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And Then Came Love by Stephen Peppos
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 2/18/2020
Music to touch your heart and soul
The multi-talented Stephen Peppos is back with a new release, this time a mostly solo piano offering is laid on our table of musical pleasures. Peppos is one of the new age genres most creative souls, and here he embraces the piano and delivers something to us that is truly artistic and inventive.
This journey of plenty starts with the smooth tones of the opening offering entitled Love You. The slow, but pertinent onward movement of the heart can be felt here in this charming opening piece, one that leads us delightfully into the next track entitled Meant To Be. There is something deeply moving about this piece that hooked me in with ease, the performance is heartfelt, but bathed in the energy of acceptance; I adored the melodic structure here, it is one that haunts the feelings and lies in the shadows of uncertainty.
A Love So True is our next port of call, from this arrangement I felt a wonderful resonance of tone and timbre emanating from it; the flow here is wonderful to experience and at times quite ambient in construction, but at all times holding true to the original new age piano styled ethics.
One of my personal favourites is up next and called Love & Affection, I felt a distinct desire to keep this specific track on repeat, it has a little sense of mystery that drew me into this most compelling of solo piano narratives, and one that perhaps flows through life’s rich pattern, illustrating the power of a love so true, that we are able to navigate through it’s sometimes choppy waters.
For A Lifetime has a sense of intrigue about its build and progression and is one of only two tracks that are not from the pure well of solo piano. The keyboards create a slight electronic backdrop, a textured offering indeed. I found this one of the most addictive offerings off the album.
We now find ourselves moving towards the fulcrum of the release and as we walk this musical pathway, we come across this fine composition entitled The Spark of Love, and what a fine slowly escalating offering it is too, with ease one of my favourites off the album, it’s ambient and fluent nature manifests for me a wonderful lightness of touch and tone.
So we now gaze down into the valley of the second half of the album, but before we take those footfalls we can listen to this next gift entitled Everlasting Love. There is a certain feeling of intensity here that I found most compelling, perfectly mixed with a true honest performance by the artist.
Soothing and gentle, those two words can easily describe this next song by Peppos, and the title granted to this musical manifestation is In Your Eyes. There is something about the melody and construction of this piece that in my view would make an excellent ballad, and as I listened I could hear the words come, in what is another extremely crafted performance by the musician.
How charming, how idyllic, and so very graceful, this is how I would describe the natural tones and energies of this next offering entitled A Playful Glance. This is one of those pieces that you simply cannot help but fall head over heels in love with, from the very first key stroke, to the last note played.
A deeply moving musical narrative can be found on this next piece entitled Since I Found You. I have now played this particular piece several times, and each time I do so I find more things to love about the offering, its mix of minor and major energies are simply sublime, it is an arrangement that just begs multiple listens.
We now arrive at the second of the two tracks that are not of the solo piano genre, here a soft back drop of sound ushers us into a composition that has a sense of grandness about its progression, it is entitled My Sweet Love. There are many facets within this piece that are so fascinating, a rich melody, a new age swirling keyboard feel, and even a little suspense, all built into what is one of the most intriguing pieces off the release with ease.
The calm and tranquil vibrations of this next track are absolutely beautiful and called When We First Met. Here is a piece steeped in memory, one carefully constructed to offer up moments of loving reflections. This piece has been so craft-fully arranged; it is a track that literally speaks to the heart with such a loving intent.
Our penultimate offering is called Forever in My Heart, this imploring composition speaks volumes about the feelings of love and the roller coaster ride of emotions along the way, the elevation of power and intensity with this arrangement is indeed deeply moving, and is once again, one of my personal favourites from the album.
This voyage of love within music is nearly done, but before the artist draws the final curtain down on his performance, we are gifted one last piece to take along with us on our musical journey of the heart; it is called And Then Came Love. A fine track to end with, but I urge a careful listen to this offering; it is a truly sensitive composition, one beautifully performed by Peppos.
And Then Came Love by Stephen Peppos is an album that will touch your soul and move your heart, these works of art created by Peppos come at a time when we all need to show each other a little more love across the world, and this timely collection of work will be a very valuable addition to those who adore all things piano, and have a desire to be moved by the honest refrains of a really good album.
Rating: Excellent
Memories of Water and Light by Scott Cossu
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 2/4/2020
An albumfull of music that needs to be heard
Over the years artist Scott Cossu has brought us many musical delights, the one I remember most was back in 2015 and entitled Safe In Your Arms, now he is back and brings us a sparkling and very touching new album called Memories of Water and Light. The combination of multi instrumentation works perfectly on this release and as such it is an offering that delivers to us, the ever eager listeners, one of the finest examples of contemporary instrumental music this year.
