Monday, July 31, 2023

Instant Moksha - Mantras By Sarves Thiru


Instant Moksha - Mantras


Sarves Thiru

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Sarves Thiru has had an amazing last few years, and an incredible 2022, winning awards and sailing high in charts, today we mark another important notch in that calendar and life of the artist, with the arrival of her brand new and much waited debut album entitled Instant Moksha – Mantras, a release which is set to unleash a wave of approval from fans new, old and yet to be, across the globe.

The opening piece from the release is Victory: Vakratunda, a smooth and melodic mantra brimming with positive energy and good intent, the whole album is flowing with added ethnic multi-instrumentation, and within this opening track it works beautifully, on a track that was a single earlier on this year.

The next offering I actually felt quite emotional over, the opening was beautifully arranged and the artist herself performs one of the most sensitive mantras on Day and Night: Sri Ram which leads us perfectly into the following musical narrative entitled Shiva: Om Tryambakam.

The aforementioned track reminded me of my early days within this genre with artist like Deva Premal, here Sarves Thiru actually brings a lot of power and intensity into the arrangement, and this is enhanced wonderfully by the inspiring and energetic percussive efforts on the piece.

I feel, that what is creating this wealth of musical love for the vocalist, is her ability to be original as well as continuing on her musical traditions, Guru's Greatness: Guru Brahma is a fine example of that aforementioned statement, with a blend of east meets west, with elements of Jazz and Latin beats, symbiotically mixed with the eastern ethics that run so beautifully through this album, this would be one of my personal favourites from the release.

Bhakti: Om Namo Narayanaya manifests a gentle but reflective tone into the proceedings, the acoustic guitar within this track was utterly perfect, and adding a vibrational percussion into the arrangement elevated Sarves vocals to a level that was utterly sublime, and most desirable to literally bathe within.

We have two final pieces on the album, firstly another track that was offered up as single earlier on this year, with the uplifting and bright resonance of the creation called Harmony: Lokah Samastah, and the concluding track Transcend: Asatoma, this was a superb final master piece, and in part reminded me a little of the band Bliss back in the early part of this century.

One must applaud the London based Malaysian artist Sarves Thiru, ever since she creaked open the door to the world of music she has been a complete success, she has a voice that is tender, graceful, yet incredibly warming, and I can see no reason at all why Instant Moksha – Mantras, should not power up the charts, and allow a much delicate and fearful world to enjoy her music and be at peace with her blissful global fusion of an album, this one comes very highly recommended with ease. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Nothin’ Like This By Ban Brothers


Nothin’ Like This


Ban Brothers

Written by

Andy Rogers


The string of new single releases from Ban Brothers continues unabated.  This is the eighth track to be released from their forthcoming new album “Guiding Star”, an album which we are told is “inspired by the overall theme of hope, inspiration and love”, and has a possible release date of this September (2023).

This song, Nothin’ Like This, is very much in the mould of the later Ban Brothers material, so expect indie-style rock tinged with Americana and touches of country here and there rather than the Bollywood crossover style of a couple of years back. It’s an upbeat tune and the hopeful and cheerful lyrics reflect that. The guy’s obviously loved and lost before but this time he feels he’s found somebody special. The repeating message is that nothing like this ever happened to him before (we’ve probably all been there). Ban’s plaintive vocals work really well here.

Ban Brothers appear to be going from strength to strength as the flurry of successful singles shows.. This one can only enhance that reputation and will be available on all usual music platforms from July 28th 2023. 

Infinite Universes By Jim Ottaway


Infinite Universes


Jim Ottaway

Written by

Steve Sheppard


We all need a little sanctuary from the troubles and strife from this increasingly fearful world, and the meaningless negativity that can be found from a global media obsessed by pessimisms, but there is hope, and today that hope comes in the guise of music, and from one of the finest electronic artists on the planet in Jim Ottaway and his latest album Infinite Universes.

