Reviews 8-18-2019

Music Reviews 





Visit FLOW on Facebook

or on FLOW's website

or even on Twitter





As I was listening to FLOW's new album called Promise the one thing that immediately crossed my mind was that I wasn't listening to 4 musicians each doing their own solos showing off their individual skills but instead I was hearing a group playing. There's a fine line between a group of individuals who play music together and a group of individuals who blends their unique talents into creating music that is perceived not as individual efforts but as a shared movement in the same direction, with the same mind and with the same heart as to where they want to go. Listening to the music on Promise is more of an experience of hearing the music played by FLOW as opposed to hearing a guitar played by Will or Lawrence or the piano played by Fiona or the horn played by Jeff. The lines blurred and it simply became great music played by FLOW the group and that's the distinction between a group of individuals playing music together and a group of musicians who move and think as a group in their composing, recording and performing of their music.  

Promise is the sophomore effort of FLOW the group which consists of Fiona Joy Hawkins, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster and Will Ackerman and itís apparent from the beginning of the album that the time spent touring together since their first album was released has allowed everyone in FLOW to become even more comfortable with the thought of playing together live or during the recording of Promise in the studio. While each of the members of FLOW are very talented musicians on their own and well able to create great music and albums on their own, thatís not what brings them together as FLOW. Promise is an expression of their unity in this second musical project in which the performances are not a series of solo performances with backing efforts from the other members but rather it is FLOW the group moving as one throughout the entire album.

Imaginary Road Studios

Iíve spent a few words in this review so far driving home the point of how much this music lives and breathes as a group and as you begin listening to the songs, youíll hear exactly what I am talking about. Promise features 10 wonderfully written and performed compositions that will have you setting the music to endless loop in your player and letting it wash over you time and time again without ever feeling like youíre tired of hearing it. In fact, the music will kick you right out of linear time and by the time that you reach the last track, youíll wonder to yourself where the time went as you hit repeat to start Promise over again. As to be expected Tom Eaton and Will Ackerman were producers on the project and their decades of studio experience between them shines through in each and every track. Perfectly polished and expertly recorded with a light touch so that the music is the
listenerís main focus with nothing to distract from it.  

The music of Promise is a peaceful journey filled with emotional music that is layered and blended to perfection by multi-talented musicians who are able to ďfeelĒ the ebb and flow (pun intended) of the music as it moves from member to member and to respond musically using their own talents to further shape the  song adding to it their own perspectives before passing it along to the next member of FLOW. The album is filled with heartfelt playing by everyone involved and shows that the perfect partnership that was created in the formation of FLOW has yielded an exceptional album filled with rich and relevant music that spotlights the impressive musicianship of all concerned. The music on Promise comes from a personal place within each of the members of FLOW and reveals their hearts and the truths that live there within the context of the music that they have written and recorded for this project.

Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton

As with other albums of this caliber I would find it had to pick and choose what songs I consider to be the standout tracks because my feeling is that the album is inspiring from the first note of Promise which is the opening track to Memoir Du Dome which closes out the album. I will say that all the tracks are exceptional and that you the listener will find much to love on this album. The production values on Promise are impeccable which is courtesy of Tom Eaton and Will Ackerman as theyíve sculpted and molded this album into a real gem at the legendary Imaginary Road Studios in VT. Itís a tribute to their abilities to continually create music that captures more than just the notes that are being played but also to fill that music with the emotions that are being communicated by the artist as well. Itís the sign of a great producer and/or engineer to not leave their fingerprints all over the music but to simply make it the best it can be without adding to or taking away from the music itself.   

So, with the release date scheduled for August 30, 2019 you wonít have to wait much longer to be able to add this fantastic album to your collection. And if you really want to get a feel for the music of FLOW and you live close enough to NYC to head into the city for a day you might also consider attending their upcoming concert at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on September 27 as this will be the official release performance for Promise and should be awesome night for both the audience and FLOW. Promise is an impressive album that gives listeners 10 more reasons to applaud the formation of FLOW the group and the spectacular music that has been born out of this union of talented musicians. Fine wine gets better as it ages and I would suspect that FLOW will continue to reach new musical heights as they continue to perform together in the coming years. As you might have already guessed by what youíve read so far this album does not disappoint in any way whatsoever as a follow up to their first album which came out in October of 2017. I am happy to say Promise is highly recommended from Ambient Visions.

Reviewed by Michael Foster Ambient Visions