Reviews 09-07-2014

Music Reviews 




by Bryan Carrigan

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Bryan Carrigan is rapidly building up some very good street cred in the ambient/new age music genres as he continues to release great albums on a regular basis since his release called Passing Lights which came out in 2011. September 1, 2014 saw the release of Bryanís latest album which is called Inspired and is his 5th album in only a 4 year span. To this reviewer Bryan appears to be making up for lost time and allowing his creative side to run free musically whenever he gets a chance. And since his first solo album didnít come out until he was 42 years old it is perfectly understandable that there would be a lot of activity when the timing was finally right for Bryan to record some of his own music. Although I have never written a single musical note I know that music runs in my veins as surely as the composers who write the soundtracks that mark the seasons of my life. If the pull of music is that strong in me then I can only imagine that for a musician and composer itís call must be deafening.

The album title tells you a lot about the compositions that you will find here and what it is that Bryan is hoping to share with his listeners on this latest album aptly called Inspired. This new album was completely composed, performed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Bryan so there is no doubt as to how each song was intended to sound as Bryan had his hand on the music from beginning to end. There was no need to explain to an engineer or mixer as to what you wanted to achieve with each song because the song began and ended with Bryanís touch.

One of my favorite songs on the new Bryan Carrigan album is the very first song on Inspired which is simply called Elation. The song is only 2:29 minutes long but it carries a lot of positive energy with it and even though it is brief it still leaves the listener wanting to press the replay button over and over again just so the warm and sunny feelings the music generates can last as long as possible. It is wonderful to see the way that Bryan has molded these two minutes and twenty nine seconds into such a statement on which to open this album. It begins simply with the keyboards setting the stage and builds with other instruments added every few seconds until it reaches a crescendo of warmth and then begins to taper back down to end with simply the piano that began the ride into the sunny blue sky overhead. Quite a lot to put into a two and a half minute composition but Bryan does it with ease. With that kind of start you know the rest of the ride is going to be good and the listener has incentive to continue onward into the album to see what other surprises that Bryan has in store for them through the rest of the 12 songs that make up Inspired.

Another of my favorite songs that stayed with me after the first listen through the complete album was Kaleidoscope. The synthesizers here took a front row seat and provided the foundation upon which the whole song rests and echoed in and out of the mix throughout the song. The song was uplifting and carried the listener into a realm where cares and worries seemed to melt away replaced by the warm feelings that were generated by the synths that are your constant companion to the very end of the piece. The music dances and swirls around the listener and invites them to enter into the playful nature of the song. It is obvious through compositions like this that Bryan knows what he wants to communicate through his music and that with each album he grows as a musician and a composer making songs like this possible.

The last song that really stands out to me is one called Really Fun Song and that is exactly what I found when I listened to it for the 3rd
or 4th time. Again the synthesizer is in the spotlight of this song and it dances and sings delightfully enticing the listener to forget about whatever might have been troubling them before putting this disc on and just spin until the world becomes a blur allowing you to focus on only the good vibes that this song exudes. The beat is the ground that you stand on and it becomes an anchor to the synth which along with the keyboards at the beginning of the song leaps and jumps over the sonic landscape in such a carefree way that you will really find yourself smiling through the whole song.

Inspired is not all just about the light and airy songs because as in life inspiration is not always achieved by those flights above the clouds into a light that is brilliantly clear but it also a subtle event that requires contemplation and times of solitude where you spend time figuring out where your life is going. Hope is the second song on this album and I really enjoyed just allowing its gentle beat and echoing piano refrains to wash over me in a wonderfully relaxing way. The song indeed does tug on the heartstring that resonates with the hope that we have for the future and for our lives in the here and now.

Bryan has done a splendid job on this song and every other song on Inspired and even though I have only spotlighted a few of them in this review I could probably have taken any of the 12 tracks on this album and been able to truthfully say that each one is a well thought out composition of its own which could have also been a featured song in this review. I am always glad to receive the latest music created by Bryan Carrigan because I know that whatever the theme of the album or whatever emotions that Bryan wishes to communicate with his music he will hit the target every time. Ambient Visions recommends this release.

Reviewed by Michael Foster, editor Ambient Visions