in the new age rock category.

Through our lives we all come across challenges, its how we handle those moments and what we learn from them that counts. Here Minna Ora expresses herself so beautifully, it completely resonated with me, as I too longed to find a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity, I’m glad to say success was eventually found.

I am also going to be bold here, this is one of the finest vocal based tracks I have heard, especially in this style for years, and thus I see a huge hit on the horizon for it, also a tip of the hat to the other additional musicians, and especially the guitar of Kari Ora, whose performance melted my heart.

Universe of Love By Larry Gindhart Music


Universe of Love


Larry Gindhart Music

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Sometimes all you need is a little solo flute to put you in the right mood, to bring a little sanctuary to the soul so to speak, and today, and on this warm October afternoon, I found that within the refrains of one of the most serene flute based singles around, called Universe Of Love by Larry Gindhart.

The performance inspires calm and tranquillity and hopefully a whole universe of unconditional love, the presentation here is pure, clean and textured, this would be one of those singles that I have listened to three times in a row on repeat and not noticed, it is just simply idyllic and a song Gindhart should be most pleased with.

Luminescence By Mark Barnes




Mark Barnes

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Mark Barnes is a seasoned musician, whose works span some 14 years of recordings that are all a wonderment of precision and class, here on this latest release Luminescence, we see a somewhat different style from the musician, and this walk across the borderlands of genres, brings us some of the most compelling work as of yet from the artist.

The opening piece is certainly worth a mention, as personally I have only ever heard Iron Maiden use Churchill’s rousing world war 2 speech to open with, here Barnes turns this amazing starting piece An Angel's Return, into something that reminded me of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, with its pulsating keyboards, percussion and flowing synths, what a sublime beginning indeed.

The following track could not be more different, we get an almost Zen like opening segment and that flows into a blissful stylish Mark Barnes classic called Afremov. If this is referencing one of the world’s best known modern art impressionists of our time, the artist has done a superb job, and this music would work superbly in a gallery containing his great works of art.

Reviewing a Mark Barnes album is always a pleasure and something to look forward to, especially when you come across tracks like Dance on the Moon; the regal and proud opening chords set the scene sublimely, then a light percussive beat kicks in to bring us an impressive keyboard driven vibe, you could also choose pieces like the reflective Where Did The Time Go, a song that truly emphasises the importance of getting the most out of each and every day given to you, in a presentation that will bring a tear to the eye.

As we approach the half way marker Barnes now turns to another hero in Martin Luther King, and uses his well scripted and known opening words to the track Dream In Color. The bold use of swirling synths here really brings forth Barnes desire to push further into his music, and allow his muse free reign of his imaginative process.

A contrast can be seen in tracks now, with the arrival of the composition Luna Nocturna and the usage of JFK’s famous quote about going to the Moon. Here we see a return in part of the bad boy of Chill Out, a famous Mark Barnes nickname, the laid back percussion; the rhythmic keyboards and multi-instrumental magic work on this piece, which must surely make it one of the most complex arrangements from the album.

We skip to the 60’s now and another famous orator and his speech about honour duty and country, of course I am referring to General Douglas MacArthur. The military drum beat leads us into a largely electronic based arrangement, even the guitar sounds and added instrumentation could have easily come from that era, in this most fascinating of tracks entitled Be Your Own Light.

This next track made me smile as it starts with a Mourning Dove; the piece itself is called Morning Calls and is traditional Mark Barnes in every way. The reason for the smile is that here in Cyprus we have Laughing Doves, and one has just made an appearance in my latest album as well! Here Barnes is on familiar territory, a full flowing melody, and a classy performance on keyboards to boot.

The penultimate offering is usually a very important point of reference, a position on the album you want to be just right before you conclude the project, and on A Beautiful Soul we have just that, a couple of years ago Mark released this song as a single, it was received well then, and I believe doubly so now, it’s a wonderfully charming musical narrative.

So we arrive at the final doorway to the album, and this is given pride of place to the title track Luminescence, and to probably one of the most important speeches of our existence by Stephen Hawking. We can now spread out into space with this last Mark Barnes composition, and it is also one of my personal favourites from the album, there is even a sublime Vangelis feel to this arrangement that is so breath taking, and my goodness, what a fantastic way to finish a release indeed.

Luminescence by Mark Barnes has to be the best work of the artist thus far; I seem to have been a fan of his music for so many years now, but here on Luminescence, and in my view, he has pushed himself harder and further, and really embraced the future. This has to be one of the most powerful and empowering albums of the year so far, and one very easy to recommend to anyone with an open heart and mind, and a willing ear.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Aphrodite By Leon





Written by

Steve Sheppard


As one grows we can find many things that influence our works of art, the music we hear, the places we travel to, and those pleasing minor and major chords and notes we hear on a song, ones which will stick with us for a whole lift time, as it defines who we are and what moves us.

The artist on this new single Aphrodite, is Leon, and at the time of writing this just 16 years old, the level of maturity and sensitivity on this arrangement is way beyond his years, but this is what gives him an edge, if you can touch levels of tenderness and tranquillity at this young age, the potential to become a sheer genius later in life, is certainly on the cards, simply put, technical skills can be learned, but emotional sensitivity has to be experienced.

The composition itself is layered perfectly with a subtle yet onward keyboard repeating motif, whilst the percussion behind the piece is as gentle as the overall energy of the track, and the subject of Aphrodite close to my heart, as I live on the island from where she was born, rising from the waves of the ocean.

Leon has produced a superb debut single, one he should be proud of, and a solid foundation of musical stone has been set in the foundations of a potently huge career ahead.

Quietude String Version By Javier Marquez


Quietude String Version


Javier Marquez

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The most emotive single of the year fell my way this glorious October morning, the track in question Quietude String Version by the stylish instrumentalist Javier Marquez. The mood of a very dark early morning is captured here perfectly for me; I have spent many moments on our balcony watching the night in all of its meditational glory, and this composition for me could easily be the ultimate soundtrack for that very event.

The balance of instrumentation on this new single is sublime, and contains a truly moving Duduk, flowing passion filled strings, and a gentle, yet masterful piano that guides the way. This is a fine arrangement, one that should be paid an insurmountable amount of respect as it inevitably climbs the singles chart.