MUSIC REVIEWS
By Jim Brenholts

 

 

RAISE ME UP
Faith Rivera
Lil' Girl Creations
www.faithrivera.com
Faith Rivera is a pretty cool artist. She creates inspirational music from her home base in Long Beach, far from her birthplace in the Hawaiian islands. She records original and traditional songs and some very interesting transcriptions. Raise Me Up has some of each, including some exceptionally unique covers.

There is no such thing as a bad rendition of "Amazing Grace." Granted, some are much better than others but all are at least good. Faith gives it a little extra by rocking out and punctuating the words tersely. It is different and it smokes.

Her interpretation of "All You Need is Love," a John Lennon/Paul McCartney classic, is, in and of itself, a landmark recording. It is doubtful that John and Sir Paul ever imagined it in this style. It does not rock quite like the original but it rocks nonetheless.

It is difficult to imagine anyone other than Louis Armstrong performing "What a Wonderful World," but Faith accepts the challenge. Her subtle rendition wraps it arms around the song and makes it her own.

"Ave Maria" is another song that is difficult to botch. It is close to two hundred years old and has been performed thousands of times. It still evokes reverence and even tears from the most stoic listeners. Faith does it brilliantly.

Nobody rocked harder than Queen or their enigmatic frontman, Freddie Mercury (credited here as Frederick Mercury). His rock anthem, "Don't Stop Me Now," closes the album and Faith rocks it again. Her version is neither better nor worse than the original. It is just different - and way cool!

There are five other songs on this album, including Faith's own "Thing Called Life." They are good but the five mentioned above are exceptional and make this a valuable CD.

 

THE MASTER HEALING RAY
A Magnificent Journey into the Heart of the
Creator
Constance Demby
and Eterna
Revelations Unlimited/Sound Currents
www.constancedemby.com
www.revelations.org
Constance Demby is one of the world's leading electronic music artists. Eterna is one of the world's leading clairvoyants and a guided meditation expert. The Master Healing Ray: A Magnificent Journey into the Heart of the Creator is a four-CD set of their combined talents.

This is entirely too cool, completely amazing and borders on overwhelming. This set has almost five hours of Constance's great healing ambience! The addition of Eterna's (nee Linda Bandino) spoken exhortations takes the set to new heights.

This is the new classical sound. Constance has always had classical influences and references in her music but these compositions embrace the fullness of a full orchestra. She uses her synths, basses and sails to evoke images of serenity, peace, love and harmony. The textures are organic and the timbres are strong.

Deep listeners will enter several zones at several levels. The possibilities are both exponential and infinite. There is no set progression and no set logic to the journeys. They are random and they are deep.

Eterna uses her gift of clairvoyance to tap into Sananda, the energy consciousness of Jesus Christ. That includes all that he has embraced from evolution to the present and represents his teachings for the new age.

That is a fairly lofty goal. Some might even view it as eccentric or egocentric. It is neither. If the listener accepts the possibility of such a communion with Jesus it becomes possible. This is not a time to say "I'll believe it when I see it" but to say "I'll see it when I believe it."

When the heart and soul are open to possibilities, they become probabilities and stunning breakthroughs are realized.

 

TANTRA ZONE
Shamanic Drumming and
Ambient Space Music
Suzanne Doucet
and Tajalli
Only
New Age Music
www.newagemusic.com
Suzanne Doucet is one of the most influential and generous individuals in this little corner of the world known as "The New Age." In every sense of the term she promotes, advocates, practices and embraces the tenets thereof. She absolutely thrives, however, in the realm of new age music. She is one of the top artists in that genre.

"Tajalli was an initiate of the Sound Current." He and Suzanne worked on Tantra Zone for two years. They had been creating music together and sharing spirituality for more than 20 years during which time they become brother and sister, teacher and student and - most importantly - true friends. They were true family. Sadly, Taj passed away before this album saw its release.

This disc combines trance percussion and ambient atmospheres as well or better than any other. Suzanne's deft touch and sensitivity transcend ethereal. Taj's rhythmic drones surround, encourage and enhance the symphonic auras. Suzanne and Taj allow the natural overtones to take listeners beyond the realms of the ethereal and surreal to new plateaus of awareness, conscience and consciousness.

The listening experience is one of extreme serenity and relaxation. The music stirs the soul gently, allowing listeners to find the proper paths that will define their journeys. Through deep introspection, listeners will feel gratitude, love, harmony and joy.

This CD is an absolute treasure and a total winner. It is an absolutely essential entry in any collection of healing music.

 

TWO WORLDS ONE
Lisa Lynne

and
Aryeh Frankfurter Lavender Sky/Lionharp
www.lisalynne.com
www.lionharp.com
www.twoworldsone.net
www.myspace.com/twoworldsone
Lisa Lynne is one of the world's top performers of acoustic ambience. She is a tremendously gifted musician with a heart of pure gold and a soul/spirit to match. Aryeh (pronounced ar-ee-ay) Frankfurter, while not quite as well known, is also a gifted and generous soul. Through a series of coincidences, they have been familiar with each other's work for years. It was only recently, however, that their paths crossed.

On a mini-tour while traveling from California to Montana for a harp conference, they performed each other's music adding vibrancy, soul and musical sensibilities. The overwhelming response to the shows led to Two World's One - a fusion of two worlds of musical history and of the ancient and the contemporary.

One of the first things that attentive listeners will hear on this CD is how much fun Lisa and Aryeh had while making it. The ability to translate the joy in the studio to the finished product is rare. This duo has it in abundance and then some.

Performing on a wide array of stringed instruments - primarily harps and the nykelharpa with some wind instruments by Susan Craig Winsberg, Lisa and Aryeh have created huge acoustic atmospheres in which listeners can immerse themselves for meditation and/or relaxation.

The journeys have, as usual, infinite paths and possibilities. The liner notes are extensive and comprehensive but do not suggest directions. They describe the compositions' histories and the reasons for their inclusions in this set.

This is a great CD and a complete package that has something for everyone. It comes with the highest recommendation!

 

ANCIENT MEMORIES
Lucette Bourdin

Dark Duck Records

www.darkduck.net
www.lbourdin.com
www.earthmantra.com
Lucette Bourdin is an artist of many varied talents. She works in several different media with her primary focus being painting, mainly in watercolors/gouache. She has developed a style that "both expresses and evokes the subtlety of the soul." (That is a great line and, while I am thrilled to quote its author, I wish I had written it myself.)

The same can be written about her music. She has five CD's available - three on Dark Duck and two on Earth Mantra. Ancient Memories is a set of four medium- to long-form (13' to 30') compositions that help to define the shape of space music in the new millennium.

These atmospheres are thick and dense with gaudy experimental sounds intertwined with deep drones and discordant auras. There are no symphonic synths but there are distinct patterns and meticulous constructions. Lucette has created a free-form sound with organized chaos.

THAT is where space music has to go as the end of the first decade of the new millennium approaches. Lucette's sound design evokes all the best elements of early prog rock and space rock, the eccentricities of the Berlin school, the subtleties of electronic ambience and the elegance of modern New Age sensitivity. Lucette adds her own grace as she paints a wide swath of subtle pastels across her musical canvas. The result is delightful.

This is a great CD from the stalwart Dark Duck label. It is an important CD for any ambient collection.

Jim Brenholts resides in N. Versailles, PA and can be reached at jbrenholts@comcast.net

 


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