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Ethereum by Joseph L Young
- posted by Steve Sheppard, One World Music on 11/29/2016
The delights of a good flute player are pleasing to the ear and mind, the pleasures of an excellent flute player are good for the heart and soul, and as is the case with Joseph L Young, they bring balance and harmony to the ever increasing cacophony of life’s frenetic life style.

Young is back with a new album called Ethereum, and from the very first offering called Wavelength, is as soft and silky as a summer cloud in July. The connection here is both clever and stylish, as we connect with the wavelength of Young’s intent, and begin yet another wonderful musical journey together.

Ethereum as an album is very appealing and as a track, most exquisite in its construction, the plethora of flutes used in its manifestation are numerous, and thanks to these magicians of musical making, we can with ease, visualise wide open vista’s, beautiful forests growing in abundance in the early morning light, all in an utterly wonderful ethereal mist filled way.
Shimmer continues our enchanting journey through this strange new world of a flute blessed paradise, as we listen carefully to its tones, one can be reminded of a little Celtic nature that seems to be opening up before us. This most pleasant of melodies is simple, but created with a real gentle heart.

We now find our way to a pathway that is Boundless. The Native American flute is imperious here; the artist creates images in our minds eyes of deep pine forests and full flowing streams that crash down from tall imposing mountain ranges. There is a real vastness to this composition that has to be listened to many times over to be truly appreciated.
Illumination seems to flow from the previous track with ease, but with a change of flute comes a change of energy. We go now from west to east, and while the vista could possibly be very similar, there is a different overall construction to the composition. As we wander through its spiritual tones, one can feel an awakening, a satori of a kind, we begin our Illumination, and shine.

Past Lives is a subject that used to be close to my heart, I had worked on them for a few years, and now with lessons learned, I focus entirely on the life that I am living now. The dark and aged sounds created by Young, are very deep and it is as if the composition itself is moving through time, with the slow march of certainty built neatly within.
A slight alteration of style sees Young perform on Saxophone as well as flute, this is Entangled, and while the backdrop is moody, the whole arrangement is about a instrumental duet between Flute and Sax, and the interplay that it forms is delightful to listen to and fun to enjoy the dance that it creates with such panache.

I always like a moment to just, Drift, we have such a moment now, this is a flute based twinkling of meditative magic for us all to enjoy and simply float with. It’s ethereal, smooth and simply a wonderful realm to just wander in and as the artists says, just drift!
The longest piece off the release at just less than five and a half minutes is called Free. For me this is one of the most poignant tracks off the album, the added vocals here say it all, it’s time to be free and wash away all that is holding you back, all that you thought to be true about yourself, and simply be Free. This was my favourite song from this brilliant album; it reminded me of my friend Nigel Shaw from Dartmoor in style on flute, but the nice use of crescendo and the positive vibe that it contains really makes for me, the stand out composition from Ethereum.

Sunsets are supreme to witness, sunrises even more so, as they hail the beginning of a new day and another opportunity to do something special. This is Joseph L Young’s opportunity to shine, as he performs an uplifting opus of sun filled pleasure on the track Crystal Sunrise.
I remember Fireflies from my time in the Midwest, I used to sit there and marvel at their light dance in the dark, and smile, of all the wondrous creatures on creator’s earth, these amazing little insects, will always have a special place in my heart. Young has created that dance right here, the light percussion combines superbly with the flute, while we enjoy Flirting with Fireflies.

Our last offering is called Sapphire Moon, and is one of the gentlest tracks off the album; with ease we could sit outside in the dark night sky and simply observe this beautiful moment occur before our very eyes and this piece would be that sound track of the moment.

Ethereum is an album of pure bliss; it has a perfect sense of balance in its overall manifestation and creation, the tones are calming, the flutes are Young’s paint brushes and here our artist in residence has demonstrated and exhibited his best works for us to all enjoy. Ethereum is one of those albums; it is a creation of good honest skill and abundant talent. Joseph L Young and Ethereum, is a must for all who seek a little moment of sanity in a world filled with craziness.
Rating: Excellent
Landscapes Of The Heart by Gary Schmidt
- posted by Michael Diamond on 11/26/2016
Landscapes of the Heart by Gary Schmidt
With his move into the new age music genre, classically trained pianist Gary could not have made a better choice for recording his new album, “Landscapes of the Heart,” than at the iconic Imaginary Road Studios with the premier production team of GRAMMY winner and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and co-producer/engineer Tom Eaton. Additional benefits included access to a number of Will’s world class studio musicians, and the use of the studio’s highly customized Steinway piano which has graced the albums of some of the finest artists in this genre. With regard to the focus and inspiration behind this recording Gary shared: “The title of the album Landscapes of the Heart is evocative of the idea that I wanted to try and capture a range of human emotions and also that true life always happens at the level of the heart.”

