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Openings by Nick DeCesare
- posted by Sandy on 1/24/2017

Acoustic pianist Nick DeCesare (pronounced dee-chez-uh-ray) believes his gentle solo piano music can make a difference in people’s lives by helping listeners relax, relieve stress, calm down emotionally, become introspective and slow down to enjoy life more. His debut album, OPENINGS, is filled with beautiful piano melodies.

This recording will thrill fans of new age music and neo-classical (there are even hints of jazz too). DeCesare received his Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from Duquesne University. One of his biggest influences is Keith Jarrett and especially the ground-breaking solo piano album THE KOLN CONCERT from 1975.

OPENINGS features strong melodic content played with style and grace. It will satisfy anyone who loves solo piano music.
Rating: Excellent
Eternity by Anaya
- posted by Candice Michelle on 1/17/2017
Anaya Music - Eternity
Brazilian-born composer and vocalist, Anaya, has previously recorded several albums of new age music. Having long dreamed of recording alongside a live symphony orchestra, her dream eventually came to fruition on her latest album, titled Eternity, where she is joined by the lovely arrangements of the Prague Live Symphony Orchestra. Comprised of seven compositions spanning nearly thirty-three minutes, all but two pieces (“For Love” and “Once in Time”) were co-composed and arranged with Steve Salani.

“Dharma” opens the album with a majestic orchestral arrangement of strings, woodwinds and brass instruments. Possessing a distinctively cinematic quality, the piece immediately brings to mind that of a fairytale movie. “New Skies” ensues with the sound of running water, perhaps from a stream or river, and is easily my favorite composition herein. Bearing subtle resemblances to the music of both Deuter and Kitaro, the piece is led by a stringed-instrument with a melody that possesses an East Asian flavor. Hazy piano droplets are interspersed among ethereal synthesized chords like balmy mists rising up from a spring, bringing images to mind of a beautifully serene Japanese garden. “Cosmos” follows next with a symphonic arrangement that unfolds in a procession-like manner, where it’s accompanied by the sound of a light snare, along with bells, chimes and tribal-esque percussion that builds towards the end. The next piece, “For Love”, is reminiscent of a romantic novel or period film, with its tenderly warm and sentimental quality. It is followed by the more fantasy-like “Love’s River”, which is introduced by a buoyant keyboard melody. A dreamily waltzing piece that dances and sways throughout, it mimics the motion of sailing along a river, while also bringing to mind that of watching a decades-old stage performance. Named for the living earth, “Gaia” follows with a blend of gently symphonic and environmental nature sounds that paint images of a paradisal landscape. Wrapping up the album is “Once in Time”, a sweepingly cinematic composition led by a full orchestra of string and brass instruments that eventually swell to a close.

While this album is based upon a theme of cosmic spirituality, it should be noted that the compositions herein are neither descriptive of meditation or space music. Rather, this is definitive new age neoclassical music that conveys images of epically visual and emotional scenes, as if musically narrating a movie. A simply delightful recording that will likely appeal to many fans of both new age and neoclassical music, Eternity is wrapped in the glowing essence of beauty, peace and positivity! ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Very Good +
When the Sea Lets Go by Vin Downes
- posted by Candice Michelle on 1/16/2017
Vin Downes - When the Sea Lets Go
Guitarist Vin Downes’ latest release, titled When the Sea Lets Go, was recorded at Imaginary Road Studios in beautiful Vermont. Produced by guitarist and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, along with multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer Tom Eaton, the album is comprised of ten lovely acoustic compositions recorded on steel-string guitar, which overall convey the signature essence of classic Windham Hill recordings by the likes of Will Ackerman, Michael Hedges and Alex de Grassi.

“Entwined and Lost” is a gentle opener that paints a scenic landscape of solitude, as it likewise conveys a comfortingly warm and down-to-earth feel. Vin’s guitar-playing style is at once detailed and intricate, yet perfectly understated and overall low-key, as he imparts a smoothly flowing and velvety touch throughout the compositions. The third track, “Morning Red”, is a comparatively brighter and quicker-paced tune that gently uplifts the spirits, as it brings to mind that of peering out on a terrace while an early sunshine pours through the colorful leaves of towering trees. On the fourth track, “Dust and Drag”, Michael Manring’s bass guitar enters at about the halfway mark, as it seemingly forms a dancing pair with Vin’s guitar for a few moments before exiting the stage. The fifth track, “Everything Ahead”, is one of the most upbeat compositions on the album, imparting subtle overtones of Americana. It’s easy to imagine driving into the sunset while listening to this seemingly carefree yet contemplative piece, letting go of all stresses and worries. The title-piece and seventh track, “When the Sea Lets Go”, is one of the most melodically beautiful and emotive compositions on the album, in which an atmosphere of evening is conveyed, perhaps while standing alone by the seashore. A hint of sunlight peers through on the lovely eighth track, “Streets of Sunday”, in which a delicate piano melody courtesy of Tom Eaton enters towards the end of the piece in just the perfect timing, as it gently drifts and twirls around the centerpiece. A few of the album’s song titles especially leave one with the intriguing impression of wondering what their story might be, as they seem to have captured a brief but lingering moment in time. Among these are the fifth and ninth tracks, respectively titled “Just Before You Leave” and “The Right Words are Simple”, as well as the lulling final piece, “All You Left Behind”.

A most comforting album of solitude and reflection, When the Sea Lets Go is one of the loveliest acoustic guitar recordings that I’ve heard recently, as well as a particularly suitable companion for reading, writing, reflection and remembrance. Vin Downes possesses a supremely beautiful guitar-playing style that boasts constant fluidity and subtle intricacy, as he creates a warmly intimate, personal and enveloping soundscape throughout. A fantastic album that is rather simple without a grand display of bells and whistles, Vin has decidedly taken a less-is-more approach here, which in this case works to absolute perfection! ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Excellent
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