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Freedom by Rockapelli
- posted by Kevin Donoho on 12/1/2016
Written by
Steve Sheppard (OWM Cyprus Radio) 11/16/2016

It’s time for us to go on another musical journey dear reader, this time one with a difference, as we ride out across the sonic plains with Native American band Rockapelli.
We start with a spectacular offering called Shoshone Sunrise. With drums, flute and chanting we are gifted something truly scene setting on this composition, that sets us up nicely for the remainder of the album.

The title track “Freedom” is sublime, and contains a really creative mix of indigenous music, rock and superb vocals. This is a delightfully paced track with some light and very thoughtful guitar by Kevin Donoho, and some emotive vocals by Reil. This track is one that I personally rate very highly and its smooth rock style is sure to make its way onto my Friday Rock show sooner rather than later.

The acoustic guitar on Snake Eyes was a real scene setter, and the bass created the foundations for us to all enjoy a really rhythmic offering. The percussion really reminded me of the great days of Santana. A real team effort of a piece this one and a very enjoyable driving composition that constantly but carefully picked up energy and tempo as it manifested itself.

The guitar on the beginning of Spirit Rein had a really light smooth Jazz ethic to its initial construction, which morphed into an excellent folk ballad; this is one very beautiful song that has so many elements of artistry drawn within it. The song itself is simply adorable to listen to, and with ease we can be there to watch the Spirt Rein fall gently on our faces.

At the half way point we are greeted by the spirit energy of the horse, which means Freedom. The natural sounds, flute and acoustic guitar set a wonderful panoramic vista of a summer landscape, in the delightful short form track called Meadow.

The start of Midnite Sun really reminded me of early Rush on softer tracks like Closer to the Heart, however the individuality and incredibly wonderful performances by Sierra Reeves on vocals for this song and the stylish guitar of Donoho manifested for us a totally outstanding arrangement of classy brilliance, and this composition is one of my favourites from the album.

Donoho’s acoustic begins the early refrains of the next piece called Halcyon, this is a moment in our lives that is rare, and means a segment of your life when everything is perfection in both peace and harmony, and the music suits that mood time perfectly.

As we move deeper into the album we come across a clever arrangement called One Smile. This is yet another fantastically produced arrangement, which has both good lyrical content and performance. The vocals supplied by the outstanding Bob Reil are both soulful and powerful when needed, as a vocalist myself that’s not always an easy thing to do. The flute then creates a whole new dimension as Emilano Campobello joins the dance and soon after Donoho‘s guitars and drums add weight and intention to what is one of the best and most meaningful tracks of the album.

The longest track from the release is called Oasis and thankfully lasting all of a lush and sweet six minutes plus. Listen and be in awe of the performance on flute and superb acoustic narrative on guitar. The natural sounds really create an atmosphere of a peace filled Oasis with ease. This is one of those tracks that you start listening to and enjoy so much you keep dragging the counter back to zero to start again, a totally sun kissed environment has been masterfully created here and all you have to do is relax, close your eyes and enjoy!

Our last moment of musical magic is called Walking Thunder, and as you may guess from the title, we are in for something explosive, powerful and emotive. The percussion is deep and has great movement, especially when partnered so ably with the flute. Reil’s vocals drive us along this musical Buffalo trail and we
can even give merit points for the huge storm rumbling thunder clap at the beginning and the end of the song. I do so love compositions that have a reference or relationship to the potency of storms, the amazing energy of the power of the creator and this arrangement with the amazing drum and audio provided by Susan Marie Reeves towards the last few moments of this piece says it all, this is a true classic, that you must play many times over.

This album by Rockapelli is not just good it is powerfully effective; it has charm, intensity when needed and its creative and artistic performances and compositions are simply outstanding.
Freedom as an album is a collection of songs that have been created with a really positive energy, it has vibrancy, but also a smoothness and totally professional and thoughtful methodology can be found behind the overall concept of the release. The band should be proud of themselves for producing such a quality album and that quality should also be part of your music collection as soon as possible, as albums of this ilk, do not come around that often.
Rating: Excellent
Ethereum by Joseph L Young
- posted by Candice Michelle on 11/30/2016
Ethereum by Joseph L Young
Joseph L Young is a world-flute master and keyboardist whose fourth album, Ethereum, is comprised of twelve beautiful compositions that showcase his multi-instrumentalist talents and keen ability to tap into the essence of music from various cultures. Among the instruments Joseph plays are Native American flutes, Chinese flutes, South and Central American clay drone flutes, Irish pennywhistle, and even Saxophone on one track. These exotic elements are deftly interwoven among indigenous percussion and atmospheric synthesizers, thereby lending an overall shamanic and trance-inducing quality to several of the compositions.