Australian born electronic synth master Jim Ottaway has been producing magical music for many years now, and is one of a very few composers who can take you away from you woes and tribulations with his outer worldly creations, the journey through these Infinite Universes starts right here, right now with the opening offering entitled Beyond Heaven and Earth, a mindful composition that treads so carefully onward and upward, away from the mundane and into the ethereal realms, and all within the confines of a truly marvellous opening foray.

What I truly enjoyed with regard to the construction of this album was the sublime touch and deftness of tonal structures within it, tracks like Ancient Starlight are but one example, here we find an aged composition, but the soft palate of the creator in Ottaway here, adds so much colour and texture to the arrangement; the repeating keyboard motif and the swirling synths partnered each other with sheer perfection.

Hidden Universes is a superb piece, one that grows as it goes, we know scientifically that we have not even scratched the surface in space travel, so we have far to go and much to learn. Here the artists explores that narrative, bring us music from worlds, galaxies and systems as of yet unknown to us, and does it with such style. The composition is slow and ponderous, at times with slight classical motifs, it is as if we are spinning in slow circles as we move forward, just trying to take in everything as we go.

We move to another delicate creation and this one is called Until Eternity Passes Away, I ruminated over this title and wondered if it was in fact an oxymoron, but the more I listened I became enamoured with the interminable energies of the music, this is quite a beautiful piece and one that reminded me in part of the work of Jean Michel Jarre, but the softness of the melody here added a layer to the creation that made the whole manifestation truly warming to listen to.

My thoughts on the soothing overall narrative of this album continue to grow now with the track Divided Skies. For me this is another wonderfully new age styled track that took me back to the nineties and my old friend Phil Thornton. New age music is making a massive comeback at the moment, so it was most pleasing to hear a piece like this on the album, a soft keyboard structure and a melody line that is both charming and reflective, one that gifts the listener a feeling of assurance.

We are now drifting in areas of deep space and as we do so we come across a track called An Infinity Of Universes, this one reminded me in content and context of the aforementioned Hidden Universe track, but perhaps this piece maybe more of a possibility rather than an a postulation, here the artist explores a potential new energy of tone and timbre, he does this with grace and class, utilising the keyboards structures in ways that Medwyn Goodall used to do back in the early part of the century, the mixture of both piano and synths here were utterly riveting.

I will give you advance warning here, please listen to this album with headphones, especially to get the most out of this amazing composition, the chimes, tones that sounded like a digeridoo, and synths swirl from left to right in an almost hypnotic manner, and Many Different Suns is a piece that shows an essence of artistic creativity like never before, throughout the whole of this album I felt like Jim was trying to push his boundaries, he succeeds beautifully on this one.

Our penultimate offering is entitled Voices Of Universal Infinity, as you may have surmised from the titled, I would mention the somewhat beautiful vocalisations contained within this track, they most certainly are stunning, but so is the soft backdrop of electronic reverberation that accompanies them. This is without doubt the most moving and emotional offering off the album, the chord structures manifest something remarkable and almost anthem like in its overall manifestation.

Light From Perfect Darkness is our final offering and it truly is a parting gift of sublime quality, sometimes all we need is a chink of light to give us hope, and Ottaway births that right here on this piece, this is a wonderful last offering from the artist and one that resonates from musicians like Tomita, to Serrie, to Kendle and beyond, a blissful climax indeed to an incredibly stylish and creative album.

Infinite Universes by Jim Ottaway is a sanctuary of sound, it’s a place you want to go when life becomes a struggle, here is an album that will literally transport you into the heavens and beyond, but more importantly, I believe overall that Jim may well have created his best work thus far on this release, the softness of touch, the sensitivity of compositional structure, tender textures and the creative intelligence of each arrangement speaks utter volumes for this new release, a new album that I have no hesitation at all to recommend to each and every one of you.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Desert Voices By David De Michele


Desert Voices


David De Michele

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The multi verse we call the realm of electronic synth music is vast and has been on an upward growth for decades now, and I can see no reason for it stopping, the latest patches, the latest software and keyboards, give us aspiring musicians constant food to feed our artistic souls, one such luminary is David De Michele, his style and compositional structures are becoming very well-known, and I am honoured today to be able to review another masterful creation of his just released album called Desert Voices.

