Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Shores of Atlantis By Ross Mitchell


The Shores of Atlantis


Ross Mitchell

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This brand new single from pianist and composer Ross Mitchell has to be one of the most colourful tapestries of sound that I have heard in the genre of piano with added instrumentation for quite some time, a single that brought back a few memories for me too, and called The Shores of Atlantis.

I used to host a show by the title of this new single, and it indeed used to feature music very similar to this, Atlantis itself is also close to my heart given that I live on the island of Cyprus, one of the postulated sites of that ancient world.

The almost neo classical start to this piece was simply perfect and one that flowed beautifully into the pianists repeating piano motifs. This is one creative composition that has a special fluency, the orchestration and change of vibrancy added layer upon layer of crafted expertise, and onwards to the crescendo and a slight pause, which then elevated the piece to a soundtrack level entirely.

Here is a very pleasing new composition by the artist, one that draws a picturesque musical narrative of the lost city in a most pleasant and graphic way, surely a big hit could well be on the cards for The Shores of Atlantis by Ross Mitchell

Just Answer Me by Victor Birkan


Just Answer Me


Victor Birkan

Written by

Steve Sheppard


When it comes to expression and the musical skill set of portraying it, there can be few better than the master of felt piano creations in Victor Birkan. This new single entitled Just Answer Me has descended upon the globe and its imploring musical narrative flows forth in an unstoppable manor.

The tempo is decisive; its pace slowly creates a delicious passionate refrain, and gathers momentum as it goes. One can almost feel the tension fly from the fingers of the pianists as he implores, Just Answer Me, the higher notes were equally an appeal to clarity, that were wonderfully arranged.

The composition flows like on oncoming tide of music, and the flourish with which it has been composed is beautifully described by the pianist, and his ever flowing artistic moments of sublime inventive felt piano are without doubt palpable. Birkan is a regular in the singles charts these days with his manifestations, and I see no reason why Just Answer Me shouldn’t join them to further cement the foundations of his musical legacy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Autumn Glory By James Marienthal


Autumn Glory


James Marienthal

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I have been blessed lately with some of the most beautiful compositional structures about the season of change in autumn, long may this continue, it is in my view the most wondrous season of the year. It is therefore my good fortune to be further blessed by another glorious new single on the subject, one by James Marienthal and entitled Autumn Glory.

The flute performer has manifested here some of the most compelling instrumental music on this time of year, we can literally stand in the ever changing forest with the artist, and listen to nature celebrate all around us, as the composer of this most fluent of reveries has carefully added such sweet natural sounds to his compositions, one’s which are perfectly balanced with his flute.

Autumn Glory by James Marienthal is a celebration of the season, it is a musical recognition of these wonderful months and the natural experiences we garner from them, his presentation on flute is tranquil, calming and centring, here is a flute performance that takes us to its location and allows us to fully enjoy its magical creation. This is without doubt one of the most enjoyable flute performances I have heard this year.

Monday, October 23, 2023

More of This By The Song Gardeners


More of This


The Song Gardeners

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Alive and positive, vibrant and inspiring, that would be how I would sum up The Song Gardeners career thus far; however this brand new single by the ladies of empowerment is probably the most up-tempo offering they have ever produced.

This almost disco styled anthem is going to be a huge hit with their fans and new listeners, and just when the world needs it too. More of This is performed by Mary Gospe with her soulful lead performance, and Corrie Dunn’s harmonic convergence of bliss.

Lyrically The Song Gardeners always manifest just what is needed and at the right time, and never has there been a better time to fill the globe with love and positivity, and this can be found in abundance via the medium of this wondrous song of gratitude, by the most exciting new age band on the planet, The Song Gardeners.

With its vibrant beat, its soulful refrains, and its addictive inspirational tones, this one has to be a massive hit for the artists, its undeniable intent, its bridge to completion, and its willingness to stay solidly in the moment of happiness and love, is always the best path to a blissful happy life, and here it is, you now have an anthem to take you there musically via the brilliance of More of This by The Song Gardeners. 

For those who love to watch videos of the music, The Song Gardeners also have a video for More of This, you can watch it here:

Friday, October 20, 2023

Dawn's First Breath By Ryan Judd


Dawn's First Breath


Ryan Judd

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The art of creating ambient soundscapes is a delicate procedure, a method that takes time to mature, and Ryan Judd has most certainly done that. Here on this brand new single he once more manifests a perfect slice of ambience with Dawn's First Breath.

Judd for me personally, is one of those extremely rare acoustic guitarists that I could listen to on repeat for hours, and this new offering is a fine example of why I feel that way, he caress the strings, he allows the music to flow like a fine wine and he manifests a beautiful tone with which we can simply float off into peace filled reveries with.

The technique of creating a soothing narrative like this is patience, fluency, and going within, to go with the moment; the result is that with this serene synth back drop and the acoustic bliss, I believe that Ryan Judd is building a legacy for himself, which will have so much benefit for all those who listen to songs like Dawn's First Breath, a song that draws such a tranquil narrative of an early morning reality, this is musical meditation at its very best, and some of the best ambient guitar that has been produced in the last decade with ease.

