Sunday, September 29, 2013

CD Review – Light of Aluna, by Anima

Anima is a U.K.-based outfit that comprises the complementary talents of Ali Calderwood and Daniela Broder, who on their latest release deliver a sonic experience that is out of this world.
Calderwood primarily plays keyboards and synthesizers and Broder focuses on vocals and acoustic guitar, with the duo also sharing performances on a variety of unique ethnic instruments. The result is a sound that is very celestial while also grounded and fusing together elements of world, jazz, new age, and electronica.
Prominent features of the music include sinewy synthesizer leads by Calderwood and impressionistic guitar intonations by Broder.
This is tuneful, mystical, and ear- and mind-opening music that will take you to another plateau.
--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, September 15, 2013

CD Review – Awakening, by Stephen DeRuby

While the music on Stephen DeRuby’s latest album is primarily based on Eastern philosophy and culture, it draws just as much from other exotic sounds from around the world, resulting in an ear-opening amalgam of world music styles.
In addition to the audio styling of India and the Far East, the music also features some elements that could be characterized as African and South American, all fused through the new age and world fusion sensibilities that DeRuby adeptly demonstrates.
The focal point of the music is DeRuby’s mesmerizing, hypnotic compositions and melodic lead flute playing, which is beautiful, on target, and commands attention. DeRuby’s performance is nicely embellished by a host of other musicians on instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion.
This is a very well-done CD that provides mental and emotional release, as well as a pleasant listening experience.
--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TV – Star Trek, Which Turns 47 Today, Keeps on Trekkin’ on Me TV

Forty-seven years ago today, William Shatner logged his first Stardate entry as Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise on NBC’s Star Trek, and there’s no better way to celebrate than watching episodes of the classic show every Saturday at 9:00 p.m. on Me TV.

The groundbreaking program initiated a sci-fi and pop cultural phenomenon that would trek far beyond anyone’s expectations.

Shatner played Kirk during Star Trek’s 1966-1969 run, later voicing the role on the 1973-1975 NBC Saturday morning cartoon and then returning as the character in live action for seven big-budget theatrical motion pictures from 1979 to 1994. Most of Shatner’s fellow original series actors accompanied him on these later adventures, with nearly the entire cast starring together in Star Treks I through VI.

The franchise has lived long and prospered beyond Shatner’s participation, with four additional television series spanning 18 consecutive years, as well as five additional movies and counting.

Shatner hasn’t done badly for himself, either. He has maintained the highest, most visible profile of any Star Trek actor, writing several Star Trek and other science fiction novels as well as multiple memoirs and autobiographies, and starring in several TV shows, including T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, TekWar, and Boston Legal. Let’s not forget Shatner’s long-running stint as the spokesman for, the latest incarnation being his role as the Priceline Negotiator.

Shatner’s career can basically be divided into two phases: Star Trek and William Shatner.

But Star Trek is where it all began, 47 years ago today.

--Raj Manoharan

CD Review – Dragonfly, by Terra Guitarra

The fourth album by this particular incarnation of guitar-playing duo Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchoulie is one of the most passionate and invigorating CDs I’ve heard in the genre.
Hecksel, who created all the artwork for the release, plays lead on nylon-string guitar, in addition to playing steel-string and 12-string acoustic guitars. Patchoulie rounds out the sound with rhythm acoustic guitars. The two also play other instruments, such as keyboards and percussion.
Hecksel and Patchoulie have a lock-step chemistry that comes through on the disc, no doubt thanks in part to the fact that they have performed together long before Terra Guitarra and simultaneously play, record, and tour as the folk-rock group Patchoulie.
Besides their accomplished and virtuosic guitar playing, Hecksel and Patchoulie are also tuneful and creative composers and arrangers. As a result, the album is extremely palatable for both guitar aficionados and casual music lovers.
This is definitely a winner.
--Raj Manoharan