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Awareness Magazine
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MUSIC & MEDIA REVIEWS

By Michael Diamond

 

Ann Sweeten

Tapestries of Time

www.annsweeten.com

The new album, Tapestries of Time, is the 10th release by award-winning pianist and official “Steinway Artist” Ann Sweeten. Like her last album, this one was also recorded at the studio of Grammy-winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, who co-produced the album along with Ann. And as can often be expected on a project recorded at Will’s Imaginary Roads Studio, a number of fine musicians are on hand to add accompaniment to some of the tracks. The sensitivity she brings to each piece draws the listener into a musical world of emotionally-inspiring melodies and rich visual imagery for the mind’s eye. While the focus of the album is on “time,” what I was most struck by was the sense of timelessness that is evoked by Ann’s elegant compositions, artful arrangements and flawless performance. In addition to this CD, Ann has also just released a live concert DVD.

 

Char-El

The Healing

www.char-el.com

The Healing is an interesting departure from the previous Char-El albums with their dramatic synthesizer-based instrumentals and progressive rock influences. This album is a must-have for anyone’s musical medicine cabinet and the perfect solution after a stressful day or as an accompaniment to any kind of healing work, yoga, meditation, etc. Charles’ piano and synthesizer work is beautiful as always, along with flute, harp, and acoustic guitar all blending harmoniously to create a holistic musical experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. The nature sounds found on some tracks also add a distinctive ambience. Charles and his accompanists have gone to great lengths to create a soundtrack for the healing of body, mind, and spirit. From my personal experience, I can say they have certainly achieved that goal. The Healing enfolds you like an angelic embrace, and is an album that will have an honored place in my permanent music collection.

 

Darshan Ambient

Little Things

www.darshanambient.com

Little Things, by Michael Allison, who records under the name Darshan Ambient is his seventh release on the southern California-based Spotted Peccary/Lotuspike label. All of his recordings have been highly acclaimed, but the fact that this release has been called “his best album to date,” by John Diliberto, the esteemed host of the syndicated Echoes Radio program, is high praise indeed. The music, which is composed of ethereal synth textures, piano, guitar loops, trumpet, wordless vocal, and subtle chill grooves is said to “delve deep into the details that slip through the cracks of everyday life… and is filled with mystery and wonder, shadows and twilight.” While the signature Darshan Ambient sound that so many know and love is recognizable here, this recording has a slightly more atmospheric quality that transports the listener into a musical dreamland with subtle touches of jazz and world music adding to the journey.

 

Silvia Nakkach

Medicine Melodies

www.soundstrue.com

Medicine Melodies: Songs The Healers Hear  by Silvia Nakkach along with multi-instrumental collaborator Christopher Eickmann is a deep experience of world music shamanism. Silvia is an internationally-known sound healer and the music on the album draws on Indian ragas, Tibetan chant, Sufi zhikrs, and indigenous shamanic songs from Africa and the Americas. In her words: “Like the forest, where so many species live together in secret harmony, each piece of this album comes from a variety of genres, idioms, and geographies. The intention is to go beyond time in the search for human resonance through devotional sound.” The tracks offer a multi-layered tapestry  of drones, vocal harmonies, strings and acoustic landscapes.

Although she and Christopher both play a variety of instruments, Silvia’s incredible voice is the primary focus as she explores the ancestral and natural music of lullabies, to the extended vocal utterances, to new music and the avant-garde.

 

Lorraine Flaherty

Inner Freedom I

www.lorraineflaherty.com

Lorraine Flaherty is a transformational therapist from England who incorporates the tools of Hypnotherapy, NLP, Past Life Therapy, and more. She is also an author, seminar leader, and lecturer. Lorraine’s latest project is a double-CD set called Inner Freedom I, published by the renowned Findhorn Press. In her words, “All the tracks on these two CD’s take you into a deep state of relaxation allowing you to achieve each of the stated objectives. On Inner Freedom I, these objectives include Relaxation and Stress Management, Generating Abundance, Becoming Empowered, Attracting Love, and Unlimited Potential. Each track is set to a background of gentle new age music, with Lorraine assisting the listener in her soothing voice to focus on a series of positive suggestions and overcome negative thoughts and beliefs that may prevent us from getting what we want in life. There is also a Volume II available as well.

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