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Stardust by Kerani
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 6/2/2017
Empowering, thought provoking music
I have long yearned for a new Kerani album and when I heard whispers that a new release was on its way that thrilled me. Kerani has that energy built into her work that some of us could call the wow factor. She had that with ease on Arctic Sunrise, but it’s even more pronounced on this amazing new album, called Stardust.
An album about space is usually going to be a winner, but when you included over 60 musicians in on the project with a symphonic orchestra into the mix too, that wow factor is going to be off the scale, for example let’s leave the space dock with the opener Stardust. If you ever want to start an album with something spectacular, this is how to do it. In Vangelis style Kerani manifests a piece that has a perfect build, progression and sense of awe and grandeur all in the weave, we can feel a part of it all through this totally stunning opening, we are each note played, we are the melody and the rhythm, we are all Stardust.
A glorious ambient and spacious beginning greets our ever eager ears with the next piece called Cosmic Sunrise. By some chance I was up very early today and wanted to walk the dog along the beach at sunrise, this piece of music would have been perfect for that pleasurable perambulation. This is such a beautiful composition, with many little intricacies, the deft string section, the purposeful percussion and the narration from Kerani’s keyboard that moves us forward and onward. This is a wonderful depiction of something utterly spectacular and Kerani’s arrangement is the perfect musical soundtrack for that event.
I did read the notes for this next piece and found that the composition is based on the Rosetta project of the European Space Agency. In our search for life we must travel long and deep. Kerani has created something very clever here; one can literally feel through the music, that a journey of that magnitude is going to be taken. There is a defined sense of movement within the arrangement that is so evident; there is also a remarkable likeness on this piece to the UK’s Medwyn Goodall, perhaps from his days on the album Comet. Rosetta is a track that demands to be listened to multiple times, as there are so many nuances contained within; you might just miss something first time around.
The next offering Perpetuum Mobile is very interesting in many ways, you will find a repeating pattern here, this motif continues onwards like a machine, almost like the tick and tock of a relentless galactic clock, but its symphonic backdrop adds a whole layer of musical magnificence into the composition, could this be an anthem for the space time continuum itself?
On Beyond we have a track that whilst it fits perfectly into the space genre and style of Vangelis, it’s also incredibly ambient, the artist has created a dimension of a vast wonderment here, imagine reaching a point in deep space and seeing the vastness of it all spread before you into infinity. The inclusion of flute on this piece took me back many years to an old Terry Oldfield album called Across the Universe. Here Kerani has allowed her skills to create something that is musically outstanding and through the tones of this track, perhaps we can even explore the myriad dimensions of inner space as well as outer?
We have now traversed over the half way marker in the album, and come across a wormhole that seems to transport us to a whole new realm called, The Next Step. You will find a much more up-tempo arrangement here, a lively percussive beat with synths and piano give this composition a real EM feel. This one has that special stardust feel, plenty of energy, the wide eyes of excitement and a luscious melody, with a driving electric guitar, all of that and much more can be found on this headline composition.
As we now drop out of warp and use manoeuvring thrusters to bring us into a more stable position. We can bathe in a track that is simply too huge to comprehend called Infinity. One can only imagine the feelings and emotions when one gazes through the window of you own little world to sample a view of Infinity, how does the mind deal with that? It’s emotive, overpowering and inspirational and all of those words and the aforementioned description explain entirely the arrangement, and feel of this most incredible opus of brilliance created by Kerani.
Our journey through the various quadrants of space has been sensational, but it’s not over yet, although we now find that our musical star ship is being pulled away from its current location and towards a vast celestial body, this new planet has a Gravity field that is compelling and extremely powerful. Kerani’s skill and compositional genius now illustrates that pull perfectly with a repeating pulse in the music. The percussion and symphonic build here is slow and so deeply powerful, while the added ethereal vocals from Davinia Van der Zee are simply divine.
You will be able to tell by the tone and tempo of this next offering that we must be nearing the end of our current trek through the stars, listen first to the marvellous strings that create such an emotional repose. Then some of the finest piano from Kerani ushers forth in what has to be a cinematic moment of outstanding natural beauty on the piece Worlds Unknown, my favourite piece off the release. I found this composition to be very moving and deeply emotive. Could this be the anthem for the universe? It gives us a feeling of utter love for all that we are part of and if we could all come together and realise this beauty, then perhaps we could all be a lot happier and more at peace. If there is any justice in the world of music, this has to end up on a space movie somewhere; it’s one of the best songs and melodies I have heard since the great Vangelis and the Albedo 0.369 album.
