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Awareness Magazine
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 MUSIC &  MEDIA REVIEWS

 
By Michael Diamond
 

DEAN AND DUDLEY EVENSON
4 Earth – DVD

www.soundings.com

4 Earth is the latest release from new age music pioneers Dean and Dudley Evenson and their Soundings of the Planet label. Subtitled: “Natural Sounds of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond,” it features nature sounds drawn from four interconnected eco-systems and the flow of water between them, along with Dean’s beautiful flute and subtle keyboard accompaniment. In addition to the DVD, which is shot in true high definition, it is also available as an audio CD. The imagery on the DVD is absolutely stunning and shows scenes of a secluded northern bay, a full moon rising over a southern ocean, breathtaking views of mountain peaks and glaciers, rocky hillsides gushing with snow melt streams, salmon-spawning rivers where eagles gather to feed in quiet pools, and more. Besides being a totally relaxing viewing and listening experience, the artist’s goal is to inspire an appreciation for nature and instill a respect for preserving it. Wonderful!

MASAKO
Call of the Mountains

www.masako-music.com

Masako is a gifted pianist and composer who seems to draw endless inspiration from nature and her surroundings. Call of the Mountains is a musical homage to the northeastern mountains of the United States, which she calls home. This release, like her previous debut album, was produced by Grammy-winning Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. The album features evocative solo piano compositions, as well as ensemble pieces where Masako is accompanied by some of Will’s A-list studio musicians. Masako’s music is painted from a diverse palate of emotions, from the lightest pastels to more deeply saturated hues. Although she is quite capable of dazzling the listener with her formidable skills on the piano, she often chooses to let the melody and the accompanying emotion it is imbued with be the focus. Call of the Mountains is a fine follow up to Masako’s highly-regarded debut release.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
I Am The Center

www.lightintheattic.net

This two-disc set entitled: I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950–1990 is a most intriguing, comprehensive anthology that explores the roots of this genre. Producer Douglas Mcgowan describes it as: “analog, handmade music communicating soul and spirit, often done on limited means and without commercial potential, self-published and self-distributed.” These seminal artists include Steven Halpern, Constance Demby, Iasos, Michael Stearns, Laaraaji, and Aeoliah, as well as some I was not familiar with, but it was interesting to hear their music and learn about the seeds they planted in this blossoming musical landscape. This outstanding collection is lavishly presented with a 44-page booklet and artwork by world-renown visionary artist Gilbert Williams. In addition to being a heavenly listening experience, the wealth of information provided make this an educational opportunity as well — a virtual history of new age music, and a “must have” for fans of the genre.

YANG YING
Elixir

www.yangying-music.com

While the healing properties of music are well known in China, the idea of music as medicine is relatively new in Western culture. This time-honored awareness is the force behind a new album by Ms. Yang Ying, a master traditional (and contemporary) Chinese musician, as well as a longtime practitioner of qi-gong meditation. She is a world-renown virtuoso of the erhu (sometimes called the “Chinese violin), a remarkably expressive instrument that is capable of hauntingly beautiful tones. Many other traditional Chinese wind, string, and percussion instruments are also heard on the album, which is based on the Five Elements Theory to create balance and serenity. While some of the songs on Elixir are designed for moving exercises and others meant to accompany the stillness of sitting or standing meditation, it is all quite peaceful. I thoroughly enjoyed the exotic world “Elixir” draws you into that’s both ethereal and earthy -— yin and yang.

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS
The Best of Reviews

New Age – Guitar

www.reviewsnewage.com

In 2012, the Spanish music review site, Reviews New Age, released an incredible album of music by various pianists. Now, their new compilation shifts from 88 keys to 6 strings, although the album also features 12-string and even a unique 27-string guitar. With 17 different acoustic guitarists represented, there isn’t room to detail all of them here, however some of the ones I was most familiar with were Alex de Grassi, Todd Boston, Will Ackerman, Shambhu, and teen guitar prodigy Matteo Palmer — a rising star. Both solo and ensemble pieces in a variety of styles are included. The album was produced by Alejandro Clavijo, a fine musician in his own right, as well as a respected music journalist, and well-known member of the international new age music community. This is a stellar compilation that would be a welcome addition to the music collection of any acoustic guitar lover.

Michael Diamond is a music producer, recording artist, and music journalist in the San Francisco Bay area with over 30 years of experience writing for nationally-published magazines and more recently worldwide on the internet. He currently has five CD’s including two with new-age music pioneer Steven Halpern. For additional reviews of CD’s, DVD’s, and more, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com