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Reality of Dreams by Dulce Joya
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/29/2018
Fall head over heals for the music
We welcome debut artist Dulce Joya, her power and intensity on piano is about to make itself felt across the planet, this is an artist who is here to make a statement in music, and Reality of Dreams her first album, is one of the most glorious declarations to make
Let’s take a trip through music with the artist now and enjoy the theatre of this new album. We start by pulling back the curtains on the first piece called Romantic Power, this full flowing opus of grandeur is one that illustrates the intense nature of love and romance perfectly, note the strength and softness combined here, a stunning composition to start with.
Don’t let the gentle opening fool you, this next offering is as powerful as they come it is called Call of the King. This is the perfect offering for a pure understanding of the method of build and progression within music. The essence here is indeed regal in its purpose and wonderfully majestic throughout its grand performance, this is a piece you could get totally lost within.
One of my personal favourites from the album is the really moody and passion filled Lights and Shadows, the start is so deep, but incredibly picturesque and fluent, I found the passion here pulled me in and created at every corner a fascinating vista of solo piano to enjoy through this outstanding offering, and for some reason, one that reminded me greatly of one of the piano greats of all time in Elton John, this is simply amazing.
Let’s now move to the piece called Sad Moments, here Dulce Joya brings us a moment of reflection, but one that is still bathed in an incredibly passionate performance. Her energy and style on this offering is not only crafted, it is beautifully composed, to bring us a full flowing almost classical feel to the piece at times, then creating the mood of the more traditional new age solo piano style as well, quite breath-taking indeed.
It’s time to get ready for a Magical Ride. The intent here is set, but the artist manifests a moment of smoothness, that soon evolves into something so up tempo and, well, magical! The tones seem to swirl all around us like Dorothy in the Tornado above Kansas and then again slowly settle. One can feel through this track alone the symbiotic partnership with the piano, one that has grown since the age of six years, and now continues to expand on this her debut album.
As we reach to the top of the mountain, this half way point is illustrated perfectly by the graphic and emotive strains of the next offering called Price of Love. The combination of serenity and careful attention to detail is strong here, there is such a level of emotion within this piece it is impossible to not feel the imploring nature of performance and arrangement here.
Shadows of My Soul now stands before us and the versatility that Joya employs is stunning and her technique flawless, this is solo piano at its best and here on this track we have another moment of retrospect, a moment perhaps of crisis, and all that combines to give us one of the most stunning presentations of emotive solo piano you’re ever likely to hear. I listened to this composition a few times and found darkness of the corner where my own emotions were laying, and in this tumult of confusion I found the one thing through this music that I need today, resolve.
I’m not entirely sure if I have been as totally enraptured by a solo piano album as this one, it has kept me rooted to my seat and waiting for the next part in this musical play, which is called Reality of Dreams. That moment of recital is the very classy Stormchild, apart from adoring the title, once more I had to remember to breathe and go with the flow of the piece. As I listened, in my mind’s eye I could hear lyrics, and has the imaginings of this being performed on a grand stage with an orchestra and singer.
We are now indeed in winter and this is to some a sad time of the year, the sun hides from the day, the clouds keep it prisoner, and the dreaming fields of yesterday seem to weep tears of ice on the horizon, so perhaps this very offering entitled Winter Dreams could be the soundtrack for this mental perambulation of sombre tone and mood. Regardless, this is a track that I loved deeply; the minor nature here is sublime, and does indeed manifest the opportunity to dream within winter.
What I really like about this artist is that she creates the tracks overall narrative from the very first few moments of the song, the mood is set, the heart engaged; now it’s time for us to follow her musings, so off we go once more through this opus called Bleeding Heart. The composition and explorative mood of this piece is fantastic, it’s almost an anthem to the heart, one that may have been broken many times, but for some reason always seems to have the desire to live again.
