Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Presence of Three Minds by Holland Phillips

Holland Phillips is a seasoned composer and keyboardist who’s released a successive string of albums over the past several years. Comprised of 11 compositions spanning approximately 45 minutes total, his latest full-length recording, A Presence of Three Minds, delivers more of the enjoyably familiar style that has come to characterize Phillips’ congenial sound, with its innocuous melodies comprised of notably vintage-sounding keyboards arrangements.

Seemingly infused with some of the stylistic underpinnings of Yanni’s and David Arkenstone’s earliest works, as well as taking a few cues from Tangerine Dream’s late 80s to mid-90s sound, A Presence of Three Minds could easily be mistaken for an album recorded three decades prior at the height of new age music’s popularity. Whether the distinctive vintage element that largely defines Phillips' music is produced by a conscious effort on the part of the artist or not, it has certainly been a key component to his sound with every album by him I've listened to thus far.

Likewise, synthesized string arrangements and gossamer vocal textures lend a whimsical 1980s fantasy film-era touch to many of these pieces, which simultaneously veer into neoclassical easy listening territory along the way. Ultimately however, A Presence of Three Minds is bona fide contemporary instrumental music with fanciful new age overtones that I warmly recommend to fans of retro-style recordings within this genre! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other retail & streaming platforms.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Top 25 Albums of October 2019

01. Peter Kater – Wings
02. Sangeeta Kaur – Compassion
03. Douglas Blue Feather – Ascension
04. Rob Simonsen – Rêveries
05. Rémi Orts Project – Peaceful Moments: Reign of the Forest
06. Harrison Edwards – Into the Unknown
07. Sharon Fendrich – Red Sky Prairie
08. David Wahler – Two Hearts
09. Forrest Smithson – The Healer’s Way
10. Christopher Boscole – Dawn of Love
11. Merrill Collins – Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite
12. Holly Jones – Art on the Piano
13. Gabriele Saro – Sensations
14. Holland Phillips – A Presence of Three Minds
15. Todd Mosby – Open Waters
16. Crystalline Dream – Seventh Chakra
17. FLOW – Promise
18. Joey Curtin – The Paradise Collection
19. Joss Jaffe – Meditation Music
20. Ben Carroll – Becoming Light
21. Lynn Tredeau – All the Pieces
22. Sergio Zurutuza – Rareza
23. Alejandro Santoyo – Dreams for a Better Tomorrow
24. Michael Joseph – Into the Blue
25. Jarred Walker – Becoming Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Sangeeta Kaur

We’re honored to present an interview with Sangeeta Kaur. A classically trained opera singer of Vietnamese-American roots, she’s also a committed practitioner of both Kundalini Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. Sangeeta Kaur weaves her heavenly soprano vocals with live orchestration, pristine choral arrangements and meditative mantra singing for a unique style that could be described as new age classical crossover music. She’s just released a beautiful new album called Compassion which we’ll be highlighting, so please join us for a heartfelt conversation about her musical passion and sacred path!

Music by Sangeeta Kaur is available at Amazon, iTunes and other retail and streaming platforms.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Album Review: Red Sky Prairie by Sharon Fendrich

Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, pianist-composer and vocalist Sharon Fendrich began her music studies at age three. Eventually releasing her debut album, Red Sky Prairie, Fendrich travelled to the small town of Stein in the Netherlands to record the project at Kerani Music Studio with engineer Arno Op de Camp. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning an hour, Red Sky Prairie beautifully epitomizes neoclassical new age exquisiteness with its striking combination of gentle piano and voice set to mellifluous orchestral ensembles. Showcasing the contributing impeccable talents of Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova, cellist Joep Willems, violinist Wilfred Sassen, and flautists Helen Hendriks and les Muller, Red Sky Prairie brilliantly boasts emotionally therapeutic and harmonious arrangements of utmost pristine elegance.

Employing heavenly choral and soprano vocals sung in English, Spanish, Latin and Yiddish along the way, Fendrich’s soul-elevating compositions create an atmosphere of divine love, peace and hope. Some outstanding examples include transcendently radiant “Song of the Dove”, an angelic aria sung in the international language of Esperanto. Fendrich also adds intriguingly subtle touches of magic throughout, one example being the sounds of crickets singing softly at the close of the album's title track. Several pieces touch on notably tender subjects, such as the September 11th dedicated final number, “That September Day”, which concludes the album with a pastoral sense of remembrance, healing and comfort.

