MUSIC REVIEWS
By Jim Brenholts

 

 

Steve Roach
Kairos: The Meeting of Time and Destiny
Timeroom Visions
www.steveroach.com
“The meeting of time and destiny (is) the soul’s time, sacred time ... a time to set apart … to recognize, choose and engage with the right moment which will never occur.” Thus Steve Roach introduces Kairos: The Meeting of Time and Destiny. Steve is a brilliant man and a visionary artist. This CD/DVD package is full of deep imagery and vivid images — both film and animation — that will take viewers and listeners to new heights of self-awareness.

This is one of the most intense journeys imaginable! Steve segues between desert ambience, rhythmic grooves, surreal minimalism, deep space music and heavy sequencing smoothly and seamlessly. The imagery and images approach the penultimate. Words do not do justice to this emotional and spiritual adventure.

Taken by itself, the music is certainly divinely inspired if not downright divine. (That is not to be confused with religious or chorale music.) Steve has a strong spirituality and an uncanny ability to translate it to music. The translations give listeners opportunities to tap into their own spirituality. It is guided imagery without the guide. The music, replete with overtones, grooves and atmospheres, suggests many paths. The heart and soul define the paths.

Steve has now developed the ability to translate that spirituality visually as well. The images that accompany this music are dramatic, intense and surreal — bordering on hallucinogenic. Watching the music and listening to the video take the journey deeper into and beyond the self. It is akin to reaching new levels of consciousness and sentience. Again, words are not enough.
This is one of the best musical and visual experiences of this — or any — millennium. It contains several trips and each trip has infinite possibilities. It also comes with the highest recommendation possible.



Mark Provost
Astral Journeys
Solara Recording and Production
www.musicforguidedimagery.com
www.geocities.com/solararecording
Mark Provost experienced the power of music and guided imagery early in his own recovery. He had been a musician, producer, sound designer and engineer for years when he began his recovery journey so he decided to put his talents to a different productive use.

Astral Journeys is a two-CD set designed to accompany guided imagery therapy sessions. There are four compositions and each one is about 30 minutes long. The sound design incorporates symphonic synths, nature samples, deep atmospheres, bright drones and subtle overtones. They are also psychoactive.

Mark has worked with Dr. Charles D. Leviton and Patti Leviton, MA, the founders and owners of Synergy Seminars, creating music for their sessions and seminars. In fact, they use his music exclusively.
(At Mark’s request, Patty sent me Unplug, the guided imagery session they use for treating addiction. Regular readers of this column can imagine my excitement at making this connection. I am in the process of connecting the administration at the rehab center where I work with Patty and Charles in the hopes that we can have a stronger impact on our clients.

I have used Mark’s CD’s in relaxation sessions with my clients and the results are encouraging and unquantified. There is an old adage that says, “Music soothes the savage beast.” Perhaps it is true.)
With no formal guide, the music enhances meditation and relaxation by allowing the soundscapes to be means to ends. The beautiful melodies and light airs will work with all of the healing arts. This set has many uses.

This is Mark’s third set of imagery music. Its strengths are awesome and it is essential to all the healing arts.



Lisa Lynne
Hopes & Dreams
New earth records
www.newearthrecords.com
www.lisalynne.com
Lisa Lynne is a remarkable woman and a kind and caring soul. In 2003, Between tour dates, she loaded her van with her harps and drove to the City of Hope National Cancer Center in Duarte, CA, near her Los Angeles home. Lisa played concerts and gave workshops in treatment rooms, patient rooms, halls and lounges where she entertained patients and staff alike. She created the music for Hopes & Dreams, a miraculous CD inspired by miracles.

The liner notes for this CD are heartwarming and encouraging in and of themselves. Lisa speaks of her humility in the presence of courage. Dr. Neal Slatkin, director of supportive and palliative care, expresses his gratitude for her efforts. Her bio reminds listeners that “Lisa is well-known for imparting each of her recordings with joy and heartfelt compassion.” (Having known Lisa for six or seven years and owning all of her CD’s, I will attest this is true.)

Beyond that, this CD comes from the heart. It speaks to the soul. It reminds listeners of their own hopes and dreams. It gives pause to reflect on their blessings and to remember gratitude. The simple melodies beget complex imagery. The atmospheres and soundscapes are bittersweet. The courage she encountered comes from people dealing with pain, suffering, sadness and death. And at the same time, Lisa celebrates life.

(As I write this, I am grieving for a dear friend of mine. Sadly, her son died of a drug overdose. As I listen to these healing atmospheres, I am able to gather my own courage to support my friend, to pray for her and her family and to cry with them as well. The miracle of life also includes sadness, loss and death. Through this music, I am able to celebrate my friend’s son’s life and her memories of him.)
There are moments and events in life that remain indelible forever. The experiences that surround this CD are among them, this is essential music — basked in courage, love and — well — hopes and dreams.


Dean Evenson and Soulfood
Spa Rhythms
Soundings of the Planet
www.soundings.com
www.soulfoodmusic.com
www.soulfoodradio.com
Dean Evenson is one of the world’s leading practitioners of holistic healing music. In fact, his motto is “Peace Through Music”, a noble and serious goal. Soulfood, aka DJ Free, nee Gordon Schaeffer, is also one of the world’s leading practitioners of holistic healing music.

Spa Rhythms combines Dean’s melodic New Age atmospheres with Free’s rhythmic ambience. (Free also incorporates the Native American elements in his sound designs.) Guests include Rita Coolidge on Native American chants and Brent Lewis on percussion. There are subtle hints of jazz in some of the soundscapes but this is New Age ambience at its strongest. The atmospheres overflow with serenity and wrap listeners in love and peace. The rhythms set the pace and energize the spirit. The chants are extra icing.

There is a lot of imagery in this issue’s column — both guided and unguided. Thus it is natural to meditate and reflect on the evocations of this set. Dean’s acoustic flirt with Free’s electronics. Dean’s electronics cavort with Free’s acoustics. The vast expanse of their talents provides strength and wisdom to enhance the love and peace. The serenity lifts the journey to higher levels of unbridled joy. The process is simple — listen, meditate, relax and let go!

On the surface, this would not seem to be a workable collaboration. Fortunately, Dean and Gordon go well below the surface into the depths of healing. This CD is an absolute gem.


Gandalf Sacred River
Real Music
www.realmusic.com
Gandalf, nee Heinz Strobl, has been creating melodic neo-classical New Age music since about five years before his birth. His first album came out in 1981 and he has released 30 albums since then. Each one is a blend of soft melodies, gentle acoustics ands subtle electronics with its own theme.

Sacred River comes from many different inspirations in G’s life. His favorite playground as a child was a creek near his home. Water is essential for all life on Earth. (Indeed, the water cycle is symbolic of life itself — ashes to ashes and dust to dust.) He has visited Yamuna, one of India’s sacred rivers, and witnessed pilgrims bathing to cleanse their sins. Lastly, the ferryman in Siddhartha taught Siddhartha to listen to the river to hear the eternal song of harmony. This CD is the ferryman, guiding listeners across the water gently, lovingly and serenely.

The gentle airs of G’s sound design are, indeed, the guides for more imagery and introspection. While the imagery itself is not guided, it is intense and vivid. G uses his multi-instrumental talents to paint pastels with deep water colors. The evocations are bright and alive. They celebrate discovery, peace and joy. The plateaus are high enough to allow a broad vista.
This is wonderful New Age healing music. The atmospheres are warm and inviting. It is an important CD.


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