Thursday, November 25, 2021

Let It Be By Joseph Sullinger

 


Let It Be

By

Joseph Sullinger

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I have a theory, the day I officially become old, is the day I will mention the name of the group, The Beatles, and someone will say, who? So I guess I will never grow old, as the iconic super group from Liverpool have inspired so many artists along the way, and still do so to this day with a passion.

Let It Be by Joseph Sullinger is far removed from the classical or Latin styles we know the artist for, but this respectful and wonderfully performed acoustic moment of magic, should be saluted as one of the most serene, fluent and moving new versions. Sullinger has felt the song penned by McCartney, and created a smooth and very listenable offering that tips the hat to this legendary group nearly 52 years from its original release, a very classy performance by Sullinger indeed, but then again, this is what we have come to expect from one of the world’s leading acoustic guitar performers.

 


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Endlessly Lost By Samer Fanek

 


Endlessly Lost

By

Samer Fanek

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I have been visiting the halls of musical plenitude for some years now, thanks to the grand and stylish opuses of Samer Fanek. His presentations and performances are always rich and full in both texture and colour, and on this new single, Endlessly Lost, that is pushed even further.

A splendid grand symphonic rock element can be found here on the single Endlessly Lost, this powerful offering contains a mysterious mood, a reflective and thoughtful musical prose, and a flourishing performance on keys by the young musician, on a ballad that wouldn’t be out of place at a Nightwish concert, this indeed is piano with instrumentation at its very best.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Only A Song ft Sian Stables By Andrew Stables and Nick Magnus

 


Only A Song ft Sian Stables

By

Andrew Stables and Nick Magnus

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This flourishing new song by Andrew Stables and Nick Magnus, and featuring the talents on vocals of Sian Stables, is a shot in the arm I needed on this late November morning, with elements of both folk and progressive rock, a vibrant and jolly musical journey can be found here.

There is something very addictive about this offering that is hard to let go of, Stables vocals carries us along on an almost mystical journey, whilst the guitar,  percussion and added instrumentation, drives this musical moment of alternative folk along on its merry way with an outright, and exciting passion.

This is one of those pieces that I believe has an element of addiction within its manifestation, a song that may remind of you of Steeleye Span mixed with a little Jethro Tull perhaps, but certainly a single that should reflect to the listener the quality performances contained within.


A Moment of Zen By Chrissie Sheppard

 


A Moment of Zen

By

Chrissie Sheppard

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Flute composer and performer Chrissie Sheppard has been moving ever onwards in her pursuit of manifesting quality ambient flute productions for her ever growing audience.

Here is a lady who is without doubt in touch with the nature that surrounds her, the muse of creativity that flows through her musical veins and in total symbiosis with her beloved flute.

A Moment of Zen is exactly what it says on the can, this is one of those singles that will bring instant harmony and peace from the first play, through to the countless times you could spin this wonderful composition, the piece is bathed in delicious Native American Style Flute and Tibetan Bowls, and all mixed delicately with natural bird sounds.

I not only rate this as the artists best work so far, but also as one of the best flute based singles and ambient arrangements I have heard thus far this year.


Forgotten Key By Anantakara

 


Forgotten Key

By

Anantakara

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

There is nothing quite like being able to listen to the artistic endeavours of a musician who has such a grasp on mood motion and reality, and to that point I am most grateful to be able to bring to you my thoughts on the latest release by Anantakara entitled Forgotten Key.

This is truly a quality album that has such wonderfully smooth tones and crisp but pertinent notes of value. By listening to the opening foray entitled Right Time - Right Place we have a track that hovers and floats around us, and vibrates at a resonance that manifest something so fascinating, that you will never ever wish to leave it environment.

A slight but sensitive back percussive element can be felt within this next track called Behind Below And Above, almost an alternate suggestion on Phil Thornton’s New Age classic called As Above So Below. Here the artist manifests waves of electronic music that drift, ebb and flow, with a crafted keyboard that is the master off all that it surveys; this is an experimental arrangement that is simply idyllic for any seeker of a free musical sanctuary.

At the half way juncture we come across an offering that I adore, and I am sure that Eno himself would salute this track called Ask The Seer, the inspiration I drew from this piece as a musician was immense, moving from new age legends like Deuter to the aforementioned Eno. This is classic ambient music, a hovering intensity, a manifestation of musical genius to create a void in musical time and space and thus, Ask The Seer is born, this is ambience personified, this is without doubt my personal favourite track off the album.