So my readers, friends and fellow electronic music travellers, it’s time to go on another universal journey with the artist, and we start with the opening gambit of Emergence, one that reminded me so much of the artist Kevin Kendle back in the days of his Aerial Vistas album. The opening part of this track eases us in, and the soft caress of each note from his keyboards manifests a far wide open panorama of intent and tranquillity, and thus the voyage has begun.

Above the Horizon is artistically brilliant, from the very first few seconds we are drawn a wonderful view of a wide open expanse, one to be amazed at, one to be explored, the slow and deep musical narrative here is truly sublime. Here is a track that really moved me, the mixture of those minor chords really resonated with the wanderer in me, and then at just over two minutes in we have the pleasure of a plunge into the dimension of Vangelis, a realm where genius lies.

As we move onwards across the desert, avoiding the noon day sun and sticking with what shadow we can find, we come across an oasis of mastery known as Transcendence. The repeating motif, the powerful insightful build are all part of a track that is without doubt one of the best that the artist has ever composed, the deep rumbling of the synths, and the glory bound, uplifting tones created for me a piece that I would have to call anthem like.

The warm wind drifts across our weary brows, but we can find solace in this next composition called Resurgence. Again the repeating motif on keyboards gives us that grounding before the piece builds to an almost Berlin styled tempo and structure, whilst the magical synths seem to manifest ethereal voices across the plains of tomorrow and beyond.

The half way marker has been reached, so let’s sit for a while in the shade and enjoy the reverie of Cosmic Immersion. This is one of the most beautiful tracks ever; there is a very slow but determined progression here that is simply undeniable, but one that also adds that progression to a vast outer worldly pastiche of sound brought into being by David’s synths, which in turn births a whole new existence of musical mastery, as layer upon layer upon layer is gifted to its ever eager listeners.

Time now for a little Regeneration and the artist has this one perfectly composed, each piece has the scene within its mind’s eye, at no time have you drifted off to another reality, you are still within the vast desert landscapes and this track is one that has a different energy within it, its opening gifts us a mood that a change is about to occur, and half way through, that change emerges and builds, the mixed pattern of soft synths and repetitive keyboards here is craft-fully arranged by the artist.

The second half of this album has certainly changed in its energetic output; it is as if we can see the end of the desert far away on the hazy horizon, offerings like the windblown Reunion emphasise that beautifully, and with an almost classical music styled grandeur that the aforementioned Vangelis always used to give us back in the day.

The deeper sands of this album have now been reached and there is a wonderfully indigenous vocalisation to this piece that is so outstanding, and called Beyond the Mist, a piece with an almost spiritual feel to its compositional structure, the slow and sensitive keyboard work here has to be admired, as this is simply one of the best offerings off the album to illustrate our journey and the overall concept of the album in my view.

Desert Voices builds on that aforementioned spiritual indigenous feel, with vocalisations that could come from Osiris or Hathor themselves, and then De Michele builds upon his title track and manifests it into a piece worthy of a film score, the changing of minor chords within the middle of this wonderful track totally moved me, and its mixture with a more electronic vibe was stunning too, once more the artist at the half way juncture of the track elevates the composition again to sparkling new heights of utter brilliance, so much so, that it was like listening to John Carpenter meets Jonn Serrie.

Amazingly we have found our way across this vast desert, and at the oasis of respite we listen to our last arrangement from the artist entitled Breaking Free, which is quiet apt, as we have broken away from the enormous and harsh landscape. The towering synths within this piece were like a celebration of that fact, and as usual De Michele ends with a total flourish, in only the way a grandmaster of synth realm can do.

