By Chuck Diliberto


Mood Music
Nightingale Records

The fine art of relaxation is explored and refined in this aptly titled CD. "Mood Music" is just that, an inclination or disposition that allows us to accept or reject our surroundings. In "Contemplative Moments" an aural medium is created that enhances a "Meditative" mood, the proper setting through which introspection of our inner surroundings is made possible. If you have problems relaxing, this music is very soothing and carefree with no hooks or barriers to hold you down. Through the use of synthesizers and electric piano a sensual environment is created. This fertile ground increases the potential for breakthroughs into deeper understanding of our core selves. The music is the starting point, our own motivation and commitment reveals the path we are to follow. This may seem a bit deep, yet the whole premise of "Meditation" is to relax, with this CD or the Spiritual practice itself. As with any CD that makes claims to aid in some performance of an assignment or responsibility, I put "Contemplative Moments" to the task. After listening to the whole CD upon coming home from work, I found the music to have an ability to affect my subconscious in an innocuous way. It really did work, but this is not to say that this is the only means of inducing relaxation, just one of many in a growing field of inspiring music. Nonetheless, it's good to stick with what works. For more information, call (520) 733-9382.


Chris Spheeris with Robert Cory
Essence Records

Music is one of the strongest vehicles of expression. In "Mystic Traveler" Chris Spheeris and Robert Cory team up to explore the multi-dimensional realms of the sacred. Those holy places within and without us, surrounding our senses, tugging at our hearts, moving our Spirit into the uncharted domain of Creation. We are the "Mystic Traveler" in this scenario, urged and compelled by the music to make tangible that which is transient and invisible. Through a variety of means, including electric piano, synthesizers, flutes, acoustic guitar, various percussive instruments and chanting, the vibrations of the Divine are revealed. A cultural sort of East meets West where the nexus can be perceived as God. The music weaves through many races and religious denominations, following a single thread (soul) that is a consistent theme in every song. The music carries a sensation of mystery, an air of solemn awe that can only be felt through devotion and meditative peace. Spheeris' and Cory's "Mystic Traveler" is a soul moving masterpiece. Like any fine art, the beauty and interpretation lies in the eyes, or as in this case, the ears of the beholder. The ability to transcend the intended medium (music/song) into a higher realm is what makes this CD interesting. Very impressive indeed. For more information, call (520) 282-9185.


Music by Kitaro
Domo Records

The "Cirque Ingenieux" is the latest evolution of Performance Art, combining the "physical strength and craft of the artists with an acting role that supported a complex character". These shows are usually "Broadway-style productions with a strong storyline. Without the use of dialogue, the story had to be told purely through visual effects and music. It is to no one's surprise that Kitaro was asked to score this endeavor. Kitaro's ability to put soul, vision and feeling into music is his trademark. All of that aside, this musical score could quite well be Kitaro's greatest challenge to date. The music is unmistakably his, synthesizer lines that rise in moods, various world beats changing the tempo and a homogenous mix of eclectic and modern instruments creating a mosaic of sound. The departure from traditional Kitaro recordings is in the feeling of the music. There is a sense of grounding, a dense mass of sensitivity, keen on staying within the storyline of "Cirque Ingenieux". There is an abundance of pure human emotion; fears, trepidation, joy and sorrow are all dealt with in a majestic way. There is no escaping that this is a human drama unfolding in layers of sound, playing upon our own sensual experiences and memories. The music is so compelling and heartfelt that we are not allowed to get off of this rollercoaster until the last note of the last song. "Cirque Ingenieux" is a wonderful theater concept. The special musical proclivity that is Kitaro has found a perfect outlet. I can't say enough about this project. For more information, call (310) 966-4422.


David Friedman
Passage Records

David Friedman brings a reservoir of energy to each song on "Moonrise". Each note is a deliberate statement, every melody a majestic perception of some happening in his life. You can feel the tremendous amount of care and concentration that makes each song a finished work. Friedman is driven to perfection, exacting the highest standards of musicianship into each composition. The music is performed on synthesizers and electric piano with natural sound effects added for detail. It is obvious David Friedman has spent long hours learning his profession. The only concern I can hear is not a knock against his talent, but a challenge to his creativity. It appears some of the songs are being rushed, not allowed to cultivate their own mood and aura (presence). It is as if Friedman was extremely nervous about getting the production and release of "Moonrise" out on time. Again, this is not a negative, just the case of a young artist being extremely demanding upon his own talents and sensibilities. "Moonrise" is a traditional concept CD. The muse of the moon rising is the illuminous mural from which David Friedman paints the picture of important meanings in his life. The highs and lows, gratitude and sadness, unknowns and joy are all contained in this thematic effort. I would like to hear David Friedman in a live setting where his emotions and soul are being challenged; this young man has a lot of offer. For more information, call (818) 757-0090.


P.F. Sloan
All The Best Records

P.F. Sloan is not a household word when asked to name an influential singer/songwriter of the 1960's, that is until you realize he wrote the seminal "Eve of Destruction" and the Johnny Rivers popularized hit "Secret Agent Man". Sloan has returned from obscurity to express his soul's perspectives. The pressures of writing songs for a capitalistic, myopic record company (Dunhill) in the early 1960's, concerned only with making hits and money without really catering to the feelings of the paying, listening public had left Sloan a tad frustrated. This CD represents a coming out of sorts for P.F. Sloan. The lyrical contents are oft times poetic, leaving interpretation to the listener's own personal experience. The songs are laced with spiritual messages about the trials and tribulations of a true artist living in the material world. "(Still On The Eve)" is an audio autobiography that includes all the ups and downs you would expect from any artist. Most noticeably is the remake of "Eve of Destruction", "(Still On The Eve)" which tackles man's raping of the Earth as an incongruity with the arrival of a new age of spiritual enlightenment. The telling "Woman And Gold" approaches the sensitive subject of love and beauty versus wealth and status. If there is an answer to this quandary, Sloan ostensibly has had an epiphany in this matter. The music can be described as being in a time capsule, yet not worn out or overplayed. Sloan is comfortable on an acoustic guitar, electric piano of a Korg synthesizer. He handles all the lead vocals with a smooth style, that belies a quirky emotional stance. It would be easy to say Sloan is a folk artist, but the roots of Rock Œn Roll share an equal role in his music. Sloan's influences are as diverse as the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Elvis and Carole King. There is a lot of American history at play in this CD, a window on America if you will.

For more information, call (516) 295-4367.

Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York state. Having written for a hometown publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. Chuck has written children's stories and essays on a wide variety of subjects. His main interests are spiritual in nature and right living in practice.

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