Dream Among Nature By RAF 21


Dream Among Nature


RAF 21

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I really never thought the day would come that I could be blown away by an albums utter beauty, after 25 years in the music business and hundreds of reviews later, here I am standing in the field of utter bliss with this latest creation by RAF 21 entitled, Dream Among Nature.

The opening of this album is something to behold, the natural sound of a bird calling draws a beautiful musical narrative of peace and tranquillity, through the keyboards and synths of the artist we are gifted a track that hovers like an early morning sunrise and then floats like the mist that’s burnt off on a sun kissed pond on a blissful June morning, and of course we are referring to the proud title track Dream Among Nature.

If ever an album was idyllic this is it, we have tracks like Self Empathy 3 that start with a delicious keyboard organ styled progression, the gentle waves of an ocean lapping up to the shores and kissing the sand with each tender caress, then we slip safely into the arms of Harmonic Senses where a deeper layer of calm can be found.

One truly special moment comes next, the last single from the artist in Peaceful Walk in the Forest, this dream like reverie floats across a sky of dreams, like a hot air balloon on an august afternoon, its hovering intensity reminding me of Ancient Hedgerows by Kevin Kendle and its harmonic fluent synths of Liquid Mind tracks throughout the ages, the natural sounds and visual landscaping done here by RAF 21 is nothing short of masterful genius.

The album is a blissful and happy 13 tracks long, with classic therapy styled offerings like Sea Waves Therapy, Healthy Rainfall feat Hertzsprung and Nature Relaxation, all of them so redolent of their various subject matters, and all of them so creatively intelligent and soothingly manifested.

The concluding offering  More Empty is really pretty emotional, but perhaps that’s just the release that I needed, the organ styled keyboards and natural sounds here I found were the perfect vehicle with which to leave this stunning project with, this is truly an album I am going to remember for an eternity.

Dream Among Nature by RAF 21 is an album that the world needs now more than ever, it is a blissful sanctuary of sound that soothes the mind and pacifies the soul, this is one of those albums that has a timeless refrain to its beautiful compositions, and I am sure it will be a release that will be a part of musical collections the world over forever. Dream Among Nature by RAF 21 surely must be a chart topping award winning album, it is that good. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Storm By Minna Ora




Minna Ora

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I must pass this to my eldest daughter; she is a rock fan and learning to speak Finnish. This new single by vocalist and guitarist Minna Ora might well suit her musical tastes, it certainly does mine. The lyrical talent is powerful and shows a strong form of rock that is much needed in these continuing days of trouble and strife.

Minna Ora states in her wonderfully inspiring song “Hear me shout, listen to me. I will not just break down at your feet. Hear me out; you’d better listen to me. I won’t surrender, I won’t give in.”

Storm as a song could drift across each age of humanity; reminding us of the lessons we have never learned from, however the message within this creative and powerful manifestation is perhaps even more insightful, as it is spoken from a place of confident decisiveness and love. The compositional structures are very well crafted and beautifully produced; this is strong and positive rock composition, one that may just make a difference to those with the good sense to obtain a copy for their musical collections.

A shout out must also be given to those who were also involved in the creation of this new release, they are: Tuulia Vihanto, Kämy Kämäräinen, Jussi Sinervo, Kari Ora, Jari Salo, Elma Kämäräinen, Juhana Suninen and Marie Strømnes.

COSMOS VI By David De Michele




David De Michele

Written by

Steve Sheppard


David De Michele is a prolific creator of quality electronic space music, so when it is announced that another new album is on offer, this is always a major event I really look forward to, and I am pleased to say that my journey through the stars via the medium of Cosmos VI the new album, was an utter delight that I enjoyed immensely.

The first track highlights the start of our own very universe; a small packed location in space and time would then soon expand though a Singularity, to the ever increasing reality we see today. Here the artist delivers a breath taking keyboard based composition, layered with harmonic vocalisations and swirling synths, where one could easily imagine the dark textures of a black hole and then into an ever changing singularity.

The cosmic winds of time allow us to drift into the next track with ease; a gentle synth leads the way, one that soon elevates its energies on the track Memories of Home. David’s sensitivity comes to the fore here, and with the delicate vocalisations and keyboard work, one can visualise how a new reality may well provoke thoughts of our home, our little blue marble of sorts, this is without doubt one of the most moving pieces from the album, and one that I am sure will make a playlist or two in weeks to come.

Novus is a stunning composition that seems to draw on the energies of a galactic birth, a star being born into the universe, new light and heat for a life somewhere. This Vangelis styled opus has a wonderfully powerful refrain, and a deeper vault of electronic wizardry, the slight pause and change at around the half way juncture is a brilliantly crafted moment of sheer genius, and changes the entire tonal ratio of the arrangement.

The next intelligent step after the previously sparkling manifestation is Inertia, a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state, here De Michele is at his electronic best, and pulls off a song that does exactly what it says on the can, it holds its course, and after the birth of a new star we are given a foundation with which to view its glory, this is a classy and crafted offering that is riveting to listen to.

Classic David De Michele is up next with the midway track Parallel Worlds, swirling synths, and angelic vocalisations are all setting the scene for a multi-universal creation. The delicious tempo and its careful progression is utterly enticing, this is one of those tracks that would be absolutely perfect for the opening of a Planetarium show. 

