By Jim Brenholts



I am pleased, flattered and honored to be associated with Awareness Magazine. It always surprises me that folks read my humble words and allow my opinions to influence their music purchases.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you. I am Jim Brenholts, a native of Pittsburgh, PA — a very unlikely locale to find fans of the styles and genres of music I prefer — no, that I LOVE!

In late 1969 I was introduced to my first mind-altering substance, alcohol. That, and many other chemicals, ruled my life for the next 18 years. In 1988 I was introduced to 12-step recovery and became an active participant in my spiritual journey.

During my early years of recovery I became aware that punk rock and new wave pop music were not consistent with the new values and awareness I was acquiring in my journey. I ventured into the new age section of the local music store and purchased a couple of Narada and Hearts of Space samplers, and my journey intensified!

In the last ten years or so, I have amassed a collection of approximately 4000 CD’s — all electronic, ambient and related styles. I have written and published a book of reviews – “Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music.”

Most importantly, however, I have embraced the emotional and spiritual nuances of this music. By embracing those qualities, I have also received physical healing — some of which has been quite miraculous.
Enjoy my reviews.

Like the Wind in the Trees
New Earth Records
Deuter (b. Georg Deuter) is one of the foremost performers of healing, relaxing and/or meditative music, having been a new age pioneer in the early 1970’s. He is still a vital and integral member of the new age community in the new millennium.

“Like the Wind in the Trees” is a collection of nine of his deepest and finest compositions. He released it on Sammasati in 2002. New Earth has re-issued it this year.

These deep atmospheres have acoustic instruments and deep, but subtle, electronics at their cores. Deuter is a master multi-instrumentalist and his sound design incorporates the natural sonorities of his acoustics. That technique allows him to generate strong overtones and healing soundscapes.

This is a masterful set from a truly genuine and masterful practitioner of the holistic new age. It is highly recommended for all Deuter fans and is also an excellent starting point for a new Deuter collection.

We are the Forthcoming Past,
Take Care of it
NonProfit Music/Only New Age Music
There are dozens of reasons to love “We are the Forthcoming Past, Take Care of It” by Grundman.
One reason is that all profits from the sale of this CD will be donated to Doctors without Borders, a non-profit organization specializing in medical aid and relief to underprivileged persons.

Another reason is that Grundman has authorized reproduction of this disc provided that the copier promotes funding for Doctors without Borders and makes no personal financial gain or profit from the copies.

The most important reason to love this CD is, however, the music! Grundman is a sensitive composer and an awesome multi-instrumentalist. He has created, constructed and performed 13 beautiful pieces that encompass everything beautiful and brilliant in new age music.

He combines deep electronic drones with gentle acoustic melodies and natural atmospheres. He surrounds it all with neo-classical elements and subtle rhythms. The overall effects are bittersweet and melancholy imagery and deeply personal emotional and spiritual responses. This ideal meditative soundscape has no flaws.

Succinctly, this is a great CD from a great man with a great purpose and a greater vision for the greater good of humanity. It will appeal to many listeners and delight on many levels.

Gary Stroutsos,
Will Clipman and William Eaton
Quiet Fire: Zen Moods
for the Spa Experience
White Swan Records
“Quiet Fire: Zen Moods for the Spa Experience” brings three divinely-inspired artists together for the first time. Gary Stroutsos, flutes and whistles; Will Clipman, percussion, chimes and gongs; and William Eaton, bass, lyre and custom-built string instruments, all bring years of experience and reverence for their art to this disc, and it shows!

This trio composed, arranged and performed these ten pieces with passion and subtlety. The natural properties of these instruments infect the music and evoke deeply personal emotional responses. Gary’s flutes soar above and around William’s strings. Will’s percussion carries the atmospheres at an even pace to a greater place.
This disc is essential!

