The Industry Source for New Age, World, Ambient, Electronic, Solo Piano, Relaxation, Instrumental and many other genres of Music
review board:  View all reviews Submit your own reviews
member reviews
Soothe by Shambhu
- posted by Paul Liberatore - Marin Independent Journal on 12/24/2016
‘Soothe’ like ‘a calming friend’
“Soothe” is the perfect title for a tranquil new album from new age guitarist Shambhu, aka Neil Vineberg.

The album’s nine tracks, eight Shambhu originals and an imaginative cover of a George Gershwin tune, were recorded at Magic Cottage Studios in the bucolic San Geronimo Valley town of Lagunitas.

The opening track, “Knowingness,” features Ravichandra Kulur on bamboo flute and a coda by Mother Nature herself — the gentle sound of rain captured outside the windows during recording.

Shambhu, playing acoustic and electric guitars, six-string ukulele and electric marimba and sitar, assembled a stellar instrumental ensemble of new age and world music musicians, including bassist Michael Manring, keyboardist Frank Martin, Premik Russell Tubbs on soprano sax and wind synthesizer, percussionist Jeff Haynes and Gurumurthy V on tabla. Todd Boston, who co-produced “Soothe,” Shambhu’s third contemporary instrumental album, plays slide guitar on the meditative “Devotion Tears.”

Paul McCandless, one of the founders of the pioneering acoustic jazz group Oregon, weaves lovely melody lines on soprano saxophone through the tapestry of Shambhu’s guitar work on the beautifully-titled “Days Like Falling Stars” and the delightfully frenetic “Through New Eyes.”

Shambhu, a consummate guitarist who played on Whitney Houston’s multiplatinum album “Whitney,” co-wrote “Soothe’s” first single, “Gaia Sweet Divine,” with Kristin Hoffman, who celebrates the natural world on the tune, gently singing, “Nature’s song dancing free/Lifting souls joyfully/Nature’s song planting seeds/In our hearts/Love and peace.”

Saxophonist George Brooks is showcased on soprano sax on Gershwin’s “Prelude 2,” artfully arranged by Shambhu.

Shambhu recorded “Soothe” as a peaceful aural antidote to the anxiety he’s felt among his friends and musician cohorts since the November election.

“Who is not feeling uneasy about the election?” he asked in a recent interview with Vents magazine. “Almost everyone I know is freaked out ... Music is a universal language that connects us regardless of politics. If you’re upset by the election, the music on ‘Soothe’ can be a calming friend.”

