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Spiritual Haven by Russell Suereth
- posted by Michael Diamond on 4/12/2015
Spiritual Haven by Russell Suereth
Russell Suereth (pronounced sue – reth) is a composer/ recording artist with a vision. In fact, many visions, which we’ll soon see. As the title of his third and latest release implies, expressing and fostering universal spirituality is motivating force in his life and his music. The sounds heard on Spiritual Haven are rich in imagery, often of sacred places around the world, as well as those within us. Although he started out playing guitar at a young age, he later became interested in possibilities offered by keyboards, synthesizers, and samplers to add the sound and flavors of exotic instruments from diverse cultures as well as traditional Western orchestral instruments to his musical creations. This is something that Russell uses to full advantage to enhance the imagery that is so central to his compositions.

The album begins with “A Magic Flight,” which Russell envisions as a journey much like an enchanted flying carpet ride, with the listeners having a feeling of themselves and their spirit rising above the landscape. The music alternates between rhythmic passages, sometimes propelled by harp-like arpeggios or hand drums, and more mystical sounding interludes. This was something I found often in Russell’s compositions as they flow and evolve through a variety of movements and musical modes. While many of the songs on the album are about external sacred places, some are about internal spaces. “Glimmer of Light” is one of these and reflects the idea of dealing with difficult life experiences and in turning to spirituality, one begins to see a solution or hope on the horizon. The music is rhythmic yet mellow, featuring the percussive sound of marimba, hand drums, and electronic beats, as well as layers of flute, strings, choir, ethereal female vocals, and more. Characteristic ingredients in the album overall are Russell’s woodwind melodies and his unusual rhythmic patterns that sound Middle Eastern one moment and Pacific Rim-oriented the next.

One of my favorite tracks is “Red Moon Calling,” which opens with a yin-yang contrast of a spacey synthesizer sound juxtaposed with the earthy tones of a marimba. Another detail I appreciated on this song is Russell’s use of electronic beats. While these can sometimes be relentless and overpowering in contemporary music, here they are implemented judiciously and spaciously, interlocking with other rhythmic elements to provide one of the coolest grooves on the album. Russell Suereth is a talented and evolving instrumentalist and composer. I particularly appreciate his flair for arranging in the way he weaves together the many and varied threads of his musical tapestries in interesting and often unexpected ways. But what stands out to me most about Russell is that he is a storyteller. Each song tells a tale that can evoke imagery in the mind’s eye of the listener.

Rating: Very Good +
Spiritual Haven by Russell Suereth
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/3/2015
One World Music
Russell Suereth’s brand new album is called Spiritual Haven, and I’m sure it is something that you are going to enjoy. The album opens with A Magic Flight a piece with a global feel to the music.
We move on to Distant Voices, this opens with the sounds of nature, there is a mournful refrain and the crescendos and cymbals add a multi-cultural eastern feel.
Glimmer of Light bring us a piece that is very intricate and cleverly composed, with a very ambient element.
Night Dances is a perfect illustration of one of those moments when the day is done and all the creatures of the night come out to play, the tempo and melody of this composition creates a beautiful feeling of movement and gentle dance.
Swirling Spice has a mysterious feel, the music brings images of an eastern bazaar, vases filled with oils, merchants selling wares, this is a truly fantastically picturesque arrangement, that I am going to listen to again and one of my favourites off the album.
Nightingale Rushes, here we are treated not only with the bird song, but a sublime piece of keyboard mastery that creates a wonderful nature filled landscape for you to enjoy.
The piano and keyboards on Notions Astir lull us into the track, it has a real essence of the early morning, like watching first light, that sudden glimpse of watching from the side of a vast mountain, as the day begins to take shape, whilst behind you all the creatures of the jungle awaken.
The opening sounds and keyboards on Sudden Awareness seem to take you to another reality, like a beach of an inner world of thought, the sounds float around you like the working of the inner spiritual mind in a medative way, then the rhythm starts once more and it’s like were walking the path towards enlightenment again.
Two tracks now with a similar title, this one is called Red Moon Calling, this as a with some very neat guitar sounds, but the narrative of the music now, has more of a space feel, than that the previous arrangements, but only perhaps in the aspect of one looking up to our glorious moon and gazing at its stunning beauty, with a respectful wonder. We then move right into Red Moon Rising, the keyboard here portrays perfectly, a moon moment, as it begins to rise in the sky and I may well play this tomorrow night, a delightful piece indeed.
Realization is probably the most melodic track off the album, the vocals add a real depth of peace and contentment into its progression and overall we are gifted with a piece of beauty, the keyboards of Suereth have created here something idyllic and special and one can truly feel a sense of awakening or realization from the manifestation and construction of this composition.
The very beginning of the final track, The Village Breathes, is brilliant, the villagers are here again and this time the tone and overall feeling of the piece is light and happy, the natural sounds included in this arrangement, are perfectly placed as usual and one can feel a certain contentment at this point.
Spiritual Haven will be an album that will be of interest across the many genres of music, those that love a global fusion or world feel, will relate to this release, while those who like a defined narrative, of perhaps a spiritual quest through music, will adore the album, apart from that Spiritual Haven by Russell Suereth has got to be the most fresh and unique albums that you will have heard for a long while and total respect has to be paid to the musician, for the sheer amount of detail, attention and self he has placed within it, this is an album you will most certainly enjoy, time and time again.
Rating: Excellent
Bloom Road by Dan Kennedy
- posted by Gena on 3/31/2015
Top-Quality Piano Recording
DAN KENNEDY HAS CREATED A TOP-QUALITY PIANO-PLUS RECORDING

Pianist and keyboardist Dan Kennedy is back with BLOOM ROAD, a new album containing both solo piano music as well as ensemble tunes featuring saxophonist Charles Neville of The Neville Brothers and native wood flutist David Rose of Painted Raven. The previous album by Kennedy went Top 10 on the international 100-album Zone Music Reporter Chart.

Kennedy writes gorgeous melodies and crafts exquisite arrangements. This is simply lovely music. Kennedy plays equally well with both hands, always the mark of a very good pianist. He shines in the spotlight by himself on the pieces that just feature him on piano, but he also is adept at creating arrangements that feature him in conjunction with a handful of other musicians with each getting their turn to solo.

The album begins with a flute and synthesizer duet (“Moonrise”) followed by a solo piano number (“Prayer for Janet”) and then offers up another number with flute, but this time also with Dan’s piano plus drums, synth-bass, and the sounds of an old-fashioned phonograph needle dropping on a record plus rain in the background. This gives you an idea of the diversity on this recording. In the current batch of new age music instrumental recordings, this is one not to miss.
Rating: Excellent
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