Monday, September 21, 2020

Another ambient autumn mix of cooler tones & deeply chilled rhythms!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
ELEON / Elixir / Chillscapes, Vol. 1
Le Voyage / Fantastic Galaxy (Endless Horizon Mix) / Autumn Breeze, Vol. 2
Michael Whalen / A Metaphysical Morning / Sacred Spaces
Sacred Seeds / Awakening / Alpha Seeds
Patrick O’Hearn / Equinox / Trust
Suzanne Teng & Gilbert Levy / Sueños / Autumn Monsoon
Eguana / Swirling Leaves / Serenity
Sambox / Lojong / Le Son du Miramar
Kevin Keller / Just Over the Ridge / The Front Porch of Heaven
Richard Souther / Chasing Echoes / Waiting in the Wings
BlueMonk & Michael Whalen / Moon Scape / Karmic Dreams

An Interview with Yuval Ron featuring his album Four Divine States of Mind

We’re honored to present an audio interview with Yuval Ron. He's an Israeli-born, world-renowned musician, award-winning composer, educator, peace activist and record producer. Among Yuval’s career accomplishments includes his musical score to the Oscar winning film West Bank Story as well as concert performances throughout countries like Morocco and Turkey. This year Yuval released a beautifully sacred world music album called Four Divine States of Mind and it includes some amazing guest performances by noteworthy names like Deva Premal. So please join us for an inspirational journey into the musical meditations of Yuval Ron!

Music from the albums Four Divine States of Mind and Voyage Through the Chakras can be heard throughout this segment.

Monday, September 14, 2020

PGM 276: Fantasy Flight 3

Another euphoric mix of chill-trance & ambient electronica to convey feelings of boundless freedom!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Tangerine Dream / Catwalk (Dress-Up Mix) / The Dream Mixes
Schiller / Klangwelten / Sun
Ben Blackett / Deep Currents / Portals
Unusual Cosmic Process / Parhelic Circle / Frames of Silence
Giuseppe Dio / Over the Clouds / The Phoenix
Dream Twice / Begin / Enta
Jim Ottaway / The Skies the Limit / When Eternity Touches Time
ELEON / Last Flight Home / Flight Lounge
Tigerforest / Constellations / Discovery
Dlaivison / Ouverture / Aeon
Astral Fogg / Timelessness (Eternal Remix) / A Breath of Fresh Air

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Album Review: Directions by Kenneth Hooper

Kenneth Hooper is a Texas-born composer and assorted flute player who initially started out playing bass guitar. In 1994, after moving to Redwood, California, he picked up his first flute at a penny whistle workshop, which eventually accompanied him everywhere while on a subsequent trip to the Amazon jungle. Upon returning to the states, he was gifted a Native American flute that he also learned to play. This led to the formation of a musical duo with his friend Garth D. Brooks under the name Elysium Calling, with whom he released two albums. Another creative path would open up for Kenneth when he entered a healing arts certificate program in San Francisco called Sound, Voice and Music, which led to the subsequent release of his debut solo double-album titled Directions.

Characterized by spaciously woven organic soundscapes ranging from gently uplifting to deeply lulling, the album features Anasazi and Chinese Xiao flutes as lead instruments throughout. Likewise, both Udu and Rav drums add an entrancing quality to several pieces, while melodic acoustic guitar gives a notable Americana flavor to three of the nine tracks total. Disc one is more rhythmic while disc two is more meditative, with the second half of the album especially emphasizing the incorporation of many nature sounds along the way, including whale-song, ocean waves, singing crickets, a flowing stream and windy effects.

One of my favorite pieces, “Directions”, beautifully opens disc one with a super-slow shamanic drum pulse, as flutes, shakers and thunderstorm effects soon enter the picture and gradually pick up pace throughout. Native female vocal chants further enhance the Southwest American atmosphere of the composition and collectively calls imagery to mind of a darkening sky over vast canyon terrain.