~Paul Liberatore
Marin Independent Journal
Rating: Excellent
The Recognition by Art Patience
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 12/23/2016
A quality album
I always find it interesting to review albums that contain musical instruments that I play myself and on The Recognition, Art Patience takes on a musical journey through the medium of the harmonica.
Our very first port of call is a track called Compassion, this by some chance features not one, but both instruments that I play, acoustic guitar and harmonica. Listening to this, makes me feel like creating myself. Here we have a piece that seems to manifest an atmosphere all of its own, there is a sense of trepidation here that is addressed musically, and Patience builds an energy of anticipation within this first enticing song.
Patience featured on another album reviewed by me a few weeks ago called Christmas from the Heart. His confidence on his own release is evident in its outstanding production, just listen to The Wishing Well; the mournful tones seem to drift with the natural sounds of the wind, a wondrous backdrop of sonic sound is created here that is never ostentatious, we can literally just sit in the music, and feel it wash over us, in what is six and a half minutes of ambient bliss.
Memorial Day, another graphic arrangement, delivered by some moving keyboards, a sensitive and delicate performance of harmonica can be found here and in the background of this day of reembrace we can even here the cannons fire to salute those who have died for their country. A gentle heartbeat of percussion also gives this poignant track even more of an emotive quality.
As we move towards the half way marker of the album we come across a track that has a really light nature about its structure, but also filled with colour and a calmness of movement. Flight of the Butterfly has a real gossamer feel about its construction, and with the accompanying guitar; it is as if we are watching this delicate creature fly in slow motion, over warm summer meadows.
This album has such a soothing tone about it, the tempo is almost timeless and on The Tree House, we have a composition that creates a whole new realm of peace and tranquillity. The balance of harmonica and keyboards is simply lush here, and manifests something deep within the memory. I used to have a tree house, and I could have sat up there listening to music like this on those long hot summer days, you know those days, the ones that you thought would never surrender to the infinite march of time.
One of my favourites from this deeply powerful album was this next one called Spirit of the Woods. The birdsong constructed a memorable moment for me; the softness of Patience’s harmonica is somewhat similar to the sound of a flute, which perhaps would normally be used on a track like this, proving that there are no real limitations in music; you just need to be in touch with your melodic soul and clearly Art Patience is. This is an amazing song; I like to sit in nature and play too, and here the artist harmonizes that sense of balance between the creative nature of music, and nature itself, they are indeed all one.
I hope you’re enjoying this musical sojourn dear reader, this moment of ambient tranquillity moves onward now, with a composition called Safe Journeys. There is a real folk ethic here and the guitar seems to take us further into our musical forest, arm in arm with Patience’s sweet soul of a harmonica. There is a very noticeable energy of a slow, but steady movement created here and all the while an angelic backdrop of sound lights our way, in a really moody arrangement.
The penultimate offering for us, and also the longest track off the album at well over seven minutes, is Winds of Change. The wind and native beat swoop over the mountains and down the valleys, and as the thunder roars, rain falls in a really intense and dramatic piece, which is simply artistic and addictive in every way. Here Patience’s harmonica plays both the engine room and the driver on this powerful rhythmic and pulsating bluesy opus.
A good album has that quality about it, you know the moment when you reach the last track and can’t believe it nearly finished, this album is like that, time is largely irrelevant when listening to it, thankfully there is a loop button. We finish therefore with the title track The Recognition. Art Patience gifts us one more song before we must part ways, and this is a gentle and calming fashion with which to leave his realm, Patience plays from the heart and creates a really memorable and mournful arrangement to end the project with, one that tugs at the heart sleeve and begs us not to go, this is pure class.
The Recognition by Art Patience is ambience at its very best; he has incorporated a new age sound, retained a little blues ethic, and managed to cross genres with consummate ease, and it has to be said, in great style. Patience has brought his instrument of choice into the lime light, and whatever you thought you knew about the harmonica, you can throw it away and listen and learn all over again. Art Patience doesn’t break new ground on this release; he actually invents it, a quality album that has to be a must for every good music lover.
Rating: Excellent
Second Youth by Lena Natalia
- posted by Candice Michelle on 12/23/2016
Lena Natalia - Second Youth
Chicago-based pianist and composer, Lena Natalia, released one of my favorite piano albums earlier in 2016, titled Rendezvous in Paris. She is back with a follow-up, titled Second Youth, an album comprised of twelve solo piano compositions that, as with her previous two releases, showcases her unique brand of mostly minimal, neoclassical-style craftsmanship. Also, like her prior efforts, Second Youth seems to tell a story throughout its course, with this newest installment alluding to the revisiting of childhood memories, perhaps with a longing to relive that era of one’s life again.

“Spinning Tops” is a two-minute opener which reminds me of a ballet performance introduction, with its graceful and flowing classical flair. In fact, one of the key defining characteristics of Lena’s compositions is their often spinning and twirling-like interlocking patterns, of which are in constant melodious movement. Likewise, her gorgeous melodies often become immediately memorable upon just the first listen or two, boasting a substantively intricate yet inherently simplistic elegance that is largely free of elaborate excesses. “Moving On” follows next, and although representative of some of the brighter, sunnier compositions herein, it still retains an inherent sense of nostalgic reflection that permeates the rest of the album. Continuing with “Prayer for Wisdom”, this solemnly exquisite piece is easily among my favorites, as it conveys a sense of reverence and solitude in a minimally classical fashion. Ensuing next is the slightly more dramatic “Rainstorm”, another favorite which is characterized by rippling higher register notes and starker lower register notes that move along in a galloping manner. The aptly-titled seventh track, “Café Con Leche”, is among the album’s more contemporary sounding pieces, conveying the comforting warmth and subtle sweetness of the beverage it’s named after. Another particular highlight is the tenth track, “Waiting at the Gate”, which possesses a somewhat melancholic feel, as it’s gently carried along by a steadily cascading and wistful melody. Tenderly concluding the album is “Transitions”, a subtly poignant piece which conveys the notion of ‘moving on’, perhaps from one phase of a person’s life to another.

With Lena having resided in Paris for several years – hence the inspiration for her previous two albums, Rendezvous in Paris and Sundays in Paris – it perhaps comes as little surprise that a perfectly understated romantic mystique finds its presence on much of this album as well. I was often reminded of quaint cafes and venues along cobblestone streets, as well as picturesque scenes of solitude both in the cities and countryside. Lena’s music is at once deeply emotive and tenderhearted yet never bombastic or saccharine, thereby perfectly allowing its listener to either dive into the story and engage in the emotions expressed herein, or simply relegate it to aesthetic background listening. A simply brilliant pianist-composer, Lena’s memorably beautiful melodies are in themselves her strongest asset, only further supported by her idiosyncratic compositional techniques. Every bit as lovely as its predecessor, Second Youth is another masterwork from one of my favorite rising stars in the field! ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Excellent
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
Site Map     *     Privacy Policy     *     Terms of Use     *     Contact Us
Core Solutions, LLC