Desert Voices by David De Michele is an album of exploratory nature for the artist, instead of a space based voyage, we have reconnoitred the barren world of desert life, and found the voices within are old and wise, and have been waiting for us.  Here is an album that the artist should be proud of, he manifests wonderfully tranquil vibes, adds moments of uncertainty, builds upon layers of mystical and ethereal vocalisations, and raises the power and the glory of the journey with such confidence and style, I can safely say Desert Voices by David De Michele should be a huge hit for the musician. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Blue Light By Peter Calandra


The Blue Light


Peter Calandra

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Peter Calandra has been on my musical radar for some 10 years now and the introduction to his works came in the guise of an album named Inner Circle, many years later we are gifted a brand new release, and this one is probably one of the most fascinating and in-depth we have seen from the artist and is called, The Blue Light.

I have to say that in my view the opening piece says a lot about the album and here we can sample one of the most moody of pieces from the artist thus far on, The Gambit. The level of darkness in this track is palpable, as truly we are about to sacrifice ones pawn for something greater later on, I adore this style of ambient piano, this piece is so descriptive so emotive, and such a fantastic start to the release.

The Blue Light is an 11 track collection of classy songs; the title track itself is a wonderful mix of new age piano with subtle Jazz influences, its music you could listen to all day and never get tired of, offerings like The Softest Touch also thrill the soul, its tenderness and pristine performance shows what an amazing composer and performer Calandra truly is.

I was so very thrilled to literally touch the ambience on this album; there is literally something for everyone on this stunning release, Morning Light being but one fine example and one of my personal favourites, the slow growth and progression in this piece was utterly sublime, and then offerings like Rainy Autumn, my favourite time of year, gave us that most desired moment of reflection and introspection.

Our penultimate manifestation is called The Talking Poet, and is one of the most peaceful and tranquil compositions from the album, one tinged with little shards of memory deep inside, it must be one of Calandra’s most beautiful pieces yet.

We arrive at the end of the journey; this voyage of musical heaven concludes with The Séance, this has to be one of the most fascinating creations ever by the artist, a hovering intensity builds on a backdrop of uncertainty, on one of the longest compositions, at nearly nine minutes from the musician, then follows a performance so creative and artistic, that it reminded me in part of one of my pianist friends from New York in Michael Harrison,  we must applaud Calandra for ending his album in such a dramatic, yet textured story telling style.

I would say that personally over the years, when I look back, that this album has to be one of my personal favourites from the Peter Calandra catalogue. The Blue Light offers so much up to the listener, that I would imagine this album would just be too intriguing and too crafted to miss out on. Calandra has gone full on with this release, we have full flowing opuses of calm, ambience personified, and imaginative artistic nuances beyond belief, this is truly a masterwork from the artist, do not let it pass you by.

Doux Instants by Raynald Grenier


Doux Instants


Raynald Grenier

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The mellow but uplifting style of new age piano is certainly making a huge come back across the music business these days, and the tones of one such composition had landed on my desk this sunny July morning. I can say that at the end of this presentation I felt truly touched by Doux Instants created by Raynald Grenier, the latest single from the artist.

The gentle loving performance was such a panacea of wonderful music to listen to, but let’s be honest, music is the only language that speaks the truth and is also the cure to all of our woes. Here Grenier brings such a passionate and tender arrangement to our attention, at times taking me back to the early nineties and artists like Mike Rowland, or a step into the 21st century through musicians like Phil Chapman.

There can be no doubt that Grenier will touch the hearts and minds of his fans and audience with this quite pristine and heartfelt composition, his graceful and fluent performance on piano was wonderful to listen too, the elevation to a more impassioned segment doubly so, I think this one is going to be a fans favourite and a creation that will ride high on the singles chart.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Blooming Daisies By Amaury Laurent Bernier & Shere Fraser


Blooming Daisies


Amaury Laurent Bernier & Shere Fraser

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Shere Fraser has a golden touch with all that she musically perceives these days, and thus her partnership with the piano of Amaury Laurent Bernier on this new single called Blooming Daises should sparkle like gold dust in the noon day sun.

It’s rare to hear such a delicate palette, but the combination of flute and piano here are perfectly balanced, and radiate a crisp, yet comforting natural energy. One could imagine with the mind an early morning scene, when the flowers of a wild but beautiful realm caress the early morning sun with a happy refrain and deep pleasure.