A horse of a totally different colour can be found on this next composition called Unnamed Rituals. At times this is a track that drifts into the realms of Germany’s Al Gromer Khan, it has a wonderful ethereal flow to its back drop of ambience, whilst in the forefront, a minimalistic sense of a setting is so atmospheric and moody, and wrapped up in an environmental dome of musical pleasure.

Forgotten Key is a stunning album and pieces like La Force Du Coeur [That Heart Courage] shows me that the artist is literally touching the helm of composers like David Wright or Isao Tomita with ease, this is an offering that moves forward and back and from side to side, and whilst doing so compensates for every musical nuance along the way, and is without doubt one of the most inventive pieces from the album.

The last track off the album is called Times Are Changing, this is an arrangement that seems to coalesce and swim within itself, and whilst doing so manifest something different from its exit on the other side of the composition, a clever way to leave the album indeed.

Forgotten Key by Anantakara in my view is the artist’s best work so far; he has challenged his audience to step out of those preconceived boundaries of life, and offered up musical solutions and tones, in a sanctuary of musical ambience and artistic brilliance that I truly believe to be some of the most magnificent electronic music I have heard thus far, this year.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Autumn's Waltz By Shoshana Michel

 


Autumn's Waltz

By

Shoshana Michel

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

I have listened to the latest single to come our way from Shoshana Michel a couple of times now, it’s a felted solo piano piece entitled Autumn’s Waltz, and each time I do so, I have the same image that comes to my mind. The image is an old movie scene, where there’s a couple dancing, in the background you can see it is night time, one of the characters, the female, in dressed all in white, the male is dressed in black, there is a sadness to their dancing, as they only see each other for a short while each year, as summer comes to an end, before winter arrives, and they know it will be a long time before they can return to each other’s arms once more.

There is a real melancholy feel to the arrangement, one that has you hooked from the very first note. This is a great new release from the artist, one that I am sure will be a hit with all who listen to it.


Signs of Hope By Julie Hanney

 


Signs of Hope

By

Julie Hanney

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This brand new offering by Pianist Julie Hanney is indeed one of those songs that gives us all a much need lift, just when we need it. Signs of Hope is the new single, and contained within its sun kissed layers is one of the brightest solo piano arrangements I have heard for some time.

The performance by the artist is played with a heart full of positivity, but it is also very respectful of the journey along the way, a fine presentation by Hanney indeed; we have an upbeat energy, but also a quite clever and crafted underpinned sense of reflection within too, one that I am sure is going to be very attractive to the listener.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Rain Drops By Antonija Pacek and Sanja Romić

 


Rain Drops

By

Antonija Pacek and Sanja Romić

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The combination of Antonija Pacek and Sanja Romić on piano and oboe respectively is truly something to marvel at and thoroughly enjoy, and I can testify to that, I am on my third play in a row, and each time I feel more, I hear more, and I am engaged more by the imploring tones that emanate from it, this is wonderfully special, and perfect also for the now, the latter half of autumn.

The mournful reflectivity by Romić’s oboe seems to dance with the narrative of Pacek’s piano with such great beauty; it is one that manifests something very memorable and textured. This I feel is a symbiosis in music at its very best, and I am sure that a big chart will come from the result of this ultra-skilful and well-crafted performance by both artists.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

One Autumn Night By Christof R Davis

 


One Autumn Night

By

Christof R Davis

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The single most important part of creating a composition is manifesting a narrative that will take the listener on a journey, and allow them to build a visual image from the music themselves, this has been done perfectly by Christof R Davis on this new ep entitled One Autumn Night.

A simple but effective melody is created by the artist on the opening piece called Twilight. The notes are so pristinely played, and the structure around them so redolent of the blackness of the night, and the sparkling star fields appearing slowly from above.

Vixen has a sense of drama about its energies that is most appealing; a passage with a clever construction continues to build in this truly enjoyable offering. It is rare to hear such sensitivity on a piano, but the artist presents this sublimely, in a track that I fell totally in love with, and have now listened to several times over already.

The last piece from this release is called Amber, there is a depth to the performance and composition that is enticing and quite emotive as well, the chord changes are wonderfully fluent here, and the manifestation of the melody equally so, this is as calming to the mind, as an autumn surmise itself.

