Holland Phillips is a keyboardist and composer whose fifth album, “Circles of 8” is inspired by the resonances from the circles of life and vibrational building blocks of creation. Comprised of eleven compositions spanning fifty-one minutes, Holland demonstrates mostly dynamic and melodically straightforward motifs on this recording, which have been rendered on both new and vintage keyboards and synthesizers. He likewise plays acoustic and electric guitar on a couple of tracks while incorporating additional sounds of strings, woodwinds, harpsichord, percussion and bass, which are provided on various compositions throughout.

Al Gromer Khan is a German-born author, sitar player and award-winning composer who’s released a number of albums over the years, which span ambient, electronica and world fusion styles of music. Released on the Rasa Music label, “Chakra Noir” is essentially an ambient recording comprised of twelve compositions, which incorporate both Indian sitar and exotic percussion, as these elements are woven among intriguing electronic textures to create an overall freeform soundscape of understated elegance.

August 2016 playlists for our weekly one-hour programs

“White Sun II” is the sophomore album from world fusion artist White Sun, who fuse both modern and indigenous instruments with transcendental sung lyrics. Comprised of eleven compositions, the album was produced and mixed by Adam Berry who also plays guitar, keyboard and bass. Additionally, Adam is the co-writer of the songs along with Gurujas, who provides lead vocals as well as plays harmonium. Also joining the lineup is Harijiwan on Gong, Mamadou Diabate on Kora, Abbiman Kaushal on Tabla, and Gabe Witcher on Fiddle. A gospel choir lends their voices to a couple of compositions.

“Cantum Laudus” (subtitled “Songs of Praise”) is a collection of fourteen timeless hymns dating back to the middle-ages by pianist-composer Greg Starr. Released on Quiet Rain Music, these inspirational passages are intended to sooth, relax and bring comfort to one’s spirit. Rendered entirely on solo piano, roughly half of the compositions date back to the 1800s, with the earliest piece in the collection dating all the way back to circa 530-598 in Ireland.

“Sensuous Chill” is the eighteenth studio album from internationally-acclaimed and top-selling new age/contemporary instrumental composer Yanni. A lengthy album clocking in at seventy-eight minutes, its seventeen compositions are largely structured around electronic orchestration and programmed beats that lend a distinctive dance/club vibe throughout. Nevertheless, there’s certainly no shortage of acoustic and world instruments skillfully interwoven among the more synthetic textures. And interestingly enough, many of the melodies actually bear similar hallmarks to some of Yanni’s earlier works.

Kimberly Haynes is a singer and songwriter whose debut album, “Awaken Me” (subtitled "Songs from the Heart of a Seeker"), invites the listener on a soulful journey of discovering the sacred space within and creating a conscious connection with spirit. Co-produced by recording artist and multi-instrumentalist, David Vito Gregoli, the talented virtuoso plays many instruments on this album – including acoustic and electric guitars, South American charango, bass, mandolin, sitar, banjo, piano, synthesizer, udu, drums, percussion, bells, Native American and world flutes, Gopichand and kalimba. 

“At Peace Beneath the Shade of My Father’s Tree” is the debut album from pianist and composer Terry Lee Nichols. Comprised of seventeen tracks spanning just over an hour, Nichols has drawn much inspiration for this album from deeply personal experiences and events occurring throughout his lifetime. He is joined by other musicians on varying compositions, including Luis Conte on percussion, Joel Taylor on drums, Craig Sharmat on guitar and Hussein Jiffry on bass. Farzin Farhadi is the album’s producer and also lends soprano sax, while Franz Pusch is the recording’s engineer. A live string orchestra is prominently featured throughout, infusing much of the music with a sweeping and cinematic feel.

Starr Parodi is a Steinway concert and recording artist who has performed and recorded with a number of artists spanning many musical genres, including having been a regularly highlighted performer on The Arsenio Hall show. Comprised of eleven improvisational solo piano compositions, “The Heart of Frida” was inspired by none other than Frida Kahlo, a Mexican folk painter who transformed her suffering into transcendental art. Recorded on a 1928 Steinway grand piano that once found its way onto the MGM scoring stage, the iconic instrument likewise boasts an impressive resume of its own, including having been the piano on which The Wizard of Oz was recorded. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that Starr seems to have awakened an old soul housed within this musical treasure box, thereby channeling the essence of a timeless and cultural legacy that spans several decades.

Keith Gehle is a guitarist and composer whose album “Space and Time” features both acoustic instruments and synthesized elements. Comprised of eleven tracks spanning thirty-eight minutes, the album was mastered by Tom Eaton for Imaginary Road Studios, while all compositions and arrangements were performed by Keith Gehle. Acoustic guitar is the album’s lead instrument throughout, which is intricately woven into the silky fabric of a musical ensemble that variably consists of piano, flute, strings and synths.

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