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She by Peter Kater
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/4/2018
Classy music with acres of quality performances
There is a powerful resurgence going on within the field of what can loosely be called the New Age music industry, and its artists like Grammy award Winner Peter Kater who are leading the way, and if this album is anything to go by, he could well be heading for further accolades along the way.
Kater utilises the vocal talents of Peia Luzzi, to emphasise just what it is to be top of the tree in this modern era of contemporary music, starting with the perfect building composition in She Awaken in the Garden, with lush natural sounds and layered with supreme musical textures in a pastiche of tender musical beauty.
The artistry and splendour of truly amazing tone, continues with the deeply moving and quite beautiful, Her Flames Burns Within Him, this is utterly evocative and wonderfully haunting; Katers performance on Piano is nothing short of sublime, while the vocal talents of Luzzi are beyond anything I have ever heard before.
Tracks like Rain Speaks his Name, which will resonate with every single cell of your spirit, feature alongside the ethereal and all empowering She Whispers in Tall Grasses; they partner a simply divine composition entitled He Searches for Her in the Sea, a track that will move to the very borderlands of your deepest emotions.
Contained within this illustrious package of genius are three remixes of the first three tracks off the album, all brilliantly arranged and produced. We now finish this journey, with the track She, the deep bass sound in the distance, the mesmeric piano, one that sweetly creates a narrative that swims within the sounds of the ocean with ease, the pertinent rhythmic percussion, and the full flowing strings, ends the album in a triumphant composition of departure, one that rounds of the release with great style and panache.
She by Peter Kater is an album that is not one that will just take this genre up to the next level, it’s a release that will invent an entirely new realm of totally classy music, it is abundant with acres of quality performances and oozes a stylish character through its simply sublime arrangements. Simply put, Kater has another winner here, without a shadow of a doubt.
Rating: Excellent
Terra Incognito: The Space Between by Richard Dillon
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/4/2018
A veritable rainbow of musical genius
There is a pleasing movement within the New Age music genre to once more reconnection with mother Earth. Richard Dillon adds to that movement by creating a masterpiece called Terra Incognito and this 24 piece collection of tracks, are as differing in arrangement and composition, as the planet is diverse.
For me the highlight of this offering would be the voyage of musical bliss entitled Green Flash Redux, the use of ocean sounds here were perfectly placed and Dillon’s piano created a truly ambient seascape to float upon, this was also the longest piece off the release at well over seven minutes long.
While Whalesong Redux was a very clever way to begin our journey, the ingenious construction of various short form compositions throughout were as equally as clever and gave us the listener a really varied vista of musical interpretation and colour to enjoy on tracks like The Space Between, Dust Devil, the lively Ice Dancer Redux and the cheerful refrains of Color Me.
Lead Me Kindly was one of my favourite pieces and beautifully sung with such a gentle intent, and after being lulled into a peaceful refrain, we can then drift on the mysterious energies on Voyager, even by now you will see what an amazingly diverse and refreshing release this is.
Thankfully Into the Mines from Irish Mist is also included, one of my all-time favourite tracks from the artist, and as ever the excited seekers of interesting musical opportunities, you will indeed find so much within this release to both entertain you, and allow you to take a blissful journey through this vast but harmonious creation of songs. Terra Incognito by Richard Dillon is a veritable rainbow of musical genius for all to enjoy.
Rating: Excellent
- posted by Samantha Garcia, BEING on 4/3/2018
FLOW: On Point, and On Tour!
It isn’t often that the New Age genre finds itself enjoying the emergence of a group such as FLOW, who recently announced their May 2018 Arrival Tour from New Orleans to Seattle, San Fran, and LA. The talented Will Ackerman, Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt and Jeff Oster have joined to give us an album of serene beauty. Each musician brings passion for their instruments and years of dedication to their craft into this album, manifesting a creative energy so strong that it resonates throughout every note. Nothing is wasted. Originally a project started by Lawrence Blatt, FLOW came together when he invited pianist Fiona Joy and composer Jeff Oster to collaborate with him at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. It wasn’t long, however, until Will became far more than just a producer, and an integral contributor to the project.

This writer prefers to sample an album as opposed to sharing the full-course, so I'll highlight three tracks and "highly-recommend* that you discover all the rest. "Arrival" is clearly the best place to start this 11-song eponymous project, an opener that is equal parts welcoming, celebratory and triumphant. Fiona Joy's deft piano touch teases the listener into the track and builds, as does Jeff’s moody horn; Lawrence and Will join in on guitar, with percussion adding a sense of groovy momentum to FLOW’s introductory track. The composition and sequencing of this song is perfect. Something that starts off gently swells into a full-blown showcase of the wonderful talent at hand, a promise of the musical adventures still to be heard.

In contrast to the opening track, the title song “Flow” focuses more on guitar and horns, with a more subtle piano influence. The gentle plucking of the guitar is perfectly accentuated by Fiona’s signature ethereal, wordless vocals reminiscent of Julee Cruise (Twin Peaks). The track slows for a few moments here and there to allow the guitar to shine. Ackerman’s creative direction emerges at times like these, with a “less is more” approach to guiding the record, particularly in this song. The little breaks throughout leave the listener "sonic windows" to soak in the mood that is being set.

Wrapping up the album, “For Rosita and Giovanni” is another complex and intimately-composed piece. Inspired by Will's trip to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, it awakens many human emotions within the listener. Feelings ranging from joy to melancholy, and reflection to gratitude can be felt within the four minutes and eighteen seconds of this song. The guitar strums gently as Fiona Joy’s piano swoops in to compliment it. Oster’s horn soars mournfully above the tender melodies, painting a poignant portrait of an unforgettable couple.

It's worth mentioning that the album also benefits from musical performances by Guest Artists like Marc Shulman, Tony Levin, Jeff Haynes, Sam Bevan, Eugene Friesen, and Tom Eaton, who also mixes, masters, and produces alongside Will. The album was released on Lawrence's LMB Music label.

One may have expected a more ethereal presentation on the cover art of these New Age stars, but Oster's doodling captures the true spirit of the collaboration: good friends simply playing together and making music...and, really, what is more "zen" than that? Overall, the project is understated, sophisticated and incredibly clean.

Excitement about the group and its music has broken thru to mainstream audiences through Guitar Magazine, Billboard, Acoustic Guitar, The Huffington Post, Echoes, and local media. Catch them on their May tour if you can, or at the Zone Music Awards on May 12th in New Orleans, where they are nominated for Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
Rating: Excellent
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