Steven Halpern
and Chief Sonne Reyna
Healing Songs of Earth & Sky
Inner Peace Music
Comparisons between Steven Halpern and Cy Young might seem unreasonable and illogical. They are neither. Cy won the most games in Major league Baseball. He also lost the most games. Both records are tributes to his stamina and staying power. The record for victories shows his formidable talent. The record for losses shows his fallibility.

Steven has released some of the greatest new age healing, relaxation and meditative space music albums. He has also released some of the weakest. This shows his excellence, stamina and fallibility.

Perhaps more interesting is that Steven’s collaborations are, so far, always strong. “Healing Songs of Earth & Sky” is a collaboration with Chief Sonne Reyna, a transformational healing artist.

This disc combines Steven’s delicate and sensitive electronics with Sonne’s Native American chants and percussion. Others have used this combination (most notably Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai) but Steven transcends himself and his solo repertoire. He plays off Sonne’s spiritual energy, thus increasing his own, exponentially.

This disc tunes directly to the biorhythms and life pulses of deep listeners. The drones have overtone properties that make the entire disc an intoxing adventure. This is a great set, but not for beginners. The soundscapes are too intense for the meditation novice!

Deepak Chopra
Body, Mind & Soul DVD, Vol. 1
Soul of Healing
(Bonus CD) Selected Tracks from
The Soul of Healing Meditations

(Folks who have read my reviews in the past are aware that I write about 90% of my reviews in the third person. About 10% of the CD’s I review have such an impact that I am compelled to write in the first person. Deepak Chopra’s “Soul of Healing” DVD/CD set is among the latter 10%. Here are my emotional and spiritual responses to those discs.)

I watched this DVD straight through twice and then jumped through it another five times. Three things struck me immediately and intellectually.

First, Deepak is a brilliant man. He has a tremendous amount of knowledge on his subject matter and is able to explain it in ways that most folks will understand.

Second, he likes to be in the spotlight. He had assistants on hand to explain aromatherapy, massage therapy and taste therapy but interrupted their presentations and finished for them.

Third, he did not devote enough time to the practical applications of his teachings and methods.

The CD is a collection from “The Soul of Healing Meditations.” On my first listen, the compositions seemed disjointed, even somewhat disturbing, outside the original format.

My first, second and even third impressions were completely unfounded! I had paid attention to Jimmy instead of Jim! (That is a reference to my years of inner child therapy — as a client and as a practitioner!)

The day after watching the video, I played the CD all day in my office. (I am a drug and alcohol counselor and therapist.) I HAD ONE OF MY BEST DAYS IN RECENT MEMORY! I don’t know if I had a stronger impact on my clients or not. (Because of the intensity of its impact on me, I assume that I did.) I do know that I felt invigorated and fulfilled at the end of the day. I was consumed with the absolute knowledge that I had done God’s work very well.

When I looked back on the day and took my tenth step inventory, the Deepak Chopra set was the only answer. I am not a meditation novice, but this was my first experience with Deepak. Suffice it to say that it will not be my last.

I give this my highest recommendation and say that it is an essential set!

Heart Healing Harp
By Lovely Linda
“This music is dedicated to all people who have pain and a difficult time relaxing. During a recent visit my brother talked of his pain and his joy as I played my newly-acquired harp. I had discovered a natural intuitive gift of playing sweet harp music for my own enjoyment, and as friends listened, they encouraged me to play for others,” relates Lovely Linda.

“Some people think it sounds like angel music and others say it’s fairy music to their ears!  Whatever it may be, I feel very close to nature and love to spend time in gardens and rustic park lands where nature is allowed to run wild and free.”

When I decided to write this review, I took “Heart Healing Harp” to the real test. One of my clients works in an industrial area where the noise levels are excessive. I put the CD into the computer and the music soon created peace and tranquility.

It is my recommendation that this is a gift to give yourself, and your friends and family, to take the rough edges off the day and soothe your spirit. I believe if our hearts were a harp, this is the sweet sound they would make!   
To order, phone (949) 328-0129 or e-mail
Reviewed by Kay Walburger

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