Both artists are fully in the moment on this breath taking and beautiful creation, and this for me is where the magic of this manifestation is brought into life, this maybe a very attractive composition, but Bernier and Fraser have birthed a song into this realm that is also incredibly ambient and scenic, and as such I really rate Blooming Daisies by Amaury Laurent Bernier & Shere Fraser one of the finest instrumental duets I have heard for quite a while, this is a melodic and meditative moment of musical mastery indeed.

Walk In Beauty, Like The Night By Michael Whalen


Walk In Beauty, Like The Night


Michael Whalen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I cannot express enough how wonderfully beautiful it has been to have embraced this brand new album by Michael Whalen entitled Walk In Beauty, Like The Night, this release took me back in time to my first walk in the new age genre some 25 years ago, and this blissful 10 track collection of ambient piano tracks is truly what the world needs right now.

The opening offering is called Walk In Beauty, Like The Night and of course it is the title track, I adore it when artists start with the title header it shows a total commitment to the whole project, and this slice of musical serenity reminds me of artists I grew into the industry with like Mike Rowland and Phil Chapman, but what a great way to start such an exciting musical voyage.

We can follow that up by taking the musical way marker named Anywhere Anytime Anything For You, this is a balled of complete unconditional love, full flowing as unfettered notes trickle unto the footfalls of a blissful reverie, we can all be blessed by such calming yet loving compositions.

Tracks like Eternity Floats In Your Eyes continues that theme, the exploration of a deeper love than thought possible. A gentle heart felt honesty drifts from the keyboard like an early November mist, one that lingers longer, as Whalen draws a narrative that touches our very souls.

There is something about this next piece entitled Always For The First Time that reminds me of early David Arkenstone, the harmonic transcendence is classy and clear and the onward construction is built with such style and thoughtfulness, whilst offerings like The Most Humid Sexy Summer are without doubt a horse of a different colour indeed. Here we have a hovering intensity, a sound of a slide guitar, keyboards that are so slow and sensual, delicate, but purposeful and as powerful as a late August night in a LA. This whole composition is cleverly created and quite cinematic in arrangement too at times.

Michael reminds us that back in 2005 his release My Secret Heart was one of his biggest hits of all time, and now, some 18 years later he rates this new album to be the follow up to his beloved and incredibly successful aforementioned compilation. The track Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is stunning; this midway offering even has a Berlin styled electronic essence about its construction too, as well as the sweeping sounds of an utterly desirable keyboard to enjoy.

We Are All Made Of Stars, I have always drawn great comfort from that knowledge, and what follows is some of the finest and most heartfelt new age styled ambient piano I have heard for near on 20 years. The softness of the musical palette here is so very beautiful, that I rated this to be my personal favourite from the album, the tender performance here reminded me of the famous Pure Healing album from Stephen Rhodes, from the turning of this century.

We now softly slide into the next creation of harmonic bliss entitled What We Love Deeply, here we can feel the expression of love that Michael has for his partner of 15 years, as per his liner notes, an expression of love comes from one place only, and this heart felt composition reminded me how blessed I am to have the woman who I have in my life now, this song for me is a celebration and recognition of such matters of the heart.

Our penultimate piece is called Such Sweet Sorrow, such a wonderfully clever oxymoron, one that reminds me of Shakespeare's Juliet, who famously tells her lover Romeo that “parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow”. Here Whalen pulls off a masterful performance on keyboards, and with a slight electronic gesture he brings a joyous yet moving opus with a few delicious minor chords placed hoveringly inside for good measure, what a splendid juxtaposition of musical expression indeed.

Our final offering is entitled Our Home By The Sea, and again the artist reminds me of my location as well, such beauty, such pleasurable sights each day can be felt and seen and more so appreciated. This parting gift is Whalen at his ambient best as he brings not only a calming lullaby of a loving tune, but also creates a caring and tender melody to boot as well, what a clever and crafted way to end an album indeed.

