Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Aural Awakenings: Episode 34

Artist – Track – Album & Buy Link
Peter Sterling – Onward and Upward – Patterns of Reflection
Juliet Lyons – Om Shanti – The Light Within
Incendio – Morning in Maui – Summoning the Muse
Karen Biehl – Raindrops – Starlight Dreams
Secret Garden – Sunshine (ft. Catherine Iversen) – Storyteller
Earth Tree Healing – Aphrodite – Goddess
Raphael Groten – Waking – Star Lullaby
Sangeeta Kaur – Bring it Down – Mirrors
Elderane – Crisalida – Primeros Pasos
Geoff Hall – Something on the Wind – While it Lasts
Joe Alexander Shepherd – Spaces (piano solo) – Spaces
White Sun – Sochai Soch – White Sun III
Ed Blumenthal – The Roads Imagined – The Late Train Home
Wave of Sound – Soulmates – Letters for Lost Echoes

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Album Review: Small Treasures by Kerani

Fresh off the heels of her highly-acclaimed Stardust album, Belgian-born composer Kerani stunningly impresses again with her follow-up release titled Small Treasures, which offers ten musical gems full of storybook charm. While her previous three albums were based upon distinctly thematic concepts, Small Treasures is a comparatively more intimate work that unfolds like a poetic narrative of both personal reflection and mythic imagination. In fact, the CD booklet not only includes some of Kerani’s favorite poetry, it also reveals her talent as an equally gifted painter, with her artwork beautifully adorning its pages.

Conveying an air of dreamy romance, Small Treasures seemingly transports the listener to another time and place located somewhere in the past, often evoking halcyon visions of mist-filled gardens and northern seas.

In familiar fashion Kerani interweaves piano, synthesizers and classical orchestration wherein she’s joined by a string quartet of violin, viola and cello. The result includes such lovely compositions as “Fields of Hungary”, “Where the Heart Belongs” and “Echo of Souls”, which perfectly exemplifies Kerani’s signature ‘neoclassical new age’ sound. Likewise, she revisits the Far East theme of “Fragrant Mountain” from her Equilibrium album with a piece called “Sakura”, which features master world flutist Ron Korb on Japanese flute.

Perhaps most noteworthy this time around is Kerani’s novel incorporation of gorgeous Celtic motifs which grace two of my favorite pieces. This includes the mysterious opener “Temple of Roses”, featuring the delicate ethereal vocals of Chanele McGuinness whose softly-sung lyrics are set to a magical wintry soundscape. Likewise is the processional “Celtic Mystery”, which bears a lovely touch of whimsical Irish flute and enchanting spoken word.

One of Kerani’s greatest musical inspirations is legendary Greek composer Vangelis. Although her alluring arrangements and melodies often boast strong parallels to his work, she is indisputably a first-rate composer who shines in her own light.

Another seminal work from this ever-impressive artist, Small Treasures will especially appeal to many fans of Vangelis (I was often particularly reminded of his mid-90s classic Voices) as well as pique the interest of those who enjoy Enya, Secret Garden and others in that realm! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Aural Awakenings: Episode 33

Artist – Track – Album & Buy Link
Jonny Lipford – Emerging Vision – Migration
David Arkenstone – Safe & Sound (feat. Charlee Brooks) – Celtic Garden
Perpetual Motion – Troublant Bolero – Dance of Two Souls
Michele McLaughlin – Beneath the Surface – Memoirs
Deva Premal – Prabhujee (feat. Anoushka Shankar) [radio edit] – Deva
Mike Woodlark – A Sight for Sound (feat. Jonathan Orner) – Mackland Ave
Víkingur Ólafsson & Peter Gregson – Above and Below, B Minor – Bach Reworks
Mirabai Ceiba – Agua De Luna – Agua De Luna
Ciro Hurtado – Altiplano – Altiplano
Gerhard Daum – Timeless – Songs Without Words
Michael Neal – Everything Deconstructs – Lapse
Clannad – Anam – Anam
Brooks & Day – Forgiveness – Mystic Messages

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

An Interview with Scott Reich at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, AZ

Here’s an interview with multi-instrumentalist Scott Reich, which was conducted earlier this year at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. In this segment, we highlight his recent album Instar, which infuses subtle jazz elements into classic new age soundscapes, as well as discuss his life-long journey exploring the world of music.