One Autumn Night by Christof R Davis in a beautiful release by the artist, one that manifests a mood of lightness and shade, in just three short by very poignant tracks. Reflective, moving and wonderfully fluent, would be three words that sum up this classy release by Christof R Davis.

 


Myndstream Fall Flights

 


Myndstream Fall Flights

By

Steve Sheppard

 

It has been great to have been immersed in the Myndstream flights project during 2021, and to my further pleasure we have another flight sojourn to take right now, as we embrace autumn and the beauty it brings through the medium of Myndstream Fall Flights, and the various artists that have created offerings for it.

We start with a colourful solo piano composition called Autumn, composed and performed by Roger Kellaway, the lightness of touch on the keys here is palpable, but the depth that the artist creates is equally exciting in this vibrant piano arrangement, so much so that one could with ease visualise leaves spiralling towards the ground on this most beautiful presentation.

Now as someone once said, it’s time for something completely different, as we head into the realms of the electronic genre with David Baron and a piece called End Of One Thing. A clever performance can be found here with this artistic EM based offering, a build and progression of great quality, some quite fascinating effects, along with a crafted elevation of intensity can all be found in this riveting composition.

We close one door and open up the next, and the realm we find ourselves within now is the land of Acoustica, and thanks to the skill set on guitar of the talented Janet Noguera, we have a beautiful track to enjoy. Favor From The Wind is a soft and reflective arrangement that reminds me in style of a melodic Will Ackerman performance, one that would be perfect music to watch a mid-western sun fall slowly too, this is a track that such grace and textures can be found within.

The autumnal touch of this piece is stunning, called The Golden Hour; it is performed on acoustic guitar by Karlijn Langendijk. There is a wonderful sun kissed reverie here waiting to be found in this work of precise acoustic accomplishment, one feels a sense of an almost classical offering gently floating across the cadence of a late autumn day, and all with such a blissful sense of peace and serenity within its manifestation too.

Our next composition is a curious offering entitled Insects and performed by Larry Fast. Here we find an electronic arrangement that has a mood and intensity all of its own, and mixes several masterful techniques within its realms as we travel through it, in an almost melding of Keith Emerson meets John Carpenter, in what is a wonderfully exciting ride of classy electronic music.

We finish with an old friend in Bernward Koch, this German based composer and pianist has long been on my radar, and regularly creates such beautiful melodies and compositions, and this beautiful reverie entitled An Old Fairy Tale continues that magical consistency for the artist, in a film score styled narrative, that manifests a tranquil vibe whilst bathing in a sea of utter fluency.

These latest releases from Myndstream are sure set to become popular releases with those that listen to them.

 


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Wings Over Water By Brian Kelly

 


Wings Over Water

By

Brian Kelly

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I must admit to being most excited to hear this latest single by pianist and composer Brian Kelly, I seem to have been following his musical progression since 2008 and his album Afterplay, and now, some thirteen years later, comes a powerful and vibrant new single entitled Wings Over Water.

This cinematic solo piano offering is truly splendid, I live near the ocean and it would perfectly fit the flight of various gulls and terns as they make their way across the coastal regions.

The fast paced noted structures are sublime in there context, and the chords manifest a creative backdrop, while the melody is rich in colour and texture. Full marks to Brian Kelly, as I have a feeling that Wings Over Water is going to be a big chart hit for the artist.


Notable 9th By Rada Neal

 


Notable 9th

By

Rada Neal

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

So, what is the connection that both pianist Rada Neal and global explorer Marco Polo have in common? The answer is that they both believe that the journey, not the destination is the most important reason for taking a voyage, whether it’s across the globe, or in the creation of a new solo piano album.

The latter is of course the result of Rada Neal’s efforts, it is indeed an album that creates such calm and tranquillity that it is a pleasure to board its decks and sail across an ocean of musical fluency.

Notable 9th by Rada Neal has 12 simply delicious solo piano tracks that will effortlessly make your day, like the charm and sweet surrender of the opening piece entitled Just a Whisper, or the reflective tones of one of the most emotive pieces off the album entitled Nostalgia.

One of my personal favourites would be the moody and creative Falling Shadows, a wonderful performance depicting the close of day, and the crawling autumnal shadows across the landscape of time.

