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The Rhythm of Life by Matt Venuti
- posted by Gena on 12/26/2016
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 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

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
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
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