Walk In Beauty, Like The Night by Michael Whalen is without a doubt the artists best work thus far, I truly mean that, through this album the artist has introduced me to some of the most honest and tender tracks I think I have ever heard from him, and in doing so created for me, lush colourful textures of good classic new age ambient piano. This has to be the warmest release ever from Michael and as such I would mind taking a bet that a chart topping position and awards are simply destined to follow for Walk In Beauty, Like The Night by Michael Whalen

Within This Night By Michelle Qureshi

Within This Night


Michelle Qureshi

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There seems to be a new energy about the work of Michelle Qureshi these days, a weight certainly seems to have been lifted from her shoulders, and the muse is set free to create masterful bliss for us all. Today, it is my humble pleasure to write a review for her latest single Within This Night, it is a piece so beautiful and soothing that I truly believe she can now be crowned Queen of the Ambient Zone.

Her acoustic guitar here gives us an almost classical touch, but also one that as it progresses, seems to take us to and past each and every hour of the night time clock. This is a masterfully creative and inventive offering; the textures here are both palpable and tranquil and bring so many colours to the composition.

Within This Night must be Qureshi’s most fluent piece to date, this song will sing in the dream times of all listeners who have the good sense to purchase this new offering. It is a single that could well spell a huge shift musically for the artist too, as I rate this to be one of the musicians most proficient presentations thus far, and as such I can see no reason why another big hit shouldn’t be on the cards for the Queen of ambience with this one. 


Move On By Ban Brothers


Move On


Ban Brothers

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard


Ban Brothers release their seventh single from their forthcoming album “Guiding Star”, an album about hope, inspiration and love, which is due to be released September 2023, this being another release that continues in the vein of their recent releases, and called Move On, with that pop, soft rock vibe.

The music reminds me of the band Squeeze from the 80s and 90s with its upbeat tempo and with lyrics that encourage you to be strong and to keep going, we have all been there, and sung by session vocalist Ethan C, the music is encouraging with its ever onward beat.

The song was written, composed and arranged by Swagata "Ban" Banerjee, and please don’t forget the cover art, which really fits the theme.

This new single Move On by Ban Brothers should be a big hit with their new found fans of this genre, so make sure you get your copy now.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Ave Maria by Jeff Linsky & Lisa Linsky


Ave Maria


Jeff Linsky & Lisa Linsky

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It seems bizarre, but I am about to write my third review for a version of Ave Maria this year, but this is the first one I have ever written for an instrumental manifestation of the classic of the French composer Charles Gounod written in 1953, as a melody over the Johan Sebastian Bach much celebrated Prelude No, 1 in C Major, here on this brand new single the partnership of the Linsky’s team up, with Jeff on acoustic guitar and of course Lisa on piano.

This version is really fresh and very unique, and that’s what truly appealed to me, it’s a really difficult thing to do, to bring fresh life to such a well-known and recorded creation, but Jeff Linsky and Lisa Linsky have pulled the curtains back on something that is really fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyable.

I remember back in the day a band called SKY, who recorded great classic works and breathed new life into them, here the Linsky’s have taken a much adored piece and offered an alternate style and it works superbly, the piano drives a steady and textured performance, whilst the acoustic guitar from Jeff adds a layer of lightness to the presentation that makes the composition all that more open and accessible. I can personally see this version going down well with the listeners, so give it a try, you may agree with me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Everything By Melany Thompson




Melany Thompson

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I first came across Melany Thompson back in 2019 with the release of her album Memories of Home, today some 4 years later my mind is graced by the most pleasurable new single entitled Everything. This brand new offering however is without doubt one of the most tender solo piano manifestations I think I have heard this year, and because of that alone Melany should be proud of her composition.

Now there is another dynamic to bring into this scene of musical pleasure, attached to this beautiful creation is some of the most poignant art work you could wish for, and gazing at it will not only enhance your musical experience, but it may well move you deeply as well, bringing forth perhaps memories from a much simpler and less worrying time.

Melany’s performance is gentle, she literally caresses the piano with her hands and ushers forth such a delightful tapestry of tones, the use of minor chords in this piece actually create a feeling of sincere and uncomplicated love, as opposed to it being over reflective. I believe this may well be the artists best work thus far, and I for one hope it is a huge success on the charts for her too, so why don’t you allow yourself to get caught up in the moment with Everything by Melany Thompson.