There are some sublime moments of a heart felt presentation on pieces like the honest and passionate Romance, and the truth seeking reality of one of the most emotional compositions in the deepness of the track, Still a Memory.

There is perhaps a little Celtic influence on the penultimate offering of Banshee, a song that has all the speed and grace of the woman from the fairy mound.

The album is concluded by one of the most beautiful compositions I have heard for piano in a long while, and called Tranquillity, classic new age piano at its best can be found here, with a melody that could have been created by the master of the genre in one David Lanz, what a great way to end the album indeed.

Notable 9th by Rada Neal is an album that for me highlighted all that is good, honest, true and fluent in the world of solo piano, here is an album bathed in an a reflective gaze, and performed with such a heartfelt passion, but done with such consummate grace and professionalism. Notable 9th by Rada Neal is an album that has reignited the genre with a flourish; this is solo piano at its finest.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Sol de Invierno II - Winter Sun II By David Garrido Guil

 


Sol de Invierno II - Winter Sun II

By

David Garrido Guil

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Sol de Invierno II - Winter Sun II by David Garrido Guil has to be the most beautiful singles to have hit my desk since the end of summer. A fine mixture of flute, acoustic guitar, percussion, and I think I even picked up a lute among other instrumentation on this colourful new offering.

This is stunning and redolent of the subject matter; I can tell you that first hand from my home on the Mediterranean, where the sun is now softer, the light more gentle and hazy, and with each passing day memories of a summer past, drift through the mind of tomorrow, with a soft smile upon the face of contentment.

The musicianship on this new song is outstanding and offers up a beautifully presented single that should be a massive hit in the winter charts.

A huge tip of the hat therefore goes to the following artists who have created such beauty.

David Garrido Guil: Piano, classical and soprano guitars, fretless bass, harp, tin & low whistles, synthesizers.

María Barrio Insausti: Transverse flutes and piccolo.

Manuel Garrido Palacios: Classical guitar, sitar and percussions.

Raquel Remesal: Laud and bandurria.

 

 


Friday, November 5, 2021

Mutual Isolation By Burnt Belief

 


Mutual Isolation

By

Burnt Belief

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I have long been a fan of progressive rock, jazz and contemporary instrumental music, so this album is like being a kid in a candy shop for me, as today I get to explore all of those musical sojourns in one album and more, through the medium of Mutual Isolation by Burnt Belief.

So who is Burnt Belief? We have the magical cloud guitar of Jon Durant, on double bass Colin Edwin, the band also feature musicians supreme in drummer Vinny Sabatino, percussionist Andi Pupato, and Aleksei Saks a master of the trumpet from Estonia.

We have all had to endure Mutual Isolation at some point in the last two years, and it has brought some amazing results with it, here on this album the artists manifest a freedom to form unlikely to have been heard before, but one of the most listenable albums you will have allowed to grace your presence for a long, long while.

The opening piece Where it all Began (for TR) is a wonderful pastiche of free form Jazz meets prog rock, it’s one of those addictive arrangements that you will just keep listening to over and again, and each time you do so you will be amazed at the sublime work of Sabatino, and all the little nuances that you will constantly find within the composition as you go.

The rhythm on this next piece was wonderfully palpable and called Month of Moonlight. A smooth offering indeed, funky in a light hearted way, with the guitar of Durant offering a side to the arrangement that brought a great colour to the song, in the same way that the great Carlos Santana did back in the day.

Rosso Portofino as they say is a horse of a different colour completely, the trumpet of Saks partners a clever performance by Sabatino to manifest something that has to be listened to with serious intent, this moody offering highlights also the genius double bass of Edwin, whose performance with Saks sublime brass creates something so very fluent and almost sensual to bathe within.

Resistential signifies that we are now well into the core of the album, it also gifts us a sublime track that has a wealth of percussive brilliance within it too. Once more that delicious rhythm is there, as the band manifests something so fascinating and even mysterious within this crafted arrangement.

Whilst we step into the second half of the album, we do so by coming across a new offering entitled Perilous Terrain, Durant’s guitar and the light but very relevant percussion bring us a global vibe, which reverberates partially into a progressive rock structure, and then floats around in a dark realm of seriously in-depth melodies and structures, ones that build upon a mood of apprehension and tension. This is one of the most intriguing pieces off the release, a track that highlights the genius of one Jon Durant.

