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Spring Begins by Muses9
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/14/2017
A most exciting release
Let’s take our first tentative steps through the album Spring Returns by Muses9, through the musical smoothness of the opening track Angel, the crafted chill out beat here would in fact go down pretty well in many of the Coffee shops here. Technically speaking this is a nicely worked piece, especially so if listening on headphones.
Spring Returns is a reminder of the varied hopes and aspirations of humanity, and as I sit and watch the day grow longer, we arrive at the next piece called Easy to Love. The Chill Out style maybe easy to produce, but to get that quality that inspires the listener to fall in love with it instantly, requires a certain attention to detail, and Muses9 have indeed achieved that, listen to this piece and I urge you to use your headphones, for an awesome swirling performance and experience. The impressive standard of production here is quite breath-taking.
How About, has an enticing percussive opening, partnered with a rhythmic bass line that brings our musical journey to the beaches of sensual bliss, however this is also one very empowering opus of deep sound and thought. The multi instrumentational nature of this piece is sublime and creates a perfect tempo to really feel the energy of its overall construction.
Sometimes we all find ourselves a little Lonely. Muses9 will now interpret that feeling of inner sadness with such a melodic fluency, that it manifests a bed of emotional creativity for us to weep upon. The use of the negative chord structure here has produced one of the finest songs off the album and certainly one of my favourites; the vocals on this piece were extremely moving, delicately performed, and danced a slow dance of loneliness with the added instrumentation contained within.
One of the lessons when producing a chill out ethic to a piece is not to push it or overdo it. Last year David Arkenstone produced a wonderful example of this genre, with Songs from the Aqua Lounge, and here Muses9 has manifested something very different for the listener.
Cat and Mouse is a wonderful example of trance, fused with a chilled beat and a little new age dropped into the recipe of eventual success. The trance dance style here reminds me very much of UK band Riven, but here Muses9 add so much more into the weave of this very cleverly created composition. As you listen you will notice the arrangement is packed with musical nuances that make this song extremely addictive to say the least.
We change direction slightly on the next offering called Maybe. The narrative suggests a moment of musical thought and reflection; this is also a very clever song, and dances with a percussive partner with ease. This is one of those tracks you could see becoming an anthem at gigs, one that the audience would be more than happy to join in the chorus with.
The constituency of the vocals have been a pleasure to listen to on the album thus far, and on More, the shortest piece off the release, one can hear that even more so, they seem to float around you on a bed of chiming synths, like petals from a daisy, on the winds of a warm summers day, dancing with sunlit shards of light along the way.
Another of my personal favourites was the penultimate piece called Prelude. The flowing and uplifting nature of the beginning was amazing, the synths created a lush and colourful narrative, to bring about an energy of inspiration to this quite beautiful instrumental starting point, then at the three minute marker, there was a truly sensual pause and some of the most angelic, but self-assured and confident vocals to drive us home, in what I rate to be the best song off the album. This is a true moment of genius from Muses9, a cinematic moment of magic.
We finish with the title track, and of course called Spring Begins, this is something to look forward to as we approach winter. This solo effort on vocals here is a masterful way to finish this mystical journey with Muses9, and by doing so, shows the class and professionalism that runs right through this exciting release.
Spring Begins is a rare album; it’s totally fresh and contains something for everyone. This album has been described by others as Groove and Chill Out and Sensual, yes it is all of those things, but if you listen multiple times, and I have, it is much, much more. This is an album that crosses musical genres, invents its own, and presents to the ever eager listener something new and utterly exhilarating. Spring Begins has to be the most exciting release of 2017 and probably one of the best produced too.
Rating: Excellent
Urban Metta, Vol. 2 by Anaamaly
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/8/2017
An oasis of serenity and calm
I firmly believe that music will come into your life when you most need it, and after enjoying the sonic bath of Anaamaly’s last release Urban Metta Vol 1, we now enter a new and inspiring realm of Urban Metta Vol 2.
Only yesterday I made a personal breakthrough about a state of mind that had been troubling me for years, and now I feel fully ready to embrace each and every loving track upon this album, with an open heart and a lightness of spirit.
So let’s start this most profound journey through music, with a look at track one, and how appropriately entitled, I Am Ready to Forgive. The person who we always seem to leave last on the forgiveness list is ourselves, so let’s embrace that now; our path is made easy through the smooth and caring tones of this absolutely beautiful piece. The long languid ultimate healing process begins here with such a delicate softness on keyboards, so just let go, and enjoy.
After letting go and releasing that forgiveness, we now allow ourselves the energy of new growth through the ambient bliss of I Am Inspired by Possibility. This is a real open door of new realms to explore; a lush but perfect bass is mixed with consummate ease, with warm synth pads that create a cocoon of unlimited prospects.
Each and every day we wake from our slumbers, and begin the process of creation; from the moment we swing our legs from the mattress, we assume the role of co-creators in our universe, by our very actions. On I Am a Co-Creator, we have the soundtrack to that moment. I found this opus fascinating, there is a certain crackling of energy that seems to be manifesting here, a gentle bass sound that creates a distinct warmth, and a lightness on keyboards that seems to literally float around us in a dimension of infinite possibilities, perhaps even yet to form.
We now move to a track of both realisation and acceptance, it is called I Am Light and Love. This intrigued me, yes this is ambience personified, but I also sense a certain playfulness here as well, that is so appealing. The higher resonation of tone here would be a perfect healing opportunity for us all to take advantage of.
