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Ethereum by Joseph L Young
- posted by Michael Diamond on 12/8/2016
Ethereum by Joseph L Young
Listening to the music of Joseph L. Young on his fourth and latest release, I was transported by his exquisite blend of the earthy and the ethereal… the worldly and the otherworldly. Over the course of 12 luminous tracks, Joseph creates an alchemical blend of the natural sounds of a variety of flutes from different cultures, world music instruments such as hammered dulcimer, udu drum, tin whistle, Chinese erhu, Celtic harp and various ethnic percussion, with ambient synthesizer soundscapes, atmospheric electronic textures, and even a bit of saxophone. The result is quite transcendental, taking the listener on a journey to serene sonic vistas.

In this age of downloading single tracks, I couldn’t agree more with Joseph as he shared: “I also love the concept of having an album be a total listening experience from beginning to end, where the order of songs and how they fit together takes the listener on an extended journey that lasts for the length of the album.” And that sonic excursion gets off to a meditative start right from the opening track. While the ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) flute Joseph plays has links to the ancient past, it is set against a background of spacious synthesizers and subtly morphing electronic ambiance that is a perfect example of the worldly/otherworldly contrast mentioned earlier. This is followed by the title track, which adds an additional earthy element with the use of percussion. Interestingly, however, the percussion is not used to create a rhythm, but is more for accents, such as an occasional rattle, shaker, or bell sound.

A different vibe is felt on “Shimmer,” as gently plucked harp arpeggios combined with low whistle and high tin whistle create a bit of a Celtic feel. The sound of rain adds yet another dimension to this lovely piece. On “Boundless,” unlike the title track, the percussion is used rhythmically in a slow ceremonial-type beat, along with Native flute, and chanting by Joseph and Lenise Redding. On a number of tracks, Joseph combines various flutes from different cultures within a song, as in “Illumination” that blends a low E Native American flute with the higher pitched Chinese xiao flute. The album draws to a peaceful dreamy conclusion with “Sapphire Moon,” that features the Phi flute, which is tuned using the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci sequence, as known in sacred geometry.

Joseph feels a special calling to create music that touches the listener on a deep heart and soul level. In his words: “One of my goals is to make ‘music without boundaries’ and all of the music on this album is my offering of a universal sound that everyone can enjoy.” “Ethereum” offers a beautiful collection of diverse meditative music with substance that works equally well as an active listening experience or a background soundscape.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: MichaelDiamondMusic.com

Rating: Excellent
Day of the Beloved by Al Gromer Khan
- posted by Stephen Hill and Sergey Lenkov on 12/6/2016
quietly hypnotic bliss - Real Healing Ambient Ex
Stephen Hill - HEARTS of SPACE "Al Gromer Khan's "Day of the Beloved" is the finest example of long-form, India-inspired Ambient you'll find. 57:04 of quietly hypnotic bliss."

Sergey Lenkov
Real Healing Ambient Experience
Long compostion which creates atmosphere of light and relaxation in your room. Background ambiental electronic pads and atmospheres, delicate openwork sitar playing, some barely hearable piano touches here and there - and you are deep in the soundworld by Al Gromer Khan. It's good to listen to this music after hard working day. It's not one more New Age oriental style album - it's the music of higher level of creation and it needs your attention while you are listening to it. The music seems in the same time meditative with repeating phrases and in the same time you are feeling a kind of internal motion in the structures created by Al Gromer Khan. One more interesting work for the lovers of ambient music.
Art by Matthew Mayer
- posted by Kathy Parsons on 12/5/2016
From Mainly Piano
At a time when the world seems to be turning upside down and so many people are expressing anger and frustration, what a breath of fresh air and sweetness is "Art" by pianist/composer Matthew Mayer! Subtitled “A Piano Bedtime Album,” "Art" is Mayer’s tenth release since 1999 and consists of seven original piano solos (odd-numbered tracks) and six solo piano arrangements of lullabies and nursery rhymes (even-numbered tracks) that are sure to soothe and relax the children in us all. The beautiful cover artwork by Lisa Falzon perfectly mirrors the innocence and gentleness of the music, which was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Recording Studios in Sedona, AZ. It is interesting to note that the title of the album has more than one meaning in this context. In addition to the obvious visual application, Art (Cooper) was Mayer’s piano teacher and the album also honors him. I love Mayer’s quote in the liner notes: “This album represents and is about the artist in us all, the dreams we dream when we lay our heads down at night, the infinite possibilities we can create with our own art and expression to the world.”

"Art" begins with “Charlie’s Lullaby,” a delicate waltz that resembles a music box when it is played at the upper end of the piano - a charming opening! I’ve heard a lot of piano arrangements of “Frere Jacques,” but none have been as expressive or as graceful as Mayer’s version. The title track flows freely but with a purpose, as art often does. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is one of the livelier tracks, dancing “merrily, merrily merrily” from start to finish and always bringing a smile. “Love” is one of my favorites and is a wonderful “song without words.” The poignant and tender emotions that are expressed warm the heart deeply. What lullaby album would be complete without the Brahms classic? Mayer’s arrangement is played slowly with a gently rolling left hand behind the simple melody. “Bloom” would be the perfect soundtrack to a time-lapse video of a flower opening - simple yet profound. “Sweet Dreams (Dreams V)” is the perfect send-off to Dreamland with its gently-flowing left hand broken chords and elegantly uncluttered melody. Slowed down and performed with an abundance of expression, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is transformed into something new and affecting - another favorite. Picking up the tempo considerably, “Little Feet” has an infectious energy and a compelling minor-key melody that swirl and dance from beginning to end - also a favorite! “All Through the Night” is usually thought of as a Christmas carol, but it fits in on this album beautifully - a lovely arrangement! The closing track, “Good Night,” leaves a lot of open space between notes and phrases - just enough to put a sleepy head over the edge and into peaceful sleep. Sigh…..

"Art" is the first of Matthew Mayer’s albums I’ve heard in quite a while, and I’m totally charmed! Although the music is accessible enough for children, it is also sophisticated enough that you never feel like you’re listening to a children’s album. Very highly recommended!
Rating: Excellent
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