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Ethereum by Joseph L Young
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
A moment of sanity in a crazy world
The delights of a good flute player are pleasing to the ear and mind, the pleasures of an excellent flute player are good for the heart and soul, and as is the case with Joseph L Young, they bring balance and harmony to the ever increasing cacophony of life’s frenetic life style.
Young is back with a new album called Ethereum, and from the very first offering called Wavelength, is as soft and silky as a summer cloud in July. The connection here is both clever and stylish, as we connect with the wavelength of Young’s intent, and begin yet another wonderful musical journey together.
Ethereum as an album is very appealing and as a track, most exquisite in its construction, the plethora of flutes used in its manifestation are numerous, and thanks to these magicians of musical making, we can with ease, visualise wide open vista’s, beautiful forests growing in abundance in the early morning light, all in an utterly wonderful ethereal mist filled way.
Shimmer continues our enchanting journey through this strange new world of a flute blessed paradise, as we listen carefully to its tones, one can be reminded of a little Celtic nature that seems to be opening up before us. This most pleasant of melodies is simple, but created with a real gentle heart.
We now find our way to a pathway that is Boundless. The Native American flute is imperious here; the artist creates images in our minds eyes of deep pine forests and full flowing streams that crash down from tall imposing mountain ranges. There is a real vastness to this composition that has to be listened to many times over to be truly appreciated.
Illumination seems to flow from the previous track with ease, but with a change of flute comes a change of energy. We go now from west to east, and while the vista could possibly be very similar, there is a different overall construction to the composition. As we wander through its spiritual tones, one can feel an awakening, a satori of a kind, we begin our Illumination, and shine.
Past Lives is a subject that used to be close to my heart, I had worked on them for a few years, and now with lessons learned, I focus entirely on the life that I am living now. The dark and aged sounds created by Young, are very deep and it is as if the composition itself is moving through time, with the slow march of certainty built neatly within.
A slight alteration of style sees Young perform on Saxophone as well as flute, this is Entangled, and while the backdrop is moody, the whole arrangement is about a instrumental duet between Flute and Sax, and the interplay that it forms is delightful to listen to and fun to enjoy the dance that it creates with such panache.
I always like a moment to just, Drift, we have such a moment now, this is a flute based twinkling of meditative magic for us all to enjoy and simply float with. It’s ethereal, smooth and simply a wonderful realm to just wander in and as the artists says, just drift!
The longest piece off the release at just less than five and a half minutes is called Free. For me this is one of the most poignant tracks off the album, the added vocals here say it all, it’s time to be free and wash away all that is holding you back, all that you thought to be true about yourself, and simply be Free. This was my favourite song from this brilliant album; it reminded me of my friend Nigel Shaw from Dartmoor in style on flute, but the nice use of crescendo and the positive vibe that it contains really makes for me, the stand out composition from Ethereum.
Sunsets are supreme to witness, sunrises even more so, as they hail the beginning of a new day and another opportunity to do something special. This is Joseph L Young’s opportunity to shine, as he performs an uplifting opus of sun filled pleasure on the track Crystal Sunrise.
I remember Fireflies from my time in the Midwest, I used to sit there and marvel at their light dance in the dark, and smile, of all the wondrous creatures on creator’s earth, these amazing little insects, will always have a special place in my heart. Young has created that dance right here, the light percussion combines superbly with the flute, while we enjoy Flirting with Fireflies.
Our last offering is called Sapphire Moon, and is one of the gentlest tracks off the album; with ease we could sit outside in the dark night sky and simply observe this beautiful moment occur before our very eyes and this piece would be that sound track of the moment.
Ethereum is an album of pure bliss; it has a perfect sense of balance in its overall manifestation and creation, the tones are calming, the flutes are Young’s paint brushes and here our artist in residence has demonstrated and exhibited his best works for us to all enjoy. Ethereum is one of those albums; it is a creation of good honest skill and abundant talent. Joseph L Young and Ethereum, is a must for all who seek a little moment of sanity in a world filled with craziness.
