Thursday, December 15, 2022

Album Review: Wondering by Stephen Wallack

Review by Marilyn Torres 

For his latest album, titled Wondering, Stephen Wallack embarks on a journey of exploration of single themes and topics as a way of coming to terms with the many questions surrounding the events of the past several months.

The opening "Beyond" starts with a constant key which maintains its form like a frame to hold the fluttering and twinkling keys that follow. Similarly, in "Remember", a single key serves as an anchor for the surrounding notes. 

“Sorry” and “Bridges” give the sense of a conversation; the former, with depth and pauses, brings forth the increased tempo that contributes to the feel and urgency of someone pleading, perhaps apologizing? Meanwhile, the latter “Bridges”, takes soft careful steps like crossing over to meet the other side - reconciliation or new adventure?

“Games” and “Wolves” both embody a direct and determined character as if guided by a predestined goal. I could not help but think of galloping horses on a polo field when I listened to “Royals”. Perhaps the title led me that way but I did not mind; it was a very pleasant ride. 

Wallack concludes his exploration with the delicate and mellow “Goodbye”. It is not a long, drawn out farewell but more of a recognition and validation of the many changes and indeed questions brought up in recent history. Stephen Wallack delivers a sensitive and thoughtful musical collection for us to draw upon as we consider our own questions. 

~Marilyn Torres for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Stephen Wallack's website. Wondering is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Album Review: The London Sessions by Ed Bazel

Review by Marilyn Torres 

Pianist Ed Bazel delivers an inspirational and soothing collection of pieces curated to highlight the artist's mementos in life experiences. 

The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2 opens with “Morning Glory” which feels silky under Bazel’s expert command of the piano keys. It is a piece full of possibility and joyous expectation. In the following title, “Mountain Serenity” as well as the later piece, “Mountain Joy,” I felt a particular familiarity to the theme of stillness and awe these two pieces presented since I have the blessing of going to the mountains frequently to enjoy the scenery mother nature provides.

Bazel’s sensitive interpretation of the Beatles’ “In My Life” and “Yesterday,” is a nod to the germinating musical interests of his childhood, and a recognition of the impact the “Fab Four” had on his life. It is also fitting for him to take on these songs at the revered Studio 2 in Abbey Road Studios.

I found that “Old Friends” and “After the Rain” have a touch of the Barry Manilow style of reminiscing with a melancholy twist. 

Bazel’s confidence in his piano prowess is ever present in the category of quiet and soothing music especially in pieces like “Soaring” and “Daydream” (perfect background music for calming nerves).

Bazel’s involvement in the music sphere as well as his passion for adventure and discovery, permeates his work and bathes it with a sense of simple joy and gratitude. He is an artist whose style is not flashy or long-winded and yet captures the listener’s interest through the universal quality of affection for the joy of music.

~Marilyn Torres for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Ed Bazel's website. The London Sessions is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Auralscapes: Episode 006

A refreshing 2-hour set of new-age, world & contemporary classical music.

0:00:00 / Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning / Raven Dance / Coming, Going
0:02:42 / Christopher Caouette / Forest of Mist / Tale of the Oakenwish
0:06:22 / Kori Linae Carothers / Crystal Fields (Re-Imagined) / On A Cold Frosty Morning
0:11:27 / Yungchen Lhamo / Auspicious Days / Awakening
0:15:45 / Jonathan E. Blake / Autumn / Old Souls
0:22:28 / Peter Kater / My Land, My People, My Soul / Native America
0:27:07 / Peter Sterling / Along the Way / The Winding Way
0:31:45 / Album Spotlight: Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven
0:32:59 / Darlene Koldenhoven / Native Star / Traveling the Blissful Highway
0:37:31 / White Sun / Anik Naad / White Sun III
0:41:49 / Robin Spielberg / One Step Closer / All the Best Return
0:45:30 / Ann Licater / Luminous Morning / Whispers from Earth
0:49:48 / Sharon Fendrich / Sea of Oaks / Sapphire Oak
0:55:18 / 2002 / Jasmine Rain / Hummingbird
0:59:22 / Stephen Wallack / Wolves / Wondering
1:03:50 / Raphael Groten / Invocation / Great Blue
1:05:35 / David Arkenstone / Fangorn Forest / Music Inspired by Middle Earth II
1:10:12 / Mediaeval Baebes / Memorare / Prayers of the Rosary
1:14:37 / Album Spotlight: Life Passage by Shambhu
1:15:59 / Shambhu / Mars Dawn / Life Passage
1:21:30 / Tom Moore & Tim Sadow / An Ancient Path / Life Passage
1:26:43 / Michele McLaughlin / Droplets of Gray / Luminous
1:31:45 / Will Ackerman / Passing Baldo’s Tower / Positano Songs
1:37:16 / Rusty Crutcher / Aegean Reflections / Oracle of Delphi
1:42:55 / Donna De Lory / Where I Find You / Gone Beyond
1:48:20 / Aureliaslight / Sparks of Light / A Mystic’s Autumn
1:51:46 / Liquid Mind / Simplicity / Liquid Mind XIV: Simplicity