Striking a perfect balance of innocence and maturity, Red Sky Prairie is a stunning accomplishment for an artist debut that will surely soothe the minds and hearts of many adults and children alike. Drawing inspiration from the new age, Celtic and classical music genres, listeners especially who enjoy everything from Secret Garden to David Lanz will find much to cherish herein. A serenely heartfelt album I’d say was long overdue within this wing of the genre, Red Sky Prairie is arguably one of the most outstanding neoclassical new age albums this year! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other retail & streaming platforms.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Album Review: Memoirs by Michele McLaughlin

Michele McLaughlin is a highly-accomplished and much sought after pianist and composer who’s built up a dedicated fan following over the span of her career. Possessing a true gift for composition and melody, she never actually learned to read music, instead being entirely self-taught on the piano while expressing an inborn talent for songwriting. Relaying her signature-style narrative of instrumental storytelling, Memoirs is a collection of 12 solo piano singles that were compiled over a timespan of many months. Riding along a similar thought train as her 2017 album Life, here we are familiarly guided through a range of emotions and observations, yet seemingly overall reassured by a sense of hope and comfort, which comes with every unpredictable twist and turn along the way.

“Thankful” cheerfully opens the album with a lightly galloping flair and upwards lilt of the melody. Following next is “Pure Joy”, a calmer yet equally optimistic piece that evokes morning sunshine and warmth. Slipping into a more nocturnally contemplative mood, “Dark Moon” boldly descends into the lower registers. Its solemn atmosphere suggests a meaning that is both figurative and literal, especially given that it precedes a piece called “Triumph”.

One particular highlight of the album is “Beneath the Surface”, a piece that blooms robustly with alternating major and minor keystrokes. Once again infusing meaning with metaphor, images come to mind of sailing on tumultuous seas while remaining steadfast and determined throughout the storm.

Two other personal favorites include the album’s back-to-back pair of winter-themed songs, as is often the case with compositions inspired by the coldest season. The serenely reflective “Winter” evokes a feeling of quaint nostalgia while painting a picturesque scenery of snow lightly falling upon a rural northern landscape. Likewise, “Northern Lights” portrays a beautiful winterscape, as cycling notes and winding course convey a journey across snowy terrain.

“Dismissed” aptly closes the curtains in starkly dramatic fashion. Showcasing McLaughlan’s fierce command of the keys, this striking number powerfully flows like raging rapids until gradually winding down to a close.

Beautifully turning its musical pages like a personal diary of memories and musings, Memoirs is undoubtably another thoroughly rewarding offering from one of solo piano’s leading figures in the scene! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other music retailer & streaming platforms.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Album Review: Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite by Merrill Collins (feat. Vito Gregoli & Kimberly Haynes)

Merrill Collins is a New Jersey born and raised pianist and composer who combines her classical music training with contemporary innovation. Having released a handful of albums and many singles in tandem with a diverse range of artists, Collins’ latest album, Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite, sees her team up with multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli and vocalist Kimberly Haynes, a duo who often work together on various musical projects.

Created primarily with Yoga practice in mind, Every Man, Woman and Child is approximately 56 minutes of restorative bliss comprised of three compositions with each spanning from 15 to 20 minutes in length. While Collins has been recording for several years as part of a neoclassical new age trio that includes a cellist and flutist, here she collaborates with another established musical pair who beautifully enfold her improvisational piano melodies with a more global sound drawn from Eastern mystical traditions. Boasting an impressively large collection of world instruments, Vito Gregoli plays many of them on this album, while Kimberly Haynes infuses the opening and closing pieces with her soothingly soulful mantra and folk-style singing.

The opening track, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, is a moderately rhythmic piece that features freeform piano notes leisurely drifting amid a fluid amalgamation of guitars, vocals, tabla drums and other subtle instruments. Following next, “Ambient Journey” is a mesmerizingly mellow and brainwaves-altering piece clocking in at just over 20 minutes. The most deeply rejuvenating composition on the album, as well as my personal favorite, it’s characterized by a hazy atmosphere of bells, bowls, sitar, synthesizer and crystalline piano droplets. Finally, “We the People” is another gently rhythmic piece, this time reuniting Collins with her familiar past collaborators, Maksim Velichkin and Laura Hallady, alongside Gregoli and Haynes. Imbued with a touch of 60s psychedelia, the lyrical melody “every man, woman and child” is repeated towards the end for a celebratory conclusion.

Perfectly suited for Yoga practice as well as other forms of conscious body movement, Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite is an immensely rewarding and free-spirited musical offering of relaxation, rhythm and aural resplendence! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit Spiraling Music. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other online music retailer & streaming platforms.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Lisa Pressman

We’re excited to present an interview with Lisa Pressman. She’s a composer, pianist and singer based in Phoenix, Arizona who recently released her fifth album, As We Imagine, which embodies a classic new age sound that’s refreshingly modern. So please tune-in for an enlightening conversation and sonic imagination!

Music from the album As We Imagine can be heard throughout this interview.