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Second Youth by Lena Natalia
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/31/2016
An exceptional offering
Lena Natalia has had an amazing year with her previous releases and she is back once more, with some very emotive performances, on this her latest offering called, Second Youth (Modern Classical Piano).
When I first looked at the album cover it reminded me of the summer playing fields I use to roam in England, the short form composition called Spinning Tops became a musical back ground to my mental perambulations into the past, and I found that both combined, delivered a thoughtful and emotive arrangement right into my musical heart.
The lightness of performance and spirit on this album is simply blissful and on the track Moving On that deft of hand, partnered with a totally classy performance, continued to create imagery in my mind’s eye. The repetitive nature and wonderful narration on this piece by the artist, really gives us a sense of perpetual onward movement, but one that is being done with a freshness of heart.
This is one of those albums that you cannot help listening to over and over just in case you missed something; it also has a real sense of vibrancy about it. Prayer for Wisdom is a piece of cultured magic on the keys by Natalia, she caresses them with such meaning and skill that one can literally feel that you’re right there with her.
I have longed for a piano based album to come my way that is memorably emotional and allows me a listener to create my own mental movies whilst listening and I think this release is that album, listen to Rainstorm and more of Natalia’s creative genius comes to the fore. We have the lower notes mixed with the rain fall up-tempo energy of her performance; this composition is breath taking, and rather timely as it looks like another storm is heading my way outside my studio, so it seems like I have found the perfect soundtrack for that forth coming moment.
If you were to be given another chance at life, would you make the same mistakes? Perhaps Second Youth means that you can make that change now, and live the next phase as you wish. Lena Natalia’s work on Second Youth makes me think that this is so. This is a really passionate performance and the energy alone from this arrangement is empowering and inspiring. This is a track played with a masterful degree of fluency.
I must say that this journey with Lena is wonderful, she has truthfully created something that is sun kissed and beautiful here, and if you listen to the following track you will see a fine example of that. Just Around the Bend has a lush and colourful tone about its construction, the bend could be the path way through your life’s walk, whatever, you now have one stunningly empowering melody to listen to, while you take that next bend.
Cafe Con Leche is a timeless piece, we have many coffee shops here in Cyprus and Chrissie and I often just sit there with our drinks and people watch, nothing like being in the moment. This is such a shining example of constant movement and melody and one very pretty song to listen to whilst sipping a latte in the afternoon sun.
The most interesting title on the album is up now and called The Diary of a Railroad Conductor. Natalia’s clever hand and mind have constructed a piece here that once more has a steady onward movement, but a slight pause and pace change as well, much like you would expect to experience whilst on a train journey. One can almost see the conductor making notes throughout this journey in his diary, and as the train sleeps in the siding, he sips another cup of Coffee.
We now move into the latter half of the release and while doing so dear reader, we come across a smooth, but slightly mournful piece called Waiting at the Gate. This is another deeply moving piece by the artist, and through the emotive tones, we can perhaps see a lonely child waiting forlornly at the gate for her friend to arrive, a friend who will never arrive, a beautiful and emotionally charged piece indeed.
I would love to see Lena Natalia perform the next track called The Arrival, I can imagine it would be fascinating to watch and also pick up on the empowered nature of its construction. The performance here is sublime, the power and intensity manifests something special and you even have a sweet melody to revel in as well.
Our penultimate composition is a real classic, it is called Late Apologies. Natalia is gifting us a special slice of ambience here; this is a song that has everything, a soft gentle refrain, a calmness of touch and a skilled presence on the piano that makes her in my opinion one of the finest in her style around today.
Our last piece is called Transitions, listen to the smoothness of performance here, this is one of those tracks that you could leave on repeat for hours and never get bored, the methodology and performance is simply timeless, what a wonderfully confident way to leave the album.
I have been an admirer of the work of Lena Natalia ever since she introduced me to Paris in music with her last two albums, however in my opinion this is her finest work so far. Second Youth has intent, it is abundant in the imagery that the music creates, her performance is perfection and this for me is one of the most artistic and colourful releases I think she has manifested thus so far.
If you’re a fan of the solo piano genre you going to simply adore this one, if you’re a lover of really good music played well, then I really suggest you make Second Youth part of you musical library as quick as you can, as this is really an exceptional offering.
Rating: Excellent
The Rhythm of Life by Matt Venuti
- posted by Gena on 12/26/2016
Matt Venuti Composes Life-Affirming Music
VOCALIST AND HANG PLAYER MATT VENUTI COMPOSES LIFE-AFFIRMING MUSIC

THE RHYTHM OF LIFE by singer-songwriter Matt Venuti is a fascinating and heart-felt new album with lyrics outlining universal tenets. He's one of the best-known players of the Hang and Gubal (the modern, metallic, melodic-and-rhythmic instruments that look like mini flying saucers). His vocal style is velvety-rich over ambient grooves with deep-drawn lyrics. There's also a spoken-word-with-music track (“Desert Dreams”) and a cover tune (Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me”) that's a fresh, gorgeous take on a classic song. Venuti is backed by stellar musician/bandmates including Robert Powell on pedal steel guitar, Daniel Berkman on Kora (African harp), John Steiner on piano and organ, and Celso Alberti on drums...plus a chorus of beautiful female harmony vocals throughout the album. On select tracks Matt also plays the Electronic Valve Instrument, another musical "voice" that he is well known for.

Matt's band The Venusians have been a staple in San Francisco and became favorites of the so-called “digerati” of Silicon Valley, the Burning Man community, and the club and festival scene. More recently Matt has played at TED and TEDx conferences and now spends most of his time on the road as a solo performer and occasionally with a small ensemble, playing concerts throughout the US and occasionally abroad.

Check out this warm, life-affirming music from Matt Venuti.
Rating: Excellent
Resonance by Peter Kater
- posted by Lily on 12/26/2016
Peter Kater Album Is One Not To Be Missed
NEW PETER KATER ALBUM IS ONE NOT TO BE MISSED BY NEW AGE MUSIC LOVERS


Peter Kater is one of the top pianists in new age music, virtually the personification of new age piano music. His new album, RESONANCE, is simply one of those great, mellow, relaxing, contemporary-instrumental recordings that makes the listener feel better than when it started. The music is melodic one moment and floating-ambient the next. He has created an album not to be missed by new age music lovers.

Peter Kater has recorded over 60 albums resulting in the sales of millions of units, has scored the music for more than 100 television and film productions as well as a dozen dramatic plays (on and off Broadway), and is the proud recipient of the Environment Leadership Award from the United Nations as well as 11 Grammy Award nominations.

Kater says the music was born out of a deep longing for connection, and that he came to realize that everyone shares “a deep ‘resonance’ with all that exists.” It is music that encourages self-discovery, intimacy, surrender, compassion, love and peace. It is about “embracing all of ourselves and all of each other.”
Rating: Excellent
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