The Industry Source for New Age, World, Ambient, Electronic, Solo Piano, Relaxation, Instrumental and many other genres of Music
review board:  View all reviews Submit your own reviews
member reviews
Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs by Pam Asberry
- posted by Dyan Garris on 5/11/2020
Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs
"Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs" is a refreshing escape from all that ails you. It’s something special, a souvenir, you can take home with you and keep in your heart. — Dyan Garris

Gentle and refined, yet passionate, the music of solo pianist Pam Asberry is inspired by her travels, memories, and feelings. “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs” is her 5th album release.

Pam was awarded Best New Artist 2018, and Best New Holiday Album 2019, by Enlightened Piano Radio. Pam’s music can be heard on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Enlightened Piano Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, SiriusXM, and elsewhere.

Pam is a classically trained pianist whose training began at the age of 7-years old. She completed a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy. She maintains a private teaching studio near Atlanta, Georgia.

This album pays tribute to, and is mainly inspired by, the Czech composer Zdeněk Fibich who was popular when Czech nationalism was at its height. The album title, “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs,” bears the same title as an extensive collection of nearly four-hundred piano pieces written by Fibich.

Pam’s “Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs,” is 11 original solo piano pieces, also inspired by her own travel, memories, and feelings. The compositions on the album are composed in a variety of styles. What shines brightly throughout the album is her sensitive, velvety, yet quite precise touch on the keys, and her perfect cadence, which is par excellence. Pam has a genuine talent for painting lush “travelscapes” with her music.

The album opens with the somber, yet unforgettably elegant, “Praha Fantasy.” A reflection on the many wonders of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, it’s a nice, relaxing “mood” to begin this lovely album.

Following is the gentle, playful, and gliding, “Swimming with Stingrays.” This is a “musical memory” of an experience she had interacting with these interesting creatures while visiting Grand Cayman Island.

Next, we are skillfully carried back to the city of Prague with “The Astronomical Clock.” The actual clock tells the time and date, shows astronomical and zodiacal information, and provides forty-five seconds of mechanical theater every hour. How fascinating. Here, in this composition, Pam has perfectly captured and portrayed exactly what it must be like to experience this clock. Magnificent, truly.

In music, the term, adagio means “played slowly.” The song, “Adagio,” on this album, is a personal favorite, not because it’s played slowly, but because it’s gorgeous and relaxing. This a flowing, atmospheric melody, tinged with a bit of bittersweet and moody melancholy. Not maudlin or morose, I found this quite soothing to the spirit.

“Reminiscence” has that romantic feel as in, perhaps, an enjoyable recollection of a long-forgotten, gentle, loving, experience; a sweet memory to be sure. It’s like a calming lullaby. At just over 4 minutes, it could have gone on forever as far as I’m concerned. This is wonderful, and it’s definitely one for the relaxation playlist.

Skillfully, then, we are transported to the wild jungles of Belize, through “Cry from Lamanai.” This is a musing about what life might have been like in the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai. Here’s another one to completely love, with masterful use of both upper and lower registers. What a great piece!

The “day-dreamy,” yet not “ungrounding” composition, “Floating,” perfectly showcases Pam’s classical training. This is melodic and ultra-relaxing. Let’s all float.

Returning fully to the Earth, we find ourselves on a musical journey across the historic Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. What makes this even more interesting is that construction began on the Charles Bridge at a specific time and that time formed a palindrome. It was done purposely by Roman Emperor Charles IV. For those that do not know, A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or sequence of words or numbers that read the same backward as forward. Pam has, among other things, brilliantly captured the palindrome impression in this composition. Yes, both brilliant and fascinating.

“Reverie” takes us immediately into an enjoyable mood where we can let go and feel swept up in nothing but pleasurable thoughts. This is also a favorite on the album. Flowing, gentle, and downright pleasant all around.

If you thought we weren’t going anywhere else, you were mistaken. “October in Paris” is a perfectly executed waltz through that great city on a fresh fall day. Again, we have that velvety, gentle touch on the keys, which is also confidently precise. We are there.

The album closes out with, “White Poppy.” The white poppy was first used as a symbol for peace in 1926, by those who supported ending all war. It also represents the remembrance of victims of war. The song is a soft lament but also, a very gentle, delicate invitation to the deglamorizing of war and a solid commitment to peace among all peoples. A wonderful close to this wonderful album. Not to be missed for solo piano lovers everywhere.

Get it here:

Press/Radio Contact:
Sherry Finzer
Higher Level Media
Rating: Excellent
Precious Memory by Alan Hanslik
- posted by BT Fasmer on 5/8/2020
Precious Memory Review
Oscar Wilde once said that the “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” Most of this “diary” is filled with insignificant information, trivial notes from everyday life. Some memories though, are special. They represent defining moments in our lives. Alan Hanslik’s album “Precious Memory” deals with such important recollections. It is a wise and thought-provoking release that resonates on many levels, from times of “Abundance” to voyages “Back and Beyond” – to quote two of the song titles. It is not an album that will leave you untouched.

Alan Hanslik is an American composer, musician and producer. He began playing music growing up in Brooklyn, Ohio. Playing in local bands and eventually touring with Jon Washington of the British group, the Fortunes. Drawn to the electronic world of synthesizes, Alan wrote and produced his first electronic, techno and EDM singles and albums. Alan has also composed soundtracks for features films and movies.

The first piece is called “Abundance.” It truly is an “everything and more" kind of song; The warm sound of the hang drum is both welcoming and reassuring at the same time. If we think of the song as a memory, it tells of a period in one’s life when there’s an abundance of all that is good. The world feels new, and there’s not a cloud in the sky. It is refreshingly youthful. Each time you hit the replay button, you know that this song will great you like a cherished childhood memory. In short; A fabulous album opener!

