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A World Away by 2002
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 9/18/2018
A veritable voyage of the soul
I can count myself extremely lucky today, as I am now on my second listen of the new album by 2002, I’m pretty sure it won’t stop there and I am going to make a really bold statement from the off, I rate this to be their best ever album thus far!
We start with the outstanding Dream of Life, the vocals of the Copus family here are utterly sublime and Sarah has matured into a singer of supreme quality and she is still only very young, this track would be a fantastic single, apart from the vocal brilliance and sweet harmonies, let’s not forget the smooth and soothing keyboards, and the vibrant percussion as well.
The sweetest of moments is upon us now with the film score styled track Finding You. Gentle, reflective keyboards and harp now gift us a piece bathed in mystery, when the guitar kicks in, it’s like we are on a search through the labyrinths of time to find the other half of our very soul. We can also be enthralled by the haunting Violin of the amazing James Song on this piece as well, creating such a smooth and peaceful backdrop, with such class.
One of my favourites, and there are many, has to be this one, To Live Again. This is one of those timeless tracks that you just cannot resist playing many times over and each time you do your body simply tingles with sheer excitement. Randy’s vocals are simply amazing and seem to be calling out to us all to live again in this opus of past and future lives. 2002 as a collective have produced another classy composition that once more could easily be a single and a chart topping one at that.
As we move to Butterfly we come across a song that fans of 2002 will go wild over, this is their classic signature style and quite brilliant as well. Sarah’s vocals remind me in part of the UK Celtic singer Juliana but warmer in complexion. Here on this musical moment of magic we are gifted an almost youthful composition as we set the Butterfly free to fly away, and fulfil its destiny, and perhaps effect yours positively while doing so. Musically this is another classic new age pop tune that will easily woo the listener along with its magical energy.
I felt a personal resonance to the mid-way song called Memory of Tomorrow, as only yesterday I sat and wondered about the meaning of life, I watched the trees blow back and forth and listened to their music and said to myself, what if this is all an illusion? This piece of music from this moment forward is going to be firmly in my mind when my muse kicks in for another philosophical debate. Now the standard of musicianship on this track alone is simply the best you could possibly hear, listen to the stings and keyboards and be amazed at the wonderful and gentle symphonic mastery that it draws for us.
Stars and Moons is the magical pool created by the Copus family for us all to bathe in, now I said I have many favourites on this release and this is another one of them, the chorus alone deserves a standing ovation for its escalation, build and progression and I think we have another chart topping single here as well. I still have a fascination with the universe and can be fortunate to be able to gaze up at a star filled sky on most nights; this is another sound track for that moment for me. New Age pop perfection can be found here, personally I adored the reflective, but vibrant move from minor and major on this offering, hook that up with the brilliance on Cello by Jim Higgins and of course the emotive Violin of James Song and you have one of the best tracks I have heard for a decade.
As we slide ever deeper into that star filled ocean above us, we can find a glowing gem of a piece called We Are Always. This instrumental offering is utterly sensual and deeply romantic with every note played. The guitar matches perfectly with the wordless vocals and harmonies, and manifests for us a composition that is both bathed in love and a kindness of the heart that is so meaningful.
We now move to a piece called The Stars Will Guide Us. This sensitive arrangement is so pristine and caring, it’s energy to me seems to be one of a constant rebirth, the feeling from the tone and essence of the overall ethic of the piece is one that says, we may lose our paths along the way, but allow the stars to guide us and we will be where we are meant to be in the end. There is a soft Celtic mood about this track that is so very charming, the harp and calming vocals all go to make up a song that feels like it’s been created in the land of the only one true place in the universe, love.
The Space Between is a special composition for me, but it is also our penultimate song from the album. I have listened to this one several times now and I feel a certain freedom of spirit from it each time I do so, this is deeply meditative and restful and very similar to my meditations to the void, or perhaps I can now call it The Space Between. Listen specifically to the juxtaposition of the piano and the strings here, completely and utterly amazing.
So we now arrive at the very last track off the album and this wonderful last gift is entitled Strings of Your Heart. The strange thing is I feel I have heard this melody before, but I cannot recall where from. However this is simply the ideal piece to leave the release with, just listen to the amazing vocals from the entire family on this one, the production of this arrangement is true genius. This is one very stirring offering that enables us the listener to leave the album, perhaps full in the knowledge that we must enjoy each moment we live, and live in that moment with gratitude and love.