Music from the album Instar can be heard throughout this interview.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Overview: Natural Light by Louis Anthony deLise

On his latest album Natural Light, Louis Anthony deLise infuses neoclassical and contemporary instrumental motifs with subtle atmospheric jazz. Featuring Nancy Rumbel’s wistful wind instruments and Jeff Oster’s sensuous flugelhorn on a couple of cuts, Natural Light gracefully alternates between minimalist solo piano and understated ensemble pieces comprised of pensive yet leisurely melodies, which often bear a mysterious touch of romantic lounge noir! ~Candice Michelle

(This album is available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Overview: Timeless by Mikuskovics Baum

Mikuskovics Baum is an eclectic musical duo comprised of accomplished multi-instrumentalists Bernhard Mikuskovics and Georg Baum. Marking the duo’s ten-year anniversary, their latest album Timeless beautifully intermingles Celtic, Native American and other world elements to create deeply tranquil atmospheres of minimalist ethnic fusion. Incorporating various harps, flutes, sound bowls and other exotic instruments such as the Indian shruti box and Mexican log drum, Mikuskovics Baum’s melodically meditative soundscapes seemingly paint images of idyllic natural environments. One especially gorgeous piece is “Intuition Element”, with its softly cascading layers and hypnotizing overtone-singing effectively evoking a softly-flowing waterfall nestled within a hidden forest. Enthusiastically recommended, Timeless has quickly become a personal favorite which beckons repeated listens! ~Candice Michelle

(This album is available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Aural Awakenings: Episode 32

Artist – Track – Album & Buy Link
Secret Garden – Fantasia – Storyteller
Shambhu – Unspoken Words – Lilac Skies
Michael Neal – The Lotus Veil – Lapse
Fiona Joy Hawkins – Fair and White (feat. Wivajoy & Tom Eaton) – Signature (Deluxe Edition)
Joep Beving – Saudade Da Gaia – Henosis
Mikuskovics Baum – Intuition Element – Timeless
Grayhawk – The Banteay Srei Temple – Voice of the Ancestors
Michael Logozar – Afterglow – Kaleidoscope
Robert Linton – Weaving Through the Waves – Adrift in Wonder
Anaya Music – Dharma (with vocals) – Isalc”Li: A Love Odyssey
Ann Sweeten – Across the Midnight Sky – Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow
Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe – Waves of Yemaya – There is a Light That Will Remain
Carl Borden – A Walk in the Rain – Morning Embrace

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

An Interview with Monica Williams at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, AZ

Here’s an interview with flutist Monica Williams that was conducted earlier this year at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. In this segment, we highlight her stunning debut album, Journey of Tears, which mesmerizingly weaves classical, world and Native American-style flutes among hauntingly beautiful soundscapes, having garnered considerable airplay on both Journeyscapes and Aural Awakenings.

Music from the album Journey of Tears can be heard throughout this interview.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Top 20 Albums of May 2019

No. Artist – Album & Buy Link
01. Jonny Lipford – Migration
02. Juliet Lyons – The Light Within
03. Secret Garden – Storyteller
04. Scott August – Beyond Summer
05. Shambhu – Lilac Skies
06. Jeff Johnson & Phil Keaggy – Cappadocia
07. Mikuskovics Baum – Timeless
08. Mylle Fournier – Ailleurs
09. Pam Asberry – The Presence of Wonder
10. Andy Iorio – Awakening
11. Vangelis – Nocturne
12. Timothy Wenzel – Running Away
13. Karen Biehl – Starlight Dreams
14. Kerani – Small Treasures
15. Robert Linton – Adrift in Wonder
16. Fiona Joy Hawkins – Signature (Deluxe Edition)
17. George Winston – Restless Wind
18. Stephen Wallack – Chapters
19. Grayhawk – Voice of the Ancestors
20. Michael Logozar – Kaleidoscope

Saturday, June 1, 2019

An Interview with Don Latarski at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, AZ

Here’s an interview with guitarist Don Latarski, which was conducted earlier this year at the Heart Dance Records Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. In this segment, we highlight his melodically soothing recent album titled River as well as learn more about the freeform soundscapes he's been creating with “wind" and "water" guitar.

Music from the album River can be heard throughout this interview.