We now have then penultimate offering of the album to bathe within, this is also the longest piece off the release and called Fallen Angel. The enactment of this classic moment in music is one of those that you simply need to take your time over, so sit yourself down with a drink, close your eyes and enjoy the next eight minutes plus of a truly memorable and most grand opus of utterly incredible and descriptive solo piano. After listening to this piece on numerous occasions I think this is one track I would really love to see the artist perform live, it has that wow factor!
The very last port of call on this tour of majestic and fluent music is called Goodbye. The artist has cleverly created for us the perfect composition to leave the concert with, the show comes to and end and the curtains are about to drop on what is simply the best arrangement to part ways with; power, glory and gratitude can all be found here.
Reality of Dreams is one of the best solo piano albums I have come across this year with ease. Dulce Joya has all the energy of a debut artist, but one who has learned and grown well, and will clearly be a big name in the genre for many years to come.
Dulce Joya quotes Plato who said ““Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” I would like to add to the great philosophers quote by adding one of my own, “Music is the only known truth in the universe, it is the sunshine on a winters day, it is the shade in the corner of a dusty attic, it is the very fabric and core of the entire universe, that we exist in” and albums like Reality of Dreams will highlight the passion, power, intensity and emotive possibilities we all have to contribute to our own reality; perhaps this album is a soundtrack in its own right for our own personal actualities. It would be impossible not to recommend this release, as I am sure that all who purchase it will fall head over heels in love with it.
Rating: Excellent
In the Distance by Michael Bohne
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 11/26/2018
A moving and deeply personal album
Michael Bohne is a new artist to me, but anyone who starts an album off in such an artistic manner as Bohne does with When the Time Comes, the ticking of an old clock and a steady rainfall outside the window, is always going to get a thumbs up from me, it’s the perfect way to draw a wonderful opening narrative to a new album.
In The Distance by Michael Bohne is a new and fresh look into the world of solo piano, one that takes many twists and turns down the alleyways of the genre, when we reach the composition Regarding Stonehenge I am stunned, as I it reminds me so very much of Cristofori’s Dream by the amazing David Lanz.
The energy and effervesce of this next offering is intriguing too and called Solar Flare, there is a serious essence here that almost tells of a warning within music, the tempo is almost breathless in its arrangement, one that is quite addictive to listen to.
This next piece is one of my personal favourites and entitled Never Looking Back. This has such a depth that it is undeniably emotive in its construction; however there is also a gentleness of performance here, which shows its light and darkness, as the arrangement moves ever onward, perhaps giving us hope from lessons learned in life.
The moody refrains of this next piece enthralled me and took me on a voyage of reflection like no other, this is called Descent and there is such sadness on its musical shoulders, there is an emphasis of days that were happier contained within, but as a performance Bohne has manifested one of the most meaningful tracks I have heard in this genre for a long while.
Phantoms Along the Shore takes us over the half way marker and is a sublimely fluent offering that seems to illustrate a really picturesque moment in time, there can be no doubt that Bohne really feels his music and the style of arrangement here is fascinating, pay also close attention to the ending of the track, leaving us in anticipation of more, or have the phantom’s just dissipated into the ether?
The Wolves’ Den is a well-crafted offering, there is a deepness of intensity here that is beautiful to listen to, but once more I am impressed with the artists ability to change from shadow to lightness and back again with such a calming, yet insightful ease, this piece is a fine example of that and also one that manifests a mood of depth and texture at the same time quite cleverly.
The shorter styled composition entitled Disconnected is up next; here we get to hear that fluency mentioned earlier in complete abundance, one that leads us sublimely into the next offering called Taking the Scenic Route. This for me was my favourite off the album, from the very first notes I could picture taking that route, sometimes you find things you never imagined and beauties in abundance may lay just around the corner, as of yet unfound, perhaps this piece could be the soundtrack for this moment of musical exploration.
We are near to completing our voyage and we do so by listening to this next piece called Fading Memories, our penultimate offering. This is a real treasure in the attic arrangement, but even as we do come across those gems from yesteryear, it seems to get harder to picture their energy in the mind. Here Bohne draws a quite loving last look back at the past, minor and major keys manifest a truly memorable offering and after all perhaps music is something we won’t forget.
