Masako is a pianist and composer who resides in the Northeastern part of the USA. Having begun piano lessons at the age of four, by the time she was five years old she was composing and singing her own tunes while up on a tree in the backyard of her parents’ home in Tokyo, Japan. Comprised of twelve solo piano compositions, Piano Sanctuary is Masako’s third studio album and first solo piano album, with all three having been produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.

Ryan Marvel is a pianist and composer whose latest album, Reflecting Forward, consists of 14 original solo piano compositions that were inspired by a time of great personal challenge and abrupt changes for the artist. Intentionally having kept the song titles simple, most of the pieces are given just one word names, each perfectly capturing an emotion, experience or moment in time that could be likened to listening to a musical scrapbook or photo album.

Spring Begins is the follow-up release to Fynrien’s Dream, the debut album by Muses9. Having long admired the mythic naturalistic paintings of Jonathon Earl Bowser, I immediately recognized the cover artwork which further peaked my interest as to what the music herein might sound like. Although information about the artist is limited on their website, album credits include lyrics by Algernon Charles Swinnburne, music by Igor Pogosyan, music production with Bryon Shakespeare, and drums and percussion by Koorosh Daryaie. All nine compositions feature female vocals, which are presumably provided by the same vocalist throughout, albeit given additionally layered and harmonized effects in parts. Somewhat eclectic and avant-garde in nature, the musical style is rather difficult to describe, although perhaps it could be loosely described as synth-pop with overtones of dance/electronica and ethereal/darkwave.

Sangeeta Kaur is a Vietnamese-American trained opera singer, mantra singer and music producer. On her third album entitled, Ascension, Niguma, Vol. 2: The Mantra Project, she is joined by acclaimed producer Nicolas Neidhardt, The Hungarian Studio Orchestra of Budapest and several guest musicians – thereby collectively bringing a listening experience described as a “fusion of sacred cinematic mantra music, yoga, dance and storytelling”. Comprised of ten compositions spanning 43 minutes, the album variably interweaves classical, opera, mantra, world and adult contemporary music, and features instruments such as harmonium, keyboards, bass, percussion, electric and acoustic guitar. In addition to the album’s main highlight of Sangeeta’s soprano vocals, are the ceremonious sounds of cinematic orchestra and symphonic drumming that are prevalent throughout, which effectively convey the notion of experiencing a live stage performance.

"Kscope are extremely proud to be the home of the new studio album from Tangerine Dream, entitled Quantum Gate, released to coincide with and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the band. Tangerine Dream have been a fundamental influence on electronic and progressive music since their formation in West Berlin, 1967. Inspiring genres, musicians and other art forms, from The Future Sound of London to Porcupine Tree, the widely popular TV show Stranger Things (for which their music also featured in) to seminal video game Grand Theft Auto V (for which they helped to write the soundtrack). " ~Kscope Music

Urban Metta, Vol. 2 is the anticipated second installment in the Urban Metta series by electronic music composer, Phil Strickland, who records under the project name of Anaamaly. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning nearly 70 minutes, this album, like its predecessor, was conceived with the intent of inducing blissful states of relaxation, and is likewise well-suited for massage, mediation and yoga practices. Stylistically part ambient and part “new age”, each composition is titled after a positive affirmation that all begin with “I”. Although on its surface this notion may strike some listeners as being a bit too typically “woo-woo”, Phil’s extensive background in the chill-out, downtempo and instrumental hip-hop genres effectively help to keep these compositions firmly anchored in compositional depth and delightfully free of excessive syrup. Filled with churning textures, humming chords and organic/environmental samples throughout, the compositions mostly adhere to similar sound patterns, with each possessing individual nuanced attributes.

Playlists for December 2017

Electronic music veteran Mark Dwane has released a fantastic new album of beautifully melodic, cinematic sci-fi soundscapes called Cerebral Hemispheres. Available in multiple high-quality digital download formats. CD format is available as a limited edition of 1000 copies. Be sure to check it out!

Not long ago I had the pleasure of seeing pianist-composer Joseph Akins in concert with fellow pianist-composer Michele Mclaughlin on their joint tour, where each performed a set and shared delightful and personal stories. Raised in a musical family in Chickamauga, GA and currently based in Chattanooga, TN, Joseph has been playing the piano since he was a child, having explored a variety of musical styles along the way. In addition to his career as an accomplished recording artist, Joseph is also a college professor and teaches music instruction. Having personally found him down-to-earth and expressing a great sense of humor, I can only imagine how beloved he is by his students!

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