Fusion continues on from the last offering, but with a slightly calming musical narrative, the multi repeating modulation combined with the flowing synths made this a deeply interesting track, one could flow within its musical embrace, but then be utterly impressed by its change in direction and tone, a wonderfully clever piece indeed.

We now flow into the labyrinths of Indigo Blue World, another moving opus of emotive brilliance. This may well be one of the most expressive creations I have ever heard from the artist, the peak, flow, and harmonies, are coalescing into an abundance of reflective genius, the mood changes at just over the half way mark and morphs into a true Vangelis Albedo 0.39 moment; this is a startlingly powerful composition indeed.

It is inevitable that one day in the future we will find the subject matter of this track in Extraterrestrial, to paraphrase Mister Spock, “I like to believe that there are always possibilities.” indeed it is logical. However I am sure that even the cold blooded Vulcan would have loved every second of this masterful musical performance by the artist, one that is both insightful and inspiring, and is electronic space music at its very best.

Now time for a soundtrack event as we listen to Multiverse, this composition certainly does have the wow factor. This track in its content carries in a forward motion on from the piece Parallel Worlds in its musical postulation, one common assumption is that the multiverse is a patchwork quilt of separate universes all bound by the same laws of physics, whatever the outcome this philosophical theme has been a conduit of discussion since the times of the ancient Greeks. Perhaps De Michele has created the soundtrack for that debate in this splendidly powerful piece.

The last but one offering is entitled In the Silence of Space, it is hard to picture the vastness of the universe, let alone the entire cosmos, and in the most ambient creation from the album the artist achieves a classy juxtaposition, one that has the vibrancy of his electronic mastery, partnered with a softer fluency of a pastiche of incredibly superb synth work, this is a top notch track and would indeed make an excellent single release with its passionate and harmonic melodies.

So here comes the last composition and one that is also the longest piece off the release and quite proudly also the title track Cosmos VI. The unfathomed unlimited expanse of the universe may well be too much to comprehend, but through De Michele’s concluding creation, the final piece of the jigsaw may well have been found in its entire vibrational structure. This last manifestation of six and a half minutes is a blissful coalescence of both beauty and electronic artistic genius, and of course utterly the best way with which to conclude the album.

COSMOS VI by David De Michele is without a shadow of a doubt the artists most complex album thus far, however the base and foundations previously set still remain, but layer after layer of intelligently manifested work has been added on top. This is the artist at his best, at his most fluent, and at his most artistic. On COSMOS VI De Michele has clearly gone where no electronic musician has gone before, by manifesting music for the multiverse, the cosmos and the known universe into one startling brilliant album, this work really has to be supported by all who listen, and held up as one of the finest examples of electronic space music around today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

11:11 am (Flute & Guitar Version) By Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán


11:11 am (Flute & Guitar Version)


Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán

Written by

Steve Sheppard


This song 11:11 am (Flute & Guitar Version) comes at an interesting time for me, as my wife Chrissie Sheppard Is studying Numerology, she would say that 11:11 is considered to be a significant moment in time for an event to occur, in fact there have been many postulations over the eons of time that give credence to this time of day, however the beauty of the moment is bathed in a sonic shower of stylish complexity by Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán with 11:11 am (Flute & Guitar Version) being their new single.

Musically this is an utterly beautiful piece, one that deserves multiple listens, Fraser’s flute combined with Galán’s acoustic guitar bring forward a memory or two of the old days of artists like Jethro Tull, when the flute of Ian Anderson reigned supreme, the lush and textured guitar has a colourful and vibrant folk ethic about its construction that is so very compelling.

11:11 am (Flute & Guitar Version) by Shere Fraser & Manuel Galán is truly blissful, and they have produced something very special here indeed, it’s also something very addictive, but also light hearted and textured in its reverie. I can personally see this song doing extremely well in the charts, it ticks so many boxes, and it is without doubt is one of the most charming flute and guitar based tracks I have heard for many years, this is top notch instrumental magic that everyone should grab a copy of post haste.

Childs Play By Chrissie Sheppard


Childs Play


Chrissie Sheppard

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Chrissie Sheppard has been a huge horror film fan for most of her life, on this new single of hers Childs Play, she can enjoy a moment of masterful creation in homage to her film preferences of those days of future past.

There is also a shift in dark ambient horror styled music going on these days, whilst thunder, rain and storms seem to be shifting to more new age nuanced tracks, children’s giggling and laughter and play sounds are far more scary, the corruption of innocence perhaps, but they are moving into the genre with a deft ease?

Here Chrissie has wonderfully crafted a single release that has all the hall marks of perhaps being one of the scariest pieces of music the flute performer has ever created, with footsteps, clocks, whispers, ethereal vocalisations, echoes, a ghostly child’s voice, Gregorian chants, and flute and keyboard effects, Chrissie has created her most unique piece yet with utter ease.

Childs Play by Chrissie Sheppard is a must have for Halloween, or for that moment when you desire to bathe your senses in a movie from the darker side of life, just remember, when listening to this single, make sure you are really alone in your house, and if you do hear a whispered child’s voice say into your ear “If they don’t let us play, they all go away. “RUN!

