Sunday, June 23, 2013

CD Review – Songs to the Goddess, by Annette Cantor

On her new release, Annette Cantor offers up her own musical odes to “the goddess.” However, this is not just her perception of the goddess or any one perception of the goddess. The album features musical celebrations of different notions of deity from around the world and, as a result, features a truly global mix of world sounds.
The various ethnic musical styles are brought to life by new age pioneer C.G. Deuter, who, through the use of ethnic and mainstream instruments, masterfully weaves together a travelogue of world music.
The human element is provided by Cantor, whose wordless vocals literally give the music a voice without forcing predetermined thoughts and ideas on listeners. In this manner, Cantor brilliantly leaves the music open for interpretation and to be received however each individual listener hears fit.
Those who appreciate other musical and spiritual cultures will find much to enjoy on this album.
--Raj Manoharan

Monday, June 17, 2013

CD Review – River Flow: Sanctuary, by Catherine Marie Charlton

Catherine Marie Charlton’s latest album is aptly named. Like a river, it flows smoothly from beginning to end. And also like a smoothly flowing river, it provides sanctuary from the hectic hustle and bustle of life.
The CD contains one long 60-minute piece composed, performed, and recorded in one take by Charlton on her Steinway B grand piano from 10:01 p.m. to 11:01 p.m. on September 6, 2012, while her family slept upstairs. Perhaps because Charlton made this music during her brood’s nocturnal slumber, the disc has the sound and feel of a late-night set at a quiet, intimate jazz lounge. The composition is engaging and lively while at the same time soothing and tranquil.
Although the album consists of one primary track, the one piece is divided into several parts based on riffs, movements, and themes, much like the tributaries of a river. This allows listeners to find and listen to their favorite parts of the overall tune, even while the whole piece can and is designed to be enjoyed in its entirety.
This is an excellent addition to the catalog of fine solo piano CDs available on the market.
--Raj Manoharan

Monday, June 10, 2013

CD Review – Crown in the Sky, by Lis Addison

Unlike her previous album, which focused on vocal sounds and rhythms, Lis Addison’s new release features songs with lyrics. As always, though, social conscience is at the center of this unique artist’s work.
Originally intended as a musical, Crown in the Sky revolves around Addison’s concerns with “Mother Urth and her children.” Addison’s cautionary lyrics and firm vocals, the keyboard/synthesizer electronica instrumentation by her, her husband, and their musical cohorts (including the women and children of the Kamba tribe from Kenya on one track), and the environmentally aware songwriting give this CD the sound and feel of a female version of a new age pop/rock album by Sting, when he was relevant and good. As a result, this makes the disc more accessible to people who may not usually seek out conscientious new age music.
This is a highly enjoyable album for those who like pop/rock vocals with a progressive green message and new age and world music synth sounds.
--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, June 2, 2013

CD Review – First Light, by Craig Urquhart

Craig Urquhart’s latest album is a collection of gentle solo piano recordings that provide soothing relaxation.
The compositions are intricate and well-structured, demonstrating Urquhart’s creativity and mastery of songwriting. The tunes also exude reassuring warmth and tranquility.
Urquhart brings his beautiful compositions to life with tremendous performances that underscore the melodic lyricism in his music. Urquhart is a versatile artist, but his mission on this CD is to provide meaningful insight and serene introspection, and he accomplishes this with great success.
This album is proof of why Urquhart is not only a world-class concert performer, but also a highly sought-after composer for other musicians and singers.
Those who appreciate fine solo piano music will find much to praise about this disc.
--Raj Manoharan