Rating: Excellent
Walking To You by Rachel Currea
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
Created from the heart
We are in the midst of some very stormy weather here in Cyprus, so the one thing to calm the mind and ease the soul is good music and this you can find right here, if you care to join me on another musical journey of sight and sound, via the medium of the album, Walking To You by Rachel Currea.
The opening gift is the proud album header, and Walking to You does not disappoint in its tender refrain and energy and reminds me of style of pianist and composer Dan Chadburn.
Song Without Words has a wonderful tempo, and is also gentle on the ears, a piano must be caressed to get the best from it, and Rachel Currea does this with great dexterity and skill here on this lovely piece. The delicate performance here is sublime and very calming as well.
I have listened to Sarah’s Dance a few times now and I find this short form composition of just under two minutes very addictive, it could be the charming melody, or the delightful use of both major and minor chords, or simply the passionate way its performed, whatever, this may be a short piece, but incredibly moving.
However my favourite off this lovely album is the track Abundance of the Heart. I could imagine myself just sitting and watching the artist perform this in a sun kissed room, as shafts of dust gently dance in the moody light of a late afternoon in autumn, here is a performance on piano that is not only beautiful, but played completely by the heart, for the heart.
Evening Joys is played with a real sensitivity on the keys that is so very appealing. The art of creating a real warmth on a piano is a rare skill, and one that Currea seems to have in abundance, so we can sit by the fire now, and soak in the evening Joys with this warming composition.
As we move onward, we come across a track called Forever. Here is a composition that has a tender narrative to it its construction, but adds power when needed, to bring out the honest nature and truth of the arrangement.
We slowly move into a really caring song called Reconciliations, the flow of performance here is stunning and Currea has the composition of the track perfectly balanced, to give us dear reader, a sense of new found happiness and musical contentment, this is beautifully played and meaningfully created.
On Hear Me Now, we have a little shift of energy, there is lightness, and a gentle ambience is manifested for us to float within. Then the tones become richer and deeper, this is a really clever arrangement, the change of tempo and power is wonderful to behold, then like the tide her performance pulls back to a quietness of contemplation, and then leaves us with a stunning flourish that would surely raise the roof with applause.
An almost film like score is up next on the track, It’ll Be OK, the very slight mournful approach is partnered with a musical arm around the shoulder in its more imploring segments, as if to say “Don’t worry It’ll Be Ok”.
Once Upon a Time has that delightful sense of mystery about its arrangement that I think will appeal to you dear reader. The style is also fascinating, as Currea uses her piano to spin a tale around us by a warming winter fire. The wide eyed gazes of children hang on her every note, as if the mother of all fairy tales is being musical narrated for them and perhaps it is?
The talents of an excellent composer, is the skill to take you on a musical journey and keep you enthralled along the way, here on Walking To You Rachel Currea does just that, listen to this piece called The Crossing and you will be glued to this amazingly interesting short form piece that has speed, intensity and poise and all in 90 seconds!
Waltz in E Minor does exactly what it says on the tin so to speak, delivering you an excellently performed dance of a piece that literally sweeps you off your feet. A fluent majestically classy performance from the artist can be found here.
As we move deeper into the album we come across an enchanting piece called Night Butterflies. This is a very artistically creative performance by Currea, that has a wonderfully paced tempo, but her gentleness and sleight of hand really gives us the essence and energy of the delicacy of a butterfly on the wing.
Celestial Dreams is one of those tracks that you feel you have heard before; it has a fond resonance in my mind and seems almost timeless in its construction, the composition has an almost ethereal sense about it and even a little angelic presence can be felt here.
Starlight Lullaby comes to me just as the sun has fallen prey of the night and the clouds of our nocturnal mother now lay us down in our soft warm beds, a gentle hand caresses our face, as we say goodnight. This is charming and perfect way to end the day, it’s time to pull up the blanket and dream not of today, but of what maybe tomorrow, a sweet and very loving song indeed.
The longest and last track off the album is called Hymn to the Holy Spirit. Here our final piece has a soft loving hand and also a sincere intensity to guide our way, this is a fantastic ending piece, with a feeling of crescendo, a feeling and energy, and of being uplifted to the very last second of the album.
