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Within Us All by Monica Williams
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/17/2019
An album to bring you harmony, peace and tranquill
On this late October day I had started my working day early, and part of this morning’s waking up procedure was a listen to the latest album by Monica Williams, called Within Us All, hot on the heels with the success of her previous release Journey of Tears I found myself truly encapsulated by the offering, and it is this journey I now wish to take you on as well.
The album starts with You are Compassionate feat John Herrera, the light percussion was a winner for me and with Williams delightfully comforting flute, I just drifted away with the newness of the day. The melody in this piece was one of the best I have heard for some time, and hours later I still cannot get it out of my head.
Williams follows that up with You are Forgiving feat Lynn Tredeau & Sherry Finzer. This one was of particular interest to me as I have worked with both Finzer and Tredeau extensively on music promotions over the years, and was not in the least surprised to hear the outcome of this project, which would deliver one of the most beautiful pieces you would ever wish to hear; the three musicians all play from the soul, and this collaboration of genius will move you to tears of happiness and gratitude.
As we take another tentative footfall into the release, we come across a wonderfully mystical piece entitled You are Memorable. Williams on flute here really manifests something musically that has a real depth to it, and a composition that you must listen intently to at all costs; a musical narrative has been created here by the artist that is simply mesmerising.
Time now for a further collaboration, this time utilising the skill set of Michael Kent Smith. The guitar is so smooth and delicate and partners Williams so well in her endeavours; there is also a sensitive elevation of energy here in the music that is akin to watching a brand new sunrise on an early spring day; indeed You are Happiness was one of my favourite tracks off this great album.
Now it’s a moment of eastern magic with the artist as she joins forces with percussionist Will Clipman on the track You are Adventure. For those of us that like to travel, this one will certainly resonate with you. The natural sounds and the scenic backdrop of tone made this, one of the standout offerings from the album.
This release is like a journey that seems to take us too many dimensions, in many ways and styles, once you have arrived at You are Free as a Child feat Lynn Tredeau, you will find a composition that is so carefully delivered and composed, it is truly heartfelt and very emotive, and as such this voyage of plenty has now taken us inside of ourselves to release our freedom.
We now come across a piece that transfixed me called You are Resilience, a percussive beat seemed to open a new musical portal for the artist to walk us through, the performance here by Williams was very similar to the old style Terry Oldfield that I grew up with, and had that certain addictive quality about its construction that was simply undeniable.
You are Integrity had a lush reflective quality about its arrangement, this beautifully fluent presentation was almost classical at times, a piece that seemed to raise the energy to release a certain level of empowerment from the music, the steady repeating motif on piano also added an extra dimension to proceedings as well.
You are Not Alone is our penultimate offering, and I must say of all the fine pieces that are on this album, this one was my personal favourite, I can see this one is going to be on my ambient playlist to listen to for eternity. The whole composition is so powerful and moving, and at times reminded me of Deuter and his Buddha Nature days. This is one of those compositions that will literally leave you with chills down your back and with every hair standing up on your arms, utterly magical indeed.
The last doorway to the release is now upon us and called You are Enough. Monica Williams now rounds off an excellent album with one of the calmest arrangements on it; it’s certainly one of the most serene in its fluency and utterly the best way to leave what has been an outstanding album.
I was a huge fan of Williams last offering Journey of Tears, but even I must say that in my view this is easily her best work so far. Within Us All has a classy sense of consistency that runs through each and every track off the album, each composition is perfectly produced and played and features some of the finest new age musicians of the 21st century upon it. Within Us All is an album that will bring harmony to the soul and peace and tranquillity to the troubled mind, it’s a release that everyone should have in there collection.
Rating: Excellent
Fontis by Voxfire
- posted by Gena on 11/12/2019

There is an amazing new album (FONTIS) by the remarkable group VOXFIRE comprised of three female soprano vocalists and two male musicians (who primarily play piano, trombone, saxophone, synthesizer, harmonica and percussion). This vocal group sounds unique because they sing hundred-year-old lyrics in ancient languages from Europe’s Middle Ages. The music is part old-time classical, part world-fusion and part eclectic new age and avant-garde. Bottom-line, the music is absolutely mesmerizing. The vocals are so old-school, they could just as easily be wordless vocalizing, but, regardless, the harmonies are tight and the singing often sounds like you are in an old towering stone cathedral. There is one all-instrumental tune, “Laudemus II.” This is music to fill your dreams along with visions of knights in shining armor, fair maidens or damsels in distress, or princes and princesses at royal court. Background on each tune including lyric translations are available at the group’s website.