The hovering intensity within this next composition is amazing and simply idyllic, the track itself is called The Evolution of Disintegration, a gentle keyboard is further enhanced by one of the great performances on the album, as both Edwin and Durant created, what for me, was a magical moment of guitar and bass, and in doing so birthed one of the best tracks from this collection of superior arrangements; this is a song that could be easily tagged as legendary, it is that good.

Edwin’s opening bass line is as good as you will have heard, since the one that ushered in the single by Elvis Presley called Fever, his performance dominated this new offering called Precipitation. Joined by Durant’s sublime fluency, the band goes onto create a song that is dark with its onward movement, but one that has an underpinned addictiveness to its overall construction.

I did mention from the off that this album crosses a multitude of genres, add world music to that list now as we arrive at the penultimate piece off the album entitled Divine Rascal. This combination of rhythms, percussive genius and sublime bass, gift us something that holds a global ethic musically as well as retaining all that has been created thus far within its boundaries.

The last port of call for us on this musical voyage of plenty is entitled Expanse, and as you may guess from the title of the composition it is indeed the longest track off the album at nearly eleven and a half minutes long, and trust me on this, don’t skip, put your feet up and listen to this arrangement in its entirety, you will be more musically fulfilled because of it. Our final piece is a moment of long form brilliance, a hovering floating start with a keyboard setting the early narrative, then a wonderful combination of all that is good creative and artistic follows, in one of the classiest end of album tracks I have heard for absolutely years.

Mutual Isolation by Burnt Belief is indeed a ground breaking album; here is an opportunity to enrich yourself musically as the album is a land of inventive and masterfully performed offerings that are so very artistically created, ones that have such a depth to their constructions, thus it is an album that deserves to be given multiple listens.

Mutual Isolation by Burnt Belief is a next level album, it is more than just dancing with other genres, this is a release that manifests new ones, whilst creating a musical sanctuary of the soul for the ever eager listener.

 


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Drawing The Winter By RAF21

 


Drawing The Winter

By

RAF21

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The subject of winter musically is always a rich bed of possibilities to draw upon, and here on this very ambient piece, RAF21 (Raphaël Beaudon), has created something very clever, very artistic and very listenable.

Drawing The Winter is a pristine and sparkling new single from the artist, one that manifests an icy cold energy of those days of falling snow and natures slumber.

This crafted performance brings us a sense of ambience that is perfect for this season, and the gentle but very artistic presentation by the artist is sure to become a winner in the eyes of the listening audience.

 


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Don’t Forget By Sylvain Millepied

 


Don’t Forget

By Sylvain Millepied

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

The latest single to come my way from Sylvain Millepied was one again written for the cellist Eva Brönner, it is called Don’t Forget and is an arrangement that once heard, you will not forget the beauty that is contained within.

The piano, cello and flute all come together to create an arrangement that sounds so very vast, but then, there are so many things that we should not forget, so many things that are beautiful in our lives, and the music allows us to spend time thinking about those and remembering them with love and a smile on your face.

This is an amazing arrangement that I am sure will be loved by many, and one that will be a huge hit for the artists and could easily have the potential to be a movie theme.


Silver Hill By Andrea Sertori

 


Silver Hill

By

Andrea Sertori

Written by

Chrissie Sheppard

 

Andrea Sertori is a name that has become a familiar with many over recent months, a name associated with piano performances that are known for their gentle, artistic approach, and this latest single from the Italian artist called Silver Hill is no exception to that statement.

Silver Hill is a gentle, yet uplifting composition from the artist, one that is played with a delicate touch on the keys, with a reflective tone written into the music too. A single release that I am sure will be another success for the artist. 

 


Monday, November 1, 2021

GAGA By Richard Spasoff

 


GAGA

By

Richard Spasoff

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

The uniqueness of GAGA by composer Richard Spasoff spans several genres and touches different landmarks as it goes; this eight track album is inventive, artistic, and at times even experimental.

The opening piece GAGA, our title track, would turn out to be one of my personal favourites, this slow gentle build and progression giving birth to a truly beautiful melody and harmonic resonance, and at times almost symphonic in nature, this is something that we can all enjoy with ease, and for me I found a reflective sense of emotion deep within the weave of the song too.