“Wavelength” opens the album with hazy tones and suspended chords that envelope a subtle flute melody. Serene and warmly-lit from the very first note, this piece brings images to mind of an afternoon sunset casting its beautiful glow over a rocky desert terrain. The title piece, “Ethereum”, follows next with a native-style flute that seems to echo throughout a vast canyon. This hauntingly beautiful and slightly forbidding ambient flute piece is likewise accompanied by droning synths, rainstick sounds and washes of chimes, which seem to evoke a sacred semblance of channelling an ancient wisdom or unveiling of hidden secrets. The comparatively lighter and more gossamer “Shimmers” ensues with Celtic harp and Irish pennywhistle, a delicate piece that conveys a fairytale-like medieval or renaissance flair. Changing scenery once again, “Boundless” begins with a low rumble and slithering sounds that introduce native-style flute and reverberating, slow-paced percussion, as hypnotic vocal intonations are echoed among its cavernous ambient soundscape. It is followed by the notably intriguing “Illumination”, a radiant piece that evokes images of a watery cave illuminated by sunlight pouring through. Here, piano and flute exchange dual melodies among a backdrop of chimes, Udu drums and atmospheric synths. Exuding both Celtic and Chinese overtones, “Free” is another piece particularly worth noting, which features vocals by Lenise Redding who sings a bewitching and mystical melody. Concluding the album is the beautifully nocturnal “Sapphire Moon”, which is guided along by subtle percussion and occasional shooting star effects, as a chorus of flutes seem to gently serenade the moon.

Brushed by colorful hues of various cultures throughout, it’s easy to slip into a deep zone while listening to this album. I’m especially fond of the many echoing effects and intricate textures throughout these beautifully relaxing and soulfully rejuvenating passages. With similarities that could be drawn to works by Scott August and Al Jewer & Andy Mitran, Ethereum is a wholly rewarding excursion into ethno-ambient flute music! ~Candice Michelle (
Rating: Excellent
Ethereum by Joseph L Young
- posted by Steve Sheppard, One World Music on 11/29/2016
The delights of a good flute player are pleasing to the ear and mind, the pleasures of an excellent flute player are good for the heart and soul, and as is the case with Joseph L Young, they bring balance and harmony to the ever increasing cacophony of life’s frenetic life style.

Young is back with a new album called Ethereum, and from the very first offering called Wavelength, is as soft and silky as a summer cloud in July. The connection here is both clever and stylish, as we connect with the wavelength of Young’s intent, and begin yet another wonderful musical journey together.

Ethereum as an album is very appealing and as a track, most exquisite in its construction, the plethora of flutes used in its manifestation are numerous, and thanks to these magicians of musical making, we can with ease, visualise wide open vista’s, beautiful forests growing in abundance in the early morning light, all in an utterly wonderful ethereal mist filled way.
Shimmer continues our enchanting journey through this strange new world of a flute blessed paradise, as we listen carefully to its tones, one can be reminded of a little Celtic nature that seems to be opening up before us. This most pleasant of melodies is simple, but created with a real gentle heart.

We now find our way to a pathway that is Boundless. The Native American flute is imperious here; the artist creates images in our minds eyes of deep pine forests and full flowing streams that crash down from tall imposing mountain ranges. There is a real vastness to this composition that has to be listened to many times over to be truly appreciated.
Illumination seems to flow from the previous track with ease, but with a change of flute comes a change of energy. We go now from west to east, and while the vista could possibly be very similar, there is a different overall construction to the composition. As we wander through its spiritual tones, one can feel an awakening, a satori of a kind, we begin our Illumination, and shine.

Past Lives is a subject that used to be close to my heart, I had worked on them for a few years, and now with lessons learned, I focus entirely on the life that I am living now. The dark and aged sounds created by Young, are very deep and it is as if the composition itself is moving through time, with the slow march of certainty built neatly within.
A slight alteration of style sees Young perform on Saxophone as well as flute, this is Entangled, and while the backdrop is moody, the whole arrangement is about a instrumental duet between Flute and Sax, and the interplay that it forms is delightful to listen to and fun to enjoy the dance that it creates with such panache.

I always like a moment to just, Drift, we have such a moment now, this is a flute based twinkling of meditative magic for us all to enjoy and simply float with. It’s ethereal, smooth and simply a wonderful realm to just wander in and as the artists says, just drift!
The longest piece off the release at just less than five and a half minutes is called Free. For me this is one of the most poignant tracks off the album, the added vocals here say it all, it’s time to be free and wash away all that is holding you back, all that you thought to be true about yourself, and simply be Free. This was my favourite song from this brilliant album; it reminded me of my friend Nigel Shaw from Dartmoor in style on flute, but the nice use of crescendo and the positive vibe that it contains really makes for me, the stand out composition from Ethereum.

Sunsets are supreme to witness, sunrises even more so, as they hail the beginning of a new day and another opportunity to do something special. This is Joseph L Young’s opportunity to shine, as he performs an uplifting opus of sun filled pleasure on the track Crystal Sunrise.
I remember Fireflies from my time in the Midwest, I used to sit there and marvel at their light dance in the dark, and smile, of all the wondrous creatures on creator’s earth, these amazing little insects, will always have a special place in my heart. Young has created that dance right here, the light percussion combines superbly with the flute, while we enjoy Flirting with Fireflies.

Our last offering is called Sapphire Moon, and is one of the gentlest tracks off the album; with ease we could sit outside in the dark night sky and simply observe this beautiful moment occur before our very eyes and this piece would be that sound track of the moment.

Ethereum is an album of pure bliss; it has a perfect sense of balance in its overall manifestation and creation, the tones are calming, the flutes are Young’s paint brushes and here our artist in residence has demonstrated and exhibited his best works for us to all enjoy. Ethereum is one of those albums; it is a creation of good honest skill and abundant talent. Joseph L Young and Ethereum, is a must for all who seek a little moment of sanity in a world filled with craziness.
Rating: Excellent
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