The Haunted Palace by Steve Sheppard


The Haunted Palace


Steve Sheppard

Written by Chrissie Sheppard


Steve Sheppard has been in full flow recently releasing some great new compositions, this time he has created a piece of music that was originally going to be a Halloween track, but that all changed when he found the poem by Edgar Allan Poe called The Haunted Palace, this made him rethink his composition, and added himself reciting some of the poem, but let’s look at the music itself.

The sound of crows and wind in the distance, maybe the start of a storm our the opening sounds, then the synths come into play as the first part of the poem is recited, then then horror of Halloween kicks in, children singing, voices and an organ all bring the spooky feeling to the arrangement, the added sound of the wind just adds to the overall feeling of the piece.

The second part of the poem is recited as we approach the end of the arrangement, along with more dark added sounds, voices and a clock chiming to end. I love this dark side of Steve Sheppard coming through in the music; it’s very spooky, so maybe as he says, it is best to listen to with the lights on!

The Haunted Palace by Steve Sheppard is a great piece of music, not just for Halloween, but for those dark nights of winter too, and even maybe for a short video of movie clip, so I can see it doing well in the charts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Be Brave By Wejfi


Be Brave



Written by

Steve Sheppard


New on the block to me is the artist Wejfi, but this brand new single is full of intent, intensity and purpose and called Be Brave. A tentative start explains the narrative of uncertainty and concern, the electronic mastery then builds and progresses to a point where a measure of confidence is literally palpable, and then towards the conclusion, a glorious outcome is found.

Here we can find an artfully created composition by the artist, one that takes the listener from its roots of sadness and hopelessness, to victory and success, somewhere most of us will have been at some stage in our lives.

The performance here by Wejfi is well thought-out, carefully paced with a constant build on tempo, and then adding, in the latter part of the song, some inspiring percussion, it sealed a truly clever new single release for the artist.

Be Brave by Wejfi is a soundtrack of a composition, one that grows and manifests as it goes and inspires. A very classy new instrumental electronic recording can be found here, one that contains a wonderful flowing vibrancy about its construction and musical narrative.

Cosmic Engine By M. Cross Dougherty


Cosmic Engine


M. Cross Dougherty

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Autumn is my favourite time for listening to ambient music, for me the change in textures of light and heat allows the senses to breathe and enjoy a more expansive experience of the nature around us, truly good ambient music is the soundtrack to this mental perambulation. So let’s take a look at the M. Cross Dougherty release Cosmic Engine.

Transmission is utterly perfect for a musical discovery of such sensory freedoms; and is the opening track off this four piece release, the gentle energies of this creation reminded me both of Autumn Light by Darshan Ambient, mixed with a trip into Eno’s Lightness, music for the Marble Palace, never did loops and FM synthesis sound so good, and so captivating.

Track two is Clear Light; I would advise all listeners that wearing headphones will make the experience of listening to this album even more compelling. Here is a track that flows, hovers with hypotonic resonance and has a slightly darker refrain from the previous offering, it is a creation that manifests and grows with each passing measure, and is also the longest offering from the release at well over 6 minutes in duration.

Ultraviolet is our penultimate piece, this arrangement had a deceptively layered depth to it, the sounds, structures and loops are incredibly creative, and as an electronic ambient musician myself, it gave me a good deal to think on in an ultra-influential way. The inventive electronic manifestations within this offering flowed and drifted with an ambient and almost meditative construct at times.

We arrive at the last portal of the release, a composition entitled Desatita, this would be one of my favourite pieces from the release, the repeating loops and gentle backdrop of sound created for me an ambience of unbound nature, a state of musical mind akin to a being totally connected to everything, this holistic and universal masterpiece is a reminder that intelligent, artistic, electronic, ambient music is out there to be found and can be thoroughly enjoyed by getting a copy of Cosmic Engine by M. Cross Dougherty, which in my view is one of the most interesting and fascinating albums I have heard this year with ease.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Nothin’ Gets Lost By Ban Brothers


Nothin’ Gets Lost

By Ban Brothers

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard


Nothin’ Gets Lost is the 12th single release off of the Ban Brothers album Guiding Star, and is a great example of old meets new. It is an arrangement with a driving beat and some really great lyrics, a real love song all about appreciating the times we spend with someone special, sung by session vocalist Ethan C.

For me, it feels like the song crosses through many different eras, from the 1980’s right through to the early part of this century, but it did remind me of the band of that era called The Jellyfish.

The song was written and composed by Swagata "Ban" Banerjee (of Ban Brothers) who told me that during the 1990s to early 2000s, he was very attracted to Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty’s song writing style, and that he had also taken some general music theory lessons and some lessons on guitar, and feels that maybe this could have been an influence on the music.

Nothin’ Gets Lost is a passionate creation, full of positivity and as vibrant as you can imagine, and a piece that will stay in your head for ages after listening, so that is always a good sign.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Belonging Here By Michelle Qureshi


Belonging Here


Michelle Qureshi

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Acoustic guitar composer and performer Michelle Qureshi, is one of a few instrumentalists that keep me entranced with their music, and in a state of meditative harmonic bliss, here Michelle has manifested another golden moment of musical magic, with the creation of her latest single Belonging Here.

Qureshi has been in full flow lately, with her muse working overtime and coming up with utter gems of instrumental serenity, Belonging Here takes this journey that one stage further, and has an almost classical style to its manifestation, but performed in an almost medieval way, akin to the performance of Tony Iommi  with Sabbath on the song Fluff!

