Saturday, October 29, 2022

Album Review: Always by Dan Chadburn

Review by Lissette Cascante 

A native of Oregon, professional musician and performer Dan Chadburn is a seasoned pianist, composer, arranger, and singer/songwriter with an extensive repertoire. Dan obtained a master’s degree in music in electro-acoustic composition at City University in London and has established himself as pianist extraordinaire, becoming a favourite in the new age/contemporary instrumental/solo piano genre. Additionally, his music and albums have received multiple awards and nominations. Past performance venues have included Carnegie Hall (New York), Symphony Hall (Boston) and The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC).

Dan’s latest album titled Always, released August 1, 2022 and recorded & mastered at Piano Haven Studio, is his ninth album so far in said genre and again he offers the listener a quiet and peaceful respite from the cares of a restless world. In Dan’s own words: “In recording ALWAYS, I wanted to create a collection of pieces for solo piano that celebrates the unfailing resilience of the human spirit, the steadfast courage of the human heart, the eternal existence and mystery of the human soul, and the remarkable, spiritual synchronicity of them all.”

Artistic, classy, and quiet, Dan’s music is infused with qualities of hope, reassurance, and mindful serenity. From the first song and title track “Always” to the last tune “Final Curtain” the album is like a soft pillow providing comfort and rest for a weary traveller, filling any empty spaces with warm tones and happy thoughts of everything that is beautiful in life. The arrangements are light and simple and the song titles thought-provoking and poignant. Dan gives us just enough to engage but not overwhelm; a loving, musical offering from a deep part of his soul. Dan composed all songs on the album except for “O Shenandoah”, which by the way he did an exquisite arrangement on this classic and beloved tune. It’s a favorite of mine and I love that he included it.

I enjoyed every tune on the album as I dimmed the lights, closed my eyes, and allowed the piano melodies to guide me into a meaningful and lovely listening experience.

Dan’s music has been deeply inspired by the people and events that shape our world. The profits generated by the sale of several tracks from Dan’s albums are donated to specific charitable organizations dear to his heart.

~Lissette Cascante for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Dan Chadburn's website. Always is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Album Review: Isle of Shadows by Christopher Boscole

Review by Candice Michelle 

Kauai, Hawaii resident, pianist and composer Christopher Boscole first came to my attention with his highly-praised 2016 album Skipping on Daisies, which was soon followed up by his equally outstanding album Soul Dreams in 2017 – both of which were comprised of original new age-style solo piano compositions. His 13th album, Isle of Shadows: A New Age of Classical Piano, revisits the style and theme of his 2014 release, A New Age of Classical Piano, consisting of classical-style solo piano renditions of both renowned and lesser-known pieces by several classical composers.

Comprised of twelve compositions spanning approximately 56 minutes – including eleven renditions and one original composition – the pieces rendered on Isle of Shadows were selected from among composers Gabriel Fauré, Frédéric Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Selim Palmgren, Claude Debussy, Johann Sebastian Bach, Scott Joplin, and Robert Schumann.

Opening with “Romance Sans Paroles in Ab major, Op. 17 No. 3” by French composer Fauré, the elegant piece creates a softly romantic mood that paints scenic images of rural cottages and pastel garden blossoms. Shifting into a more evening setting, Chopin’s delicate and airy “Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9 No. 2” follows with alternating waltzing and ballet-like twirls.

The fifth track, “Pavane Op. 50”, another piece by Fauré, is one of my personal favorites that will be familiar to many listeners. Lulling, mysterious and unquestionably timeless, it has enjoyed many stylistic reworks in modern times, spanning genres of trance, chillout, orchestral, and of course solo piano, as beautifully rendered here.

Equally enchanting is the seventh track, “Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 “Moonlight”: I. Adagio sostenuto” by Beethoven, or as it is more famously known: “Moonlight Sonata”, an unmistakably haunting, sensuous and somewhat somber piece.

Concluding the album is a Boscole original titled “Until We Meet Again”, which effortlessly bridges the classical with the contemporary for an expressively cascading and mellifluous performance!

~Candice Michelle for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Christopher Boscole's website. Isle of Shadows is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Auralscapes: Episode 004

A refreshing 2-hour episode of contemporary instrumental, world, classical & new age music from across the globe.

