Meet the Reviewers of Ambient Visions



Where does one begin when sharing their qualifications as a reviewer of music? Ahh...the beginning of course.  I was born in April 1953, which makes me an Aries.  The very first Corvette and myself were born in the same year, now that has all the makings of an auspicious debut. 

A musical background is probably in order, just so you can be assured that I understand what is happening within in each disc I listen to, and offer a modicum of accredited validation for some of my comments.  My first musical instruments?  Dad's Ukulele and a homemade drum kit of rubber and metal trashcans with the lids as cymbals.  This didn't last long though as I began playing the clarinet in grade school, switching within two weeks to the valve trombone, in the band.  Late night AM radio transmissions would soon change that when I discovered Motown and then the Beatles.  The gravitation to the sound of the bass guitar had begun and oddly enough was cast in stone when I heard my first mono vinyl recording of the Bert Kampfert Orchestra.  It was the sound of an upright bass being played in unison with a Fender Electric Bass Guitar, played with a pick / plectrum, that cast the final die.  I was captivated by the sound of the bass. That was the sound I wanted to make when I played music so I dove in and never looked back.  Lessons, performing in local dance bands and eventually playing weekends and performing all over the state followed.  This lead to touring the Midwest, performing as the opening act for many national acts, and culminated with two years as the tour bass player for a '60's act that had received numerous gold records for their string of hits.  Retirement, due to health reasons, and the allure of studio recording work, which I still do to this day, followed and marked the final chapter in my live music career.

I also spent several years, guiding the decisions of audiophiles, in the high end audio equipment sales market, continuing the gear acquisition syndrome, and began trading bass guitar gear in the search for the truth in reproduction of musical nirvana.  Alas this was a futile and expensive effort, although in 2001 we are closer to the perfect source than in the early '60's, and I have since curtailed my habit of amassing playback systems that cost more than my house.  A vestige of this remains in the Audiophile's Note, soon to become just "The Sound", section of my reviews.

Let us segue to a time closer to the present when I became interested in working at 90FM, our local University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Radio Station, as a community volunteer.  Initially it was certain that I would become a substitute for the Classic Album Rock or the Blues specialty shows the station aired.  After meeting all of the other community volunteers, read elder statesman of the airwave realm, I began sitting in as a guest host of the Jazz Sides program and was slated to have a permanent shift as an evening Jazz Jock.  Lookout Night Fly at WJAZ, BEAR is on the air.  Sorry Donald, I just couldn't resist the temptation. Karma kicked the door and it was not to be.  Precedence is given to students and the shift was given to someone else.  At the next monthly staff meeting it was announced that Jimmy D, the originator and then host of the New Age Sampler, was leaving the area and wanted someone to continue the show.  The shows time slot, six to nine on Sunday Mornings, and the presumed, stereotyped, connotation of "New Age Music" were unappealing to all but yours truly.  I sat in on two shows, discovered that Ambient and Space Music were included in the genre, did a proper Homer Simpson Doh! Head slap, thunderstruck with my newly found knowledge of where to look in the music bins for the styles of music we, the reviewers at Ambient Visions, all love so dearly, and took on the position as the Host/Producer of the New Age Sampler.

One Hundred and Eighteen episodes (as of 02.11.01), three Web Site revisions, nine live guest artist appearances, and over forty interviews, on the show.  Plus twelve freelance reviews, two sets of liner notes, and one New Age Voice feature article later, here I am.  Still hosting and producing the New Age Sampler and writing reviews for Ambient Visions.  There were also other business ventures and a second degree in Systems Analysis / Programming somewhere in-between but those offer little or no insight into the mind or lifestyle of a reviewer of Ambient, Space and New Age Music... then again...maybe they do.

I deeply appreciate the confidence placed in my writing style and abilities by Michael and the Artists.  I shall endeavor to gain your trust as a competent reviewer and hope to enlighten your search for new and exciting music through honest and thoughtful insights in my reviews for Ambient Visions.  I have been overwhelmed by the positive responses from readers and artists alike so far and look forward to hearing from more of you in the future.  Please feel free, I really do mean this as an open invitation, to exchange dialogue, and contact me with your comments, any questions, and yes even nits to pick.

Soft Winds to all, Let the Journey Begin.