So we arrive at the docking of our boat along this river of solo piano by artist Michael Bohne and he finishes with his last gift for us to enjoy, called When the Stars Disappeared. This anthem like ending piece has all the hall marks of a future great solo piano composition, the fluent and charming tones from this quite powerful offering are emotive and leaves us, the listener, with a flutter in the heart and a tear in the eye.
In The Distance by Michael Bohne is a moving and deeply personal release, one can feel the healing and cathartic energies that flow from his piano. The David Lanz influence is strong in this offering, you can feel that. Bohne has performed with his musical heart on his sleeve with the release of this album and anyone who adores solo piano, will fall in love with In The Distance and welcome it lovingly into their ever growing collections of very classy music.
Rating: Excellent
Sky Worship by Al Gromer Khan
- posted by R J Lannan on 11/25/2018
Al Gromer Khan's Sky Worship
Al Gromer Khan
Sky Worship
Eyes Up
Sit still. Take a breath. Take another. Now open a door in your mind. Step inside. And close the door. Once inside you will hear the spiritually cleansing music of Al Gromer Khan called Sky Worship.
It is so difficult to leave the physical world behind right now, but the ten World/ambient/ethnic tracks on Sky Worship should be a welcomed companion in the attempt. There are breathy whispers and calmly spoken words here and there courtesy of Ute Gromer. I have reviewed Khan’s music before and he always fascinates me with his unlikely combinations of traditional and contemporary instrumentation. His is a Grand Master of the sitar and his pairings with electronic music on his latest release are harmonious in intriguing ways. It just works. Khan’s music makes for an environment in the mind where sun and sky and openness prevail. When humankind first became cognizant of its surroundings, surely Sky was their first God.
Reso opens the album with ambient ringing tones. It segues into touches of sitar and waves of synth, exhibiting their dualities. There is a flow to Khan’s composition, an endless river of serenity. Ironically, your consciousness is traveling on this stream. Meaning contentedness in Arabic, Naima is a song with an ebb and flow, like wave action on shore or like breathing. A pendulum of the mind perhaps. The mild surge is calming, sedate, and comforting. There is no gravity, no bounds in this mesmerizing tune.
One of my favorites on Sky Worship is called Have You Seen? It is an unanswered question with an open framework of percussion, sitar and synth strings. When I listened to it I thought of a kaleidoscope of colors; blues, greens, and aquas in my mind. Freeform shapes amongst the clouds. As with the other tracks, Khan has composed a fantasy induced world tailored to the individual listener. Another case of music doing its job.
Kali, the Hindu Goddess of many identities, get a devotion on Khan’s tune Hymn in Praise of Goddess Kali. Shyama, her other appellation, is also known as the Goddess of Time, Creation, Destruction and Power. She is also dutifully worshipped as Mother of the Universe. The music has an inorganic voice and echoing sitar. Maybe a symbol of east meets west in a modern age. Deo D’Or or Golden God resonates quietly until a strong sitar form takes the lead. Swirls of weightless currents are uplifting, stabilizing energies. Vérité est beauté, French for Truth is Beauty is poignant, maybe even sad, for what is truth and beauty but concepts created by our senses. Some Transcendentalist believe that truth stands for science and beauty for the arts. On the other hand, John Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”. So the music speaks for itself.
The final cut is Sky Clad on Park Crescent. Wave on wave of synth quavers, sitar, and tabla stride along in a warm ending of aural dreams. Khan’s vivid younger years in London get revisited in this fantasy driven reverie. The piece is just over six minutes and it contributes strongly to an ambient mood. It’s another favorite, and it is sad for it to all end. I’m playing it again.
For composer and Grand Master Sitar Player Al Gromer Khan, this eclectic mix is par for the course. I say this as he is known for mixing elements of different genres and having them result in a highly listenable matrix. Sky Worship is a good example. His use of “sky” as an endless musical canvas allows him to take sonic liberties that are uplifting and inspiring. Take a breath.

Rating: Excellent
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