To me, the title track is a small masterpiece! The sound of the classical guitar is wrapped in a rich reverb, creating a larger-than-life soundscape. Precious memories are just like this, shimmering, almost tangible, yet so fragile. The melody flows like a river. It is beautiful, but there’s an undercurrent here too that could swallow you whole. That’s the sting of precious memories, because they are, well, memories. They are about places you used to know, people long gone, a distant time. The piece makes me think of Michael Hedges' music, it is that good.

Now the album shifts gear. “Chambers” takes us to a far-away place, sealed off with heavy doors. An angelic choir greets us. Deep down somewhere are also much darker voices, as if the Earth itself is talking. It is a place where your innermost feelings and thoughts are hidden, in an out-of-reach vault. Both gold and toxic goods are to be found here, and only you have the key to these chambers.

I very much enjoy how each song has a distinct atmosphere. Hanslik is right about how precious memories are just as much about emotions and perceptions, as they are detailed recollections of how things really happened. If you, for instance, think about when you graduated or had your first child, these memories are mostly about the feelings that washed over you as things unfolded – not the physical events themselves. At first, “Precious Memory” may seem a bit vague, but suddenly you realize that each piece is like a portal to some of your most cherished memories. That’s when you see the album’s true value.

Back and Beyond
Where there’s yin, there’s also yang. “Back and Beyond” takes us on a voyage to the underworld. It is a dark and foreboding place. The different layers of textures are nicely designed, and the strings sound wonderful. There’s also a heartbeat-like rhythm, highlighting the scary atmosphere. Not all precious memories are positive from start to end, which the song is a symbol of. A small spoiler; I'm happy to report that it ends on a high note.

“Rin Song" is a lovely meditative piece. The darkness of the previous song is forgotten. Now we have a warm and bright sphere of our own – far away from the troubles of everyday life. It is ideal for thinking and deep focus.

Soft Wind
When listening to “Soft Wind", you can almost feel a gentle breath on your hair. and face. It is a very physical song. If you are not relaxed at this point, the luxurious pads and ambient melody in “Soft Wind" will do the trick. It is my favorite song on “Precious Memory.”

The album closer is the guitar piece “Wading.” It has an intricate atmosphere with a subtle hint of melancholy. Sometimes in life, we feel as if we are wading in deep, dark water, it is so hard to move on. The song expresses this feeling brilliantly. Usually (and thankfully), it doesn’t last long – and we move on to something better, as illustrated by the somewhat abrupt ending. Even times of extreme hardship – for instance when you have small children keeping you up night after night – can in retrospect become fond memories.

In conclusion: “Precious Memory” by Alan Hanslik is a marvelous and in many ways remarkable album. It demands something from you - but when you give it a chance, it will reward you in abundance. Its magic is in the fact that it is about your most precious memories – not someone else’s. Don’t be surprised if “Precious Memory” suddenly is among the most cherished albums in your collection for this very reason. Highly recommended!
Rating: Excellent
Secret Beach, the album by Barbara Graff
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/1/2020
Reflect in the serenity of the music
Barbara Graff has returned with a brand new album, fresh from her success with her last offering Beginnings. This time we are drawn to somewhere I just adore to go, that’s of course my Secret Beach.
Graff has created a very personal album here; one that I am sure will resonate with the listeners. Her gentle and calming style on the opening piece is as delicate as the Sunrise it depicts, the subtle tones and soft tempo leads us into a world of glistening shards of sunlight on another glorious day.
Graff’s piano speaks volumes on this next piece entitled Carolina. There is a nice energy about this song that gives it a slight folk ethic to its energies and the musical narrative is indeed compelling. This is a track that grows in confidence and melodic charm as it develops, at times mysterious, but always incredibly warm.
Hope Springs is our next port of call and from its refrains comes a track so beautifully composed and arranged it would turn out to be my personal favourite from the album, the emotive qualities of this song are impressive, but even with those little reflective nuances, hope always seems to spring eternal from its construction, a completely mesmeric song this one.
Now we find ourselves walking through the sands of the title track Secret Beach, there are a few places here that we like to go to that could be named as such. This was in fact a single for Graff last year and it did pretty well; sitting here in the middle of the album it is the perfect fulcrum with which to move into the second half of the release with.
There are some compositions that just sit up and beg to be loved, and In the Moonlight is most certainly one of them. This is a wonderfully composed piece that seems to have many musical facets, at times reflective, but with a hint of romance as well. The performance is crafted and extremely listenable; one can also detect a slight element of the classical within the structures of this quite moving opus.
Now we are all up for some inspiration are we not? Graff gives us that moment right now in one of her most ingenious offerings called Inspiration, this is such an astute piece, one can never quite figure out which road it is going to take, but it doesn’t seem to matter as the composition grows and evolves all on its own.
We now finish Barbara Graff style, with a flourish as we add some further instrumentation to the keyboards used here, and finish with two versions of the same track, the latter being a bonus track with vocals and entitled Sweet Eclipse, the mood is upbeat as is the percussion, a truly clever and inventive way to finish and end the album.
Secret Beach is a wonderfully imaginative album and Barbara Graff must be pleased with her efforts, she has created several new songs, and manifested a wonderfully fluent musical narrative with which to deliver them with. Moments of reflection, emotion, calm, serenity and happiness can all be found here on an album that sparkles with vitality and positivity, an album well worth a recommendation.
Rating: Excellent
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
Site Map     *     Privacy Policy     *     Terms of Use     *     Contact Us
Core Solutions, LLC