I must state honestly right here and now, that after listening to Worlds Unknown, I had to stop for a few minutes to compose myself, have a hug and wipe the tears from my eyes, that has to have been one of the most beautiful pieces I have listened to for years, thank you Kerani, you made this writer cry.
Stars (Remix) is our last space port, so as we engage docking thrusters and prepare to end our journey, we can enjoy this last gift from the musician. Whilst the nature of this piece it up beat, it has a certain purpose to it, perhaps one that states, “lets respect our world, let’s stop this childish bickering and realise that we are all one and move onwards together, in love peace and harmony”. This is a fine way to leave the album and with a little Jean Michel Jarre flare thrown in for good measure too.
Stardust has to be the finest release that Kerani has ever produced, its empowering, thought provoking, emotive and simply beautiful at every twist and turn of the album. This is going to appeal to such a wide range of listeners and fans, its symphonic, contains a confident and stylish performance on keyboards, synths and piano, it includes such a vast array of musicianship and support and a top notch quality of production. I have to say this, Stardust is the best album I have heard this year in this genre by a mile and I don’t only recommend you buy this album, I urge you to do so at all costs, it is excellent.
Rating: Excellent
Jazz Meets the Classics by Alan Storeygard
- posted by Candice Michelle on 6/1/2017
Alan Storeygard - Jazz Meets the Classics
Jazz Meets the Classics is musician and composer Alan Storeygard’s fifth recording and first classical album, his previous four releases having primarily featured jazz piano arrangements and original songs. Comprised of nine reinterpreted classical compositions, including several lengthier medley-styled pieces, the album spans over seventy-two minutes and features covers by some of the greatest classical music masters in history such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Alternating between solo piano and symphonic orchestration throughout, Storeyguard is additionally joined on varying compositions by Brain Wolverton on bass, recording engineer Dave Rogers on drums, Danny Fletcher on guitar, and recording engineer Eric Chesher on orchestration and synthesizers.

“Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” offers a bold, stark opening full of dramatic, sweeping piano accompanied by cymbals and brass instruments. Initially conveying a setting of being in a large auditorium while viewing a dazzling live stage performance, the mood shifts at about the halfway point to that of a more intimate piano-bar setting that incorporates notably jazzier elements. Winding down towards the latter part of the piece with a solo piano jazz riff, the composition signs off with one last exertion of swelling neoclassical symphony. Arranged as a tone poem, “The Moldau Symphony” by Bedrich Smetana and Hector Berloiz opens with delicately twirling piano in the higher registers, which slowly descend into a more reverberating fullness. Conveyed by the expressive sound of grand piano, the piece eventually unfolds into a lovely classical jazz ensemble. The slower-paced classical number, “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony”, is given an interesting spin by being fully rendered into a jazz ensemble framework. Perfectly suited to a couple’s dance, the piece seemingly conjures images of a romantic evening spent dining at a quaint café. The nearly twelve-and-half-minute medley, “Chopin’s Ballade 1 in G Minor, Nocturne 2 in E-Flat, and Waltz 6 in D-Flat”, is perhaps my favorite composition on the album, noted by a subtle waltzing pace that is alternated with a more rubato approach, as solo piano dances up and down the registers with a graceful extravagance. The most curious inclusion on the album is perhaps “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a definitively bombastic yet well-rendered composition that ultimately concludes with Giacomo Puccini’s classically famous “Nessun Dorma”.

Presented in appropriately colorful and detailed gatefold packaging, Jazz Meets the Classics overall succeeds in its daunting effort to harmoniously interweave its prevailing styles of neoclassical and traditional jazz music, and will likely appeal, especially, to fans who enjoy both genres! ~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)
Rating: Very Good +
Moorland Winds by Sarah Copus
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/28/2017
A superb release from a talented young artist
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new release from Sarah, I have known 2002 for eons now and expectation was high, but we can confirm that she has solidly taken her place and stands not only with her parents in a musical masterclass of excellence, but now on her own right as a performer that has an amazing potential to achieve literally anything she wishes.
