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Voice of the Ancestors by Grayhawk
- posted by R J Lannan on 3/2/2019
Voice of the Ancestors

Grayhawk
Voice of the Ancestors
Listen and learn

Since 1991 American keyboardist, composer, and visionary Grayhawk has been at the forefront of World/New Age/meditative music stage. He began his career with notables such as David Darling and Paul Horn and continues to this day to augment the kind of music that is thought provoking, reflective, and in many instances, magical. His latest offering, Voice of the Ancestors is a homage to our elders from around the planet whose voices are as strong and poignant today as they were a thousand years ago. Grayhawk’s album is eight tracks of World-New Age music with driving rhythms and clear, inspiring lyrics whose messages should be heeded before it is too late. Synthesizer, flute, harp, ethnic instruments, dynamic vocals, and a lengthy cast of musicians make this recording exceptional.
Transcendent Soul is the opening track and what a beautiful piece it is. Soulful and harmonious, it is a celebration of a rebirth on a plane that is beyond the ken of mortal man. It is the joy of spirit and the commemoration that the journey has just begun for an unfettered soul. South African flutist Wouter Kellerman adds his astonishing talents to the spiritual journey. This track alone is worth having the album.
The dan bau, played by Hai Phuong, is used to enhance the sense of drifting in a sea of souls on the track The Banteay Srei Temple. There are not many places more holy or more mysterious than Angkor Wat where this temple is found. This tune is serene in the way praying is for the sinner. There is a certain kind of peace to be had with the knowledge that your soul is brighter than sunlight and more peaceful than sleep.
Electronics pay a visit as does rattles, drums, and voice in the title tune Voice of the Ancestors. New world join forces with the Old. There are several long cuts on the album and this is one of them. The music gets you swaying and contemplating and never gets too long for enjoyment. Windwalker and Randy Crenshaw’s soft vocals are calming and the music of ambient guitarist David Vito Gregoli is subtle as is the revisit by Kellerman’s flute. This is a complicated piece of music that satisfies on many levels.
The longest cut on Voices of the Ancestors is one called Peace Prayer featuring the voices of Ofir Engel, Darlene Koldenhoven, and Bahman Mojallal. This is an intricate experience. I call it experience because it is much more than just a song. Although many beliefs systems are incorporated in this singular tune, it allows the listener to invoke their own reverences. The central theme, however, man’s search for peace on every level, is a universal principle and the voices on this recording bring our thoughts and prayers together. This particular cut has three variations, all of them respectful entreaties.
Asian, Native American, and world themes come together on the track Ambient Meditation. Windwalker’s Native flute, Hai Phuong’s dan trahn and dan bau, and Brad Dutz’ improvisational percussion coalesces into an introspective excursion. Images form, float by and dissipate as quickly as they are formed in your mind. It is easy to get lost in this atmospheric creation.
The Voice of the Ancestors have been whispering to us all along and it is our responsibility to listen carefully to what they say. They ask us to honor the Goddesses and Gods. They pray we will take care of our world. They ask us to treat others with respect and kindness. Through his music and song Grayhawk reminds us of these simple words. Our actions dictate all. I liked every track on the Voices of the Ancestors. Every note was soothing, every instrument harmonious with the next. This is the power of great music. I highly recommend this album for its pensive, melodious qualities and powerful message.

Rating: Excellent
Eclipse by Frore
- posted by Richard Gurtler on 2/27/2019
Eclipse by Frore & Shane Morris
"70-minute 'Eclipse' is another remarkable album, as much triumphant as was 'Blood Moon'!!! And keep in mind, the sound quality is again superb!

In April 2015, Paul Casper alias Frore and Shane Morris released on Spotted Peccary their first collaborative milestone entitled "Blood Moon", which certainly belonged to the highlights of 2015. Two and a half years later, both these hugely talented and crafted US soundcarvers returned again, this time with "Eclipse". Out since November 17th 2017, again on respected Spotted Peccary label, the CD comes in a 4-panel disc eco wallet, it's mastered by Ben Cox of Lotuspike fame and designed by Daniel Pipitone.

