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The Essential Collection by Eugene Friesen
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/12/2018
Friesen is the man when it comes to the cello!
The Cello of Eugene Friesen has long been an instrument to admire; I have heard it signing its songs of beauty on so many albums, for so many artists over the years, now on The Essential Collection, you can enjoy a host of releases by the artist, who is joined by some of his fellow musician friends.
The very beginnings of this musical voyage will start in Japan, where the musings of performing in a museum and a popular Japanese song have been merged to create a track of utter beauty, and an energy of a pristine light for us to immerse ourselves within, the Cello and the repeating tones all work their magic perfectly on the opening piece Triangles/Akatombo.
Friessen follows that up with the intricate, but enchanting Shadowplay; there is a certain jazz enthused ambience within this piece that I adored along with its sense of pace and rhythm, the plucking technique by the artist here is breath taking and I would imagine Shadowplay would be something quite amazing to watch in a live concert, a tip of the hat to Tim Ray for his very sweet contribution on Piano.
Whales and the sound of them are always going to be popular in the new age music genre, but the sheer depth and vastness of musical quality that Friessen creates here is chilling and quite powerful. Humpback Harmonies also has a defined sense of movement within its overall construction, and this symphony of Cello’s manifests a truly remarkable composition, one that resonates so masterfully with the whale itself.
There is something so serene and calming about the arrangement Prelude in D Minor (JS Bach) on this offering, Friesen’s Cello builds a narrative that is so appealing, and grand. This solo effort has a quality of performance that one may find it both mesmeric and meditative in its energy.
As we approach the half way marker we arrive at a serene and lush composition that has such a beautiful narrative, called Cove. There is a wonderful attractive flow about this piece, so much so, that one could feel they are drifting down a river, and with this combination of Piano and Cello, heading for the sanctuary of a sunlit cove, such bliss.
Hymn for the Pacific Rim has a true sense of rhythm and movement about its nature, which makes it so very easy to be a part of. Featuring the multi instrumental talents of Howard Levy on Wooden Flute, and the creative, glistening percussion of Glen Velez, and added to the mix is the acoustic guitar of Chuck Loeb, manifesting one of the most light and all-encompassing tracks off the album.
I must say I absolutely adored Voice of the Wood, the natural sounds that open this are simply picturesque and with the Cello they literally manifest this glorious vista of nature for us to musically walk within. After some research the bird in question is the Japanese Bush Warbler, but the symbiotic partnership with Friesen’s Cello is something to behold, I also felt an emotive quality about this composition as well that was quite moving.
Tim Ray is back on piano for the upbeat and exciting arrangement called First Ride. The fast paced tempo describes the swift dynamism of movement to a tee, it has all the energy of something new that has been birthed, something shining and musically bright will be found within this piece, which will allow you to simply smile at the experience of listening to it.
As we move towards the deepest part of the collection we come across Dances of Rasputin, if you ever wanted to listen to Friessen rock it up, then this is the track with which to do it. This improvised work of folk genius highlights the immense talents of the artist in full flow; this would indeed be something to watch at a concert!
Our penultimate offering is Remembering You, and is performed with such a reverence of respect it is a delight to listen to. The combination of Ray and Friessen on piano and Cello is emotive, and bathed in a musical tone of appreciation, and dedicated to the artists late father.
So we have finally arrived at the very last port of call of the album and it’s called River Camp. Now here is a track to lighten our way as we leave the project, this piece has all the vigour of youth and exuberance of being young, and perhaps even a gloriously happy occasion of a memorable time at, on, or in the river!
There is something special about this album; it manifests so many doorways of musical brilliance, that there is literally something for everyone within the release. The Essential Collection of Eugene Friessen will take you back in time, it will remind you of the artists best works, it will make you smile, enthral you with its new and splendid tones of production, but at all times remind you that Eugene Friesen is the man, when it comes to the Cello.
Rating: Excellent
The Cage by Bob Holroyd
- posted by Gena on 4/11/2018
EXTRAORDINARY NEW SOUNDS FROM MULTI-TALENTED MUSICIAN BOB HOLROYD Keyboardist, ace sound-manipulator and avant-garde maestro Bob Holroyd stuns his fans once again with the music on his latest recording, THE CAGE. This extraordinary musician and push-to-the-limits producer has previously created music that has been used prominently in mainstream TV and films such as The Dark Knight, Lost, True Blood, The Sopranos, Panorama, Coast and many more. Hollywood certainly appreciates the innovative and envelope-pushing sounds from Holroyd, as does his fans who never know whether to expect jazz, world-fusion, new age or ambient music when this multi-faceted creator goes into the studio.

THE CAGE has an all space-synth tune (“Possibilities”), a piano-and-synth-percussion piece (“Inner Mind Sigh,” you have to love that title), an industrial-drone with fast-paced percussive rhythms (“Woven” -- maybe inspired by old textile-mill looms doing their full-production back-and-forth thing), and much more. If you like to stay up on the latest sounds, directions and creativity in music, check this recording out and you will have plenty to talk about at your next compare-entertainment-notes party.
Rating: Excellent
Listen by Nitish Kulkarni
- posted by Lillian on 4/11/2018

Nitish Kulkarni is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, who creates delectable world-fusion music for the 21st Century. He blends traditional ethnic instruments with modern ones. On his album LISTEN, which ranges from new age to world-pop, you will hear tabla, sitar, djembe, oud, didgeridoo, theorbo, mbira, erhu, oud, Uilleann pipes, harmonica, shakuhachi flute, darbuka, charango guitar, riq tambourine, various Latin and Asian percussion instruments, plus violin, cello, trumpet, glissentar, acoustic Spanish guitar, electric guitars, synthesizers and a few wordless vocalizations. Every tune is different so check out the whole recording. Recorded in Spain, the album is highly entertaining and melodic while also educating the listener’s ears to a wide variety of musical sounds not often heard, especially in these unusual combinations. This is true global music.
Rating: Excellent
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