Belonging Here has that rich melodic structure contained within and weaves a sense of mystery, but one that resides in a totally safe environment; this for me is one of the artist’s most compelling compositions yet, a delicate pastiche of colour can be found here, and soft textures of musical intelligence also, this is instrumental acoustic guitar music at its apex.

And for those who like to watch musicians performing their music, you can see Michelle Qureshi playing this piece on her YouTube Channel by following this link:

Primal Memories By Al Solbjor & George Penedo


Primal Memories


Al Solbjor & George Penedo

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There is a gentle softness to this October day which is incredibly calming, and this brand new single, Primal Memories by Al Solbjor & George Penedo, just adds to that ambience, and manifests a moment of pure peace and serenity; the gentle combination of flute and drum is just what is needed as the seasons change.

This is a classic convergence of a harmonic bliss; the pairing have indeed brought something of great beauty into the world, the flutes soothing narrative drifts on the cadence of the day, and each and every note of this stunning new single is much appreciated.

There is an underpinned rhythm here that whilst vital to the overall construction of the composition, hides itself within the confines of the deeply haunting, and fluent brilliance of a creative meditative experience. Here also lies a piece of music that would be utterly ideal for a journeying session, or whilst in nature, where one can truly appreciate those Primal Memories.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Acoustic Oasis By Shambhu


Acoustic Oasis



Written by

Steve Sheppard


A new Shambhu release is always something to look forward to, a whole slice of calm and serenity will be coming your way on the pressing of the play button, here on this brand new album entitled Acoustic Oasis, the guitarist has manifested 10 incredible songs, one specifically would even inspire me beyond what I thought possible, but first let’s start our sojourn with the new release as we set sail on our very own acoustic ocean.

Lumina starts our musical journey, here is a piece that I totally adored, Shambhu’s use of pause here was remarkable, the major minor feel was also a wonderment to enjoy, and indeed a sublime start to any acoustic voyage.

The next track is called Lazy Afternoon a composition that allows you to kick back and enjoy the day as an observer. The performance by Shambhu here is so redolent of the subject matter, the slow paced presentation, the easy laid back vibe, simply put this is blissful.

Shades of Light is another scenic pastiche of textures and colours, there is a gentleness here that is to be admired. As an acoustic performance goes, this is sun kissed and almost jazz like in its creative expression at times, songs like this one are extremely rare, so it’s best to enjoy moments of descriptive brilliance and artistic genius like this when they occur, and just be totally in the moment with them.

On Pathway the artist is on home territory, the sound of a sublime guitar calmly echoes though the musical forest in a timeless repose, indeed this is what Shambhu is so very good at, making music that is seemingly beyond borders, and with each manifestation a new realm of serenity is born.

Sunscape continues the theme set by the last track and its melodious harmonies reminds me of artists like Vin Downes or even Will Ackerman, there is something about this track that would be very easy to create lyrics for and its light hearted reverie builds a moment of happiness as it plays.

So here it is, that moment I hinted at in my opening gambit, this is without doubt my favourite all time track of Shambhu and called Inner Light, I have to admit I have listened to this piece alone at least 5 times now and it’s amazing. Here one can find a level of expectancy, a feeling even of apprehension and an essence of a mysterious revelation about to be found. The performance and guitar work is masterful, and the slow carful tempo using the minor structures simply blew me away on the most atmospheric track off the release.

Winding Road is a road trip composition; I could imagine travelling through the countryside to this one with ease, as Shambhu once again illustrates his skill set of being able to perfectly manifest a pictorial image and scene within his music. The onward motion and uplifting energy of this presentation was utterly splendid.

We now swim into the deeper waters of the release as we reach the shoreline of the track Afternoon Rye. This is another very easy on the ears creation from the artist, one that could easily illustrate for me pulling back the curtains, opening the windows and watching the day unfurl around you, the serenity that the guitarist brings here is vast and deeply relaxing.

The penultimate track off the album is the beautiful Love Garden, harmonic, layered and delicate; its warm and tender performance reminds me in part of Australian artist Ian Cameron Smith. This is such a colourful and heartfelt performance, and the additional keyboards here were also a valuable supplement, manifesting a multi-layered and instrumental composition of the highest quality.

The final creation is called Angel Blue and is the perfect ending arrangement; this pretty last manifestation has a serene feel to its construction, and its sweet closing narrative is a total pleasure for each and every listener.

Acoustic Oasis by Shambhu is a bright and sun kissed new release that will bring many miles of peace and musical serenity into your life, here is an album of instrumental superiority and artist genius. I can imagine those sensible enough to purchase this compilation of creativity and calm will be in a heavenly state of bliss for ever. Instrumental guitar music really doesn’t come any better than Acoustic Oasis by Shambhu, here within lays a whole wonderland of tranquillity on the bed of one of the best acoustic guitar performances of the year.

Zero Gravity By David J. Peña


Zero Gravity


David J. Peña

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There can be no doubt that David J. Peña must be one of the most exciting and inspiring pianists of his day, he has that Midas touch with instrumental music that bodes so very well for his future. One only has to cast a look over the shoulder at his last release The Journey, a huge chart topping album that is still charting to this day, quite amazing indeed, but now it’s time for us to voyage once again as we head onwards and upwards, and into Zero Gravity.