Tracks like Spiritual Awakening and Jazzy Moon retain a style similar to Avant - garde Jazz, but not free form, there is a freedom here that is obvious, but hidden between the arrangements is a pattern that weaves its own clever narrative.

Of the eight tracks that you will find within this fresh and ground breaking new album by Richard Spasoff, you will note little gems like the emotive tones of Agape, a track so beautiful and at times quite ethereal with its angelic vocalisations and soothing keyboards.

The penultimate track is entitled Raindrops from Heaven and perhaps the symbols illustrate this for us, once more one can feel the emotion within this composition, and a piece that one can truly say is played with the heart on the sleeve of honesty.

GAGA by Richard Spasoff is an album that has been created from a musical heart that cries to be heard, there are tracks within this release that tell a tale and retain a somewhat personal narrative, and ones that reveal a desire to manifest a mixture of experimental music, melded with several tracks that are incredibly moving.



Friday, October 29, 2021

Moments by Ryan Marvel

 


Moments

By

Ryan Marvel

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

I believe that we each live our lives in a sequence of moments, all things change, all life moves forever onward, it’s about surfing the rapids of our lives, and not swimming against the flow of the tide that we must try to do. Here on Ryan Marvels latest offering entitled Moments, we have that aforementioned statement in music, and it is this sojourn of many musical places we can now go.

We start with the first open door of tone called Rays; this is an idyllic presentation, and one that depicts a fresh day full of optimism and hope as the rays of glorious sunlight filter in through an open curtain.

Our next piece called Commencement leads us off on a veritable exploration of life’s rich tapestries, the changes within the song, and those repeating motifs and gentle chord structures are indeed like life, ever changing, with a wistful melody of simplicity.

We all reflect on our past and those times that hold special moments good or bad for us, and for me this next track offers up much with regard to healing those sadder sequences of life, and entitled Yesteryear. The slow tempo and thoughtful progressions are almost dramatic in stature, but mournful in mood and texture.

As previously stated the one thing that is certain in life is Change, here is a track that reflects that oh so very perfectly, at times new age piano is combined with a little jazzy ethic, and I even found a slight hint of Keith Emerson in the weave too, “Change” indeed was the correct title for this one.

We move ever onwards and as we do so we come across a composition entitled Growth, something we all do if we have learned the lessons that life throws at us, here Marvel gifts us a gentle musical narrative, one that seems to pull back and forth like a summer tide.

This for me was a personal favourite, and called Empty Stage, I was taken back in time and reminded perhaps of Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts”. The grand classical elements are here, a possible soundtrack even, and a flourishing almost Baroque performance from the artist too.

Moments is a truly inspiring slice of solo piano, if this is your genre then fall in love with it you will, especially on tracks like Farewell. A deep and moody opus can be found here, perhaps to allow one to drift off onto a bed of reflection with, this was strangely enough, one of those pieces that I had to stop writing and just listen to at least three times, each time I did so I felt the narrative and direction change, creating a new flow, whilst paying homage to the last.

As we move forever deeper into this musical woodland of wonderment, we come across a beautifully light reverie entitled Spirit, the texture and chords here are so calming and soothing, and with each note played, beams of light and hope stretch across the room of potential.

There is an energy of the dance within this next happy composition entitled Equinox, the upbeat nature of this arrangement is sublime, and would be a pleasing grin to anyone looking to be lifted; almost anthem like in presentation, here is a track that will raise the rhythms with ease.

Way over in the deeper waters of the album we can find a vast arrangement entitled Stargazing. Ryan Marvel has really embraced the subject matter here completely, his blissful performance is one to wander across the universe with; a wondrous open feel that stretches on musically into infinity and beyond can be found here.

Our penultimate offering is called Goodnight and quite brilliantly played by the artist, a calming serene mood is manifested here, one that will allow you to rest your head on the pillow, close your eyes, and drift off down the stream, perchance to dream.

To conclude this crafted collection of creative compositions, we end with Sleep, I adore the gentle presentation here, the tranquil tones will ease the heart and quieten the mind, this is also a clever performance by the artist too, and his use of a slight pause and repeating notes and structures, brings forth a truly restful and crafted last offering.

Moments by Ryan Marvel could well be one of the best solo piano offerings in this style, that has been released this year, in my view it is the artists best work to date with ease, an album full of thoughtful and professional performances, beautifully produced and presented, this is a story book of life, wrapped up in one wonderful solo piano performance.



