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Unfolding by Rick Batyr
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 3/12/2018
A fascinating album
Musically life has been unfolding for Rick Batyr for some years now, he has progressed and expanded his musical repartee tenfold, and now with Unfolding the album, Batyr has taken a massive leap up the stairways of musical prowess leaping steps in a single bound.
Unfolding is by far his best work to date and tracks like the inspiring and technically perfect slice of electronic music on Synchronise featuring Tikki Masala is but one example of his progression.
With the deepness of AumOmOhm and its sublime resonance, the mesmeric Enter the Portal, featuring Cumie Dunio which is a mixture of trance and rock we haven’t seen since Brian Abbotts, Skelton Lords track.
Batyr has given his all on this release and it shows, the classy and Pink Floydesque It Has Always Been Here is a stand out piece and smoothly floats around the musical psyche.
With an effortless ease, Batyr drives a percussive sense of movement through pieces like Call of the Wolf, and then allows us to sink into a world of ambience with compositions like [uh-mal-guh-meyt]. Divasonic features on the piece Transfiguration, and then the sound of the wind as it blows around on Winds Of Change and finally You Are Eternal Light all go to making this an excellent album that was designed to be listened to as a continual piece of music.
Rick Batyr has produced probably the most fascinating album of his career, one that will resonate at the highest level with his fans, and lovers of quality electronic and vibrational styled music; if this is you, then this has to be a must buy release, quality albums like this don’t come around that often.
Rating: Excellent
Seamless by Christine Brown
- posted by Christine Brown on 3/8/2018
Pianist/composer/arranger Christine Brown has often included wonderful medleys on her albums, most notably on A Classic Christmas (2012) where she ingeniously combined holiday favorites with classical music with jaw-dropping ease. Medleys of songs aren’t anything new, but Christine Brown has taken a very unconventional assortment of favorite classical pieces and pop/rock songs and “seamlessly” woven them into something new and surprising. Led Zeppelin and Beethoven? Chopin, The Eagles, and The Mamas and the Papas? Adele and Bach? These unlikely combinations become beautiful, soulful piano solos that will be a treat to any music lover’s ears. Brown’s previous release, Souvenirs (2014), was awarded Album of the Year by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and I would expect Seamless to receive similar accolades. It is certain to be on my list of Favorites for 2016! Seamless is Brown’s eleventh album and easily proves once again why she is one of my favorite artists.

Seamless begins with the very familiar opening notes of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” but quickly becomes Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” merging to become “Beethoven’s Stairway.” How is that even possible? And yet it’s an elegant pairing that is graceful as well as soul-stirring. “The Police Trilogy” is a medley of three of Brown’s favorite compositions by Sting (for the youngsters out there, The Police was Sting’s rock group before going solo): “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” “Fields of Gold” and “Every Breath You Take” - awesome! “Hello Someone” is a medley of Adele’s “Hello” and “Someone Like You” with the addition of JS Bach’s Prelude to the Cello Suite #1. Intrigued yet? If not, check out “Moonlight Hallelujah,” a mix of Beethoven’s sonata and Leonard Cohen’s classic song. Poignant and achingly beautiful, I can’t wait for the sheet music for this one - my favorite on the album. “Happy Together” combines The Turtles’ classic song with Enrique Granados’ “Valses Poeticos #3” to make a darkly haunting bit of musical magic. “Love, Elvis” pairs two of Elvis Presley’s most enduring love songs, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Love Me Tender” into one romantic piano solo. Another wonderful surprise is the combo of “California Dreamin’,” “Hotel California” and Chopin’s C Minor Prelude (Op 28 #20). These very different pieces combine together effortlessly and effectively in Christine Brown’s amazing hands and imagination. I love this entire album, but this is my other favorite medley. “Rainbow Smile” combines the nostalgic songs “Smile” and “Over the Rainbow,” to create and warm and wistful closing to one of the best albums of the year.

I’m here in my office with my two cats giving Christine Brown a standing ovation! Seamless is incredible from the first note to the last. These medleys are all heartfelt and meaningful as well as gorgeous and I give this album my highest recommendation. It is available from, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.

2016 / Key Image Music
53 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
November 2, 2016
Rating: Excellent
Ascend by Christine Brown
- posted by Christine Brown on 3/8/2018

Ascend is pianist/composer Christine Brown’s twelfth album and what a great album it is! A collection of fourteen original piano solos that reflect her classical training as well as the soothing, uplifting qualities of new age piano at its best, each piece is a sparkling gem with its own story to tell. Christine has always had a sublimely graceful and elegant piano touch, but some of the music on this album seems to have an even greater emotional and dramatic range than previous releases. In addition to her beautiful original compositions, some of Christine’s albums have included arrangements of children’s songs, medleys of classical and Christmas music (A Classic Christmas in 2012) and medleys of classical and pop/rock music (Seamless in 2016). Her 2014 release of original piano solos, Souvenirs, was awarded Album of the Year by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. Several of her earlier albums have been on my annual Favorites lists and Ascend is guaranteed a spot on the 2017 list! I think it’s Christine Brown’s best album to date - and Seamless blew me away last year! The album was recorded on Christine’s Kawai RX-7 grand piano and was engineered by Scott D. Davis of Scovis Productions with mastering by Michael McDonald, Syntharts Studios; the piano sound is powerful yet very smooth. As usual, Matt Strieby’s graphic design is stunning.

Ascend begins with the title track, a warmly optimistic piece that welcomes the listener and sets the peaceful tone of the album. “Love’s Legacy” is more melancholy, with deep emotion flowing from one heart to another - a favorite. “Magic Carpet” is quite different with a mysterious Middle Eastern sound that is, indeed, magical. The deep bass of the piano is particularly effective on this piece. “Gravity” is delicate and gentle - an unseen force that keeps us grounded and functioning. “Closer” is a slow, romantic waltz as well as a heartfelt love song - another favorite. I’m really looking forward to the sheet music for “Forest For the Trees,” a gently-flowing piece with passionate passages that send it soaring. “Lotus Breeze” has a slightly Asian flavor and is as delicate as a whisper. “Cherish” is another favorite - deeply-felt emotional expression that comes directly from the heart. “Amethyst Sky” is my favorite track of the fourteen. Watching a beautiful sky can evoke feelings of longing as well as contentment and peace, and this wonderful piece captures those feelings and gives them wings. “Safe and Sound” ends the album in much the same way it began - with warmth and optimism and perhaps a touch of gratitude that all is well.

Ascend is truly an artistic achievement, and I fully expect to see it nominated for a slew of awards in addition to appearing on many “best of” and “favorites” lists. It is available from, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation.

Christine Brown
2017 / Key Image Music/Christine Brown
63 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
October 1, 2017
Rating: Excellent
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