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Day of the Beloved by Al Gromer Khan
- posted by Stephen Hill and Sergey Lenkov on 12/6/2016
quietly hypnotic bliss - Real Healing Ambient Ex
Stephen Hill - HEARTS of SPACE "Al Gromer Khan's "Day of the Beloved" is the finest example of long-form, India-inspired Ambient you'll find. 57:04 of quietly hypnotic bliss."

Sergey Lenkov
Real Healing Ambient Experience
Long compostion which creates atmosphere of light and relaxation in your room. Background ambiental electronic pads and atmospheres, delicate openwork sitar playing, some barely hearable piano touches here and there - and you are deep in the soundworld by Al Gromer Khan. It's good to listen to this music after hard working day. It's not one more New Age oriental style album - it's the music of higher level of creation and it needs your attention while you are listening to it. The music seems in the same time meditative with repeating phrases and in the same time you are feeling a kind of internal motion in the structures created by Al Gromer Khan. One more interesting work for the lovers of ambient music.
Art by Matthew Mayer
- posted by Kathy Parsons on 12/5/2016
From Mainly Piano
At a time when the world seems to be turning upside down and so many people are expressing anger and frustration, what a breath of fresh air and sweetness is "Art" by pianist/composer Matthew Mayer! Subtitled “A Piano Bedtime Album,” "Art" is Mayer’s tenth release since 1999 and consists of seven original piano solos (odd-numbered tracks) and six solo piano arrangements of lullabies and nursery rhymes (even-numbered tracks) that are sure to soothe and relax the children in us all. The beautiful cover artwork by Lisa Falzon perfectly mirrors the innocence and gentleness of the music, which was recorded and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Recording Studios in Sedona, AZ. It is interesting to note that the title of the album has more than one meaning in this context. In addition to the obvious visual application, Art (Cooper) was Mayer’s piano teacher and the album also honors him. I love Mayer’s quote in the liner notes: “This album represents and is about the artist in us all, the dreams we dream when we lay our heads down at night, the infinite possibilities we can create with our own art and expression to the world.”

"Art" begins with “Charlie’s Lullaby,” a delicate waltz that resembles a music box when it is played at the upper end of the piano - a charming opening! I’ve heard a lot of piano arrangements of “Frere Jacques,” but none have been as expressive or as graceful as Mayer’s version. The title track flows freely but with a purpose, as art often does. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is one of the livelier tracks, dancing “merrily, merrily merrily” from start to finish and always bringing a smile. “Love” is one of my favorites and is a wonderful “song without words.” The poignant and tender emotions that are expressed warm the heart deeply. What lullaby album would be complete without the Brahms classic? Mayer’s arrangement is played slowly with a gently rolling left hand behind the simple melody. “Bloom” would be the perfect soundtrack to a time-lapse video of a flower opening - simple yet profound. “Sweet Dreams (Dreams V)” is the perfect send-off to Dreamland with its gently-flowing left hand broken chords and elegantly uncluttered melody. Slowed down and performed with an abundance of expression, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is transformed into something new and affecting - another favorite. Picking up the tempo considerably, “Little Feet” has an infectious energy and a compelling minor-key melody that swirl and dance from beginning to end - also a favorite! “All Through the Night” is usually thought of as a Christmas carol, but it fits in on this album beautifully - a lovely arrangement! The closing track, “Good Night,” leaves a lot of open space between notes and phrases - just enough to put a sleepy head over the edge and into peaceful sleep. Sigh…..

"Art" is the first of Matthew Mayer’s albums I’ve heard in quite a while, and I’m totally charmed! Although the music is accessible enough for children, it is also sophisticated enough that you never feel like you’re listening to a children’s album. Very highly recommended!
Rating: Excellent
I Heard It Was Christmas Day by Tom Caufield
- posted by Candice Michelle on 12/5/2016
I Heard It Was Christmas Day by Tom Caufield
I Heard It Was Christmas Day is guitarist-composer Tom Caufield’s seventh release, as well as his first Christmas album. Comprised of nine guitar-led compositions, the album includes eight of Tom’s favorite Christmas standards (six sacred and two secular), plus one original composition. Although performed on a steel string guitar, one might easily mistake it for nylon in many parts, since Tom cuts the highest frequencies out when he records to create a sound that is rounded, velvety and overall haunting.

“Joy to the World” opens with acoustic guitar which is joined by gently hovering angelic voices about half-way through. Uplifting yet serene, it sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Hark on High” follows next, a combination of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and the chorus of “Angels We Have Heard on High”, where melodic and flowing guitar is accentuated by delicate bells. A gentle acoustic rhythm guides “Carol of the Drum”, which is a rendition of “Little Drummer Boy”, offering a laid-back sensibility that evokes images of the countryside. It precedes what is possibly my favorite composition on the album, “What Child Is This?”, an old Christmas carol that is set to the tune of the traditional English folk song “Greensleeves”. It’s a piece I’ve always particularly loved that has been covered by numerous recording artists, yet typically difficult to personalize. However, Tom simply nails it to perfection, adding his own signature sound in this rendition with an outstanding guitar arrangement. A Mediterranean flair characterizes the piece, transporting me to an old European city that evokes a Christmas of centuries past. “I Heard It Was Christmas Day” is the album’s only original composition, nestled perfectly in-between the others. Moving along at a moderate pace, a cozy and down-to-earth feel permeates this piece, as the soft sound of accompanying sleigh bells lend a cheery tone throughout. Another longtime favorite carol that Tom has beautifully rendered is “Silent Night”, the longest piece on the album clocking in at nearly eight and a half minutes. Ethereal tones and soft sleigh bells underpin a supple guitar melody, which is later joined by a slow rhythm, truly evoking a sense of ‘heavenly peace’. Likewise, Tom adds his own twist to “God Rest You”, a rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, imbuing it with an old-world mystique. Tom has also included a lovely rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” where he applies a variation to the chorus, conveying the warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter’s night. “Auld Lang Syne” closes out the album, where Tom’s guitar is joined by airy bells and a slow backing rhythm, perfectly capturing the bittersweet nostalgia of this long-cherished New Year’s theme song.

I Heard It Was Christmas Day is easily one of the best Christmas albums I’ve heard, boasting impeccably elegant and creative interpretations of timeless compositions. I am simply enamored with both the fluidity and enveloping quality of Tom’s guitar-playing style, which at times is exotic and gypsy-like, and at others, more Americana-flavored. Furthermore, the album is presented with a beautiful artwork design that depicts a 17th century painting by Valentin de Boulogne called “Christ and the Adulteress”, which Tom selected to convey the timeless, universal message of compassion and forgiveness. I not only enthusiastically recommend this album to those who love Christmas music, but to anyone who enjoys some of the best that guitar instrumental music has to offer! ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Excellent
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