0:00:00 / Lis Addison / Horizon Line / Elements
0:05:44 / Roman Nagel / Mireya / Late Bloomers
0:08:29 / Elizabeth Naccarato / Sacred Land / A Southwest Story
0:13:22 / David Arkenstone / Daughter of the River / Music Inspired by Middle Earth, Vol. II
0:17:51 / Kevin Keller / Shimmer / Shimmer
0:27:31 / Carl Lord / Heaven’s Shores / Tranquil Horizon
0:31:28 / Darlene Koldenhoven / Cheerful Mohana / Traveling the Blissful Highway
0:35:35 / Victor Towle / Days Gone By / Days Gone By
0:40:51 / Vicente Avella / Where Light and Shadow Meet / Physics of Light
0:44:32 / Trine Opsahl / Return of the Light / The Moon Stays Bright
0:47:52 / Randal Meek / Mo’ollo Place / Longings
0:53:08 / Dan Chadburn / Uncharted Waters / Always
0:56:17 / Peter Phippen, Rahbi Crawford & Ivar Lunde Jr. / Triangulum (radio edit) / Galaxies
01:01:34 / Jacquelyn G. Kleine / Vesica Piscis / Glass Timeline
01:05:55 / Chad Lawson / To Hold the Stars in the Palm of Your Hand / Breathe
01:09:48 / Tim Sadow & Mike Kopp / As the River Runs / Out of the Mist
01:13:38 / Brooks & Day / Transcendence / Awakening
01:17:26 / Shambhu / Because of You / Life Passage
01:23:44 / Christopher Boscole / Romance Sans Paroles Op. 17 No. 3 - Gabriel Faure / Isle of Shadows
01:26:59 / Jill Haley / Fog On Blueberry Hill / The Forests and Shores of Acadia
01:30:58 / Peter Kater / The Path is Clear / Soul Story
01:34:38 / David De Michele / Ripples in Time / Beyond
01:41:36 / Orchestra Indigo / Twilight Falls / Farewell to Memories
01:45:25 / Fiona Joy Hawkins / Falling (Twin Peaks Theme) / Falling (Twin Peaks Theme)
01:48:41 / Paul Adams & Elizabeth Geyer / Through the Tree Tops / Sanctuary

Album Review: Life Passage by Shambhu

Review by Abdul Yamani 

The music of acclaimed jazz guitarist and composer Shambhu seems to transport me to a quieter world, where perception and intuition seem clearer. The guitar in his hands always seems to turn into a soothing elixir. Shambhu’s latest EP titled Life Passage is no exception and in my opinion is one of the most inspiring albums that he has released to date.

Comprised of five songs all written, arranged, and produced by Shambhu, with exception of the last track “Shambhu,” co-written with his guru, Sri Chinmoy, the album offers expressive tunes of beauty, serenity and nature canvassed in new age, jazz/fusion and Indian styles. The compositions are accented by an impressive ensemble of accomplished new age, jazz, and world musicians such as bassist Michael Manring, pianist Frank Martin, flutist Premik Russell Tubbs, violinist Nathaniel Wolkstein, and percussionist Nelson Myers-Daly.

The songs on the album are a mélange of contemplation as in the first track “Because of You,” and the beautiful slow waltz “Gentle Flower” in which the guitar talks with the piano; melancholia as in the title track, “Life Passage” featuring Shambhu on acoustic guitar reflecting on the passing of the late jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea who Shambhu studied with online during the pandemic and who passed quite unexpectedly, as well as imaginative and mysterious with “Mars Dawn” taking the listener on a musical journey to the ever intriguing red planet in a backdrop of lush, orchestral strings set by Nathaniel Wolkstein, and a haunting French horn played by the multi-talented Premik Russell Tubbs.

The song titled “Shambhu” changes the pace a little and concludes the album. It is an Indian temple-beat fusion based on a melody by Sri Chinmoy. Shambhu masterfully merges the contemporary with the sacred and traditional in this joy-exuding and centering melody. He plays guitar, e-sitar and e-pads, accompanied by New Zealand world percussionist Nelson Myers-Daly, a member of the meditative music duo, Monk Party, as Premik Russell Tubbs contributes bansuri flute.

Life Passage is a blissful aural retreat you will want to return to time and time again.

Shambhu recorded Life Passage at his Hamptons Sanctuary Studios in Westhampton, NY. The EP was mixed and mastered by Todd Boston at Spatial Sound Studios in Portland, OR.

~Abdul Yamani for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Shambhu's website. Life Passage is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Album Review: Farewell to Memories by Orchestra Indigo

Review by Candice Michelle

Rick Randlett is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist who has released several recordings in the blues/rock genre. But with his latest album titled Farewell to Memories, Rick reached back to his college studies in composition, orchestration and electronic music to create a more “new age” type of album, released under the fitting project name Orchestra Indigo to distinguish the music from his previous works.

Comprised of 12 compositions spanning approximately 54 minutes, Farewell to Memories was crafted using Rick’s home studio setup that includes a Mac Book Pro, Studio One for DAW, Roland Juno synthesizer and a Modal Cobalt 8 synthesizer. The result is a serene and contemplative excursion into neoclassical electronic minimalism that seemingly evokes scenery in real-time of changing seasons and solitary environments, particularly between the hours of dusk and dawn. Tranquil images of passing clouds, dancing snowflakes, morning mists and leaves in the wind variably come to mind while listening to these thoughtful passages.

The opening title track, "Farewell to Memories," introduces drifting piano notes amid a pillowy synthesized backdrop that soon gives way to a minimalist ensemble of accompanying brass and string textures. “Distant Worlds” follows with a repeating, subtle melody permeated by a pensive mood that characterizes much of the album.

Highlights such as “Twilight Falls” evokes images of an evening fog descending upon forested mountains, while the intriguing “Mysteries” paints a starlit sky on a cold winter’s night with its twinkling timbers and shimmery tones. Towards the close of the album, crystalline notes and silvery synth-strings signal the hallmark of winter on the aptly-named “First Snow” before concluding with the somewhat wistful yet gently hopeful “One Last Look”.

Imbued with a profound sense of nostalgia throughout, Farewell to Memories recalls the classic style of “new age” synthesizer music that rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s, making it an ideal album for seasonal reflection and contemplating in nature.  

~Candice Michelle for Auralscapes 

For more information please visit the artist's website. Farewell to Memories is also available at AmazonApple Music and more.