Thursday, October 28, 2021

Nocturne No 1 By Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann

 


Nocturne No 1

By

Eric Chapelle & Michelle Schumann

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

A gentle start to the day is assured after listening to Nocturne No. 1, a combination once more, from composer Eric Chapelle and pianist Michelle Schuman and is a track from the forthcoming album Works for Solo Piano.

The soothing solo piano narrative is the perfect way to get the hours ahead on the move in the most graceful of ways, Schumann’s performance is equally as graceful, and the delicate but precise presentation and structures were wonderfully delightful to listen to.

The arrangement is enhanced further by the superb art work courtesy of Santa Fe based artist Rick Stevens, whose Winter Moon over Cornfields is utterly idyllic and certainly fit for purpose. Nocturne No. 1 is one of those sumptuous new singles that will end up being a constant on your playlist of choice, full marks indeed for another fantastic release.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Full Bloom By Nancy Shoop-Wu

 


Full Bloom

By

Nancy Shoop-Wu

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

Soulful, melodic and charming, are but three of the words that could describe a Nancy Shoop –Wu album, funny thing is, I was only thinking of her last album Rainbow Road the other day, when this new collection came across my desk to review and called, Full Bloom.

Here is an album that is as beautiful as the day is new, one that starts with a composition so light and attractive in the title header itself, Full Bloom. Featuring producer Derek Nakamoto on piano, a wonderful performance can be found here, and one must add there is also a classy percussive backdrop, from whom else but Peter Korpela, while Nancy Shoop-Wu’s violin ushers forth some of the most profoundly beautiful violin ever.

One of my favourite pieces early on was the delectable Night Rainbow, the piano and violin combination was utterly sublime, and created a truly moving arrangement and composition; add the light percussion and you get a rhythmic creation of not only great colour, but a glourious musical tapestry of tone too.

Dreams is a piece to bring peace, this is a transcendent offering that slows down the mind, quietens the beating heart, and softens the cadence of the day, a fine presentation by the artist here and her compatriots, on one of the most heartfelt songs off the album.

Featuring the acoustic skill set of Mitchell Long, the artist for the first time on this album, brings forth her vocals as she sings on Flying Away. Without doubt, this is one track that contains a wonderful energy within its construction of movement; one through the tempo alone, could be found sailing high on the blue skies, and over lapis oceans with ease; if ever there was a fine example of an excellent feel good piece then this is it, and in my view one of the best compositions thus far created by the artist.

At the half way marker we come across a composition from the very core of all that is love and called Beautiful. Whilst listening to this track I became extremely emotional, I could feel so much in here that needed to come out, the violin of the artist and the piano, manifested for me something truly and very deeply moving, on this quite passionate and emotive opus.

We share a similarity, both myself and the artist draw inspiration from our own islands to create our work, and that love of our true homes shines through with such a colourful clarity. Here on Olinda Winds we have a fine example of that, the violin here issues a portent through performance, a change can be felt in this remarkable presentation; again Shoop-Wu gifts us a song that is passionate, but one that contains a blissful calmness to its overall construction as well.

On Angel Above Me there is a softness that is so sublime, one that could have easily fluttered down on the wings of an angel themselves. Once more the delicacy of performance here is both touching and melodic and the song itself creates a soothing narrative of a tranquil nature.

Serenade has an almost classical feel to its overall narrative; the fluency of the violin here creates a heartfelt plea of sorts, one that manifests a vibration of musical love with each and every note played; a moving performance that reminded me of segments within Vaughn Williams Norfolk Rhapsody.

The penultimate track off this quite breath taking release is called Golden Leaves, a quite apt song for those who have a regular fall, for me it reminds me of the past, and the depth found within this track is redolent of late October days, in this season that was once of mists and restful sunsets.

Our last musical gift comes with the arrival of the final offering and entitled Morning Paradise, a sensitive way to end the album indeed, a gentle percussive beat and a soothing piano, whilst the Violin of Nancy Shoop –Wu creates a wonderful sun kissed opus to end with, in a song with a positive vibration that will live on forever.