One can tell by the opener that she means business; it’s called Wind on the Moor. Her skills on the harp are blissful and the violin on this piece creates such a wonderland of Celtic harmony.
I’m quite glad in a way that this album has crossed my desk as I have been thinking for some time about putting a Celtic music special show together for One World Music Radio, now I have more material, and this one is a cert to make the playlist should I do so, and called Rights of Man – Off To California. This jig is a real fascinating combination of instrumentation, Sara Copus has brought a delightful sense of movement and rhythm into this fun and light-hearted composition and one that reminds me of Celtic band Govannen.
This musical journey dear reader is a real pleasure to walk, and with the talented hand of Sarah Copus at the wheel, we can be assured of a truly fresh and fascinating sojourn. As an example of the abilities of the musician listen to a track you may remember best from the artist Sting. Fields of Gold is a stunningly beautiful song filled full of passion and desire and Copus puts in a superb performance here. I have sung this song myself, and I can tell you it’s not that easy, a splendid rendition.
Next up is a piece called Merrily Kiss The Quaker – The Mist Covered Mountain and it’s time to jig to another reel, one that has a sense of liberated fun about its energy. There is simply nothing to dislike about this track and this is placed cleverly to make us feel that through music, we are once more off on another pathway through the labyrinths of this fantastic release.
For a moment, let’s stop once more, we can now feel that all around us the day has just about started and through Foggy Dew that is portrayed brilliantly. There can be no denying that Copus is a fine Harp player, and while we watch the mists rise to unveil another day, we can bathe in her rich tones of Celtic magic and mystery.
On Gleanntain Ghlas Ghaoth Dobhai, which I believe translates into the green glens of Gweedore, we have another precise performance from the young artist, this is sung in the Irish Language and wonderfully so. This is a track that seems to float across the mind, like a dove dancing with the Sunday morning sun.
It’s time to pick up you knapsack and once again were on our way, we can dance along the hill sides and through the valleys onto our next stop with the lively, Hut on Staffin Island-Paddy's Trip to Scotland.
At this point we now find our journey has taken us into the second half of the album where we find a fine composition called Star of the County Down. Now ease back to this lovely arrangement, this is so carefully and delicately played and also a piece that creates a great atmosphere as it goes.
Walking in the Air, this is usually a song we hear every Christmas, but the composition seems to fit the overall collection and project with a sublime majesty. The vocals of the young Copus seem to have an equal measure of talent with her skills on the harp; a nice production can be found here, some clever overlaid vocals that manifest something truly special, all this goes to create a very class filled offering.
Once more it’s time to move onward, and we can do this with the energy created by this next piece called, Buttercup Spree-Garret Barry's-Clare Jig. Sarah Copus has created a brilliantly thought out intent to move us through the project with these wonderfully styled up-tempo musical links, nothing more than sheer genius at work.
As we break from our reel, you will find yourself in a sun kissed meadow of many delights called Down by the Sally Gardens, yet another example of the musician’s prowess on both harp and angelic vocals; her tone and pitch reminds me so much of Celtic singer Juliana.
We’re now very deep within the album and we come across a dreamy opus called Dawning of the Day, this is an opportunity taken by the artist to once more deliver a perfect performance on Harp. The tempo and energy of this composition is like drifting down a stream on a hot July morning.
So now let’s go homeward and jig our way through the green meadows and run down the footpaths; we can do this to an arrangement called Harvest Home-Boys of Bluehill. This slice of classic Celtic refrain will lead us right into the loving arms of the last track on the album called She Moved Through the Fair. Now if you haven’t heard this composition before, where have you been? Sarah Copus has decided to leave us with this parting gift of an all-time legend of a song. This has been covered, re-arranged and performed by many, many artists over the decades, but we must honestly say that this careful and very respectful version is one very classy rendition, and as such she leaves us with a moment of sublime class and professionalism.
With the background and support that Sarah Copus has, it’s no wonder that the release of this her debut album is going to be a huge success, however one has to say that each track has been carefully crafted, subtly arranged and produced, and the layout of the release, cleverly thought-out. Sarah Copus will, in years to come, look back at this album and be very proud of what she has achieved, but for now she can sit back and watch her legacy grow, as Moorland Winds is a superb first release, from an artist of such tender years, but immense talent.
Rating: Excellent
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