Walking to You is a solo piano album that has it all, as a piano based album lovers of the genre must surely eat it up, but Rachel Currea has that little something else that us lovers of really good music enjoy, she has that amazing ability to feel, perform and create all from the heart and on Walking to You, she has brought that all together, in 16 very enticing and listenable compositions.
Rating: Excellent
Four Days in My Life by Louis Colaiannia
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/18/2016
Full of gentle subtleties that will delight
I cannot believe it has been two years since Closer hit the top spot on the One World music Radio chart, but it has, and now the questions is, can Colaiannia repeat that with his latest offering, Four Days in my Life?
The whole beautiful project starts with Aurora’s Light. There is such a gentle softness about this composition that is almost childlike in its energies. The delicacy that Colaiannia utilises here is rare amongst pianists these days, and very pleasing to hear. The subtle work on vocalisations by Noah Wilding was simply angelic and very relevant to the tracks overall energy.
By the Sea is next, and the location of this tracks manifestation is an inspiration for both the artist and myself, as we both like to compose music on the shores by the ocean, this album’s general narrative is that most of it was created in four days on the beach in Florence. The main theme of this piece does have that wonderful sense of ambience that you can only get from an actual location, but also listen out for some amazingly delightful saxophone by Premik Russel; this adds a real layer of smoothness to an already lush arrangement.
A third of the way in dear reader you will find a sweet number called Waiting for Her. Once more gentle is the keyword, this sensitive but beautifully flowing piece from Colaiannia also contains some very respectful and peace filled Cello from the master himself Eugene Friesen and some very delicate English horn from the amazing Jill Haley.
After that respite, we now slide calmly along and into the ever open arms of a composition called Reflections. This arrangement inspires me and reminds me of the many times and ages I have spent by the ocean and wishing a day would never end, watching the sparkling reflections in the sea as it rolls up and onto the shoreline. The repeating motif from Colaiannia gives me that feeling of the tidal movement, and that smooth caress of the keys creates such a graphic musical vista for us all to enjoy.
Now the artist joins Friesen for a duet on the next offering entitled Winter Rose Song. Friesen creates a wonderful backdrop of aged strings here, to really support the narrative of Colaiannia’s piano perfectly, and the gentle melody is almost film score like, in its style and construction.
We now find ourselves across the borderlands and into the second half of the album and now dear listener, feel free to gaze upwards to hear the music of the universe, through the composition Starry Night. Utilising the stunning skills of Charlie Bisharat on Violin, we are gifted something supremely chilled and relaxing, to guide you across that night blue horizon, fantastic percussion by Jeff Haynes can also be found here, on what is the longest track off the album and just short of 8 minutes, and my personal favourite from the release.
The next piece, Winter’s Fire, is the most intriguing off the album; it has a real new age sounding ethic to it, but also a Celtic feel too, this may be partially down to the something I personally have never come across before, an instrument called a Laoutar, (a combination of a mandocello and a Greek laouto) the performance of sublime proportions here, by its inventor Jim Matus.
As we move deeper into this new realm created by Louis Colaiannia, we find a charming arrangement of Cello, Piano, and for the first time on the album French horn from Gus Sebring. The combination on Just Now will ease the mind and calm the spirit, but bring a very pleasing melodic composition to the eager musical ear.
The penultimate offering on this quite sumptuous release is called Sea of Stars. Colaiannia has found a rich vein of form in this album, and it’s really shown here on this track, there is such a beautiful flowing energy about it, the melody is addictive and contains the team of wonder musicians to pool all their magic and manifest an almost Lord of the Rings styled epic track, this is one very magnificent opus of exquisiteness in music.
Our last port of call is so chilled and smooth, you may want to pull up a bar stool and ease back, wave the barman over for a drink and watch the artist perform this last offering so effortlessly, the saxophone of Russell here really illustrates perfectly that delightful title of Moon Over Florence, smooth jazz never felt and sounded so good.
Four Days in my Life was well worth the wait, I rate Louis Colaiannia right up there with the best in his trade, and his style on piano is always charming and full of gentle subtleties that will delight his fans and impress those who are new to his work. This latest album is picturesque, ambient and handsome, so you may as well, buy it and just leave it on repeat.
Rating: Excellent
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