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A Bridge Between by Carbe and Durand
- posted by Candice Michelle on 7/10/2016
A Bridge Between by Carbe and Durand
Liza Carbe and JP Durand are perhaps best known as two of the co-founders (along with Jim Stubblefield) of the world-guitar band Incendio. On the duo’s album “A Bridge Between”, Carbe and Durand offer up three original compositions plus ten cover songs of stylistically varied pop and rock classics that span several decades, rendering them entirely as solo acoustic guitar pieces.

The album opens with the title track “A Bridge Between”, an original composition that strums along melodically in a joyful tone. This breezy and carefree tune is evocative of driving through the countryside in the open air with its overall Americana feel. The duo’s acoustic rendition of “Scarborough Fair”, a traditional English ballad made famous by Simon and Garfunkel, is one of my favorite pieces on the album which works particularly well here. Carbe and Durand have preserved the hazy mystique of the original composition while adding an extra dose of passion employed by lovely chord progressions and unique twists on the melody. “A Thought for You” is both the fourth track on the album as well as the second original composition that seems to take the listener back on the road with its forward movement and outdoorsy appeal. One piece I found rather surprising as having been quite effectively interpreted on acoustic guitar is the Stevie Wonder hit, “Isn’t She Lovely”. Here the duo jazzes up the composition with a sophisticated allure that would deem it fitting for dancing under the moonlight to. “Mountain Song” is another one of the album’s three original compositions that bears an undercurrent of folk-rock and moves along at a melodic pace. Along with “Scarborough Fair”, the pair’s rendition of the Sting classic “Fragile” left me with the greatest impression of all. This song similarly works especially well as a solo acoustic piece, with its nocturnal romance and Mediterranean flair that would seem a fitting accompaniment for an evening at a quaint café. Lastly, the pair’s rendition of Ozzy Osourne’s “Crazy Train” makes for both an interesting album closer and follow-up to the former elegant composition, as the recognizably classic-rock tune jams along boldly and straightforwardly.

Other covers of classic hits featured on “A Bridge Between” include songs like Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”, The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, which variably work to greater or lesser degrees as solo acoustic renditions. Enjoyably diverse and overall compelling, fans of any number of the original compositions along with aficionados of acoustic guitar will likely appreciate the duo’s interpretations of some of their favorite songs, or perhaps savor a few of these classics in a whole new light. ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Very Good
11:11 by John Fluker
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 7/7/2016
Something for everyone
I first came across the work of John Fluker back in 2011 with his album Star Eyes and 5 years later he is back again with an enticing and fascinating release based on the numerical addiction of 11:11.
The upbeat and modern style of the opening track really highlights the steady progression in Fluker’s work of the many years; this man can just touch a piano and make it sing. Here on Awaken, he adds a little X files touch and opens our journey into the realm of 11:11 with absolute style and class.
The plunging and resonating bass on In the Beginning was a real scene setter, the piano of Fluker the narrator and the melody was our backdrop, our vista our imagination, Fluker’s style is so very smooth and flawless, a Percussive crescendo adds energy to a track that has such a power about it already.
The strange thing with 11:11 is that I have researched it for years and there is no real answer, perhaps that’s a good thing, that it means something different to each of us, much like music, some like a track others won’t, individuality is great and so is Artificial Time, while time itself is an illusion, the percussion here isn’t, its brilliantly performed and almost dances with Fluker’s magical piano, the artist really adds some force to this very cathartic composition.
Let’s go one step further and unify space and time and create a The 4th Dimension. This is the next piece and stunningly constructed by Fluker, the haunting vocals are almost angelic in texture, but the melody and flow of this arrangement is simply sublime, one can truly feel that they have moved into a whole new realm with this empowering composition. I love the bass on this piece as well, all in all, a very excellent track indeed.
The following song has a really wonderful sense of the mysterious about it and is called Piano Story (AM), this reminded me greatly in parts of the superb Winding Down release by David Neuve. The careful attention to detail here by Fluker is evident and the progression of the melody is also perfect in both its narration and performance, it’s almost like we’re waking up to a new day, but apprehensive as to what we will find when we pull back the curtains.
John Fluker is on more familiar territory with the next offering called Tick Tock Tale. The full flowing piano has powered up, but he also uses a clever motif to give us a real sense of time passing off the clock. We all live our lives between the tick and tock of the clock and this piece is a perfect example of that statement.
The mournful opening created a real sense of wonder and apprehension on the track called Moments. As we move through our day, we live and breathe in a sequence of moments, here Fluker plays both light and dark, plays with sensitivity when needed and increases the power when required, and this is one clever track that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I have to applaud Age of Eternity, what an amazing track, it starts with a flourish, hovers like a summer haze and then powers off like a train along the tracks of mid world. The melody again is so impressive and at times emotive; one can feel through Fluker’s performance that an age old story is being told and as one story comes to an end another is preparing its beginning, this is truly an absorbing song.
The haunting quality of Piano Story (PM) is more than just a rounding up of the previous (AM) piece; it’s another moment to sample a fine track, one that is in fact, more than twice as long as (AM) and the longest composition off the release, the passion and power here is a delight to feel, but there are also supreme moments of utter delicacy and some very natural pauses that must also be relished too.
From the longest, to the shortest in this next one called Hour of Prayer; there is something quite gentle about this composition that is most appealing. John Fluker is such a natural pianist, and that can be heard here so well. A solo track that is like a Sunday morning waking up melody.
