Reviews 04-18-2009

Music Reviews 



Longer Days

by Scott Ross

Visit Scott's  website


“Longer Days” is Scott Ross’ first solo piano (mostly) CD on the Melodik Records label. Also a songwriter, producer and voice talent, Ross’ multi-dimensional voice-overs for commercials can be heard all over the country. He has also composed a large body of music for media, which is also very impressive (samples of Ross’ CD as well as his commercial music are on his site: eleven original CD tracks range from quiet and pensive to gently upbeat with an infectious energy. Jessica Vaughan appears on two tracks on violin. Ross is an exceptional pianist whose musical grace and emotional honesty put this CD ahead of most of what’s out there. I hope that “Longer Days” is just the tip of the iceberg and that we’ll be hearing from Scott Ross often! 

“Longer Days” opens with “Colorfind,” a lively piece that is in constant motion, swirling and dancing for joy - a wonderful beginning! “Answer Again” is much slower and more subdued, with a beautiful melody that reminds me of a deeply personal conversation - a favorite. I also really like the gentle flowing movement of “Low Tide,” which hints at the sense of peace that comes from beach-combing when the tide is out. “Face The Wind” has a wonderful energy the suggests the invigoration of being out in the natural elements and simply enjoying them. “Her Scent” becomes a daydream that tries to recreate a special moment - deeply passionate and gorgeous, and another favorite. The closing track, “Longer Nights,” is a bittersweet duet for violin and piano that conveys the intimacy of a late-night conversation that may be more than a little bit painful - a lovely and very memorable ending to a lovely and memorable CD! 

Scott Ross is off to a great start with “Longer Days,” and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future! It is available from CD Baby, iTunes, and Dig Station. Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


12 Months

by David Mauk

Visit David's  website


Although “12 Months” is his debut CD, David Mauk has already compiled a very impressive musical resume. Originally from Ohio, Mauk has a regular musician gig at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and is working on a Broadway-style musical. He also composed the “official” music for the National Geographic museum exhibits: “King Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” and “Real Pirates,” which have been touring internationally. I suppose it’s stating the obvious, but “12 Months” is made up of twelve tracks, one for each month, and each also represents an aspect of each month (“Thaw,” “Sky,” “Rain,” etc.). The music is electronic and extremely well-engineered. Inspired by childhood memories of his grandparents’ farm in Ohio, some of the pieces are quite melodic while others are more ambient. Each piece is distinctive and different from the others, yet the CD maintains a peaceful and contemplative mood throughout. 

I like all twelve tracks on “12 Months,” but my favorites are the first two. “March (Thaw)” opens the CD with sweeping cinematic strings. A keyboard introduces the melody and then a gentle rhythm sets the tempo. The keyboard/strings interplay continues as the percussion gently propels the piece. A great beginning! “April (Rain)” features guitar with a carefree flute-like melody dancing along in the background. String washes add tonal colors and dimension to the mix. This is the perfect musical portrait of a warm spring rain that sets new flowers and leaves in motion - simply beautiful! “May (Sunrise)” becomes more ambient, conveying the dramatic calm of a new day. “June (Breeze)” has a gentle but compelling beat behind a warm, lazy piano/keyboard/voice ambience. “August (Moon and Stars)” suggests vast space and a cool, quiet serenity. “November (Afternoon)” hints of changes in the air as the seasons go from fall to early winter. A catchy rhythm accompanies strings, piano, and atmospheric sounds that have a slight edge - another beauty. “February (Dusk)” closes the CD with the tranquility of early evening as the sun sets and the stars start to appear. A simple bell-like melody over chilly but soothing atmospheric sounds creates a mood of quietness and peace. 

If “12 Months” is any indication, I think we may have a new “star” emerging here in David Mauk. The CD is available from, and MP3s are available from most downloading services including Check it out!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


Save the World

by Cadence Spalding



“Save The World” is the debut solo CD by Cadence Spalding. The wife of multi-instrumentalist and producer Mars Lasar, Spalding has appeared on several of Lasar’s previous recordings. Lasar co-produced, recorded, and plays this CD as well. What is most impressive about “Save The World” is the soothing effect of the choir of 10,000 voices, all of which are layers of Cadence’s voice. Cadence composed the music and three pieces were co-written with Lasar. She also plays the piano and violin with Lasar adding more piano, bass, and keyboards. The themes of the album are the power of love, peace, and the need to care for Earth and the voiceless creatures that need our protection. Cadence’s sincerity is palpable as is her deep emotional connection to the music and its message. Comparisons to Enya and 2002 are inevitable, but Cadence definitely has her own voice and vision. 

The two-disc set includes a DVD of all of music paired with breathtaking double micro digital photographs by Mars Lasar of flowers, seascapes, the CA wine country, animals, children, and landscapes. The music is very effective alone, but the pairing with the photography provides a powerful sensory experience. 

