Reviews 04-10-2012

Music Reviews 

 

   

Disntant Horizon Series:
Mediteranean

by Amberfern

Visit Amberfern's website

 

Amberfern aka Clive Brooks is a composer whose forte is meditative music that is very peaceful and contemplative.  He creates soundscapes that let the listener bask in the atmospheric music that he so skillfully performs on each of his musical releases.  Amberfern has spent over 30 years in the music business and has worked at composing, production and has even taught music as well. He lives and works in the midst of England's New Forest National Park and I'm sure that this natural environment has had a significant influence on the music that he composes. His style is a melding of world music and classic new age compositions and I say that with the utmost of respect. I have always enjoyed listening to a great new age album and will never get tired of hearing one that is done as well as Amberfern's new release is.  

According to the liner notes on the CD this will become a series of albums for Amberfern which will take us on musical voyages along the paths less explored by a modern world too intent on rushing everywhere at the speed of light. His new album which will be available on May 8, 2012 from Real Music is called Distant Horizons Series: Mediterranean. To borrow from the liner notes, "the destination is the ancient Mediterranean. From the beautiful beaches of the Balearic Islands to sun-kissed mountaintop villages, you'll crisscross the region." The album was recorded and mixed at the Green Room Music Studio located in the New Forest National Park, England which I'm sure only adds to the feel of the whole project. In fact the name that he has chosen to be recognized by, Amberfern, comes from all the ferns that grow close by in the forest woodlands which in autumn turn a golden amber color.  

In the liner notes I was amazed at how many different instruments Amberfern plays on this album. Just to name a few that are listed he plays Spanish guitar, electric double bass, fretless bass guitar, oud, grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano, flutes and synths. And this list doesn't cover half of everything that he plays on this album so it is easy to see that Amberfern not only composes great songs but is accomplished in a variety of instruments to make just about anything he can musically imagine come alive in the studio. With this album Amberfern presents us with 11 tracks of music that covers quite a lot of musical geographic ground and runs for about 62 minutes in length.  

As I listened to this album I found that I was unable to pick out what instrument that Amberfern played that made me think that this was what defines this album. Truth is that with each track and with each instrument that he played I found the music just as compelling as the song that had come before it. Each song showed me that Amberfern truly was a multi talented multi instrument musician who does not display any weaknesses as he switches between instruments from song to song. Some of my favorite songs on this album are song 9 called Lemon Grove which features an introspective acoustic guitar that goes back and forth with a flute and finally adding some synths in the background giving the whole composition a dreamy, otherworldly feel to it. On the last song on the album called White Sails, Blue Sea it opens with the cry of seagulls and then slides right into a song that features Amberfern on guitar, flute and keyboards. His light touch on the guitar is very appealing and it is a perfect song to end this album as it leads you deeper into a state of tranquility as the music drifts away from you. My other favorite track is number 3 called Deya which opens with chime bells almost like a call to the faithful to a deeper spiritual or meditative state in a temple. This is primarily a guitar piece but the song is made even better as he adds the piano parts a little ways in creating a rich sound pallette on which to paint his sonic images upon.  

From the chanting voice that opens the album on track one called Ottoman Palace to the serene ending on track eleven Amberfern's music is intimate and inviting. His promises to take us on "relaxing and beautiful musical voyages along routes less traveled, to the quieter and more spiritually peaceful corners of the world" are fulfilled in this the first of his Distant Horizons albums. He has crafted his music to musically recreate the places that exist in his mind using a plethora of instruments designed to draw out the essense of each of the locations that he wants us to journey to through his music. His songs are soothing and reassuring. Sensitive and inspired. Amberfern is a highly talented individual capable of taking the concepts of place and translating them into songs which capture those exotic places that many of us only ever read about. The overall feeling of this CD is one of peace and serenity. Something we all need more of in the 21st century. Definitely recommended by Ambient Visions.

Reviewed by Michael Foster, editor Ambient Visions

 

Divine Dimension

by Rajendra Teredesai

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Hearing Rajendra Teredesai's flute playing immediately transports the listener into another state of mind from the first note until the last echoes fade away on track 10. Rajendra was signed to Real Music back in 2011 to allow his music to reach out to those who had yet to experience his music in the United States and other countries around the world. With this his debut release on Real Music you are in for a treat as you become acquainted with Rajendra's marvelous playing of the Bansuri flute on compositions that can be used for relaxation or for putting yourself in the frame of mind for meditation.

His album is called Divine Dimension and features Rajendra on the bansuri flute with help from Meena Teredesai on tanpura and Rasull Soon aka BlueMonk on keyboards and percussion. All the music was composed and arranged by Rajendra Teredasai and as you listen to this wonderfully soothing album you appreciate the talent behind the songs. There are ten songs that comprise Divine Dimension and the album as a whole runs a long 75:36 minutes in length. With only one of the songs clocking in under 5 minutes and track three running the longest at 10:24 you know that you are in for songs that allow you to listen for extended periods of time letting you enter into the music completely. I would say that is why one of my favorite tracks on this CD is Source of the Universe which is the longest song on the album and features bird sounds and some very calming synth sounds punctuating Rajendra's flute playing. This song is what this album is all about. It is serene and tranquil and has a lush feel to it that causes the listener to submerge themselves in this comforting cocoon of sound. 

The album does not break this peaceful mood at any time during the ten songs which gives the listener the opportunity to leave it on as they meditate or perhaps even as they drift off to sleep if they put it on just before bed. The compositions are not complicated and are stripped down to their bare essentials with the flute being the primary focus throughout all of these songs. Rajendra Teredesai was the disciple of one of the most celebrated flue maestros of all times in the person of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Pandit has collaborated with the likes of John McLaughlin, Jan Garbarek and has composed music for Yehudi Menuhin and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Rajendra first heard Pandit's music back in 1978 and was so inspired by it that he spent years practicing on his own developing his own techniques of flute playing. He finally met Pandit in 1982 and he was so impressed with Rajendra's playing that he accepted him as a ganda-bandh disciple.  

This was my first exposure to Rajendra Teredesai and I must admit that the ethnic instruments combined with the talent that Rajendra brought to them offers the listener a compelling journey inward to the soul and upwards to the divine spirit that the music was directed to. The music is deeply personal and evokes a reflective mood in the listener and in these chaotic times we live in that is always a good thing to have around the house. If you open to the music on this album it will wend its way into your soul and fill you with restfullness and melt away any worries that might be troubling you at the time. The music might be simple and sparse but it is deeply passionate at the same time. The album is a gently flowing CD that is both reflective and overflows with deep emotions.  

While Rajendra might not be all that well known here in the states I think that this album will start to change that and if you are like me you will want to check into future releases by this artist. This is an exceptional album and one that will show to new and old fans alike that he is a consumate artist but through his playing he reveals his heart and the truths that illuminate his life. The album has a mysterious and haunting quality to it that highlights Rajendra's impressive musicianship. While his music is deeply rooted in the traditions of India it is very accessible to those who enjoy world music and are open to new musical experiences wherever they may come from. Recommended by Ambient Visions.

Reviewed by Michael Foster, editor Ambient Visions