When I think of “space music” the first name that immediately comes to mind is Jonn Serrie. With an extensively impressive portfolio that includes award-winning film scores, projects for NASA and numerous concert performances at planetariums, Serrie’s pioneering brand of cosmic electronic music has spawned numerous protégés over the years and consistently remains the gold standard of its genre. Comprised of six compositions spanning just over an hour, The Sentinel is based on Stewart Cowley’s illustrated science fiction series of the late 1970’s that represents a virtual reality audio journey. On this intergalactic sojourn, the listener acts as the commander at the controls of a spaceship navigating the farthest reaches of the universe, guided along by state-of-the-art sound technology that feels incredibly life-like and three-dimensional. While Serrie’s extensive discography includes albums that range from world-flavored to spacy jazz, The Sentinel embodies the classic brand of electronic space music that he’s best known for and is styled in the mold of classics like And the Stars Go with You, The Stargazer’s Journey and Thousand Star.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Tom Grant is among the original pioneers of the smooth jazz genre, having enjoyed a longstanding and successful musical career going back to the 1980’s. In fact, I remember being quite enamored as a child with his hit, “If You Were My Girl”, from his 1988 Mango Tango album, which aired for years thereafter on my local smooth jazz radio station. Nearly three decades and a plethora of releases later, Grant is still expressing his artistic brilliance, this time with a beautiful recording aptly titled, Sipping Beauty. Comprised of ten original instrumentals spanning an hour, minimal smooth jazz is imbued with new age and ambient accents on this exquisitely lovely recording. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Grant plays piano, percussion, keyboards and synthesizers throughout. He is also accompanied by David Captein on bass (tracks 4 and 5) and sitar (track 9), along with Kevin Karrick on guitar (tracks 1, 7, 8 and 10). Mary Suzanne Garvey is credited with the album’s painting and poem in the liner notes.

Musical Nature is the recording alias of Rhode Island based electronic music composer Geoff Varosky. His latest album, Eavesdropping, features six compositions varying in length from seven to under nine-and-a-half minutes, which notably draw upon the ambient-techno style of music pioneered in the early 1990’s by electronica bands like The Orb and The Future Sound of London. Interweaving what could be described as free-floating background and foreground layers of synthesized textures and environmental field recordings, experimental beats and industrial nuances frequently lend both an edgy crunchiness and contrasting bit of chaos throughout.

Californian native and resident Gina Leneé is a classically trained pianist and composer who’s released a handful of albums since the early 2000’s. Her latest album, Red Diamonds, marks her first time working with Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, which was recorded at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. Comprised of ten compositions showcasing Leneé on piano, the album variably features guest performances throughout,which includes Ackerman on guitar, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Marc Shulman on electric guitar, Premik Russell Tubbs on electronic wind instrument and saxophone, Tom Eaton on fretless bass, guitar and vocals, and Noah Wilding on vocals.

Deep (subtitled Music to Heal the Soul) is the latest album by guitarist and composer, Adam Werner, whose signature fingerstyle guitar technique has often been compared to that of the late pioneering guitarist Michael Hedges. Comprised of twelve peacefully reflective and melodic compositions spanning forty-four minutes, the album includes alternating arrangements of both solo acoustic and ensemble pieces with subtle vocals in parts, which variably feature guest performances by Samite, Kris Tischbein, Ken Verheecke, Adam Howe, Michael Manring, Kentaro Otsuka, Jim “Kimo” West and Sydney Easton.

June 2017 playlists for our weekly one-hour programs

Jazz Meets the Classics is musician and composer Alan Storeygard’s fifth recording and first classical album, his previous four releases having primarily featured jazz piano arrangements and original songs. Comprised of nine reinterpreted classical compositions, including several lengthier medley-styled pieces, the album spans over seventy-two minutes and features covers by some of the greatest classical music masters in history such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Alternating between solo piano and symphonic orchestration throughout, Storeygard is additionally joined on varying compositions by Brain Wolverton on bass, recording engineer Dave Rogers on drums, Danny Fletcher on guitar, and recording engineer Eric Chesher on orchestration and synthesizers.

Shifting Sands is the fourth album by Lynn Tredeau, an Idaho-based piano and composer with a classical music background. Comprised of twelve compositions spanning forty-seven minutes, the gently fluctuating mood of the album’s individual pieces seemingly illustrate the many subtle changes of one’s everyday surroundings, as well as that of life itself. Likewise, this metaphorical theme of “shifting sands” is beautifully conveyed by the cover artwork, which depicts Lynn in a flowing red dress walking along the desert sand beneath a sunny sky.

Born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, Ketil Lien (who also records as Wim) is a producer of electronic soundscapes that often traverse the boundaries of ambient, chill-out, new age and cinema-inspired compositions. With several albums released on the long-standing English label, AD Music, his past works have joined the ranks of those by other prominent recording artists and label-mates such as David Wright, Ian Boddy and Richard Bone. Comprised of ten compositions spanning approximately fifty-three minutes, The Second Dimension is both classic and outstanding electronic-space music, noted by the incorporation of both modern and vintage synthesizers, and often recalls the works of Tangerine Dream (especially some of their 1980’s-era albums), Vangelis and Jean Michel-Jarre, while also bearing the notably edgier, often danceable electronic stylings of Depeche Mode and Erasure.

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