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Renewal by Kyle Pederson
- posted by anonymous on 4/24/2013
Renewal by Kyle Pederson
For this album, Renewal, pianist and music arranger Kyle Pederson decided to take ancient hymns (approximately 150-to-250-years-old), not use the lyrics, and provide contemporary instrumental acoustic-ensemble arrangements to spotlight the beauty of these old melodies and make them enjoyable for today’s listeners.

He says he specifically wanted the music to appeal to new age music and neo-classical music lovers from all cultures. The tunes retain their titles from the hymnal, but because there are no lyrics, there are no other specific associations with a church or religion. “This music is strong enough to stand on its own,” states Pederson. The fresh arrangements breathe new life into these historical compositions, and the acoustic instrumentation gives the music a warmth, immediacy and endearing human quality.

Pederson plays acoustic piano on each piece and surrounds himself with various combinations of excellent musicians playing oboe, cello, violin and acoustic guitar. There also is a little bit of bass, mandolin and acoustic lap slide guitar. Two of the ten tunes are simply solo piano. One of the compositions goes all the way back to the 8th Century, but the rest originated from the 1500s through the 1800s and came from Germany, France, Great Britain and North America.

This is Pederson’s follow-up recording to his solo piano album (12.25) of classic Christmas hymns that went Top 5 on the international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter airplay chart.
Rating: Excellent
Future Memory by Stephen Savage
- posted by anonymous on 4/24/2013
Future Memory by Stephen Savage
Keyboardist Stephen Savage has taught classical music for more than three decades and has served on the faculties of both the prestigious Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, but when it came time to compose and record original compositions for his first album, Future Memory, he went in a different direction and created synthesizer-based space music.

“I love classical music, but I am energized by the possibilities of space music,” says Savage. “I especially enjoy how it allows me to subtly incorporate elements of ambient-new age, avant-garde jazz, modern-classical and electronica.”

Savage’s musical influences range from Pink Floyd to the modern classical music of 20th Century composers such as Bartok, Charles Ives, Elliott Carter, Varese, Stockhausen, Stravinsky and Copland; jazz starting with Parker, Coltrane and Monk, and moving through Hancock, Corea, Tyner, John McLaughlin, Weather Report and Pat Metheny; and the very avant-garde cutting-edge music of artists such as John Cage, Steve Reich and Pierre Boulez.

Five of the tunes of Future Memory include drums or percussion to add the rhythm element to the music, but most of the other pieces are space-ambient in tone, texture and style with a more floating presence as the tunes progress. While synthesizer is the predominant instrument, listeners also will hear piano, guitar, chimes and other familiar instrumentation. This album signals the emergence of a strong new voice in the realm of synthesizer music.
Rating: Excellent
Songs to the Goddess by Annette Cantor
- posted by anonymous on 4/10/2013
The latest album from new age vocalist Annette Cantor is SONGS TO THE GODDESS which takes as its theme sacred deities from around the world with the common denominator being a focus on the universal Mother Earth. Cantor, who this time sings all wordless vocals, says the music is meant to praise the planet, give thanks for birth and living, and also ask for guidance in creating a good life.

Well-known new age instrumentalist Deuter plays all the (mostly-acoustic) instruments. SONGS TO THE GODDESS is the follow-up to her widely-acclaimed and top airplay album SONGS TO THE EARTH.

The best and most full-bodied track is “Spider Woman” based on legends of the American Indian and featuring a wooden native flute plus a Native American drum sound (this track is reminiscent of the sound heard on SONGS TO THE EARTH). Other tunes on the new CD utilize instruments from other parts of the world (in keeping with the idea of goddesses from different cultures spanning the globe over the millenniums).

Cantor’s vocals are absolutely beautiful, whether just one voice is heard or when she sings with herself. The vocals are uplifting and joyous while at the same time being relaxing and calming. This album is right in the pocket of great new age music and is one of the better examples of new age wordless vocals.
Rating: Excellent
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