Friday, February 24, 2023

Album Review: Luminous by Michele McLaughlin

Review by Marilyn Torres 

Michele McLaughlin has gifted her fans and admirers another unique grouping of beautiful and thoughtful piano compositions with her latest work, Luminous.

The names of the pieces give us a preview of the general theme; that being, the interplay between darkness and light.

With titles such as "Droplets of Gray," "Shimmer," "Moonlit Shadows" and "Lanterns in the Sky," one can imagine the seasons of life and even the day to day ups and downs moving in and out of dark and light.

In the piece, "When You Hurt, I Hurt," McLaughlin maintains a slow and thoughtful tempo which demonstrates the beauty of being in the moment with a hurting one - no words needed.

"Shimmer" enters with a tip toe effect and soon the notes ascend faster into their climax to then begin cascading, rippling down to their tip toe finale. McLaughlin’s choice of major keys and uptempo infuse "The Golden Hour" with a relaxing vibe, without being sedate. The title piece, "Luminous," is a beautiful homage to the definition of light. A vivid description with effortless dance and fluidity. In "Adrift," McLaughlin departs from the light/dark theme as the piece goes towards a wandering state. But perhaps it could be a transition phase one could say, from light to dark and back again. "Lanterns in the Sky" possesses a soothing and transformative quality, with its careful entrance that takes you by the hand and shows you with increasing intensity the light all around you until you reach the reassuring end. McLaughlin writes her thoughts, dreams and passions using her piano keys and we are delighted to be invited into this personal journey.

~Marilyn Torres for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Michele McLaughlin's website. Luminous is also available at Amazon, Apple Music, Bandcamp and more.

Album Review: All the Best Returns, Pt. I by Robin Spielberg

Review by Marilyn Torres 

All The Best Returns Part I, is a brief but focused array of her talent as an accomplished piano performer who happens to be a theater actress, author, speaker, professor, and an advocate for the healing power of music.

The strong and powerful start to "In Search of the Forest Fairy," grounds the piece in a safe place before taking off in a venture that is light and delicate, as the piano keys seem to spin more and more before returning to the anchoring, firm notes. On "One Step Closer," Spielberg takes a slow pace with in-step keystrokes to direct the flow in a soothing and contemplative tune.

The next piece, which is the namesake of the album, has an old fashioned carousel feel about it that this listener thoroughly enjoyed! The artist and her vintage piano team up to take us along for a sweet ride into the past.

Perhaps keeping an eye in yesteryear, "The End of Summer" presents a melancholy (but not depressed) structure with soft and slow strokes.

Spielberg culminates her work with "Shche ne Vmerla Ukrainy (The Ukrainian National Anthem)," showing support by featuring her own rendition of the song. She performs it with tenderness and sensitivity while bestowing it with an air of flair that takes it to the strong and self assured finale.

This collection is sure to please Robin’s fans and garner new listeners looking for an inspiring grouping of calming and uplifting music.

~Marilyn Torres for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Robin Spielberg's website. All The Best Returns is also available at Amazon, Apple Music, Bandcamp and more.