2002 have delivered to me probably one, if not the best albums I have heard this year, and please believe me when I tell you; I get to listen to hundreds. Technically superb, musically sublime, emotionally empowering and performed with such a level of professionalism and honesty it would be very hard to match.
A World Away is a veritable voyage of the soul, and the best work of 2002 in my opinion so far, the balance and checks of universal timing are all here, in what is truly superb release, and if the stars are aligned, then this album should be a chart topper and an award winner with ease, it is that good.
Rating: Excellent
Even For A Moment by Gary Schmidt
- posted by Dyan Garris on 9/13/2018
Even For a Moment - Gary Schmidt
“Even For A Moment” is the second professional album release for solo pianist, Gary Schmidt. Hailing originally from Canada, and now living in Colorado, Gary teaches piano to children and adults. He studied piano at Tyndale College and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has performed at both Carnegie Hall and The Grande Old Opry. Gary’s previous release, “Landscapes of the Heart,” won an “Album of the Year” award for “Best Piano with Instrumentation” from One World Music Radio as well as from Enlightened Piano Radio.
“Even For A Moment” is fourteen tracks and includes two classical pieces. This is fifty-three minutes of soul-soothing solo piano with instrumentation delivered in a neo-classical style. Guest artists include Sherry Finzer on flutes, Hannah Elkire on cello, and Roger Schmidt on acoustic guitar.
The album opens with the minimalistic, “If This Is The Time,” which is tender sweetness, not terribly complex in composition. The song is melodic and likeable, played with sensitivity and grace. It is perhaps someone quietly asking and then quietly accepting the answer to whether or not this is the right time for something near and dear to their heart. Very nice, and reminds us gently to allow things to unfold in harmonious, divine timing.
The cello of Hanna Elkire, following on “Inside This River,” adds a rich, full-bodied texture to this pleasant soundscape. It’s an enjoyable, charming melody, akin, perhaps to the flowing river of the heart. This gets really pretty about half way through with an interesting tempo change and with the cello becoming an even more perfect companion. For some reason, this song gave me chills. It must have been speaking to my heart, even for more than a moment. At 5:22 in length, there is time for meditation and contemplation along with relaxation. This is nice artistry and a true favorite.
Some other notables: “Face That Lights My Face,” is gentle, flowing, euphonious, and melodic. The acoustic guitar of Roger Schmidt, Gary’s brother, following the melody line, adds nice warmth and depth. The title track, “Even for a Moment,” is fun, upbeat, genial, and happy. Here again we have the sonorous cello following along. Very pleasant. “A Train Leaves the City,” is quiet and contemplative, and with its nostalgic wistfulness, seems to speak poignantly about saying goodbye as the title may imply. “The Breath at Dawn” is hypnotic and languorous, with Sherry Finzer’s flute artistry adding a spellbinding dimension to the mix. Track 9, “Simply By Looking” is a hypnotic mix of mellow cello and dreamy, well-composed piano melody, with a very light synth pad kind of underlay in here. I found this very relaxing.
In my opinion, “No Better Gift,” track 12, is the very best song on the album, and my absolute favorite. The piano melody is charming and engaging. The flute artistry is wonderful here and a beautiful complement. This is quite uplifting to the soul, and one to listen to again and again.
The album closes out with the charming, “Postlude to a Moment.” This is graceful, tender, and somewhat passionate without being overly so, and brings the album to the perfect, peaceful close. “Even For A Moment” is recommended as a most delightful album to add to your solo piano collection.
Get it here: https://www.apianist.com
Visions & Emotions by Aleksandra Takala
- posted by Gena on 9/11/2018
Takala Brings Unique Vision To New Age Music


If you like new age music that is just a little left or right of center, exciting but a bit different, then you should take a listen to the debut album, VISIONS & EMOTIONS, by keyboardist ALEKSANDRA TAKALA who brings together the sounds of piano, synthesizer, strings, horns, woodwinds, guitars, the Japanese koto, bass, percussion and occasional vocalizing. Her full-bodied mostly instrumental presentation ranges between new age and neo-classical with the occasional foray into ambient music. But as you can tell by the album title, the music is full of visionary ideas and deep emotional feelings. Delving deeply into this music is worth it because it gives back in listening pleasure any time and energy expended in listening and studying the sounds. There is so much going on that several listenings may be required to fully appreciate what she has created.
Rating: Excellent
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