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Sacred Visions
By Peter Sterling
Label: Harp Magic Music
Released 6/21/2016
Sacred Visions tracks
1. Sedona Sunset
2. Shamans Cave
3. Star Light and Moon Beams
4. Bombay Boogie
5. Eclipse
6. Dance of Saraswati
7. Mystic Rose
8. Thru the Valley and Over the Hills
9. Remembrance
Born From Rock and Faith
We know that there are special places on this planet. Every continent has its mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and high deserts that have their own magic, their own reverence. Places like Mahabohdi Tree in India, Mount Sinai in Egypt and Glastonbury Tor in England. New Age and ambient harpist Peter Sterling offers up his latest album, Sacred Visions as his tribute to the magic of extraordinary locations that have influenced and guided mankind over the ages and continue to do so.

Peter Sterling has been creating wondrous music for 25 years with themes that encompass the divine, mythology and the miraculous. He is not afraid to admit that his hands, his heart and his talent are guided by unseen forces. After hearing his astonishing music, it is difficult to argue against the point. On Sacred Visions he plays various forms of harp, the guzheng or Chinese zither, and percussion. Joining him are well-known artists Bruce BecVar on guitar, Hans Christian on cello, Richard Hardy on flute and 3rd Force band members William Aura and Craig Dobin. Sterling's compositions are not just droning background, but colorful, high-spirited melodies that inspire one to chant and dance along with the music.

The album begins with a lively track called Sedona Sunset. Sedona, Arizona, is a very special place in North America. The spirited New Age music is motivated by the towering red rocks shaped by wind and water in northern Arizona that are truly awe inspiring. I have touched the red clay sand and walked along the trail to this magnificent place, so I know how Peter was inspired. The magic of the desert and the people that lived life in a hostile environment also gives provender to a celebratory tune that captures desert moon, bright firelight and energy guided rhythms.

The night sky comes alive on the tune Starlight and Moonbeams. A vigorous tempo and twinkling harp fill the tune with irradiance as a bright chant draws us deeper into the music. The stars have told stories of their own for thousands of years and the moon is a goddess for many. The music jumps around from shadow to light with a background of sky bound sparkling multi-colored gems and we cannot help by join in the midnight dance.

Peter again uses the combined equilibrium of light and shadow on the resplendent tune Eclipse. The moon sits in a dusky sky just waiting for her lover to appear. Their dance in one consummated in shadow, their energies succumb to the balance of yin and yang. A strong bass and harp combined with dynamic blend of sax, background vocal and grooving guitar makes this jazz/contemporary crossover one of my favorite tunes on the album.

Dance of Saraswati glorifies the goddess of music and art. The tune, a mild mantra, suggests that we look to the goddess for her dedication in knowledge. Saraswati is often depicted with a lute, representing her blessing to those that create the art of music. Gentle voice and melodic harp pair in a moderate tune that soothes as it unfolds.

Thru the Valley and Over the Hill is a journey through time to a place with green, rock-strewn fields, glittering rivers and skies bluer than your lover's eyes. The land of Ire, where rainbows usually begin and magic lives in the stones is revered in Peter’s whimsical music. What better place for a harp to dwell.

The final tune, Remembrance, is another Celtic-swayed tune and my very favorite on Sacred Visions. Peter's enthralling harp along with Hans Christian's melancholy cello create a homage to the epic mythology of Ireland, whence warriors and heroes emerged victorious, where damsels dance and goddesses rule the forests and man is invited as a curious witness to all the innate magic of the era.

After listening to all the tracks, I feel privileged to have been able to accompany Peter on his journey. From burning desert to stony cave to towering greenwood, I have been a willing companion to the supernatural discoveries that are there for all to see on this beautiful planet. Peter Sterling's contemplative and spirited music gives us a magical place to visit these wonders, even if it is just in our own hearts.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/21/2016
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