Another equally gorgeous piece, “Graceful Expanse” from disc two, conveys a nocturnal Pacific feel with its delicately sensuous flute notes played on the Chinese Xiao in tandem with a tranquilizing Rav drum melody. Likewise, gossamer synth-pads sustained throughout add to the composition’s enthralling ambient haze, which effectively paints enchanting visuals of a misty forest softly illuminated by starlight.

A highly praiseworthy album overall that touches on ambient, acoustic and ethnic fusion musical styles, Directions is the perfect listening experience for anyone drawn to the essences of the earth via beautifully harmonious sounds! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon and other music retailers. For more information, please visit the artist's website.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Another sultrily atmospheric mix of ethno-chill & downtempo world!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Karl Maddison / Sacred Mountain / On the Road to Tibet
David & Steve Gordon / Ambient Spa / Nirvana Groove
Vellúa / Arran / Ancient Echo (Chapter 1)
Kamarius / Air Element / Elements
Guy Sweens / Sanchi / Universal Language
BlueMonk & Michael Whalen / The Way of the Samurai / Karmic Dreams
Kevin Braheny Fortune / The Courage to Love / Dreamwalker Meditation Music Vol. 2
Sommer Sun / West Sahara / West Sahara [single]
The Haiku Project / Before Sunset / Gratitude
Ananta Govinda / River of Time (feat. Pierre Edel) / Mirror of Desire

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Album Review: Tranquility II: Mind & Soul by Ambiscend

Darren Rogers is a Texas-based electronic music composer who released his first solo album in 1997. He later formed a duo called Orion’s Belt with the late ambient/electronic musician and acclaimed music reviewer Jim Brenholts, as well as lent production and keyboard talents to a couple of albums by guitarist Vance Sheaks. Further releasing several solo albums and singles since, Rogers’ latest full-length recording, Tranquility II: Mind and Soul, was released under the project name Ambiscend and is the sequel to 2018's Tranquility. Comprised of seven compositions spanning just over an hour, Tranquility II is a mesmerizing display of oceanic-infused soundscapes that are accentuated with celestial and cinematic touches.

Previously released as a single, “First Christmas Snow” opens the album with minimalist classical sensibilities of subtle poignancy, making it perfectly suited to a wintry film score. Soothing ocean waves introduce the next piece, “The Calling of the Sea”, which follows with gentle whale-song amid shimmering tonal mists. Like much of the album, its evocative of marine life and underwater kingdoms, often bearing reminiscence to some of the environmental-themed albums that Medwyn Goodall releases on his label by artists like Midori, Paul Sills and Wychazel.

Additionally, twinkling star effects descend upon mysterious passages like “And the Stars Reflection Upon the Ocean” and “Gaze to the Stars”, while the watery “Moonlight Serenity” atmospherically captures our glowing lunar companion’s glistening reflection.

On both “Beyond the Horizon” and the final piece, “The Soul’s Calling”, ethereal vocal intonations seemingly transmit that of a siren calling from beneath the waves. Featuring also the solemn touch of Armenian duduk, the hauntingly beautiful closer paints a solitary scene of sailing through a sea fog.

A remarkably resplendent album from Darren Rogers – and possibly his best to date, Tranquility II: Mind and Soul conveys an enchantingly serene sonic journey throughout that will appeal to stargazers and seafarers alike! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Album Review: Liquid Mind XIII: Mindfulness by Liquid Mind

Liquid Mind is the successful longtime recording project of veteran musician Chuck Wild, whose music career of more than 40 years boasts some noteworthy accolades and highlights. Prominent among these includes his keyboardist days with the 80s-rock band Missing Persons (alongside bassist and latter-day ambient musician Patrick O’Hearn) as well as studio work with Michael Jackson in the 90s. However, the introspective musical sphere that Wild occupies as Liquid Mind, which saw its inception with the album Animus Minimus in 1994, is a notable contrast to the more bustling pop-rock world that he formerly immersed himself in. Having released sixteen Liquid Mind albums to date, Wild’s peaceful music has garnered a well-earned listener following with his works being especially popular in the spa, massage and wellness industries.