The journey begins with the track Wedding Lanterns, the energy of performance is utterly transcendent, its refrains are sweetly enjoyed and a fine performance by Cossu can be found here, on this most charming of opening offerings.
I felt truly moved by this next track; the name given to it is equally as beautiful and called Memories of Water and Light ,this is of course the title track from the album and an extremely memorable one as well. The combination of Cossu’s piano is so well partnered by the intricate guitar of Van Manakas, in what is a sublime moment of acoustic magic.
One of the most impressive tracks for me was the colourful Cerulean Eyes, this is a truly attractive opus that has a gentle touch to its energy, it has to be said that Scott Cossu is at his absolute best here, in this creative composition that at times is ambient, but at all times, creative.
The tightness and collective professionalism can be wonderfully felt on this following piece called Follow Your Heart. This is indeed a passionate offering, but also one craft-fully performed, the smart and intelligent symbiotic combination of Cossu (Piano) Manakas (Guitar) and Holly Reeves on (Cello) really hits home here with such class, and is truly something to behold.
I have just mentioned Reeves in the previous track, her Cello starts this next offering with its deep and textured refrains; it is called Here With You. A song with such a sweet melody is about to unfurl before you, one that is so vibrant and light, that just listening to it gives one a warm feeling of joy, which is deeply felt in such abundance.
As we gracefully step into the latter half of the album we come across a track called Makena, this would turn out to be another favourite offering of mine, the Cello here of Reeves is so emotive and beautifully played, then the magical guitar of Manakas joins Cossu in this dance of colour and light, and magic is made.
Sometimes when you hear the first few bars of a track it entrances you, that can be said for this following composition called Luminoso, the multi-instrumental nature of this song is wonderful, but within the structure there is so much more, a little Jazz can even be found in the weave of a truly expressive offering.
We now swim in the deeper waters of the release and as we do so we come across a reflective opus entitled Ascending Angels, there is something quite moving about this piece that really raises ones mood, the performance is dynamic, but also empowering in disposition.
It seems amazing that we arrive at the penultimate offering off the release, it is called Lucid Watercolors. I feel a TV theme coming on here for this track, there is something really appealing about it, as it has a certain warmth and charming narrative about its construction which makes it so easy to listen to.
With that final turn of the corner we arrive at the very last portal to this musical realm created by Scott Cossu, and we are therefore gifted one final composition entitled Last Snow. I have to say that this is such a treat to end with a composition of such style and panache as this, a combination of everything we have heard and more, and a track that illustrated perfectly the last snows of a sullen winter, with performances that were so deeply emotive, but with a relaxing motif that would be as glowing as the log fire warming the bones from this most harsh of seasons.
Memories of Water and Light is a compelling album indeed, musical partnerships have been forged in fire on this release and from this melodic furnace comes genius. Scott Cossu has brought into this world something that is so desperately needed, a classy album absolutely packed with compositions that simply cry out to be heard, and one for me very easy to recommend.
Rating: Excellent
Contemplation by Louis Colaiannia
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
Lovingly created, colourful and warm
Louis Colaiannia is one of the most expressive pianists around these days, his works of art are constantly drawing a musical narrative, that at times is incredibly compelling, but in all moments most warmly encapsulating, and here on Contemplation his latest work, we have a masterclass in musical painting and self-expression. This is a double album, each containing 10 tracks, but with disc 1 being instrumental and disc 2 the solo piano versions of these.
The opening piece entitled The River is a memory filled opus of endless movement and time, and to follow that up with one of my personal favourites called Gentle Rain was a sublime moment of genius, one that captures the mood of the moment perfectly.
The album itself is like walking into a massive room with 10 windows, and the view through each is vastly different, but equally expressive and impressive, much like the title header Contemplation. There is a really crafted sense of depth here that is so persuasive.
The multi-instrumental nature of this album is quite stunning, but at all times perfectly balanced and well thought out, for example the hovering and mysterious Mystic Nights and the ambient classical motifs of What If, both a delight to listen to deeply and meaningfully.
A review of this album cannot be concluded without a mention of one of the highlights of the album, a track called Believe in Peace. This moving and beautiful offering contains the honest and uncluttered views and voices of a collection of children from across the world, including his own grandchildren, promoting what really matters on this Earth, peace above all else.
Contemplation is a delightful album and Louis Colaiannia must be proud of his creation, one that I rate as his best work so far. The release is a true reflection of the artist’s heart; each composition has been lovingly created to manifest the best from each moment of musical time, and if you embrace this opportunity to purchase this colourful and warming collection of superb music, your heart and your ears will love you forever.
Rating: Excellent
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