Chronotope Project is the recording alias of Oregonian ambient/electronic music composer and cellist Jeffrey Ericson Allen. His seventh recording, titled Ovum, is likewise his third release on the prestigious Spotted Peccary Music label, following his excellent Passages and Dawn Treader albums. Comprised of seven compositions spanning fifty-one minutes of organic-electronic bliss, Allen creates deeply immersive, lushly ambient soundscapes that juxtapose synthetic tones and textures with natural instruments such as cello, flute and Irish whistle. Most notably, as with Chronotope Project’s previous albums, the Haken Continuum Fingerboard is frequently featured as a solo instrument where it often takes precedence as a key signature element. Conveyed by visually captivating artwork intended to represent a primordial state of being, each composition audibly illustrates a subtle emergence from either an earthly seed or cosmic source, which gradually unfolds into a continuously evolving and metamorphosing journey.

Tsode is the recording alias of Jesús Valenzuela, an electronic music composer from Córdoba, Spain. Having been thoroughly delighted by his previous album, Yggdrasil, I immediately sensed even greater things were in store upon receiving his follow-up, titled Brainstorming. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning fifty-eight minutes, the album unfolds like a wildly fascinating sonic adventure, which seemingly traverses an otherworldly landscape located in another mythical dimension. Alternating between chill-trance anthems and epic ambient soundscapes that often incorporate soaring electric guitars and ethnic/world samples, Brainstorming frequently recalls the likes of Schiller, Asura, Enigma and even Mike Oldfield (particularly his 1990’s-era The Songs of Distant Earth and Voyager albums).

Charles Denler is a Colorado-based pianist and composer with numerous film and television scores and thousands of concert performances to his credit. The follow-up to his widely-acclaimed Moment of Dawn album, One Drop Became An Ocean is a sublimely elegant collection of fourteen compositions spanning thirty-six minutes, which were recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Described as “a water suite for piano and chamber orchestra”, the album was inspired by Denler having spent most of his life living near water, and effectively conveys the scenic beauty of rivers, springs, fountains, oceans and rain with a seemingly poetic tone.

Timothy Crane is a Colorado-based pianist and composer who released his debut album, The Other Life I Dream, in 2004. Raised on a 1917 Knabe grand piano that he still performs on to this day, he began learning to play his cherished instrument before his feet could even reach the pedals. Comprised of fifteen compositions all written and arranged by Crane, his fourth album, titled The Fall of a Sparrow, includes new versions of three pieces that were previously released on each of his three prior albums. In what could be accurately described as a cross between neoclassical and contemporary instrumental music (with varying compositions naturally trending more towards one style verses the other), Crane crafts sweeping orchestral arrangements around his expressively melodic piano-centric compositions. Additionally, he is joined throughout by a handful of guest musicians, which includes Jason Rowsell on bass, Tom Melaragno on drums, Joe Fluken on acoustic guitar and Daniel Coffey on viola.

David Wells is a lifelong pianist and composer who has served as music director in various churches for over twenty-five years. Recorded on a seven-foot Yamaha Grand Piano, Songs of Hope is Wells’ debut album, featuring ten original solo piano compositions intended to lift the spirit and nurture the heart. Inspired early on by Windham Hill Records pianist George Winston, Wells’ own music is noticeably graced by Winston’s influence, as well as that of Jim Brickman, while likewise incorporating his personal jazz background into many of his arrangements.

Prolific composer and keyboardist, Peter Calandra, has been immersed in the New York City music scene for most of his life. Having scored numerous films as well as written music for Broadway and multiple television broadcasts, additionally, he has released several solo albums. Inspired by a recent cross-country trip, The Road Home features ten exquisite compositions variably spanning new age, cinematic, contemporary instrumental and smooth jazz styles of music. Showcasing his musical virtuosity, Calandra plays piano, melodica, synthesizers, acoustic guitar and percussion on various tracks throughout.

Kerani is a Belgian-born composer, keyboardist and producer who currently resides in The Netherlands. Inspired by the mysteries of the universe and wonders of our planet, her latest album, Stardust, transpires like a glorious symphonic journey of cosmic exploration. Comprised of ten compositions spanning sixty-five minutes, Stardust was recorded with a symphonic orchestra and mixed vocal ensemble, in addition to the amazing Kerani herself performing on both piano and a wide-range of synthesizers. Spanning the new age, neoclassical, contemporary instrumental and symphonic-electronic musical genres, Kerani’s style boasts strong parallels to that of the legendary Greek composer, Vangelis, of whom is one of her greatest musical influences.

Fiona Joy is an award-winning, world-renowned pianist and composer from Australia who has additionally worked with other notable musicians. Among them includes Windham Hill Records founder, Will Ackerman, who produced several of her previous albums. Performed on an 1885 Steinway grand piano, her latest album Into the Mist was recorded and mixed in Direct Digital 256 (Quad DSD) in high resolution audio using the Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) proprietary. Comprised of ten elegantly prepossessing solo piano instrumentals that shift among phases of light and shadow, each composition is seemingly a dual expression of both human emotion and natural wonder.

Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries is the follow-up to Robert Thies and Damjan Krajacic’s 2012 album, Blue Landscapes. A world-renowned classical pianist, Thies began improvising and composing at a young age. Flutist and guitarist Damjan’s background spans jazz, Latin jazz and classical along with musical influences of his own central European heritage. Comprised of fifteen compositions spanning seventy-seven minutes, the duo employ melodic improvisation to create blissfully serene soundscapes, as the pieces subtly fluctuate between atmospheric passages and minimalist contemporary instrumental tunes.

Playlists for July 2017

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