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The Ineffable by Alan Matthews
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 9/19/2018
An amazing debut album
These days of summer have been long and tiring for me, month after month of draining humidity, so where does one look for a little respite from the trials and tribulations of life, why in music of course, as music is the only true language in the universe, it can also be the panacea to cure all ills and moods too. So with that in mind I gaze longingly at the album cover of The Ineffable by Alan Matthews, a wonderful oceanic view with a multitude of sun rays poking out through the low level clouds and I begin my voyage of calmness and peace.
The first sense of tranquillity can be found on the opening track entitled Moiras Song. The soothing tones of this truly laid back offering are superbly performed by the artist as his piano sings out across the void of time, in total symbiosis with the sultry Soprano Saxophone of Premik Russell Tubbs.
The theme of relaxation and soothing the furrowed brow continues on this next offering called No Words Remain. The gentleness here is sublime to be a part of, and when combined with the Charlie Bisharat’s violin, anything is possible. There is a slight elevation of energy throughout the piece, one that also pulls back like the tide rolling up to the shore, but that only adds to the perfection of the composition.
On the next track we are gifted a moment of tranquillity called The Resigned. The performance here is something so very special and has a wonderful reflective quality about its overall construction. One could easily look out upon nature right now and just give in to the moment with this charming musical narrative.
There is a certain light hearted reverie about this next offering called The Conversation that is so appealing, the tempo has increased slightly, to give us a notion of a reality of movement in some way, the energy is further raised by incorporating the talents on percussion of Jeff Haynes; the flowing piano and the inventive percussion also give us a sense of a back and forth of a conversation quite cleverly.
As we approach the mid-way junction of the album we come across one of the most emotive tracks from the release and called The Second Goodbye. This moving opus really hit home, the passionate, but reflective performance here was so beautiful to listen to, and then the tones of passion rose higher with the emotion of the narrative as the interplay of the track seemingly became both players in this game of moving expression.
Just about now we find ourselves heading down hill to the final few compositions of the release and as we arrive at the doorway to a piece that has me transfixed, as the artist goes long form on the 10 minute plus arrangement entitled Strange to Me. I once spent a few hours listening to a pianist in Hartsfield Atlanta airport in Georgia and he played a composition similar to this. The ambience of the moment was sublime then and never forgotten and this arrangement has the same energy to it. Charlie Bisharat brilliance on violin added a whole new dimension of class to this already addictive track.
Wistful is next and is almost the opposite of the last offering at just over 2 minutes long, but in this short form offering Matthews expresses so much musically, it is a real treat to enjoy. The performance is light and relaxed and indeed quite wistful, the addition of the incredible Jill Haley on English horn is a huge bonus and adds a sparkling new layer of magic to the piece.
One of my favourite songs was this next offering called The Empty House. I have emptied a few homes in my time, last of which was my dear late mothers, it was indeed one of the hardest things I had to do, and this track for me explores those emotions whilst doing so, exploring as it does the former memories and energies of the home as it was, and now the sheer emptiness of nothing more than a soulless building. Matthews creates a level of ambience and emotion here that would be hard to match, but creates a cathartic musical narrative at the same time.
We are now deep in the weave of the release as we arrive at the composition called What She Knows, the mood here is blissful and the performance even more so, the tranquillity of this arrangement is delightful, the melody is enhanced further by Hayley’s sublime English horn, as the story telling piano manifests an emotive swing and a calming refrain for us all to enjoy.
The voyage through the album has now brought us to a track called You Don’t Know What Day It Is. This is our penultimate offering off the album and once more the artist paints for us a compelling musical picture of excellent tone and timbre. For me this created a soothing atmosphere, so much so I have now played this very track three times already, I just cannot let it go.
We started with Moria and we end with her, with Moiras Song Reprise. Once more the enchanting piano give us the perfect piece with which to leave the release and one bathed in a very light jazzy ethic, calming, tranquil and serene, all good qualities to have in an ending composition of an album of this nature.
The Ineffable is an amazing album, considering it is the debut work of pianist Alan Matthews. The performances and compositions are smooth, confident and intelligently arranged and composed. What Matthews has done so well here is combine that healing aspect of music with a mild Jazz ethic that leaves the whole album totally accessible to each and every listener.
Rating: Excellent
SINDHU by Caro Pampillo
- posted by Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Revi on 9/18/2018
New Age-World Review: Caro Pampillo-Sindhu
“I found the music to be lush, inviting and very complex. Caro’s vocals blended well with the music. I especially appreciated the tracks “OM”
and “Har Hari”. At that point it really hit me, this one has more crossover appeal than most recordings I have heard this year. You will then
arrive at a different level of consciousness. For this listener that means Sindhu accomplished the mission!”
