Art Rockin' Magazine

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Jordan Rudess / Steve Horelick – Intersonic (2018) review

It may surprise many people who listen to this recording but it was all improvised. Yes, both musicians simply sat down, played each instrument, responding, listening closely to each other and themselves, the tones, textures, phrasing, timbre and atmosphere, and thus the music was created. Of course many years of experience performing this way is the success of such an outcome. The compositions are a million miles from piddling, pretending or amateurish hodgepodge.

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Sonar – Vortex (2018) review

The fourth release by inventive Swiss instrumental outfit sees a great addition with producer, composer and guitarist extraordinaire David Torn. For those who do not know, the band’s name stands for SONic ARchitecture. There are a small number of bands/artists using tritones as a base for their compositions and all of them sound very different from each other. Sonar master Stephan Thelen (guitar) made the decision to use tritones from his previous experience which allowed him to play otherwise impossible parts.

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DLM – Davis Lindley Mullan (2017) review

A warm plentiful collection of songs that bring a solemn face, tears, a smile, a touch of heart, a contact with your soul, and/or an embrace with emotions you may have lost touch with. This is a lovely album that makes you feel at home and comfortable, peaceful, and fully satisfied. The debut release from ex-Stackridge members Andrew Davis (guitar, ukulele, vocals) and Clare Lindley (violin, guitar, ukulele, vocals) and added musician Brian Mullan (cello, vocals), puts  the listener at ease with both original tunes and striking cover tunes.

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Orchestra Exotica – Plays Martin Denny (2017) review

As the title and the band’s name implies, the music within is Orchestra Exotica’s version of the Exotica genre, which was defined by Martin Denny back in the 1957. That music was a fantasy mix of South Pacific and the Orient. Later composers (like Les Baxter) brought in influences from Oceania, Hawaii, The Andes, and even Africa. The music on this Orchestra Exotica is all that but modern day listeners may be more apt to describe it as Caribbean space age jazz with a lounge music quality. The whole idea for the album came from the original children’s play written by Bruno Vansina titled ‘MaiTé, het meisje en de vogel’ (translated ‘Mai’Tie, the girl and the bird’- as the bonus disc of this package). Pierre Vervloesem, the master interpreter he is, took these pieces and did a bit of revamping, but not to the extent of defacing them.

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Louisa John-Krol – Elderbrook (2017) review

Louisa has spent two decades making magical music on independent labels such as Prikosnovenie. She decided to start her own label and control her very innovative musical vision, and ‘Elderbrook’ showcases some compositions spreading across the years 1981 through 2017. With no less than 28 musicians helping out, the Silo String Quartet, and sounds from Australian birds, and various samples, Louisa performs on mandolin, sansula, ocarina, chimes, elephant bells, Tingsha, dragon-scale curtain, rainsticks, lead and backing vocals. A prized list of guest vocalists also appear, including Priscilla Hernandez (who also has some very dreamy solos).

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Taylor’s Universe – Almost Perfected (2017) review

Having heard everything Robin Taylor has released (I personally own all his physical output),  I was curious to what Robin might have done to the songs of yore. I was confused back in 2015 when he released what he called a ‘compilation’ titled ‘Across The Universe’, and I misunderstood what he actually did. He took previous songs he was not totally happy with, and remade them with his new band. This was like a new release, and now he has done the same thing again with even more tunes he wanted to improve. This time it is like an entirely new set of compositions, and an absolute thrill.

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NILE ON WAX – Bell Dogs (2017) review

Nile On Wax is a smart Belgian trio who play a adventurous, atmospheric instrumental music in a somewhat dark, brooding, reflective progressive hybrid of celestial chamber rock and world music. Not far from the more eastern flavored sounds of Dead Can Dance (without the vocals) and a more spacious and esoteric Roleki (without the keyboards).

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Orpheus Nine – Transcendental Circus (2017) review

ATTENTION SAGA FANS! Progressive rock band from New Jersey release very strong debut with no wrinkles, no dull moments, and no filler. The intro is a truly beautiful piano piece, then the excitement begins. The musicianship is excellent and everything from artwork (a superb way above average multi foldout digipak with booklet) to the compositions are professional. Produced and arranged by Jason Kresge (keyboards, lead vocals) with bandmates Matt Ullestad (guitars), Tony Renda (bass, backing vocals), and Mark Gregory (drums, percussion, backing vocals), ‘Transcendental Circus’ has perfection written all over it. The musicians understand the importance of dynamics, textures, and control. The songs are all solid and easy to listen to, rich in production, and very well put together. Some are fantastic.

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