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Flying Solo Silhouette by Ann Sweeten
- posted by Lillian on 9/20/2017
FLYING SOLO SILHOUETTE BY ANN SWEETEN
ANN SWEETEN IS SIMPLY ONE OF THE BEST PIANISTS AROUND

Ann Sweeten is one of the top pianists in new age music. This new recording, Flying Solo Silhouette, is special because this is her first solo piano album (no additional instruments). She co-produced the music with renowned musician/producer Will Ackerman. These original compositions have never before been released as solo piano arrangements.

Sweeten is an acclaimed, award-winning, best-selling artist who has presented top-quality recordings for the past two decades. Her albums get played on hundreds of radio shows and stations, and go Top 5 on the international airplay chart. Her well-rounded career has included professional dancing, acting and singing in stage musicals and pop-rock bands.

On this new album Sweeten delivers a group of beautiful and timeless melodies. Her music can evoke rain, dawn, a snowfall, a hurt bird, falling leaves or time passing. She is simply one of the best pianists around.
Rating: Excellent
Voices From Heaven Vol. II by Runar Halonen
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 9/20/2017
You just can't help falling in love with this
I remembered the chimes of the bell that ushered forth my entrance into the Shambala of the great work of Vol 1, and here we are again, a few years later and the gates to heaven once more swing open.
Tron and Runar have once more touched our souls with this album, a project that is three tracks, but the subject matter demands that long form is the only way to go.
I would like you, dear listener, to ease back and just enjoy the journey, as we start with track one called My Journey to True Love. Musically we have travelled into an inner universe of tranquillity and peace. The keyboards of Tron Syversen are the narrator here, but the empowering, harmonic and deeply therapeutic wordless vocals from Runar Holonen, are both angelic and healing in their vibrancy.
My Journey to True Love is the shortest offering on the album at well over 16 minutes long and sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the release, but more importantly creates a bed of musical cloud forms, to allow us the eager listener to simply drift upon in total safety.
We can now see that in the distance approaching us is a piece called Rainbow Bridge; this is a composition that features the talents of Helene Edler Lorentzen. I found this so deeply moving and could with my imagination see a meadow of lush green and a Rainbow Bridge, a realm where all is perfection until the pets are once again reunited with their owners. Now that sounds beautiful, that thought, a loving and positive musing indeed, and the music is so emotive also, the very light, but pertinent use of the drum here, is like a heartbeat driving the soul along on its journey.
This is our longest offering at well over 20 minutes and the time seems to be irrelevant, as you listen to this opus it just floats around us at all moments, creating a vacuum of timelessness. The composition also contains the gifts of Per Elias Drablos on bass, while both Helene Edler Lorentzen and Runar Holonen accompany Syversen on keyboards, with a mesmeric sonic bath of vocalizations, which are so deeply emotional.
I’m glad I have seen this, I have been working on a piece of music for some time now called the Beach of Lost Souls, and Holonen and Syversen now gift us the final track off the release called Hymn to the Lost Souls, a little nudge there for me. However this is as an arrangement that has a lot more light and hope than mine. Syversen’s quite breath taking performance here on keyboards has manifested a sparkling new energy to the genre of new age music, one that in a way reminds me of the golden years of the genre, back in the latter half of the 90’s.
Runar Holonen describes himself as a healer and listening to the energetic pathways of his tones and vocals one can see why, this is a simply beautifully way to end the album. Hymn for the Lost Souls is like an anthem of love for those who have entered the darkness and simply got lost, it’s a light in the sky, a beacon of love to find their way home, and one could imagine that happening quite easily with the unconditional love that this music is bathed in.
Voices from Heaven, Vol 2 is another opportunity to let go and enjoy the music, for those who have missed the long form opus of grandeur, from artists like David Sun, Mike Rowland, with a little symphonic magic of 2002, then that era has just arrived once more, and is knocking at your front door.
Voices from Heaven vol 2 is a meditation to love, an utterly picturesque classical new age music slice of genius, that you just can’t help but fall in love with, and surely will become part of your very own collection, as soon as possible.
Rating: Excellent
Serenity by Michael Kollwitz
- posted by Dyan Garris on 9/19/2017
Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick
Michael Kollwitz is a Chapman Stick virtuoso extraordinaire. Kollwitz’s newest release, Serenity: Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick, is aptly titled. It is, in fact, blissfully peaceful.
For those that aren’t familiar with this unique instrument, or for those who have had the pleasure of hearing it but perhaps didn’t even realize it, the Chapman Stick is a unique 8, 10, or 12 stringed instrument that is somewhat of a combination of a guitar, bass, and possibly a piano in terms of the manner in which it is played.
Michael Kollwitz was one of the first students of Emmett Chapman, the designer and innovator of this fascinating instrument, and Michael studied with Chapman for ten years, honing and mastering his craft.
Kollwitz’s mastery of and seeming “oneness” with the Chapman Stick is evident. Serenity feels effortless and is utterly captivating across its 14 tracks. It’s one hour of sublime, soul-soothing relaxation.
Right from the opening notes on track 1, “Mountain Sanctuary,” the peace and tranquility seep deeply into your heart. This sanctuary is a place you want to visit and perhaps stay for a long while. And why not? Coming in at a little over 5 minutes, “Mountain Sanctuary,” is somewhere that is thoroughly enjoyable to be and there is no need to leave.
With roots both in Hawaii and now in Sedona, Kollwitz paints us a lush landscape in track 2, “Mystic Vista,” that is both timeless and visionary.
Track 3, “Greatest Possible Gift,” is smooth and effortless, like gentle, flowing water, yet with subtle, rich undercurrents.
Reminiscent of a lovely lullaby where cares and worries simply float away, “The Four Pillars,” track 4, invites us like cherished friends into an inner sanctum, and calms the spirit right out of the gate with its tender, melodic structure.
My favorite track on the album is “Joyful Reunion,” which is track 7. It’s wistful and nostalgic, as well as haunting, ethereal, and just plain mesmerizing.
With much more peaceful lusciousness in between, the album winds up with “The Seven Canyons,” track 13, and track 14, “No Hurry, No Worry.” Both are nicely expansive and spacious, perfectly portraying the eternal limitlessness of the soul’s journey.
Magically masterful, Serenity: Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick is an album to fall in love with. Over and over again.

Music review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com
Rating: Excellent
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