Kealakekua Bay By Johannes Linstead


Kealakekua Bay


Johannes Linstead

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Kealakekua Bay is located on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii and is the subject matter for this latest single from one of the finest acoustic guitarists of his day in Johannes Linstead.

Johannes has depicted this idyllic part of the globe perfectly, the smooth Hawaiian mood, the soft pastiche of another glorious day, and from the tone and timbre of the composition one can also smell the salt in the air, and the gentle sea breeze blowing across the avenues of your mind.

This multi-instrumental delight is the perfect style for a long hot summer on the beach; if you can’t chill out to music like this then you are missing out on a musical opportunity of sheer bliss, unadulterated calm and pure serenity!

Johannes Linstead has been on my musical radar since 2004, ever since he released an album based on my location called Mediterranea, but here is the artist now some 19 years later embracing the singles culture with an absolute flourish, Kealakekua Bay by Johannes Linstead is destined to be a huge summer hit with the ease of an August sunrise, so pass me another cocktail, and press play one more time, this is pure heaven.

Sunshine Stride By Curtis Macdonald


Sunshine Stride


Curtis Macdonald

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There has been one musician from my time in global radio that has always brought me calm, peace and serenity, and when you see his name pop up with a new release you can count on it being of the highest quality and standard, that man is Curtis MacDonald and his new single Sunshine Stride once more fits the parameters previously mentioned.

However I believe that Curtis has gone a stage further with this new offering, as we have a truly upbeat anthem to enjoy and indeed one that does exactly what it says on the can, it fills you completely full of a sunshine mood, and puts you in a Sunshine Stride.

The almost funky beat flows with precision into a dance like structure, one that manifests a really chilled vibe; this is without doubt the sort of song you would wish to hear on a day at the pool or beach. Curtis has been on a wonderful roll lately, and I have the feeling that Sunshine Stride is going to be another huge hit for the artist in the global charts this summer.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Through It All By Lisa Swerdlow

Through It All


Lisa Swerdlow

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Through loss and grief we can grow, we can understand the preciousness of the life we have, and just how delicate and breakable it is, through music we can heal wounds at first thought unhealable, and by the very act of creating music we can transcend the pain, understand the ache of a lost love and finally move onward again, this new album is the most cathartic of all journeys for the artist and perhaps for the listener too, illustrating that it is possible to hope once again, when all around is darkness.

On Through It All we have eight incredibly powerful, moving and emotive arrangements, from the shadowed halls of the opening piece itself, as A Rhapsody Lives in You almost cries in its tone and timbre, but also musically a piece that has one of the most beautiful melody lines contained within, this is indeed one of the most sublime tracks I have heard for quite some time.

Song for Lucie is a charming and dream like composition that seems to drift across a romantic horizon; it is a song created in love, for love and by love. The performance builds and progresses to a level of reflective passion that simply cannot be matched, and of course the title track Through It All, which is a remarkable reflective, heartfelt arrangement.

The healing power of music reverberates through pieces like Til We Meet Again, a track with such a calming vibe, and offerings like Finding My Way, that illustrate the contemplation of moving a piece on the chess board of life once more, but within the performance lays the hesitancy of doing so.

This is an album that is truly personal to the performer, but it is a subject that may well have touched most of us during our lifetimes, so it could well be an opportunity to go on a cathartic journey with her too.

Pieces like the beautiful November Moon and the concluding composition Spring Equinox Persephone Returns offer us all that sense of hope, for me, I live in the country that the legend of Persephone came from, and the daughter of Zeus and Demeter is always a powerful aspect of a future that is going to be that much brighter, and may I say what a superb and honourable way with which to conclude the album.

Through It All by Lisa Swerdlow is one of the most honest and heart felt albums in this genre I have listened to for many a year, born from loss, created by a hand that has loved and understood it, and manifested by such a respectful compassionate creator in Lisa Swerdlow, one can only stand back, take a deep breath and acknowledge the body of work she has shaped here, a story, a tale through the narrow avenues of sorrow and grief, and to once again hopefully stand in the sunlight of a new day, a wondrous wish for us all, and simply an emotional charged collection of solo piano compositions that everyone should have.


