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new age

Fred Grenot, Beyond The Sun, 2015

Fred Grenot - Beyond The SunOnly recently I got in contact with Fred Grenot, and this is his second album. And something completely different as to what I have been listening to lately, but that is the fun of doing this in the first place. This is something for the people seeking calmness and relaxation, for meditation purposes, and so on.

The music that Fred displays here is entirely based on layers of keyboards. No rhythms, no copying “natural” sounds like drum or guitar, just keyboards. It is very spacey and at times hypnotic. All themes are blending in the overall arrangement of a song, thus creating music that is meant to slow you down and give you time to get in the now. You do have to help and open yourself to it. If your mind keeps racing thoughts about all those things you still need to do, this will pass you by practically unnoticed. And then you will never experience first hand how beautiful it is to be tranquil and think nothing at all. And let’s be honest, how big is that need? We all need time and space to recharge the battery!

For those, this is a much welcomed soundtrack to achieve that. Serenity and peace of mind are waiting for you…

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David Ahlén, Selah, 2015

david ahlen - selahThis is my first acquaintance with both David Ahlén (sorry can’t find the o to go above the A) and his label Volkoren. And I must say, this is something special in my humble opinion. David wrote the songs and sings and plays guitar and harmonium. And that is the core of all songs. But wait, there are guests, on piano, vocals, zither, harp, cello, vibraphone and some percussion. But most of that is sparse and serves to add some accents in the mood created by said voice and (acoustic) guitar. About the voice, Ahlen chooses to sing most, if not all, with his falsetto. This combination creates a very intimate setting, but if you pay attention to the music (which is obligatory in this case) it makes for a wonderful experience!

The overall sound is like a feather in the wind, or the eye of a storm. Calm, peaceful, maybe sometimes a bit haunting, but in a good way. It creates a condition where one cannot help but relax and sit back to undergo the unique qualities of this. It creeps up on your spine and sucks you into the imagery of the artist. Timeless if you ask me, and praise to both David and the label for bringing us this unique and wonderful album that actually defies categorising!

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Rock Company presents Earthshine

Independant label Rock Company has just presented the first video for their new project Earthshine. The project aims at delivering instrumental music with touches of ambient, new age and film music. Little guitars, but emphasis on piano, mellotron and synths. With drums and bass where needed.
The first album will soon be released.  So for now welcome Earthshine:

Craig Karolus, Journey Of Divine Instrumentation, 2013

Craig Karolus - Journey Of Divine InstrumentationOne of the benefits of doing this, is that you sometimes get to hear music long before it is officially released. So it is great when an artist confides in you enough to let you listen to a new album and have a peek at the artwork. Thank you Craig!

In this case I am talking about the third release from Craig Karolus called Journey Of Divine Instrumentation (JODI). Find my thoughts on his second album here.
And that title is chosen with a purpose, to honour the long missing Jodi Huisentruit. Craig grew up with her and her 1995 disappearance was devastating. Several tracks on this album are dedicated to her, and proceeds of them will go to the Jodi´s Network Of Hope. A good cause if any! On his website you find some footage about this case.

So on to the music then: If you have heard of Craig´s music before, then it will not come as a surprise that this album is again a very peaceful and moody affair. Beautiful serene melodies over sonic soundscapes built on piano and strings. Included in the arrangements are for instance acoustic guitar, harp, female voices and a trumpet in Veterans and Jodi. Alas I do not know if it is all done by Craig, or if there are guest musicians involved, but it all sounds really convincing!

As Craig always says: “relax, it is new age music at its finest”. So if you are into this genre, or need some music to chill out to, take a dive in, as this is again a wonderful instrumental album! Release date is July 4, 2013.

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Pod Persin, Movie In My Mind, 2012

pod persin - movie in my mindWhat do you think the typical 16 year old would do with an iPod touch? I am pretty sure among the things you´d come up with the answer “record an album with so called graphic novel soundtrack music” is not high on the list…

Yet that is what this guy has done. Pod Persin being the pseudonym for Will Grisack 4, son of children rocker (Mighty) Mr. Billy. So it kinda runs in the family I guess, as I happen to know that Will is a regular contributor (on drums) on his fathers live shows.

The description of graphic novel soundtrack can be extended to film and new age / ambient typed music.  All kind of moods, but fitting to these genres. Very humorous, with titles like Any Princess Movie, I Robot Grammar Bad or Tim Burton Should Hire Me. Rather short songs, but sounding pretty mature already. At least, that is how I feel about it. And the fact it is done by someone of his age, and on the iPod, only serves to proof my point. Room for improvement? Yes, in some details like the sound of the drum cymbals, not regarding his musical ideas!

Too bad the link mentioned on the back is not working, but it does give me the opportunity to point you to CDBaby, where this can be bought in digital or physical format.

