MUSIC REVIEWS
By Jim Brenholts

 

 

Peter Sterling
The Sands of Time
Harp
Magic Music
www.harpmagic.com
Peter Sterling is a world class harpist. While he has always been a natural musician, he took up the harp after seeing a band of angels while meditating in the desert near his home in Sedona, AZ. He began playing the harp shortly thereafter and quickly became an expert. Today, he creates amazing soundscapes and atmospheres with accompaniment from a wide array of instruments - mostly acoustic.

The Sands of Time is another monumental set of lyrical and romantic instrumentals. Peter hides nothing in his quest to create musical odes for relaxation by the fire or in the meadow. He seems to be encouraging love and togetherness.

The seductive vibes of the harp absolutely surround listeners with gentle clouds of acoustic bliss. The combination of Peter's acoustics and the subtle electronics is overwhelming and disarming at the same time. Barriers break down and smiles abound as the message becomes clear - it is time.

The gentle exhortations of the music sweep slowly around the listening area and encourage rest and rejuvenation. Listeners will not drift off - it is not that kind of relaxation. Instead the music keeps listeners focused on the task at hand - whatever it may be. The music heightens awareness and sharpens the focus. This is a cool CD. It is another step in Peter's path to serenity.

Dudley Evenson
Meditation Moment
Soundings of the Planet
www.soundings.com
www.meditationmoment.com
Dudley Evenson usually gets credit as a supporting performer on recordings by Dean Evenson (her husband) and other artists on the Soundings of the Planet label. Meditation Moment is a set of 52 meditations - one for each week of the year - and it seems to be the first CD on which Dudley gets top billing. While the meditations are inspiring and soothing and Dudley's gentle voices calms the soul, her harp and Dean's flute are every bit as important to this set. The Soundings label is known for its relaxation and meditation music and this is certainly an integral piece of that mix. Dudley has fashioned these meditations in such a way that a listener can go through them in step fashion. Each meditation builds on the one before it and contributes to the next one. Listeners can start wherever and whenever they want in the sequence - the only rule is that there are no rules.

The music is awesome! Dean is one of the best flautists (flutists (?)) in the world! Dudley is a virtuoso on the harp and autoharp. They have composed and created hundreds of pieces together. The 52 pieces here are wonderfully sublime and psychoactive in a sneaky way.

While listeners are focusing on Dudley's voice, the musical tones and overtones are weaving their way into the synapses of the brain and working their magic. A focused listener will find him/herself in a deep trance-like state. It is in that state that the fullness of the messages are delivered and received. The messages are self-esteem, love, peace, harmony and spiritual tranquility.

Dudley has done so much for the musical world with so little notice andacclaim. It is likely that she is not seeking either. She deserves both!


Robert Scott Thompson
Poesis Athesis
Lens Records
www.lensrecords.com  www.aucourantrecords.com
Robert Scott Thompson is one of the frontrunners in experimental ambient music. He is also a world class composer, sound designer and engineer. (He is also a very kind soul and a true gentleman.) He is meticulous and every detail is planned to the nth degree. Robert creates interesting and relaxing soundscapes at his Georgia studio using lots of electronics and found sounds. He spices things up with some acoustics and organized dissonance.

Poesis Athesis is a set of these experiments he created for the Flying Phoenix Films of Terrence Dunn. It is absolutely sublime in its beauty. Robert uses an acoustic piano as the common denominator of the set. It holds everything together as it weaves its way through the atmospheres and soundscapes. The tempo seems to wander all over the place but it is planned to do so. The piano seems lost in the dense fog of the electronics but that, too, is by design. He is using contrasting imagery to create an aura of mystery in his development.

Robert composed and created over 13 hours of music for the films. He has taken these 78 minutes and forged a new story - his own film in music as it were. The CD unfolds like a novel with an introduction, plot development, crescendo, climax and a denouement. His literary style complements his symphonic compositional style nicely.

These pieces work very well outside their original format. Robert has sequenced the music to fit meditation, relaxation, yoga, body work and massage, or to be used as simple background music for daily activities. There are no overtly psychoactive elements but there is enough psychoacoustic activity to get the message home - relax, chill and just float on the sonic waves.

Robert has created dozens of masterworks in his career. There is no way to choose a best but it is safe to say that all of his music is very good or better. He is, indeed, one of the greatest composers of electronic music of this or any other era.


Ram Dass & Kriece
Cosmix
Waveform
www.ramdass.org www.waveformhq.com
Ram Dass
has had an extremely interesting life. He was a close friend of Timothy Leary and was with him during the Œ60's when experimenting with LSD was all the rage. It was during that era that music became an important part of the search for higher consciousness - at least in the Western World. Dass states that many of the artists of that era became pre-occupied with getting high - highs that did not last.

His own search took him to India where he met his guru - Neem Karoli Baba -and found other forms of ecstatic music that included simple chants and intricate ragas. In his desire to spread that ecstatic message to a wider audience he has hooked up with Kriece - a DJ and mixmaster from Australia. Cosmix, a combination of electronic grooves, spoken word and chants is pretty cool.

It is also quite surprising - unlike anything one would expect from Ram Dass. It borders on techno and is definitely for movement not for meditation or relaxation. It encourages listeners to get up and dance - to shake the cobwebs out and to let the energy flow! The contrast in styles works. This is a cool CD but is not for everybody. There are sound samples at the label's website (listed above). Listening before buying is suggested.


Jonathan Goldman
De-Stress
Spirit Music
www.spiritmusicgroup.com www.healingsounds.com
Jonathan Goldman is one of the world's foremost authorities on healing through sound and music. He is a musician, a teacher and a writer with a heart of gold and a soul to match. He has created dozens of great CD's that are all near the top of the list in holistic healing tools.

De-Stress is a set of three long-form (each is over 22') compositions. The disc features Jonathan on synths, Tibetan bowls and bells, guitar, sonic effects and choral voices; Andi Goldman (his wife) on harp; Sarah Benson on flute and choral voices and Laraaji on celestial zither. (Laraaji is another one of the world's greatest sound healers.) This CD includes a 16-pageinstruction booklet for using this set to cope with stress.

The music is truly amazing. The zither, synth and bowls cavort with one another and create huge atmospheres for deep meditation and smooth relaxation. The gentle clouds of bliss surround listeners with warmth, compassion and caring. The textures and timbres caress listeners with love and serenity.

It feels like Jonathan is empathic as he communicates directly from the soul to the soul. There is no ulterior motive or encrypted message. The vision is direct - relaxation through meditation will allow the listener to de-stress and regain control of his/her life.

Jonathan is one of the best in this corner of the universe that is called healing ambient or new age holistic healing, or what-ever is fashionable these days. He cares little for fashion or posing but cares greatly for humanity.

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



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