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Shifting Sands by Lynn Tredeau
- posted by Dyan Garris - New Age CD on 5/21/2017
Lynn Tredeau - Shifting Sands
“Shifting Sands,” the 4th release by solo pianist, Lynn Tredeau, is an eloquent, elegant, timelessly lovely journey from beginning to end.
From the first notes of “Lost in Familiar Surroundings,” we immediately feel at ease and relax into the gentle melody. We find ourselves transported to a place where we may have all found ourselves at one time or another: Feeling lost, but somehow knowing that we’re really not. This is a place where we can remember who we are and need not feel lost at all.
All of the songs on “Shifting Sands” are thoughtful, expressive, delicate, yet deliberate, and noteworthy for not only the consonant, flowing melody lines, but also for the exquisite phrasing. Yes, “Shifting Sands” is tranquil, relaxing, and lovely just in itself and as a peaceful listen. But as the title “Shifting Sands” might imply, there is something else beneath; a much deeper meaning to all.
For example, Track 7, “Life at 4,” with its easy and melodic movement, evokes a wistful remembrance of simpler times. Yet at the same time, there is underneath, a certain sophistication and “knowingness” of spirit that weaves its way through the composition.
I must say, I got lost in this sheer loveliness of this album, and in particular in the song “Travel Me Home,” which is track 6 on the album. Like all of Lynn’s tracks on “Shifting Sands,” It’s sensitively played and this one is quite mesmerizingly hypnotic. I am also particularly fond of Track 10, “Oasis.” It’s got a wonderful structure, a simple melody line, and although no lyrics are shared with us, I feel like there are probably some that go along with this.
Track 5, “Looking to Lowman” gently reminds us that inside every tragedy, as the fire that occurred there in the Boise National Forest in 2016, there is love and beauty. We just have to try to see it through the embers. And through the song’s own beauty we are given opportunity to pause, listen, and reflect upon the multiple paradoxes and odd juxtapositions of life.
Lynn Tredeau is a multi-talented musical artist and one to definitely watch as her ascent is assured. Simply beautiful solo piano. “Shifting Sands” is a “must have.”
Rating: Excellent
The Second Dimension by Ketil Lien
- posted by Candice Michelle on 5/19/2017
Ketil Lien - The Second Dimension
Born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, Ketil Lien (who also records as Wim) is a producer of electronic soundscapes that often traverse the boundaries of ambient, chill-out, new age and cinema-inspired compositions. With several albums released on the long-standing English label, AD Music, his past works have joined the ranks of those by other prominent recording artists and label-mates such as David Wright, Ian Boddy and Richard Bone. Comprised of ten compositions spanning approximately fifty-three minutes, The Second Dimension is both classic and outstanding electronic-space music, noted by the incorporation of both modern and vintage synthesizers, and often recalls the works of Tangerine Dream (especially some of their 1980’s-era albums), Vangelis and Jean Michel-Jarre, while also bearing the notably edgier, often danceable electronic stylings of Depeche Mode and Erasure.

The opening piece, “Celestial Beginning”, alludes to the mysteries of space and time, as wordless celestial voices swoosh upon electronic tribal-esque percussion, which gradually morph into a downtempo trance rhythm. An enchanting composition reminiscent of cinematic fantasy, this mood is revisited frequently on much of the album. “City Moods” further picks up the pace with dynamic sequencers and a space-trance rhythm, particularly recalling that of Jean Michel-Jarre’s Oxygene and Equinoxe albums, but with a more modern flair. Slowing things down to an almost dreamlike standstill is “Diamond Beach”, an especially beautiful composition and easily my favorite track on the album. Enshrouded in an ethereal haze of synthesizers that are underscored by a chill-tempo rhythm, the piece seemingly recalls the oft-depicted idyllic scenery of a classic fantasy film. “Elysian” is another favorite that seemingly imparts images of a mythical hyperborean land with its icy timbres, foggy chords and deep, billowing resonance. Equally captivating is the gently rhythmic and spacey number, “Lost in Orbit”, which initially treads along darker terrain with its opening gusty drones and foreboding machinery-like sounds that slowly give way to an approaching horizon of distant light. The title track, “The Second Dimension”, is likewise particularly alluring with its dreamy, floating textures comprised of hovering celestial voices and driftingly bouncy bell-tones. Perfectly concluding the album is “The Sleepwalker”, a most enchantingly haunting composition noted by drifty piano and harp textures with an overall encompassing soundscape that bears stylistic hallmarks of Vangelis.

Often shifting back and forth between dynamic dance sensibilities and dreamy ambient bliss, The Second Dimension takes its listener on an exciting adventure full of retro-futuristic, cinematic soundscapes. A fantastic album in its entirety, Ketil Lien’s latest release is simply a must-have for fans of classic electronic space music, as well as the sci-fi and fantasy genres! ~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)
Rating: Excellent
Solo Piano Destruction by James Woolwine
- posted by Candice Michelle on 5/9/2017
James Woolwine - Solo Piano Destruction
James Woolwine is a pianist, guitarist, songwriter and teacher who began taking piano lessons at age seven. Comprised of eight original and two cover solo piano compositions, his debut album, Solo Piano Destruction, variably incorporates elements of pop, jazz and rock music into highly engaging contemporary classical arrangements.

“Overkill” is a dramatic and lively opener that follows along a relatively unpredictable path (as do many of James’ compositions), expertly weaving all his classical influences into one while displaying bold touches among an intricate melodic arrangement. The aptly-named “Ivory Dance” follows next, skipping along in a buoyant manner to the many nuances of James’ dynamic and intricate finger-work. The pace slows down a bit with Katy Perry’s instantly recognizable “Firework”, on which James skillfully employs his own unique embellishments. Comprised of the same four chords as the original song but with variation on the bridge, the piece is distinguished throughout by its insertion of powerful keystrokes, with special emphasis towards the latter part in the lower registers. Serving somewhat as an interlude is “Meadows of Dan”, which lends subtle contrast to the former piece with its simple opening notes and more rural, down-to-earth vibe. Dedicated to James’ mother who likewise named the piece, it takes its inspiration from a place called Dan in his home state of Virginia. Originally written as a guitar piece, “Happy Accident” sprang forth from several spontaneous ideas that ultimately resulted in a solid composition. Reminiscent of sunlight pouring through the open window of a cottage in the countryside, the fresh scents of nature seemingly fill the air, as James’ fingers move like spinning tops throughout the registers of this spritely, sunny tune. Showing considerably more restraint is “New Bach Etude”, the album’s most elegant composition, as well as my favorite, with its subtle intrigue and new age overtones. An additional Katy Perry song is rendered on this album, with James lending his own twist to the catchy “Teenage Dream”, which was the first composition he did a formal arrangement of. “From Andy” closes out the album with a sophisticated effervescence, serving as an ode to guitarist Andy McKee of whom this composition was inspired by.

Classically intricate yet dynamically straightforward, there is certainly much to appreciate about James Woolwine’s compositional arrangements and piano-playing techniques. Positive, upbeat and packing a lot of oomph, Solo Piano Destruction would be particularly well-suited to a live performance setting that personally engages his audience. With a guitar-based album also currently in the works, I suspect this is only just the beginning of more rewarding musical outputs to come! ~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)
Rating: Very Good
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