April 2017 playlists for our weekly one-hour programs

March 2017 playlists for our weekly one-hour programs

Renascence is the recording alias of Tony Clark, a Texas-based multi-instrumentalist with over thirty years of experience in musical composition. On his first volume of Music Uniquely Yours, Tony explores electronic musical terrain of the ambient-chill variety, often infusing his passages with both Balearic and new age overtones. Comprised of nine compositions spanning thirty-seven minutes, the first seven tracks on the album include women’s names in their titles and draw upon themes devoted to relaxation.

AO Music is a world fusion group founded by Richard Gannaway and Jay Oliver, which also includes South African-born singer and solo artist, Miriam Stockley (who co-produced this album with Richard). Perhaps best known as the voice of composer Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus project (whose debut single of the same name released in the mid-1990’s went on to become an international new age/classical-crossover hit), Miriam likewise imbues AO Music with her signature, layered phonetic vocalese that deftly emulates indigenous tribal chants. Titled Asha, after a Hindi word meaning “hope”, the group’s fifth album is “a salute to the world’s youth” intended to convey a global message of unity, peace and love. Richard plays banjo and Irish bouzouki, as well as handles the synths, samples and sound design throughout, even providing his own voice on numerous tracks. Comprised of twelve compositions spanning fifty-four minutes, Asha additionally features guest singers and musicians from various parts of the globe, making for a truly pan-cultural listening experience that masterfully integrates acoustic, ambient and world music styles.

Reflected in a Flowing Stream is the sixth full-length album from notably accomplished and award-winning pianist-composer, Kathryn Kaye. Co-produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and herself, Kathryn’s latest release was recorded at Will’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, as well as mixed and mastered by Tom. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning fifty-five minutes, a talented team of guest musicians are variably featured throughout, of which includes Eugene Friesen on cello, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Tony Levin on bass, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English horn, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Tom Eaton on accordion, and Will Ackerman on guitar. As always, the most visually suited cover artwork was chosen to represent her album, with this one perfectly capturing a gentle repose, observant of nature and the seasonal cycles of the year.

Greatest Hits Vol. 2 is a collection of sixteen pieces culled from a three-decade span of works by California-based composer/musician Steven Vitali. His music first debuted on Canadian airwaves in 1988 with a song called “Eternity”. which was eventually followed up with his debut album, Come Dream With Me, released in 1989. Totaling sixty-seven minutes in length, Greatest Hits Vol. 2 weaves new age, neoclassical and contemporary instrumental styles of music that variably range from boldly cinematic to quietly contemplative, as environmental nature sounds along with touches of world music are additionally sprinkled throughout.

Every once in a while, I’ll come across an album that is so profoundly moving and personally resonant that it leaves me utterly speechless. This time, it’s a double album clocking in at over two hours, titled Prayer to the Energy, by ambient-electronic music composer, as well as fine artist, Hollan Holmes. With a title and accompanying cover art that appears to be a nod to Nikola Tesla, one might get the impression upon first glance that the music herein is rather observational in nature, and while that’s true, each piece is also deeply emotive and incredibly haunting without ever becoming morose. Comprised of fourteen flawless compositions, Prayer to the Energy is Hollan’s sixth release, as well as his first recording that employs both vintage and digital analog hardware synthesizers, with the first part of the album largely centered around dynamic electronic sequencer passages, and the second part offering up a deep space excursion.

Michele McLaughlin is a self-taught pianist and composer with a remarkably impressive recording catalog that includes both Billboard charting and multiple award-winning albums. Having recently had the pleasure of meeting Michele at a performance in my area, I found her demeanor to be warm and personal, as she shared inspiring personal stories behind various compositions, which were often laced with a good dose of humor and related via captivating storytelling. On her latest album, simply titled Life, Michele perfectly captures a compelling range of dynamic expression and quieter introspection throughout its thirteen beautiful compositions of contemporary solo piano arrangements, which often bear an intrinsically classical elegance throughout.

Nancy Shoop-Wu is a composer and violinist originally from Connecticut who resides in Hawaii. As a member of the Honolulu Symphony she has shared the stage with many notable Hawaiian musicians, as well as superstars such as Yo-Yo Ma and Bela Fleck. Rainbow Road is Nancy’s second release and first full-length album, having previously released a debut EP titled Beautiful Mana’o. Comprised of twelve compositions spanning forty-nine minutes, Nancy combines both classical and contemporary musical styles while additionally drawing inspiration from the surrounding natural beauty and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. Joining her throughout are several guest musicians, of which include Derek Nakamoto on acoustic piano and keyboards, both Jan O’Sullivan and Jeff Peterson on Hawaiian slack key guitar, Dean Taba on acoustic bass, Garin Poliahu on drums, Satnam Ramgotra on frame drum, and Holo’ua Stender on Ipu drum.

Giuseppe Dio is an Italian electronic music composer and photographer who combines his passion for both music and photography on his album, Lights, Shadows and Colors. Drawing upon both vintage and modern electronic music styles that span several decades, the album incorporates elements of Berlin-school, chillout and dance-trance music throughout its twelve amazing, adventure-packed compositions.

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