Rating: Excellent
A World Away by 2002
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 9/18/2018
A veritable voyage of the soul
I can count myself extremely lucky today, as I am now on my second listen of the new album by 2002, I’m pretty sure it won’t stop there and I am going to make a really bold statement from the off, I rate this to be their best ever album thus far!
We start with the outstanding Dream of Life, the vocals of the Copus family here are utterly sublime and Sarah has matured into a singer of supreme quality and she is still only very young, this track would be a fantastic single, apart from the vocal brilliance and sweet harmonies, let’s not forget the smooth and soothing keyboards, and the vibrant percussion as well.
The sweetest of moments is upon us now with the film score styled track Finding You. Gentle, reflective keyboards and harp now gift us a piece bathed in mystery, when the guitar kicks in, it’s like we are on a search through the labyrinths of time to find the other half of our very soul. We can also be enthralled by the haunting Violin of the amazing James Song on this piece as well, creating such a smooth and peaceful backdrop, with such class.
One of my favourites, and there are many, has to be this one, To Live Again. This is one of those timeless tracks that you just cannot resist playing many times over and each time you do your body simply tingles with sheer excitement. Randy’s vocals are simply amazing and seem to be calling out to us all to live again in this opus of past and future lives. 2002 as a collective have produced another classy composition that once more could easily be a single and a chart topping one at that.
As we move to Butterfly we come across a song that fans of 2002 will go wild over, this is their classic signature style and quite brilliant as well. Sarah’s vocals remind me in part of the UK Celtic singer Juliana but warmer in complexion. Here on this musical moment of magic we are gifted an almost youthful composition as we set the Butterfly free to fly away, and fulfil its destiny, and perhaps effect yours positively while doing so. Musically this is another classic new age pop tune that will easily woo the listener along with its magical energy.
I felt a personal resonance to the mid-way song called Memory of Tomorrow, as only yesterday I sat and wondered about the meaning of life, I watched the trees blow back and forth and listened to their music and said to myself, what if this is all an illusion? This piece of music from this moment forward is going to be firmly in my mind when my muse kicks in for another philosophical debate. Now the standard of musicianship on this track alone is simply the best you could possibly hear, listen to the stings and keyboards and be amazed at the wonderful and gentle symphonic mastery that it draws for us.
Stars and Moons is the magical pool created by the Copus family for us all to bathe in, now I said I have many favourites on this release and this is another one of them, the chorus alone deserves a standing ovation for its escalation, build and progression and I think we have another chart topping single here as well. I still have a fascination with the universe and can be fortunate to be able to gaze up at a star filled sky on most nights; this is another sound track for that moment for me. New Age pop perfection can be found here, personally I adored the reflective, but vibrant move from minor and major on this offering, hook that up with the brilliance on Cello by Jim Higgins and of course the emotive Violin of James Song and you have one of the best tracks I have heard for a decade.
As we slide ever deeper into that star filled ocean above us, we can find a glowing gem of a piece called We Are Always. This instrumental offering is utterly sensual and deeply romantic with every note played. The guitar matches perfectly with the wordless vocals and harmonies, and manifests for us a composition that is both bathed in love and a kindness of the heart that is so meaningful.
We now move to a piece called The Stars Will Guide Us. This sensitive arrangement is so pristine and caring, it’s energy to me seems to be one of a constant rebirth, the feeling from the tone and essence of the overall ethic of the piece is one that says, we may lose our paths along the way, but allow the stars to guide us and we will be where we are meant to be in the end. There is a soft Celtic mood about this track that is so very charming, the harp and calming vocals all go to make up a song that feels like it’s been created in the land of the only one true place in the universe, love.
The Space Between is a special composition for me, but it is also our penultimate song from the album. I have listened to this one several times now and I feel a certain freedom of spirit from it each time I do so, this is deeply meditative and restful and very similar to my meditations to the void, or perhaps I can now call it The Space Between. Listen specifically to the juxtaposition of the piano and the strings here, completely and utterly amazing.
So we now arrive at the very last track off the album and this wonderful last gift is entitled Strings of Your Heart. The strange thing is I feel I have heard this melody before, but I cannot recall where from. However this is simply the ideal piece to leave the release with, just listen to the amazing vocals from the entire family on this one, the production of this arrangement is true genius. This is one very stirring offering that enables us the listener to leave the album, perhaps full in the knowledge that we must enjoy each moment we live, and live in that moment with gratitude and love.
2002 have delivered to me probably one, if not the best albums I have heard this year, and please believe me when I tell you; I get to listen to hundreds. Technically superb, musically sublime, emotionally empowering and performed with such a level of professionalism and honesty it would be very hard to match.
A World Away is a veritable voyage of the soul, and the best work of 2002 in my opinion so far, the balance and checks of universal timing are all here, in what is truly superb release, and if the stars are aligned, then this album should be a chart topper and an award winner with ease, it is that good.
Rating: Excellent
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