Thursday, July 6, 2023

Beyond Your Dreams By James Michael Stevens


Beyond Your Dreams


James Michael Stevens

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There have been many pianists that have drawn landscapes of beauty from their piano over the decades, but one of the legendary ones in this modern era must be James Michael Stevens, his calming reveries have soothed the soul and eased the furrowed brow over the last 3 to four years for me personally, and he is back again with another blissful collection of sublime songs called Beyond Your Dreams.

One constant is James desire to manifest tranquil tones of an almost healing nature from his piano, and on tracks like the title offering Beyond Your Dreams, and the following musical narrative A Simple Peace you can hear just that and more, as each creation manifests a warm bed of sound and comfort.

This album is a 12 track opus of many delights; songs like Moments of Tranquillity raised my flagging energies with its flowing cascade like motifs and its happy melody, while arrangements like Soon the Butterflies drew artistically, musical descriptions about one of my favourite creatures, and Steven’s beautifully portrayed a delightful gossamer like performance on this track with such a textured ease.

One of the most impressive compositions from the album was the darker side of the artist on the piece Beneath a Solemn Sky. One could imagine with ease walking out on a day, as the stratus clouds hang low and ominous over a sad and sullen landscape, the use of the minor chord here was incredibly creative and much appreciated.

James Michael Stevens is a prolific composer of soothing musical piano narratives and on Unsung Lullaby, our last track, he delivers a composition that rounds things nicely up for us all. The melody reminds me of misty old attic where score sheets lay, but perhaps the last sheet is missing, lost to the dusts of time themselves, in this last but amazingly artistically created composition, one could imagine a song like this last manifestation being used in a ghostly theme within a movie perhaps.

Beyond Your Dreams by James Michael Stevens is another classy album in a long line of releases that will bring the listener calmness and serenity, but also here is an album that takes its audience on a journey of mystery and imagination like never before, and as such I rate this as the best work of the artist thus far, without a shadow of a doubt Beyond Your Dreams by James Michael Stevens has to be a must by for any serious piano fans across the globe and anyone who likes their music to take them somewhere.

Into The Light by Lisa Cullum


Into The Light


Lisa Cullum

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Recently I have noticed a trend to a far more descriptive style of music, especially in the piano genre, what also pleases me is that the duration for these new singles is also increasing, this is a double reason to be very happy indeed, and this latest new release from Lisa Cullum ticks both of those boxes and more, and is called Into The Light.

There is a sensitive compositional structure about this new release that is so evident and appealing, Cullum’s gentle, yet explorative approach here is something to really enjoy, the added orchestration doubly so, and we can walk slowly through the dark corridors of time until we burst into the light of a new reality with this new offering.

Lisa has produced here something quite moving, deeply artistic and incredibly smooth and fluent, this without doubt is the artists best work thus far, and a song that should bring her both a very high chart placing and also much deserved recognition from fans of the many piano genres globally, as Into The Light by Lisa Cullum is a shining example of very classy instrumental music indeed.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Wonder Why By East Collectors


Wonder Why


East Collectors

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Understanding the concept of love and the relationships that surround it has been a constant enigma that has haunted each of us throughout time, and I guess it always will, here Jimmy Østbygaard teams up with vocalist Liva Dongsgaard under his project East Collectors and once more explores the thorny and confusing subject of rejection and broken love.

The subject is well known indeed, but the key to the beauty of this song are the lyrics and the vocals, Liva truly performs them with the confusion, sadness and a final resignation of her lost love in an impressive performance.

Songwriter and bass player Østbygaard delivers a delightfully smooth melody and chorus, which manifests into a sublime overall composition and arranged in a modern style ballad which should bring the artist and his manifestation instant glory, here lies one of the best produced singles in this genre I have heard for quite some time and one that I am certain will resonate with the listeners.