Full Bloom by Nancy Shoop-Wu is an album that has all the hall marks of a really great new age/contemporary instrumental album, each performance, by a plethora of talented artistes is a pleasure to listen to, and each and every song manifests a whole world of peace on their own. Full Bloom by Nancy Shoop-Wu is an outstanding example of what an artist can achieve when their personal musical muse is full flow, and the result is a collection of compositions that are graceful, melodic and masterful in everyway. 


Monday, October 25, 2021

Whisper By Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy

 


Whisper

By

Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

It’s strange how music brings back resonances of the past, thoughts of how things once were, and then it eventually releases and heals them, music is indeed the panacea to cure woes and change moods. I remembered whilst listening to this release, several moments that were incredibly tough times for me that flooded back, music on the album helped me let them all go, here is an album that was created through one, if not the toughest time for us all, the pandemic, and one can with ease feel and enjoy its soothing tones throughout, easing the cadence of the day.

Whisper by Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy is one of the finest works of an ambient structure to have come across my desk in a long, long while, listen to the opening piece, the proud title track Whisper, the gentle acoustic guitar of Levy enhances the sublime soothing flute of Teng, this is one of those tracks to simply stop what you’re doing, listen, and just be in the moment with.

Sweet Jack is our next port of call; the soft keyboard chords create a wonderfully serene musical back drop, whilst both artists once more manifest something so beautiful, that time ceases to exist when one listens to its beautiful refrains.

There is a wonderful piece on this album, one that flows like a rich vein of honey on a summer’s day, and this moment of beauty is called Birgitte on the Steps. The calming energy of this track reminds me of the good old days of Deuter’s rich tapestry of tone. There is a warm and meditative quality to this arrangement that simply cannot be denied.

The fascinating and deeply mysterious Watching Us From Other Worlds is up next, the hovering intensity here is sublime, the textures added by Levy on acoustic guitar here are clever and crafted, and add such a weight to a track that seems to drift across the horizon of the night sky, and thinking about that, this song would be perfect to have playing whilst gazing upward to the stars.

I have been longing to say this for a long while, but winter is coming, and it is, as I write this I can see the coat tails of October disappear into the distance, and the footfalls of November growing ever stronger.  Winter Prayer is a delicate offering to the season of change and rest, and one that brings a warming performance to the heart and soul of the listener.

As we move ever onward we come across a composition entitled Genesis. The multi-instrumental nature of this piece was utterly transfixing; this may at first appear to be a piece with a minimalistic nature, but Teng’s flute creates a floating dimension of sound and tone, which coalesces with this creative backdrop of a musical narrative.

On She Dances With the Sea we have a track with such depth and emotion, Teng’s flute is masterful here, leading the dance across this ocean of instrumental music with such consummate ease, one could almost feel a slight Celtic motif here too.

Our penultimate track is one of my personal favourites and called White Buffalo; Buffalo alone is a very powerful animal totem, the White Buffalo doubly so. The spiritual energies of this track drifted across the plains to touch the very heart of the ancestors themselves, in a composition that is deeply felt, the harmonic convergence of tone here was stunning, on a track that you could leave on repeat for hours and not even notice that any time had passed at all.

The final offering from this brilliant album is called Gammapana and what a sublime way to finish the album. This release has taken me to realms of peace and tranquillity I hadn’t touched for years, and this final creation has such a vastness to its construction it would be easy to get lost within its beautiful mesmeric realms.

Whisper by Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy is a manifestation of utter class, here is an album that could fit into a multiple of genres and still come out top on each one. Whisper by Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy is an album that was born from the chaos of the pandemic, created to bring hope and calm, and the final result is a release of outstanding natural beauty, this is ambience at its very best.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Desert Winds (Re-Imagined) By Louis Colaiannia

 


Desert Winds (Re-Imagined)

By

Louis Colaiannia

Written by

Steve Sheppard

 

This happy new piece created by Louis Colaiannia is a multi-instrumental ball of happiness, about to roll down the hill of sublime creation, and is called Desert Winds (Re-Imagined) and was originally released back in 2009, but Louis has taken a new look at it, and I’m glad he has.

This new offering from the prolific composer is destined for big things, the cheerful energies and melodies that emanate from it are just what the world needs right now.

Desert Winds (Re-Imagined) also has a vibrant percussive beat in the mix, along with a light brass section to elevate the vibration of the song, all in all, this is one of those singles that will get stuck in your head, and you will be whistling it for ages afterwards, which means usually, a huge hit is on the cards for the artist with this one.