The title for the first track, “The Beauty We Love,” draws its inspiration from a poem by the famous 12th century mystic Rumi who wrote: “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” On this composition, Gary had the opportunity to work with a particularly gifted accompanist, Eugene Friesen, one of the most respected cellists in the U.S. - a professor at Berklee and winner of four GRAMMY awards for his work with the Paul Winter Consort. The feeling that was evoked for me in Gary’s beautiful piano work was that of striving or reaching for something lofty, while Eugene’s cello had an earthy soulful quality that complimented it perfectly in a balance of heaven and earth.

The title of the next song, “When the Silence Speaks” is reflective of its serene ambiance and the gentle flowing arpeggios that characterize the piece. Tom Eaton provides subtle accompaniment on bass. I was intrigued by the title “Waltz in Two Four,” since the standard time signature for a waltz is three-four time. But as Gary explains: “I frequently like to make use of multiple time signatures alternating, even in succession.” Accompanying Gary are the wordless ambient vocals of Noah Wilding, and superstar violinist Charlie Bisharat, who has played with everyone from Yanni to The Rolling Stones. On tracks 7 and 8 Gary delves into a couple “cover tunes” that reflect his classical roots. They are “Gnossiennes 1” and “Gnossiennes 5” by minimalist composer Erik Satie. While these solo piano pieces have a somewhat different feel stylistically, especially the first one, I thought they added a nice touch of diversity to the album and highlight Gary’s range as a pianist.

The album’s final track, a solo piece entitled “Solus” has an interesting story behind it. As Gary describes: “Solus was specifically written for the end of the album. I wanted to create a kind of musical Coda or summary. The term Solus is an old Latin word, which literally means ‘A man alone with his thoughts.’” It does make for quite a fitting end to this beautiful album. Gary’s abilities as a pianist and composer are impressive and his desire to infuse his music with a spirit of inspiration elevates it to another level altogether, which the maestro Ackerman called: “… a marvelously successful tour de force of heart and mind.”

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit:
Rating: Excellent
Four Days in My Life by Louis Colaiannia
- posted by Michael Diamond on 11/22/2016
Four Days in My Life by Louis Colaiannia
Pianist/composer Louis Colaiannia’s latest release, Four Days In My Life was inspired by the time he recently spent enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty of the Oregon coast while on a concert tour. As with his previous album, Louis chose to record at the iconic Imaginary Road Studio of GRAMMY winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and includes accompaniment by a number of Will’s finest studio musicians. As can be expected, elements of the classic Windham Hill sound are to be found, and the music is a bit more understated without as much of the jazz influence heard on some of Louis’ earlier recordings. It’s a lovely reflective album from someone I consider to be a class act in the genre.

A tragic life event played a role in inspiring Louis to write the album’s opening track, which reflects a yin/yang contrast between an air of melancholy mixed with a feeling of hope and grace. Helping Louis to portray this vision are cellist Eugene Friesen who is best known as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, long-time Will Ackerman collaborator Noah Wilding on wordless ambient vocals, and Tom Eaton on bass, who also co-produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album. The inspiration for the next song is drawn from quite a different source as envisioned in its title, “By The Sea.” I would imagine that for Louis who lives in the middle of the country in Denver, Colorado, that being on the rugged shores of the Oregon coast where he spent the 4 days referred to in the album title, and gazing out to sea would have generated the dreamy expansive ambiance captured in the song.

A name that appears as an accompanist on many albums in this genre, as it does here, is ambient horn player Jeff Oster. On a track called “Reflections,” his spacious drifting flugelhorn lines add to the mix along with Tony Levin on bass and Tom Eaton on keyboards. Louis exudes feeling of calm in his simple yet elegant piano arpeggios that brought to mind the music of Satie. Starting off in a similar vein is a track called “Starry Night,” that soon takes off in a more groove-oriented direction, propelled by the hand drumming of Jeff Haynes and Tony Levin on bass. Over this rhythmic foundation soar the saxophone of Premik Russell Tubbs and the soulful violin of superstar Charlie Bisharat. This song highlights how Louis is able to go from being out front and playing solo sections to pulling back and letting his accompanists be in the spotlight.

While there is diversity within the songs on Four Days In My Life, there is also a thread of continuity that ties them all together. On some of Louis’ much earlier recordings there was perhaps a sense of searching for an identity that involved music from different genres coexisting on the same album. But with this new release, as well as his previous Imaginary Road production, Closer, I feel that he has found that identity in a more Windham Hill-tinged new age acoustic sound. But whatever style of music Louis is playing, it comes from deep within his heart and soul, and a feeling that this is his calling in life. Those four days that Louis spent on the Oregon coast and which inspired this heartfelt music provide a listening experience that is both pensive and uplifting.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit:

Rating: Excellent
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