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Rising by Vicente Avella
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/10/2018
A wonderful collection of breath-taking music
The supreme smooth talents of Vicente Avella are back, and this time he explores the realm of Piano with instrumentation on this his latest release entitled Rising.
I first came across Vicente back in 2013 with his All the Days of My Life release, now with some delightful string and orchestral sections he powers back with a glorious album, one which contains cinematic styled tracks like Yours and then the long form and deeply expressive opus of, For Always.
The title track Rising is incredibly impressive and Avella manifests something so moving and intriguing here, within a mystical weave of notes that is truly sublime, whilst creating a modernistic feel with the strings and piano, all in total symbiosis of tone.
With sun kissed tracks like the inspiring and quite beautiful Daybreak and the dramatic determination of Relentless, this album is always going to be a winner, as it contains something for literally everyone.
Everything has a melody that seems so familiar and its alternation between minor and major made this a total hit for me. While the chilled back beat of I’m OK gave us that easy like Sunday morning feel.
As a composer Avella has grown in leaps and bounds, you only have to take a listen to compositions like Turning Point, which has a stunning elevation in power and intensity, then the longest track off the release at over 10 minutes entitled Looking Up At The Sky, which in total honesty is the most beautiful piece off this delightful collection, the intricacy here is sublime and this dramatic symphony of grandeur, is Avella at his very best.
The last two offerings off the release are equally as striking and very inspiring to listen to, the crescendo filled Beyond is a winner by a mile, and contains some of the finest build and construction you will ever hear on a composition regardless of the genre.
Avella finishes this latest project off with a clever arrangement called Turning Off The Noise. This is the ultimate ending for you to just simply drift off into a dream filled world of ambience and bliss.
Rising by Vicente Avella is not just an impressive return for the artist, it’s a wonderful collection of quite breath-taking compositions, which contain passion, power, sensitivity and soul; this is one album you are really not going to want to miss under any circumstance.
Rating: Excellent
Serenity II: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick by Michael Kollwitz
- posted by Dyan Garris on 4/10/2018
Serenity II - Michael Kollwitz
Following the successful 2017 release of the album “Serenity,” Michael Kollwitz has done it again with his 2018 album release, “Serenity II.” This is his 22nd album and his 2nd album release in the New Age genre. Kollwitz’s instrument is the unique and unusual Chapman Stick, which he describes as “the perfect marriage between piano and guitar.” Kollwitz composed and performed all 16 tracks on “Serenity II.” The album is extraordinarily serene – aptly named – and melodic, speaking to us of gentle, warm breezes and flowing, peace inside and out.

The album opens with the rich and mellow, “The Presence.” Graceful and elegant, with a smoothly fluid melody, it’s soul-soothing and memorable. “Wrapped in Love” on track 2 follows suit, and we may find ourselves wanting to stay in this harmonic, tranquil space forever. Yes, I think I will.

Exploring further, and finding every song on this album to be stunningly beautiful, “One With Nature,” track 11, is a personal favorite; a dreamy composition with a soft flute underlay. Track 12, “Shaman’s Cave,” is most wonderful, with intricate, delicate, and transportive nuances. “Easy Does It,” on track 13 is just that. Easy, laid-back, and effortlessly peaceful. Although it was really hard to choose, “Breaking Free,” track 14, is my definitive favorite on the album. The mix here is gorgeous, making a lush and languid landscape for perfect relaxation. “Beyond the Clouds,” track 15, perfectly conveys a heavenly feel with an ethereal melody and whispy underlay. The album closes out with the facile and eloquent “Way of Knowledge,” which is just over 4 minutes of pure bliss.

“Serenity II” is just the right amount of everything on every single track, and the perfect addition to any contemporary New Age album collection. Timeless and utterly effortless, “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz is the ultimate oasis of true serenity. Highly recommended and a “must have.” — Dyan Garris for New Age
Buy “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz here:

Terra Incognito: The Space Between by Richard Dillon
- posted by Dyan Garris on 4/10/2018
Terra Incognito - Richard Dillon
Richard Dillon has released a total of 11 CDs, with “Terra Incognito: The Space Between” being released in February, 2018. “Terra Incognito” is defined here as: “A place, subject, or situation that you are not familiar with.” In keeping with that, this album is somewhat of departure from his well-known New Age solo piano albums, such as “Irish Mist” and “Land of Nod.”
“Terra Incognito” is a compilation of Richard Dillon’s work from 1984 to the present, which includes his use of various instrumentation and also four vocal tracks he created specifically for music licensing. Guest artists on the album include Julian Catford, one of Seattle’s top guitarists and Seattle area based fiddler, Susan Burke on violin.

The album is lengthy, coming in at well over one hour, and consists of 24 tracks. Interesting, and in juxtaposition to that total album length, some of the tracks themselves are quite short, with, for example, one of my personal favorites, track 8, the beautiful “Leonardo’s Flying Machine,” being only 1:12.
The album opens with “Whalesong Redux,” a soulful instrumental replete with communicative sounds of these resplendent sea creatures. Next up, “Green Flash Redux,” incorporates soothing ocean sounds with a steady, meditative melody line. The title track, “The Space Between,” is spacey and atmospheric as one might expect, albeit a little short at 1:41. However, maybe it says just enough and we can fill in our own spaces as we imagine them.

Some standouts on “Terra Incognito” are: Track 9, “Beside Still Waters Redux,” with its peaceful rainforest sounds and well-constructed piano melody. It’s a lovely piece. And not that there is nothing to enjoy in-between, but track 18, “Light of Peace Redux,” is quite tranquility inducing with its gentle piano and calming synth string vibe flowing underneath. “Ha Long Bay” on track 21, is pretty, uplifting, and angelic, with its ethereal sounding digital voice wrapped around some very nice piano and palliative instrumentation, which all enters into the mix at just the perfect time. Very nicely done.

Buy “Terra Incognito: The Space Between” here:
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