I Am a Reflection of You is now upon us. We seem to have floated into a higher realm where a gentleness of the pads manifests an almost angelic presence within our surroundings. The strings and distant vocalisations lift’s our souls into a place of complete peace, in this ultra-inspiring composition of great harmony and balance.
We now edge across the half way marker and come across a track entitled I Am Fully Present. Once more we have an opportunity to embrace acceptance through this offering. The keyboards here seem to deliver a tidal effect of music, in a style similar to Eno on the release Discreet Music. The relentless and eternal energy of the synths here move to and fro, like an ocean dancing upon a full moon.
We now drift on the edge of infinity, as we touch the hem of the next arrangement called, I Remember My Purpose. I found this an incredibly empowering piece; the dramatic keyboards here raise the energy, but are not out of sync with the overall essence of positive manifestation thus far created by this stunning album. This for me is a track of realisation; a piece that one could perhaps say is a light bulb moment within music.
On I Give My Truth, we have an ambient back drop of soft rain falling, Tibetan Bowls chime with the timbre of truth and a reverberation of honesty. This is a musical offering of sincerity and candour. One can feel the safety and security of the planet, as we secure ourselves in alignment with the earth and state our truths. The deepness of this offering is immense and all encompassing.
We are now deep within the weave of the release and nearing the final corner of our musical voyage of self-discovery and awareness, as we do so, we come across another very empowering composition called I Affirm That All Is Good. Listen very carefully for the distant vocalisations, which once more give us energy of the protective angelic realms that are around us now. The bass here has a depth rarely found in musical offerings these days, and allows the arrangement to expand and grow with ease.
As we continue on our sojourn, we note that we have arrived at the penultimate piece off the release; this portal of ambient perfection is called I Radiate Healing Energy. The melodious tones gift us a dimension of musical delight, one that within the mists of tranquillity, we can release our own healing to all that need it, in the name of unconditional love. The synths here create a wondrous realm of musical healing rain for us all to bathe in.
Our last, but not least offering is called I Have All That I Need, and for me is a piece of acceptance, awareness and the confidence of knowing. The keyboards here manifest a reality of oneness with all things, the swirling nature of this composition on my headphones is amazing to listen to and partake in; the slight elevation in energy here is the perfect way to leave an album of this nature.
Anaamaly has brought into our world another album that speaks directly to our hearts and affirms the truths we already knew, but were afraid to accept; now with a release of this nature, that acceptance can be completed with a happy smile of confidence. Fans of the new age meditational styles of music will lap this album up, but this is a release that is beyond beauty. If you require a little sanctuary of peace in your life, an oasis of serenity and calm, then Urban Metta Vol 2 would be the perfect album to take with you on that tour of inner reflection.
Rating: Excellent
Held in the Light by Dan Chadburn
- posted by Dyan Garris - New Age CD on 11/3/2017
Dan Chadburn - Held in the Light
Dan’s Chadburn’s love and passion for music, and compassion for humanity, shines clearly through in this, his 7th improvisational solo piano album. “Held in the Light” is 13 tracks from Dan’s heart to ours, consisting of ten improvised arrangements of traditional hymns and three original studio improvisations. The album is almost one hour of feeling like you are fully supported and embraced by the Light. It’s something to lose yourself in, something to immerse yourself in, and yet find yourself in at the same time. The album effortlessly evokes a sense of deep and profound peace and transports you to a place where you just know without any doubt that all is well. And it is. You are held in the light.
The album opens blissfully with Dan’s improvised version of the traditional hymn, “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” Simple, yet at the same time, complex, not unlike the nature of humanity, it’s an English Christian hymn that was penned by Edwin Hatch in the late 1800s. It’s a tribute to God, the giver of life, and speaks to the creation of man through the spiritual breath of God. It’s the perfect song to begin this album. But in this version, if you didn’t know it was a hymn, you wouldn’t know it was a hymn. Dan’s interpretation honors this “creation energy” perfectly and cuts across any and all religious boundaries to embrace all that is Light. The whole album is that way.
“Be Thou My Vision,” a traditional hymn from Ireland, follows as track 2 and again, what we feel here is just the love.
Dan’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” on track 3 is a purely lovely, heartfelt, and unique interpretation of this beloved, classic, and well-recognized hymn.
Track 4, “Wondrous Love,” is my favorite track on the album. So peaceful and soothing, it’s certainly one to play over and over again.
“Love Divine,” track 5, is aptly named, as it is indeed divine. It’s also a great showcase for Dan’s impeccable timing and graceful sensitivity. Here we feel as one with the Divine just as surely as Dan is one with the instrument.
Track 7, “Lo, How a Rose,” is another personal favorite. In Christianity, this is a familiar and beloved Advent hymn. Dan’s rendition is just amazingly beautiful, perfectly capturing the essence and purity of a rose and all of its symbolism.
The “Breath of Life” improvisation as track 9, was born in a live studio performance where Dan asked the audience to pick a note and a key. Hence, “Breath of Life” in the key of C sharp minor was birthed right then and there.
Soft, tender, and gentle, the title track “Held in the Light,” is interestingly and very well placed as the last track on the album. It is the perfect ending to a light-filled album that you’d certainly like never to end at all, but rather, have it go on into forever. And maybe it does, as the love emanating from this album will stay in your soul long after the music stops playing.
In my opinion, Dan Chadburn is one of the most important solo piano artists of our time. “Held In The Light” is outstanding and definitely not to be missed. Exceptionally beautiful solo piano.
Rating: Excellent
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