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Rich Batsford, Mindfulmess, 2012

Rich Batsford - MindfulmessOkay, this one I did not see coming. I did a review on the previous album from Rich Batsford, Valentine Court, which I still remember for the boldness of creating a solo piano album (as in piano being the sole thing you hear). On this new effort however, Rich hooked up a microphone and added his vocals. Not only lead, but also phenomenal harmonies. After reading he once was a member of a Beach Boys tribute band, I knew where those were coming from…

Another cool thing are the small rhythmic variations in the songs. Quite sure many drummers would really hate to play along to those. Yet they are not important in the way that they dominate. It is more of a small arrangement aspect to spice the songs up. Talking of songs, prepare to be blown away with the total package. I would go as far as to suggest that if Rich recruited a band (in Coldplay style) he would have hit appeal. Top X-factor material for sure.

Because if anything, this album is a joy from beginning to end. His vocals have great charm and, coupled with his impeccable piano playing, create moods that I cannot resist. In fact I think anyone with even the littlest interest in music will fall in love with this. It may be a mindfulmess (yeah, took me a while to figure out), but that mind sure creates beautiful things. BUY!

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PS: To Rich, album 1: piano, album 2: piano and vocals, if album 3 needs guitars, give me a call 😉

Eichstaedt, My Own Little World, 2012

eichstaedt - my own little worldThe lovely Petra Eichstädt asked me if I would consider writing a piece about her new CD, issued under the Eichstaedt banner. Of course, so this CD has been making regular rounds in my player the last couple of days. Couldn´t be farther away from the music of my previous post, as this is labelled as new age / acoustic guitar.

So the keywords here are small, intimate, calm and the like. Opening track My Own Little World part 1 has the singing of birds accompanying it. And while that is saying a lot about that new age tag, they are not necessary to point out that this music is deliberately easy, focussing on atmosphere rather than technical prowess.

And there is nothing wrong with that. After a busy hectic day, this is great music to calm down to. Petra utilizes guitar, keyboard, blues harp and adds some programming to that. Which brings me to a little criticism. The drums are a bit too simple I think. And while that does support the tracks, the imagination used to create those crafty songs, would not hurt the drums either. But hey, don´t let that steer you away from this peaceful and beautiful music. I especially like the acoustic guitar playing. Lots of feel there. Visit her website to check into this.

Website

Songs Of Water, The Sea Has Spoken, 2010

Songs Of Water - The Sea has spokenWhen the band Songs Of Water contacted me if I would give their CD The Sea Has Spoken a listen, I gladly accepted. Not knowing what to expect as I did not know the band at all. But I am always up for a fine surprise.

Well, the music couldn´t be further away from my previous post, but I got very excited listening to this. A warning before hand: if you need your music to include loud guitars, drums and vocals (emphasis on loud), then it is okay to point your attention elsewhere. To all those still reading, and into music that combines elements of folk (Celtic), new age and world music, you have to check this out!

I was immediately captured by the beautiful music on this disk. For the most part it is instrumental, utilizing for instance hammered dulcimer, acoustic guitars, violin, cello, bass, drums, accordion, tuba, banjo and exotic percussion. The latter naturally responsible for the world element. Songs are very moody, with beautiful melodies played on a variety of instruments. Because of the drumming and percussion, sometimes the groove rules, but all done with great taste. I find myself being very impressed by this album and would like to compliment the eight players and various songwriters. And oh, the 2 vocal tracks Sycamore and Willow capture you as well, so no worries. Hauntingly beautiful.

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Craig Karolus, Family Values, 2012

Carig Karolus - Family ValuesNow on to something not yet featured here on these pages: New Age. Yeah I hear you thinking: ain´t that listening to the sound of waves, dolphins or the grass growing? Well…. not quite! What we have here is an album by American artist Craig Karolus that has a lot more to offer.

Craig is really good at writing serene and gentle pieces of music that reflect the album´s subject really well. Having dealt with personal losses a lot the past year, he transformed his emotions into moving songs that pay hommage to the persons that inspired them.
Opener Fleurida is a perfect example. Soft and gentle, with plenty of room to breathe and enjoy his sound layers and subtle piano playing.  Jacob´s Tribute is a surprise, a much more rocking song with fantastic arpeggio´s, drums and guitar solo´s. I really like it´s arrangement overall, with all it´s twists.  The title track is another example of soothing piano with violins playing the lead melody. Here also, some drums and acoustic guitar are heard.  A lady sings some melodic lines without words as well, a little in the vein of Pink Floyd. Following that with another tasty guitar solo only enhances that comparison, just wished he kept that going a little longer…
With 8 tracks clocking in at over 41 minutes, this is a great disk to put your mind at ease with. And hey we all need that from time to time.

Craig has been all over the internet the past months and made videos for most of the tracks on offer here. I encourage you to follow the link to his website and from there head on over to YouTube to check him out. And buy this thing on iTunes or so. As yet it is not sure this CD will get a physical release so for now, chill….

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