Blast off can be achieved by the proud title track; a soft textured start can be found within this offering as we arrive at a point of observation that is almost too vast to think of, looking down from the perspective of an astronaut upon our beloved planet. Zero Gravity is one of those title tracks that burst into a symphonic bliss at the half way marker, leaving you with chills and a tear of appreciation in the eye of the beholder and listener, this is instrumental music at its very best.

The second piece off this release has a wonderfully reflective feel to it, once more that power and intensity are here, the build and progression of this composition is some of the best you will find, there is also a feeling of purpose and intent to be found within the mastery of this piece that is so compelling.
Hour Glass is a constant reminder for us to squeeze as much as we can into our lives, it’s our only one chance to make a difference. The highlights of this incredible arrangement for me were the crescendo and the orchestration, which danced so perfectly with the artist’s piano.

On Dreams We Shared we have a delightful floaty compositional style that seems to bathe in the memory palace of a time well spent; this is Peña on home ground, a full flourishing musical narrative on piano, partnered by perfected orchestration and the juxtaposition of musical thought and reality were simply divine. One could through the composition, truly imagine emotional thoughts, hearts missing a beat, and utter love pouring from the piano on this one.

This track seemed familiar to me for some reason and reminded me of the Holland Phillips song Save The Dance, and called Will You Dance, this would make a good ballad, the lead into the main body of the composition is delicate and delightfully textured, whilst the timing of the orchestration and gentle classical style of it, is something truly to enjoy. There is also a sense of romanticism within this offering that has such a regal posture, that is amazingly compelling in its mood, perhaps even a soundtrack could be found here on this specific track.

This is a piece that I can personally relate too; this year for me on a personal level has been a real breakthrough time for many reasons, so a track like Renewed is so very relevant. I have cast aside old unneeded chains, fears and baggage, and now revel in the dawning of another new day to be so very grateful for. The artist’s performance on this piece is so incredibly powerful, his arrangement speaks for all of us who are now free from oppression of some sort or the other, and can now dance in the freedom and happiness of a glorious sunrise.

Childhood Memories is the very piece that takes us over the half way line of the album, this is the releases feel good moment, and it has all the elements of a big old heart-warming hug. Through the artists gentle and thoughtful performance we are gifted a reflective glance into his past, the trial and tribulations that have made him the man he is today, this is a wonderfully fluent gratitude composition, beautifully performed by the pianist.

The sadness and despair in this next piece is evident, it’s is like a young, lost and lonely child has lost their way, however this dramatic performance by the artist really shows the true colour of the composer, the orchestration, the intensity of the piano and exploding crescendos takes us in a full circle, from despair, to conclusion, from loneliness to loving comfort and care, and Forgiven ends with a crafted and sensitive coda to conclude with.

With certainty we are floating within the deeper waters of the release now and as we do so we come across a charming musical narrative entitled Jeannette. Here is a dedication if you ever wanted to hear one, and written with his daughter in mind many years ago. I for one am gland that David included this light hearted reverie in the album, its energies have so much freedom of expression and happiness about them.

Well here we are at the penultimate piece off the release, and a track called Daydream beams its sparkling radiance over us, and what a composition indeed. Once more the pace, intent and progression all flows into one glorious sea of transcendent beauty, again the artist has manifested a soundtrack offering on this track, this is a true reverie of a better life ahead, from rags to riches, but then we see a slow slide back to the reality, but the awareness is, that even though your days dreams may just be that, life’s not that bad after all, and thus the of lesson of gratitude is learned once more.

The final piece is waiting for us now; this last gift from the composer is called Awaiting Your Return. David has become a true story teller of romantic songs, and on this one his cinematic styled romanticism is incredibly powerful. We could with ease imagine many scenes where lovers are parted, and through great struggle and strife they eventually find the way back into each other’s arms, there can be no doubt that Peña has created for us on this last track, a real power play of a composition with which to end with, and utterly succeeded in doing so.

Zero Gravity by David J. Peña is, and I apologise for any tired old clichés, but when I say it, it is true; Zero Gravity is the best work by the artist thus far, Peña is now excelling in his musical narration and is fast becoming one of the most compelling story tellers of his genre. Zero Gravity by David J. Peña is an outstanding new release that will rivet you to the spot and demand to be listened to, it’s an epic work that must surely be guaranteed top spot on the charts with utter ease.

Many Branches By Lynn Tredeau


Many Branches


Lynn Tredeau

Written by

Steve Sheppard


It is so nice to hear from Lyn Tredeau again, her last creation Reflection seems such a long while ago, but it wasn’t really. Now one of the most creative and emotive female pianists of her day is back with a new manifestation of great songs with an album called Many Branches, and it is this journey through music we now most willingly go.

The opening piece is both delicate but deep in its intent, and one may add, extremely reflective. Tredeau is a true artist in every sense of the word, and here on Room with a View, one can almost visualise the musician sitting gazing out at the mountains while her hands caress the pianos keys, and what comes from them is utter beauty and gratitude, in one of the most loving opening compositions I have heard for quite some time.