Nearly 9-minute "Anima" reveals this thrillingly rewarding journey with masterful blend of vivaciously galloping percussive tapestries, primarily driven by hypnotic frame drum mastery, and radiantly charged cyber-shamanic vistas, while intangible didge calls are hovering above. A top-notch, all-inclusive overture precisely displayed by its title! Primordial acoustic reflections on "Calling Down The Sun" soothingly commingle with balmily drifting expanses, before gradually metamorphosing into artificially infused tribal splendor. Mesmerically languish, yet engrossingly piquant. Another magnificent blend of primitive acoustics and state of the art electronics, bravo, gentlemen!!! "Feather And Claw" attracts with its gently cadenced percussive guiding juxtaposed with enveloping flute narrations. "Stone Arch", as indicated by its name, shifts into gracefully panoptic grandness, where hidden dramatic nuances continuously commingle with glimpsing meditative quietudes. "Shadow Medicine" is propelled by laid-back high-tech grooves with persistently glistening scenario, guarded by above gliding ethereal flute moans. "Nomadic Dreaming", at 10:47 the longest piece on "Eclipse", immediately carves eternally helixing futuristic images, lushly blossoming, profoundly spellbinding, electrifyingly kaleidoscaping and exquisitely opiating, what a magnum opus!!! A headphone listening quickly unlocks the gates to the cyber-tribal paradise, obviously a Hall of Fame performance is exhibited here, hats off to Paul Casper & Shane Morris!!! The next track, "Changing Seasons", meticulously merges primeval didge and flute drones, growls and murmurs with steadfastly exhilarating percussive ambrosias, while delightfully longing and sweepingly awe-inspiring panoramic time-lapses are riding atop. Wow, I am blown away again by such creatively spirited insignias, this composition without doubt deserves just the same praised spot as its predecessor. So another standing ovation for both gifted protagonists!!! "A Lonely Path" is carried through subterraneanly monochromatic drones into stunningly sonorous ancient landscapes, where abundantly organic subtleties inconspicuously permeate along with prodigiously engulfing woodwind curlicues. Splendid conclusion indeed!

Explore the full review with album images at https://ello.co/richardgurtler/post/w2q5cd5carvbrgkrk322bw
Rating: Excellent
World Café by Ron Korb
- posted by R J Lannan - Artisan Music Reviews on 2/22/2019
World Cafe
Ron Korb
World Café


You might as well book a flight right now. After hearing flutist Ron Korb’s newest release World Café, you’ll want to be somewhere. His new music is full of energy and a lot of romance. So get two tickets. World Café is Ron’s follow up to his wonderful album Asia Beauty. Where Asia Beauty had lots of nuances and intangibles, this one is defiantly organic and ethnic. The twelve tracks have flute, guitar, piano, and many other acoustics to set the mood of sunny days, sultry nights, and everything in between.

The recording opens with Bailar Conmingo and you cannot not help yourself. You want to get up and dance, hold someone close, and swirl until you are dizzy. Ron’s flute leads you into a world of high spirits and joie de vivre. There is something warmly familiar about this tune.
Hear the accordion as it echoes through the streets. Imagine yourself in a tiny café on la Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, shoulder to shoulder with other pairs of lovers. You order something quick because you want the waiter to go away. You can’t wait to stare into her eyes. Ah, such is romance. You can feel it in the song Sans Regret. You touch her hand and your heart dances to the music. Ron uses this theme on three different variations on the album.

Island Life was right up my alley. I spent a lot of time in Hawaii and the vibe of Ron’s song put me smack dab on the Big Island driving around on a sunny afternoon just looking for the right beach. Ron’s ocarina makes the song jaunty and fun.
My favorite on Ron’s album is called Patagonia. The music captures the diversity of a little explored land. Patagonia must be South America’s best kept secret. No TV commercials, no radio ads, but it is one of the most mysterious places on earth. It has ancient trees, dinosaurs, and glaciers and that’s just for starters. It also has the brightest stars that you can ever see. The mountains are high, the wine is sweet, and life is good. All that? Well, I heard that in the music. Kudos to the guitarist.

New Orleans starts out with a rumble of drums like something out of the sixties (Let there Be Drums – Sandy Nelson). Lots of energy, lots of hoopla. It’s a swing tune. This anachronistic bebopper has some great piano courtesy of Bill Evans countered well with bass by Steve Lucas. It is testament to a city overloaded with electricity at any given hour. Thanks to Larry Crowe for the drumming. Another favorite.
Head south next. Way south. Deplane in Rio de Janeiro and hear the song, Carnival. Ron’s tune is full of excitement and cheerfulness. The Spanish guitars dance with the flute to give life to the music. It is a never ending celebration to a place where life is lived to its fullest. When the last note sounded, I pushed repeat.

Sans Regret Reprise and Sans Regret Finale are variations with more accordion and piano. I can understand why Ron kept using the themes as it represents to best of times, but hidden in the notes is a sadness that is left unsaid.

As in Asian Beauty Ron Korb goes all out on every track, putting in more emotion, more complexities, and more feeling than he has to. There is not much that is subtle about World Café. It is celebratory expression of life. I liked it for its diversification. It is music that is applicable in many parts of our world. It liked it for its vitality. Life should be like that all the time or when we can make it so. Highly recommended.

Rating: Excellent
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