The first of the eleven tracks is “Trust In Love,” a simple melody that carries a message of love on a global as well as a personal level. The ethereal vocals have minimal accompaniment, but the sound is rich and lush. The title track is more instrumental (including Cadence’s voice), with the words “Save The World” repeated throughout. “Grandma’s Song” celebrates family love and a special bond between a young girl and her grandmother - a favorite! “I Do,” “Here To Love You,” and “My Man” are love songs, pure and simple, made heavenly by layers of voices, piano, and keyboards. I also really like “Share Your Life,” which also appears in a remixed version. The words tell us to open our lives and hearts to others to begin the global healing process and to make a difference in the world - beautiful in every way. “Hosanna” just sort of floats on the air, creating a mood of peaceful contentment. “Kyrie Eleison” (Greek for “Lord have mercy”) is a mother’s gentle, loving prayer for her young son. It seems to trail off at the end, but then returns after a period of silence, complete with bagpipes, to act as a grand finale of sorts. 

“Save The World” is a very impressive debut, and Cadence Spalding assures us that another CD is on the way soon - something to look forward to! The CD and DVD are available separately from most online music outlets and together from Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


A Word In the Wind

by 2002

Visit 2002's website


The pre-release buzz about 2002’s first recording on the Gemini Sun label was that Pamela and Randy Copus had pretty-much reinvented 2002 with a bigger and more powerful sound. The ethereal vocals, sweet flutes, and the feeling of floating in vast open space are still identifiable as 2002, but “A Word In the Wind” is much bolder and less spa-like. I always thought 2002’s releases on their previous label were beautiful, but there was a substance and “meatiness” that I felt was missing. It is now obvious that the less-restrictive and more artist-friendly atmosphere of their new label has set them free musically and creatively. “A Word In the Wind” is a two-disc set containing an audio CD and a DVD that contains the music with accompanying visuals by Pamela Copus. I kept thinking that if the DVD had come out in the early 1970’s, it probably would have been called “trippy” for the swirling colors and montages of photos with overlaying graphics, but this is high-tech artistry at its finest. The visuals intensify the musical experience, providing an exceptionally pleasant hour of musical respite. 

“A Word In the Wind” begins with “1054 A.D.” This prelude opens with a two-minute drone that is mysterious and hypnotic. Enter some heavy percussion, an uptempo beat, and those wonderful choir-like vocals 2002 is known for, and off we go into brand new territory. The voices and flute are playful and inviting as the almost militaristic precision of the percussion takes on a more serious mood. The title track has a more Middle-Eastern sound. There are many layers to this piece, with voices, Indian instruments, heavy drum, strings, and plenty of atmosphere. “Spirit Moves” is more like classic 2002, although the rhythm is much stronger than most of their earlier work. “Promise of the Ocean” is one of my favorite tracks. Flute, piano, voices, and a pulsating beat create a mood of serenity and beauty. “Free To Fly” could become the signature song of the new 2002 and is undoubtedly the most radio-friendly track on the CD. I also really like “Rain Dance,” which draws you in with its big, cinematic sound and then envelops you in rich sonic colors that swirl and carry you away. The middle section picks up the pace with a strong rhythm and a hauntingly beautiful flute. Pamela’s voice and Randy’s piano take over, and then the guitar comes in. Eventually, all of the “players” are involved. A little bit prog rock and a little bit new age, I love this sound! “The Singing Stone” returns to more of a drone that is dark, mysterious, and powerful. “Seven Rays” finishes the 12-song CD/DVD with a Native American flavor that is both enigmatic and haunting. 

To hear and see more about the “new and improved” 2002, be sure to check out the samples on their website, I think you’ll like the changes as much as I do! CD/DVDs and downloads are available from 2002’s site,, and iTunes. Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


Analog Destination

by Craig Padilla
& Skip Murphy



The latest collaboration of Craig Padilla and Skip Murphy is aptly titled because they predominantly use analogue synthesisers on Analog Destination. All four tracks are live recordings, three of which were recorded live in a studio. Looking at the extensive equipment list in the liner notes it seems that the artists used every synthesiser they could lay their hands on! 

Bold and mysterious spacey sounds swirling around the soundscape begin the title track “Analog Destination” before an obligatory chugging sequence starts up. This builds up in excitement with the addition of drum effects and zigzagging whistles and continues in this vein before slowing off for a restrained end. 

Among all the spaceyness the best is on the longest track “Stellar Nursery” coming in at over twenty eight minutes long. Spiralling ripples and stardust pads take the listener on a mental journey through a mass of stellar activity and birth. Brief heavenly chorale sounds are heard before a beepy sequence and ticking, sometimes out of kilter, percussion takes over. It develops over the rest of the track and includes nice wistful melodies. 

The third piece “Live Illusions” is a live version of “Illusions” from Phantasma. Mysterious contemplative cosmic sounds groan, dip, and cascade their way over the soundscape. This gives way to brighter aural realms and patterns dance, flutter, and ripple around kaleidoscopically. The expected pay off comes late into the piece with an ebullient staccato melody and rhythmic percussion and drums. 

For fans of the retro sound using analogue synths Analog Destination should be a winner. It's got enough well crafted music going on to keep you interested and have you reaching to turn the volume up. Aficionados of the EM genre may also spot the occasional sonic nod to trailblazers like Jean Michel Jarre.

Reviewed by Dene Bebbington reprinted from on Ambient Visions

Return Home