Sunshine Tomorrow is our next musical port of call; this is without doubt a soft manifestation of sound, one filled with hope, grace and appreciation, her presentation here is melodic, but always within that structure, there is a refrain that sings of better days to come.

I must admit I am a total lover of the moodiness of the piano, from Beethoven to Bach, from Lanz to, Tredeau, here comes a piece heading your way right now and called On a Distant Hill. There is a wonderfully colourful mysterious quality about this track that I love. Nature is a constant in my life, rolling hills doubly so, one even appears on my last album cover shrouded with mist, it is so pictorial, as indeed is this masterful arrangement.

Many times I have gazed out of my window to see boats drifting across the horizon and over the curve of our beautiful planet; their hulls caress the oceans depths, and as the artist says they simply, Sail Away. This is a beauty of a creation, and Tredeau’s presentation is as sun kissed as the piece itself, new pianists would do themselves a favour by just listening to the harmonic bliss and fluency of this track alone, it is perfection.

The curiously entitled Moon Jellies is up next, interestingly enough this song is about jellyfish, one specific species that the title of this song illuminates; I live on the coast where occasionally we see them, but it’s rare, but it’s also quite beautiful to watch them propel their delicate frames through the water, here the artist spectacularly captures this graceful almost ballet styled movement, through the keys of her trusty piano with an artistic ease.

Now I cannot remember the last time we had rain, so if we get any soon, I will be happy dancing in it! Here on Desert Rain, we have an occurrence that is rare, but it does happen, I live in a very hot country and sometimes it can rain and almost evaporate before it hits the ground, you have to be quick to enjoy it. The slow movement here by Tredeau could well be illustrating the sluggish storm clouds path before despatching their thinly veiled mist as it falls from the sky; this is a wonderfully composed composition, packed with a slow tempered, yet pictorial energy, employing so creatively manifested musical nuances within that are so very appealing.

We are now well within the confines of the second half of this most fine album by Lyn Tredeau and as we tread ever deeper we come across a drifting and harmonic composition entitled Envisaging. This pristine creation has the mood of a waltz within its nature, and its lightness may indeed manifest a mood where literally anything is possible.

Ilunabarra is up next; it is nice to learn something new every day, and apparently this word represents the perfect sunset, something we’re blessed with nearly every day of the year here in Cyprus. Winter sunsets are indeed amazing, so with that in mind I am happy to report that in my view this composition would be perfect for that pre-dusk occasion, the tenderness and artistic intelligence of this arrangement is simply sublime.

To be honest I cannot remember if I have ever ridden upon a Carousel, however the likely hood is very good. This is another very delicate creation by the artist; the high notes here build on the slow swing of the piece to give us a happy refrain, and to bring to the world a piece that is irresistible. 

We are now swimming in the deeper pools of the album as we come across Shadows, the careful and somewhat mournful approach here reminds me of the aforementioned David Lanz in texture, this however is a mysterious and almost deceptive arrangement, illustrating how one can never be sure of what may be hiding just around the corner of life’s rich tapestry, then it occurred to me also, that this very piece would have gone down really well in any movie created by the ever dark, but artistic Tim Burton.

Well we have arrived at the penultimate track off this wonderful new album by Lyn Tredeau called Many Branches, and as we do so we are gifted one more track, in the ever hugging energy of Technicolor Blanket. It is amazing how a simple item either of clothing or a household object can retain such a thing as an emotional response, but it does, I seem to remember the same thing in my life, however the artist has gone one stage further and created a very personal composition about the said blanket, its uses and the memories that it still evokes for her to this day.

The cleverest thing a composer can do is manifest the last track off of any album and that offering is so well created that it leaves the listener wanting more; a compelling concluding song on this very release has been brought into life by the artist and called Morning's Promise. With each sunrise we as creators of our own worlds have the opportunity to do so much good, this in my view is not only a great way with which to leave the album, I also think its anthem like structure could also make a good single for the artist too.

Many Branches by Lynn Tredeau is a very good album; dare I use the old worn out cliché of it being her best work thus far? I am going to yes, this release has a new Tredeau, she has taken her life’s journey and written a full album that holds dear to the wisdom gained, and the knowledge found, this is what musical story telling is all about, and I have no hesitation to state this is a must have for all fans of solo piano, and an album that will be a massive hit on the charts.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Next to Nowhere By Chasm


Next to Nowhere



Written by

Steve Sheppard


Chasm is an undeniable duo and also purveyors of sublime contemporary instrumental music, the blissful refrains from Next to Nowhere are a treat to the ears, a repetitive tale of classy influential music that will take the listener on an almost meditative journey of sorts.

This is one of those singles that simply begs to be listened to, the harmonic convergence of acoustic guitar flute and keyboards majestically manifest a musical realm that drifts across the valleys of time itself.

Mark Esakoff creates some memorable moments on this new single with his guitar, reminding me at times of segments found within glorious progressive rock tracks of the 1970’s, whilst Michael Whipple on both flute and keyboards brings a melodious and fluent timbre and tone into the proceedings.

This is most certainly one of those releases that will be played on repeat by many, it will be loved by fans and seekers of truly good instrumental music worldwide, and I have a sneaky feeling, this could be a huge chart hit for them also.