Titled Liquid Mind XIII: Mindfulness, Wild’s latest album is named for what could be deemed the most popular new age trend to arise over the last few years. However, for the dedicated mindfulness enthusiasts out there, as well as those less familiar with what the practice entails, it’s worth noting that Liquid Mind has long been a leading mindful music trendsetter by crafting harmonious sounds which are intended to promote many of the same purported benefits that mindfulness exercises strive to achieve.

Spanning just over an hour, the album features a total of six soothingly serene soundscapes comprised of slowly-shifting and oscillating major-key chord progressions, which mostly occupy the mid-to-high range. Continually unfolding throughout in a gradually ascending motion, silken chords with softened edges smoothly transition from one to the next. Given that the compositional structure is all ‘release’ and no ‘tension’, there aren't any elements of surprise along the way, which allows for the listener to simply achieve an uninterruptedly passive state of mind. Overall, it’s a listening experience which could be figuratively compared to that of floating like a cloud in the lotus position without pause, nor a tangible destination in mind.

Without getting too bogged down in genre categorization, I’ve always perceived this kind of music to be an emblematic representation of the new age genre, which I intuitively distinguish from the often overlapping yet nonetheless distinct ambient genre. Specifically, Mindfulness is positivity-minded, pure relaxation music that feels like receiving a mental massage or aromatherapy for the ears. And though as a listener I do tend to gravitate towards moodier atmospheres that convey some suspense and tensity, likewise, as someone coming from the perspective of having worked in the spa industry, I’ve found this type of music to be perfectly suited to that environment with its oft-reported therapeutic effect on both clients and holistic practitioners! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon and other musical retail & streaming platforms. For more information, please visit the artist's website.

Monday, August 24, 2020

PGM 273: Land's End 2

More space-ambient panoramas inspired by nocturnal seafaring!

Artist Name / Track Title / Album Title
Jeff Pearce / Opening / Archive 1: Songs for the Gatherings
Isostatic / Planetary Approach / Glacial Epoch
Chris Russell / Invitation / Destiny
Acheloo / Underworld / Debris of Nostalgia
Chris Russell / Tycho Crater / Elliptical
Jeff Pearce / Mist / Hidden Shores/Empty Beach
Hollan Holmes / The Farthest Fringes / The Farthest Fringes

Friday, August 21, 2020

Album Review: Debris of Nostalgia by Acheloo

Acheloo is the recording alias of Italian ambient composer and guitarist Carlo Luzi, whose music I initially discovered in early 2018 with his 2017 album Ethereal. Titled Debris of Nostalgia, Acheloo’s latest full-length release is comprised of nine hauntingly beautiful soundscapes filled with mystery and melancholy. Written, produced, mixed and mastered by Luzi, who also designed the album’s cover artwork, Debris of Nostalgia features luminously drifting electric guitar figures and sparsely shimmering piano notes, which are carried along throughout by expanding clouds of quasi-cinematic permeance.

The profoundly affecting compositions are quietly understated yet emotionally intense, a characteristic that is perhaps best exemplified on “Distant Sign”, which perfectly captures how a piece of music can be so subtly simple yet magnificently moving. Softly rolling in and out like an ocean tide, the main repeating chord figure of this unforgettably gorgeous passage conveys a poignant comfort and mysterious longing that washes over the senses, as shadowy tonal atmospheres materialize like rising mists from the sea.

The album’s use of the word “nostalgia” effectively conjures both a relative personal past and ancient mythical past, as such is the case with the mesmerizing farewell, “Underworld”, which exceptionally embodies this quality. Evocative of entering a gateway to another realm, metallically shimmering guitar notes peer through towering icy blasts, which can be likened to sailing on a cold sea through a mountainous strait, as we are briefly met by a hauntingly disembodied echo that beckons from the amorphous ambient fog.

Easily a top contender for the year's finest ambient recording, Debris of Nostalgia immediately captivated my ears upon first listen and has only increasingly enamored me over the past few months. A crowning achievement for Acheloo, the minimalistic elegance and aching sense of yearning the compositions convey puts me in a similar headspace as Harold Budd’s outstanding classic The White Arcades – a compliment of the highest order! ~Candice Michelle 

Available at Amazon and Bandcamp. For more information please visit the artist's website.