MUSIC REVIEWS
By Jim Brenholts

 

 

Frank Lorentzen
Serenity
Fonix Music
www.fonixmusic.com
www.franklorentzen.info
Frank Lorentzen is a therapist, author, and sound healer from Denmark. He offers seminars, lectures and workshops on the healing powers of music and colors and the energy fields created by them. His greatest renown, however, comes from his music. He has released eight CD’s on the Fonix label. Serenity is one of his more diverse efforts.

Frank works primarily with the quartz crystal singing bowls. This CD combines the sounds of the bowls with deep symphonic electronics. The gentle drones and airs of the synths complement the overtones of the bowls. The effects are narcotic and hypnotic.

This is almost as deep as deep gets. The music allows focused listeners freedom to go straight to the nth levels of meditation. It holds the path steady as the journey begins and continues and continues and continues and continues….

CD’s of this nature are perfect in the continuous play mode. That allows for endless journeys and the deepest relaxation. While it can be an effort to stay awake, the rewards of listening just below consciousness are amazing. The music of the bowls evokes colorful dreams and reverie. A quick catnap becomes major rest.

This CD is perfect for cavorting with angels — indeed, track one is Angel Love & Light — and for communing with the peace and harmony of the Christmas season. This is not traditional holiday music but it could — and should — be.

 


Various Artists
(Dean and Dudley Evenson Present) Healing the Holy Land
Soundings of the Planet
www.soundings.com
(If I were prone to using stars, I would give this one 11 out of ten! I am not a fan of various artist collections but this one is special to the third power!)

Dean and Dudley Evenson have collected a set of devotional and inspirational recordings connected to the Middle East ­— the most sacred and, ironically, most conflicted lands on Earth. These chants and hymns — traditional, ancient and/or new — represent Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths and focus on the common traits of peace, harmony of love.

The contributing artists are Halla Bassam and Secera Nazarkhan, Jai Uttal & the Pagan Love Orchestra, Lydia McCauley, Niyaz featuring Azam Ali, Rafe Pearlman, Ofer Golany and Musicians for Peace, Vox featuring Fadia El-Hague, Rita Glassman, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Peregrine Medieval Vocal Ensemble, Dean & Dudley Evenson and Gina Sala. The collection represents several cultures and ethnicities as Dean and Dudley sought diversity in this gathering of soulful bliss.

While reviewing — or even just listening to — a collection of music by various artists, it can be difficult to find the common threads that define thematic and artistic integrity. The integrity is so strong — even intense — here, that it is easy to imagine the artists consulting each other as they composed and performed these pieces.

That is revealing and surprising at the same time. When one listens to Jai, Azam and the Gregorian chants of Peregrine, there are no hints of strife or hatred or despair. Listeners hear one message (PEACE), one theme (LOVE) and one spirit (HARMONY).

There are hundreds — maybe even thousands — of theories about how to foster and promote world peace. Dean and Dudley believe that music can be one of the conduits. This disc should be one of the primary drivers of that conduit.
 



Tingstad & Rumbel
The Gift (Acoustic Offerings
for the Holiday Season)
Sona Gaia
www.tingstadrumbel.com
While there are thousands of collections of Christmas music in every shape, size, color, style and genré, it is often difficult to find a collection that is appropriate for all — or at least for most. The Gift: (Acoustic Offerings for the Holiday Season), by Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel, is such a collection. (It does have wide appeal but I do doubt that metal heads will go for it.)

This CD, recorded in 1985, features 14 traditional pieces and one original composition. The arrangements are Eric’s and Nancy’s. The music is — as the title states — all acoustic with Eric on guitars and percussion and Nancy on winds, chimes and keyboards.

Everyone has heard these pieces for as long as they can remember. Eric and Nancy do not change them radically. The songs sound much like they did 100 — or even 200 — years ago. At least they are recognizable as such.

However, the most important elements of CD’s of this nature come from the artists’ hearts — not their hands. Eric and Nancy have filled these pieces with love, joy and fun! Deep listeners will hear them smile as the gentle strains of O Come, O Come Emmanuel drift gently from the speakers. Astute listeners will hear them chuckle after they have finished Jingle Bells or Deck the Halls.

(Indeed, I can play Christmas carols on my lap with the right templates. I am nowhere near proficient enough to convey my feelings through a musical instrument.)
This CD is over 20 years old. It has the potential to be a Christmas classic for generations to come. It is easily among the top ten new age holiday albums.
 



Loreena McKennitt
To Drive the Cold Winter Away
Quinlan Road
www.quinlanroad.com
Loreena McKennitt recorded To Drive the Cold Winter Away at two locations in Ireland — An-naghmakerrig, an artists’ retreat, and Glenstal Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery — and one location in Canada — The Church of our Lady of Guelph. The CD includes three original compositions and seven traditional pieces — English, Irish and Scottish. Of the traditional pieces, only The Wexford Carol will be familiar to most listeners. The others, while certainly traditional, are somewhat obscure.

These pieces all come to life at the hands of this brilliant performer. Loreena is a master multi-instrumentalist and a world-class vocalist. On the vocal pieces, she breathes new meaning into each verse, line, word and note. Her instrumentation is sparse to reflect the dynamics of winter.

There are sounds of life at the remote recording sites that en-hance the music. Loreena used the acoustics of each location for natural processing. The echoes have reverb effects or delay elements. They give the music a layered sound.

Overall, however, it is the sincerity, warmth and joy of the performances that make this 1987 recording a classic and a keeper. 20 years after its creation, listeners can still picture Loreena at her harp putting her heart and soul into the music. 




Liquid Mind
Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience
Real Music
www.realmusic.com
www.liquidmindmusic.com
www.chuckwild.com
Chuck Wild is Liquid Mind. He has released eight CD’s of the most euphoric atmospheres im-aginable. Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience is a collection of compositions from his library and one new composition — I Am Willing.

There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe this CD! It is, quite simply, one of the best CD’s of this genré, style or format. It is a deeply personal experience.
(As regular readers are aware, I step out of my normal reviewing mode and address CD’s of this nature in the first person. This CD takes me in several directions.

My first inclination within this encounter was to ponder the CD title — at least the second part — A Liquid Mind Experience. At first glance, this would seem to refer to Chuck’s alias. Upon deeper visitation, the title took on new meaning. It refers to the state of my mind upon deep reflection and meditation. I allowed the music to take its toll and liquefy my mind. I embraced the essence of the narcotics of Chuck’s sound design and reveled in the serenity of the numbness of a liquid mind.

I swayed gently to the symphonic airs and vivid auras. I was awash in bright colors — blues, greens, yellows, silvers and — yes — blacks. (Bright black is a state of mind bordering on the surreal.) The vivid hues slowly evolved into pastels and flowed serenely around my inner being and soul.

The music continued to direct the journey and I became aware of several possibilities. I recall my days of use and despair as I tried to find higher planes through the use of chemicals. I find it ironic that I was looking for myself.

Today, I am able to be myself and get to those higher planes by getting out of my own way. It seems too simple but in those moments of serenity, I am at peace and I am cavorting with angels and in conscious contact with my higher power — God. It is bliss in its purest form. It is love. It is peace. It is joy. It comes only when I surrender.)

The journey — for practical purposes only — has to end. Life happens and participation is mandatory. This CD is one of the best rest stops on the highway of life. It has no limits to its possibilities.

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


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