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Other reviews from New Age Music Reviews:
  Every Moment by Joseph L Young, reviewed by Keith MuzikMan Hannaleck on 3/1/2018
  Beautiful Song by Anne Trenning and Friends, reviewed by Keith MuzikMan Hannaleck on 2/27/2018
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Ethereal Escapes: Echappées Etheriqués II
By Merrill Collins
Label: Spiraling Music
Released 7/21/2017
Ethereal Escapes: Echappées Etheriqués II tracks
1. The Fountain of Jewels Activated
2. Our Ears Tingled
3. With Every Heartbeat
4. Listening with Our Ancestors
5. Our Peaceful Uprising Continues
6. Flowing Directly to Love
7. We Heard Earth Weeping
8. Remembering the Emerald
9. In the Bigger Picture
10. With Our Timeless Elders
11. We Are Whole Together
12. Living in Harmonious Worlds
13. Particles in Space
14. Returning Home
15. Riding on Waves of Gold
16. Triumphant Upon Arrival
Music For Focus And Contemplation
Ethereal Escapes-Echappées Ethériques II is a sequel album. I did not hear the first installment of this beautiful and healing music but I am sure it was a great experience. The recording features Pianist Merrill Collins with Laura Halladay (flute) and Maksim Velichkin (cello).

There are 16 tracks to take in and enjoy on this release. If you read all the tracks in sequence it is a poem and the first volume was set up the same way. I think it is a very clever way for artists to express themselves besides making the music. There is a very spiritual message delivered through Merrill’s poem. So, words are part of the overall presentation however you must take the time to listen, read the tracks like you were reading a story, in this case a poem. As the artist expressed to me, the words get lost in translation due to the digital age not allowing the font formatting (lower case letters and punctuation). It would be more obvious to the individuals looking at the back of the CD that it was a part of the presentation and a piece of artistic expression to accompany the music.

It is all a healing experience as I believe much of the music I hear is, even if it isn’t new age instrumental. This is very contemporary and strongly influenced by classical. This aspect of what I have heard over the years however prevalent, is the difference maker. The classical base takes the music and approach to another level that simply cannot be reached by adding some layers of synthesizer and some babbling brooks. Those elements are good however the foundation of classical music are the keys to the kingdom.

Merrill Collins holds the keys on Ethereal Escapes II and unlocks the door to your inhibitions and they just melt away with the sounds. The musicianship is superb from start to finish. Subtle yet powerful, this music works on you one note at a time with tenderness, energy and the true spirit of our human nature. The mystical flute is always a nice touch and the cello and piano set it up perfectly, it is reciprocal with all the instrumentation. Although Merrill is the featured artist she gives equal time to her partners so they all complement each other. It is like listening to a musical language that can only be interpreted by you the listener and it comes from the inside, there is nothing superficial about it. For my ears that is the pure beauty and focus of music like this.

The title of the tracks say a lot and the music is always right there in the forefront displaying the suggested images. This is music to contemplate, relax to, focus upon and just listen without a thought. Whatever your purpose happens to be now, Ethereal Escapes II is therapeutic in every way. It comes as no surprise that Merrill has a Master’s Degree in Music. She is a master and knows how to make the music to allow all the therapeutic values of it to take hold. Much like the label she created Spiraling Music, her recordings are like a spiraling staircase of sound with each step taking you into a different space and time effortlessly.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 3, 2017

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Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by Keith MuzikMan Hannaleck on 6/3/2017
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