The last but one piece is in fact dear reader and listener the title track 11:11, the electronic and percussive opening segment is mixed with a little new age and a hint of jazz funk and that sets the scene, all in under I minute. This track has a nice tick and tock to it! The rhythm is transcendent, the performance addictive, the style fresh, new and inspiring and one cannot help to be impressed with this offering.
So we reach the final pathway to 11:11 with John Fluker, we sample his last performance on the track called The Joyful Clock Unwinds, slow, sumptuous and so very masterfully played. The composition flows to and fro like a retreating tide, on what has been awe inspiring release from the master musician.
11:11 who knows what the answer is, I see it all the while, in numerology I have both master numbers including 22, but it makes me smile when I see it occur, for me it’s a recognition, just to be grateful for all these sequences of moments I have lived, called time. John Fluker on this album has created a soundtrack for my musings, in my opinion it’s his best so far, he has put so much into this and produced something quite incredible, there is truly something for everyone here.
Rating: Excellent
Celtic Skies by Eamonn Karran
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 7/7/2016
Good music, expertly performed
I have known Eamonn musically for a few years, now the Irish artist has joined the Real Music label, he has really upped his game and on Celtic Skies gone right back to his roots.
Celtic Skies is a cut of real quality, take a listen to Irish Skies, with Erin Kelly on vocals we are gifted a track that not only has true emotion, but a real passionate love for the homeland built into the arrangement, Karran’s delicacy on the piano is so deeply moving.
New Life is a composition that seems to float around you like a new dawn in early September, filled full of potential, but calming and sensitive in every aspect, Eamonn Karran has a way with the Piano that few have, he caresses the keys with a tenderness that is beautiful to feel.
The longest track off the album is called As One, more beautiful vocals, can be found her, but the Irish vibe and lilt are in full swing, there is a real sense of a oneness of souls in this wonderful composition, the percussion here gave a slight military feel that ushered forth a real sense of movement and also listen carefully to the keyboards as they bring in a little soft background vista for us all to explore.
The dark and emotive Boy Buries Mother is now upon us, I found this deeply moving and emotional, I would defy you not to be moved by this piece too, and Karran has respectfully created a song of great quality from the lyrical hand of singer songwriter Dylan Walshe. We can also take our hats off to Emma Lusby for her angelic vocals on this piece.
A subject I have a keen interest in is up next and called Ley Lines, interestingly enough my house in Paphos Cyprus is upon the only one on the whole Island, no wonder we have such good energy here. Eamonn Karran has created something here that is very special, as I speak the sun filters in through my studio window and the tones from this calming and meditative track float around the room in a perfect state of ambience. This is one of my favourites off the album, dear reader, this one you will never tire of and want to replay over and over.
Now for a real change in direction, the pipes are calling us on Wildflowers, I really enjoyed every second of this one, it reminded me musically at times of the artist Llewellyn, but the arrangement, vocals and depth of composition were simply stunning, one could easily imagine running through green valley’s carpeted with a myriad of colourful wildflowers with this one, with ease.
The curiously entitled Call of Hy-Brasil is up next. The tempo of this piece is beyond blissful, I adored this track, it has a slight global feel to it, but not one that detracts from the core element of the album, the natural sounds were so gentle This is also a remarkable track in other ways too, as you listen carefully to it, you may well find an amazing depth and vastness about its arrangement that makes it so very appealing. This is one wonderfully composed song.
Classic New Age styled and a piece that could almost take us back to the days of Medwyn Goodall and Phil Thornton, is next and its Lost Souls, it’s so wonderful to hear music like this again, listen for the shift in energy at just over one and a half minutes, the percussion kicks in to add an extra layer and dimension which is totally appreciated by my ears.
Ocean is now our next piece for consideration, it utilises the skills of Robert Peoples on Violin. But before we get to that point in the song, we get to sample some of the most heartfelt piano playing your ever likely to hear. Karran is the ultimate empathic performer, adding Peoples on violin was a stroke of sublime genius. I live near the ocean and this track will suit my sunset perambulations along the coast perfectly.
Now for something a little mysterious, it’s called Curse of Glenveagh. I am always a sucker for music that has that motif of minor chords and a theme of the supernatural, once more master Violin performer Peoples creates layer upon layer of suspense with his instrument that almost breaks into a reel at times. The percussive magic used on this was incredibly powerful and immensely addictive as well.
On, From Afar, Karran creates an ending to a film styled soundtrack, surely this has to be the melody as the credits roll and the tears fall gently from the eyes, as the story is completed. This is beautifully composed, and adding a layer of symphonic mastery into the mix as well, only endeared this track to me further.
Our penultimate piece is called Brokenhearted, sweet Lyrics and soft vocals, bring us a song that is guaranteed to move you once again, the pipes are back, as Karran’s piano seems to almost dance with them. The care and attention that Karran has obviously taken on this piece is here for all to recognise.
So we come once again to the end of another musical journey, the last track is called Late Night Piano and contains the lush and beautiful orchestration of a dear friend of mine, mister Craig Karolus, Karran decision to include one of the finest symphonic keyboard players around, is yet another stroke of supreme musical intellect. This is the ultimate ending album style piece that you ever could wish for.
Celtic Skies from Eamonn Karran shows just how much he has grown since I last spoke to him on the phone when we did an interview for his first self-released CD, A New World, back in 2012. That title was eventually added to and remixed, and released in 2014 on the Real Music label as Distant Sun. I never had any doubt he would make it and now with Celtic Skies, he has built on his previous two releases with Real Music and shown what an amazing talent he truly is. If you’re a fan of the Celtic genre this is a must for you, but if you like to hear really good music, arranged, produced and performed exceptionally, do your ears a favour and buy this album as quickly as you can.
Rating: Excellent
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