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  • New Review! Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation

    Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation
    By Ann Licater
    Review by Judson Hurd

                Ann Licater is a world/flutist and I have the pleasure of reviewing her latest album Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation. This is her fifth album and it also has guest Grammy-nominated Peter Phippen that plays electric bass. The music is recommended for “yoga, spa, healing arts, creativity, study, sleep, and overall stress reduction.”

                 Quiet Spaces is the first track with Ann’s relaxing flute. The sound of her flutes has an Native American style to it with a delightful reverb on the recording. The second track Ancestral Gathering has a similar sound but with another flute track comes in to form a fluid duet that trades the melody.
                 I listened to this record at night while winding down and it has been some of the best music to help me do that. Ann does a wonderful job creating music for the background but keeping it varied so the music does not become boring. Aspen Awakening is one of my favorites that has electric bass. The piece is short but I really enjoyed the lifting and interesting intervals that the flute makes in the middle of the song.  Ancient Shores begins with soothing flute that plays a nostalgic and sad melody and sounds like an underscore that would be in a documentary film. Celestial Traveler is probably my favorite track on the record. In the background is the electric bass with Ann’s wordless vocals. The extra layers with bass and vocals really add the emotion. Beautiful!

                 Ann Licater is a highly accomplished flutist and I can really tell from her playing that she really connects with her instrument through excellent technique and emotionally. I highly recommend this album to new age music fans. You can download on iTunes, Amazon or stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming websites.



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  • New Review: Carpe Noctem by Peter Calandra

      Carpe Noctem

    By 

    Peter Calandra

    Reviewed by Judson Hurd

             

           Carpe Noctem is a wonderful album by composer Peter Calandra and it is his eighth album to date. The feeling I got from this album is sacred religious music with ambient pads, choirs, and other instruments. I did some research and found that the artist did all the instruments and I was really impressed. Peter is an accomplished composer with over 70 film soundtracks to date and he has been nominated for some major awards. I am a huge fan of religious sacred music and this album is probably one of my favorites that I have come acrossed this year. 
           The album begins with Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and is a gentle and light piece for choir and orchestra. It reminded me of the warm music of Joe Hisaishi's "Spirited Away" which is an animated Japanese film that I highly recommend. I listened to this piece a few times to catch the sublte nuances of the instruments. The next piece Carpe Noctem (Seize the Night) starts with light strings and then choir joins to complement the string soundscapes. I love how Peter lightly brings in melody to create a sacred and peaceful vibe.
            "Aurora Scandere (Dawn Rising)" begins with light strings and the scene that came to mind was a battle scene that is about that happen. The song builds up and percussion is introduced. The piece does well and is a great mix in the diverse group of songs. "Crucifixus (Crucfixion)" beings with choir and is very somber and sacred. A haunting trumpet solo comes in that brings a haunted melody. Highly recommend! 
              "Spiritus Mundi (World Spirit)" is probably my favorite piece on the album. To be honest I'm usually drawn to music with a minor and sad vibe but the use of layers and sounds really makes this song uplifting and honestly one of my new favorites. The use of strings in a choral style progression gave me an uplifting feeling and hope. 
              I highly recommend this album if you are looking for music to contemplate, meditate, pray, or just beautiful music to exist to. Very beautiful! Get it on iTunes or Amazon today! 

     

     

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  • New Review: Mosaic by David Wahler

    Mosaic

    By

    David Wahler

    Reviewed by Judson Hurd 

           Mosaic is the newest album by David Wahler. I looked up artist David Wahler and found that he is a very prolific artist in the new age genre with six albums to date. The album has soothing synth, piano, light vocals, and pads along with other instruments. If you are a fan of Vangelis or other synth based music you will love this album.
            "Mosaic" is the first track that starts with a gentle keyboard lead and then continues with subtle pads. It continues to build until haunting vocals come in and fade out the piece. "Afterain" beings with some subtle nature sounds and then some descending piano chords that put the listener in a dream like state. "A Promise to Keep" starts with simple piano notes in left hand and simple high notes that really set the mood. Simple but very relaxing and the mood stays relaxed with the pad coming in to complement the melody. 
           "Child of the Universe" starts with dramatic strings with a very sad and expressive vibe. It reminds me of music I would hear during a nature documentary. Vocals come in with the same sad feeling but when piano comes in it changes the mood of the piece to a more happy place. Beautiful! "August Cloud" is the next piece and starts with piano and a very beautiful synth sound. I love the synth sound and this is probably my favorite piece. The synth sounds in "August Cloud" remind me of the work of Vangelis which I am a huge fan.
           "Elysian Dawn" is another piece that starts with nature sounds and soft keyboard leads. Contemplative vocals come in to complement the melody that synth takes over. I would love to know who is singing the vocal line because she has a very beautiful voice. "Heading Home" beings with piano and the continues with light, soothing percussion again with voice. I love David Wahler's use of percussion in his music. He doesn't have too much and it adds to the gentle, peaceful vibe of his music. 
            "Lone Sky Night" was a piece that caught my attention. I love pieces that can put scenes in my mind and this is one of them. It reminds me of the earlier music of Yanni and puts images in my head of staring at a full night of sky of stars in the middle of the desert. Of course, everyone is going to have different images and that is what makes music beautiful.
               If you are a fan of electronic new age music I highly recommend this album. You can download it on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers!

     

     

     

       

          

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  • New Review! Story of Ghosts by Fiona Joy

    Story of Ghosts

    By

    Fiona Joy

    Reviewed by Judson Hurd 

       Story of Ghosts is the newest album by Fiona Joy and it does not disappoint. Fiona Joy is an Australian pianist who has had many albums produced with the popular and talented Will Ackerman. She also is part of New Age supergroup ‘FLOW’ with Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, and Lawrence Blatt.

        The album begins with “Song for Dunnie” which is an enthusiastic piece that has much energy to brilliantly start the album. Although the song is a dedication to the late Annette (Dunnie) Crossley it is a not a sad piece but more celebratory. Fiona brings a simple but beautiful melody flowing over happy chords. The melody starts to develop and reminded me of “Woods” of the George Winston’s album Autumn. A beautiful piece that really showcases the memory of a loved one. “Story of Angels” has a minor feeling and Fiona uses higher notes in the piece to express a buildup that eventually gets big but resolves back to the original calmer volume. “Contemplating (Solo)” was recorded on previous albums but this is a solo piano version. It was interesting to hear the solo version without other instruments. I highly recommend to check out the other version as well!

        The next piece that I found fascinating was “Blue Dream (Solo)”. One of the more popular pieces on the album it starts with a simple melody but Fiona really commands the piece with her expressive chord changes that bring the listener to a relaxing space.

        “The Solo Tango” has a sensual, romantic, and serious tone. The music would be a great background for a serious scene in a film or TV show. Very dramatic! “The White Light” has a serious tone that reminds me of a theme that would also fit in a film about loss. Fiona does a great job using repetition to create moods and feelings in this piece.

         The title track “Story of Ghosts” starts with a minimal feel and then starts to develop with the melody. This piece seems to bring up memories of loved ones who were lost and faint scenes of childhood. “Twilight” has a wishful and contemplative sound that starts in the middle registry and then switches to the higher register. I love the variation Fiona puts in her melodies!

        The “The Story of Insanity” begins with a dissonant introductions and gets more fluid as the song progresses. I imagine this was written during a dark time or place. “Before the Light” ends the album with a hopeful minimal feeling that keeps the listener engaged but is a great resolution to the album. I highly recommend this album by Fiona Joy! You can purchase it on iTunes, Amazon, or listen on Spotify!    

     

     

     

     

     

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