Winterlüde By David Arkenstone




David Arkenstone

Written by

Steve Sheppard


I used to be a summer child, one who wanted to run free in the golden fields of August’s rich palate, but now I have grown older, I take much solace and beauty from both autumn and winter, I now truly appreciate them. Winter especially is a time of year when nature holds its own court and creates a natural stasis, one that allows us to breath in the freshness of a January day. Here on this brand new album by David Arkenstone, we have all that and more in one of the most picturesque seasonal voyages ever, within the realms of this brand new release Winterlüde.

Arkenstone is a household name in the dimension of new age, neo classial and instrumenal music, but I believe on this new collection of fine songs, some of his best work may bell be hidden in the snow drifts of musical brillance within, for example, listening to the opening offering entitled Warm Lights Flicker Across The Lake is a pleasure beyond pleasures, the tone of this graphic, yet melodic arrangement, is a multi-instrumental delight, a soundtrack even for the dark days of winter, the gentle chimes, the flowing orchestration is in itself a January sunrise of geat inner reflection.

The tendrils of a more modern styled keyboard can be found on this next charming musical narrative entitled The Icy Brook Finds Its Way, its repetitive yet flowing structures highlight the energies of a stream in February, one that continues to drift like the tide of life, never ending, never ceasing. The string sections here added such a deep resonance to this creative arrangement.

I have often romanticised on how flakes of falling snow are like kisses upon the warmth of our delicate cheeks, here on Kisses from the Falling Snow I can once again, through the medium of this quite breath taking opus, vicariously feel that sensation and enjoy its nuances, this has to be one of the most delicate performances I have heard on an Arkenstone album, its warming embrace is as tender as the keyboards and soft strings that flow from it.

As autumn fades into the misty haze of an early December morning, we can slide down the icy pathway and into the all-embracing next offering entitled The World Sleeps. The slow swirling pace of this textured instrumental composition is akin to a very long sleep, when all falls away and we find ourselves drifting in silence. The delicate nature of the strings on this creation is divine and almost meditative at times.

I have heard David in dark ambient mode a few times, here on Darkening Skies, we have that mixed with his ever popular lord of the rings styled orchestration, the build and progression in this piece is extremely clever and draws an exciting narrative of something coming, looming low and ominous on the horizon, eyes widen on children as this could be our first snow fall of the year! The piano here is incredibly powerful, regal in energy and incredibly descriptive.

There are many tales to be told here that simply ask for a little moment of reflection, an installing of the imaginative processes for best total outcome, Little Mysteries in the Snowy Woods is a fine example, it is without doubt one of the most artistic pieces from the release, and builds carefully and inwardly employing a blissfully powerful bass line, an uplifting orchestration, a gentle and guiding onward musical narrative, and some of the most lush vocalisations ever, this is classic Arkenstone and one of the finest example of truly brilliant contemporary instrumental music you are ever likely to find.

Winter can be one of the most profitable times for times for us musicians; I adore walking across the sands in January, when the beaches are bare and there is no one around, this to me is utter ambience and a clear palate with which to create on, this next piece by the musician is a beautiful example of an artist who uses this time of year to explore further his connection to its days, in the track The Return of Jack Frost. The soft glowing start is a tapestry of tone and timbre that is rare to even find these days, and then through great mastery it grows into a work of electronic genius, and then adds a crisp orchestration within its idyllic structures, simply amazing indeed.

Surrounded by Silence took me back to the late 1980’s for some strange reason, the opening of this piece and its melody reminded me of a time in my past that was true and actually real, so with ease I found this offering to be one of the most emotional arrangements I have heard for many years. How often do we allow ourselves the luxury of not just being in the moment, but also of just standing in the silence of it all? Here Arkenstone explores that narrative with some of the most expressive and imploring multi-instrumentation you’re likely to hear, the melody is incredibly compelling and deeply moving, this is utter class.

We drift into the doorway now of our penultimate creation, it is entitled The White Cathedrals. If there was one piece from this album that could be used in a movie then this composition would be one I would point to for any potential director, it has everything needed, it captures the imagination with its careful approach, it caresses the soul with its lush colourful build and textures, which in turn make it so cinematic to listen to, this for me has to be one of the most beautiful compositions I have heard this year with ease.

Upon the crisp light of dawn we rise and gaze across the dreaming fields, we watch a flock of birds head further south, as the silent trees stand in the stasis of evermore. For me this last track entitled Whispers of the Winter Wind, describes in music my aforementioned statement. This is simply wonderful, I think back over the decades and wonder if anyone has explored winter as well as this, and in all honesty I can count those moments on one hand only. The ethereal vocals added to the swirling orchestration of the arrangement, leaves the listener in total awe and heavenly bliss, with one of the cleverest and most intelligent endings to an album ever, by a man who is indeed a true master of his trade.

Winterlüde by David Arkenstone has been for me one of the best spent 40 minutes and 49 seconds of music listening ever, and considering I have been a music writer for some 10 years now that says a lot. Here is a release crafted by the pen of a man who clearly not only knows his trade, but feels his creations from deep down inside his very essence. Winterlüde by David Arkenstone is the artist at his very best, it is an album that that should be an absolute must for this winter, and to be played during all subsequent ones. Arkenstone is an artisan of the instrumental genre, and this could very well become one his best known releases of all time I truly rate it that highly.