Rating: Excellent
Autumn Monsoon by Suzanne Teng
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/6/2019
Perfect in all ways - true quality
I had listened to this album intently and was certain I had heard this style of flute performed on another album, until I slapped my head with my hand, with the realisation that this was some 2 years plus ago, and under the name of Mystic Journey, Teng and Levy’s skill set brought me a fantastic album called Kingdom of Mountains back then, and now were off on a new voyage entitled Autumn Monsoon.
This musical partnership have graced us with their music over the years on film, TV and various other commercial projects. I must admit to be a bit of a fan of their work as it sets a beautiful place of calm for us eager listeners to listen from, we therefore start this voyage with the opener and title track Autumn Monsoon. Teng’s flute here is majestic in creating an autumnal feel to the composition, whilst the crafted percussion manifests a wonderful base from with which we can all explore this graphic musical narrative.
The longest piece off the release is up next and called Indian Sisters, the scene is immediately set with simplicity, and we could with ease, be on the hills sides gazing down upon the valleys of a textured Indian countryside. Levy’s multi instrumental nature not only in this track, but in the entire album will bring us a fine array of plucked and percussive moments of genius. I would dare to say that this is a particular favourite of mine, but on an album of near on perfection that’s difficult, but the mood and graphic nature of this offering is utterly sublime.
It has been said that this pairing create music that will lift the listener to a place of beauty, that can be further emphasized by this following offering called Maya. The gentle nature of this track is soothing and most healing; there is also an underpinned and very lush sense of a Celtic refrain here that is equally charming.
The opening to this piece, Traveler, was superb; guitars lay down a bed of music that is almost like walking the boundaries of the wastelands in some middle Earth betwixt and between what we know as reality. Teng’s flute then brings an almost native energy to the proceedings as we seem to be moving further onward down a dusty track, where remnants of a forgotten past lay discarded as the world has moved on, this is a fine cinematic performance by both artists, and with ease my personal favourite off the album.
On Blue Ngoni we have an intriguing piece; one that offers up something truly fascinating to listen to, with the symbiotic partnership of percussion and flute, there’s a beautiful depth to this piece that I also found attractive as well, the sounds of the Ngoni were so fluent within this charming musical narrative.
Canyon Ghosts is one of those tracks that is simply magnificent in every way, the tones and wonderful instrumentation draw such evocative images of a spiritual location when the ancients reside, but can only been seen by those with a pure heart and intentions. The flute of Teng here is masterful, she creates such a mood filled landscape, and this sonic soundtrack is added to by the patient and timely percussion of Levy; note the textured layered backdrop here as well.
A truly meditative offering can be found on this next composition called Sueños. One could with ease slip into the other realms whilst listening to this transfixing offering. Levy’s musical talents bring us work on many instruments, so I hope I am right to applaud the work of the dulcimer here, one that at times reminded me of the work of the legendary new age artist Deuter.
As we move deeper into the dark waters of this album we come across a truly galactic track entitled Andromeda. Yes, another favourite of mine, I stated early there would be many. The soulfulness with which Teng’s performance is blessed with here is huge, and the outcome of this splendid arrangement is one that brings us something musically so vast, we could roam within its tones for eons.
We arrive at the penultimate offering off the album, it is called Journey of Life. All life is a circle, and everything the power of the world does is done in a circle, this I do believe. This is a beautiful composition, I mentioned the soul of Teng’s performance earlier, well this is the very track where you will not only see, but feel it present its stunning achievement. A mystical offering can be found here, one that is so deeply powerful and also very moving, a track that shows the sheer class of both artists at their very best.
We have now arrived at the very last portal of the album and we are given one last musical gift from this symbiotic musical partnership, which is called Prayer for Claire. A moment of reflection is before us, a moment of thought and a time to reflect on another, this was a nice touch at the end of a beautiful album, musical honour and respect, and of course love.
Autumn Monsoon is one of those albums you just can’t wait to get your hands on, perfect in all ways, brilliantly performed and craft fully produced. Teng and Levy have done it again, there intelligent and sparkling musical presentations have once more gifted to us listeners one of the finest contemporary instrumental albums of the year, and the fans and listeners of true quality music, should be queuing around the block to get hold of this one.
Rating: Excellent
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