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Reviews 1-22-2002


Sunburst of Sound

by David Berriman

Visit David Berriman's website


I first got interested in piano music after walking into a music shop and hearing a captivating piece playing; this turned out to be from Autumn by George Winston. Since then I've gotten a few solo piano CDs by different artists and like to listen to them when in the mood for this kind of music. Thus I was interested to hear this CD when it came to my attention.

Sunburst of Sound is a mixture of David's own, and collaborative, compositions and cover versions of various songs - including some well known ones like Here Comes the Sun by George Harrison. I had to smile a little when I noticed that one track is variations on Pachelbel's Canon as this seems to be an almost obligatory piece for piano based albums!

Interestingly this CD isn't solo piano, some tracks contain gentle synth washes in the background which nicely complement the piano. What I like about Sunburst of Sound is that it's restful and relaxing as well as being uplifting at times. It contains some lovely  melodies - the tracks Follow Your Heart and A Love So Rare especially come to mind. What struck me is how this is a good CD to listen to whilst alone but it would also be a good choice for romantic times with one's partner.

The tracks range from around two to five minutes in length, and with fourteen tracks altogether there's a good range of styles. I'd recommend this album to anyone who enjoys piano music.

Reviewed by Dene Bebbington for Ambient Visions


Snows of Kilimanjaro

by Medwyn Goodall

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Medwyn Goodall has been a leading new age composer/performer since before my hair started turning gray!  (It has been a while.  Don't ask!)  And in my personal journeys in the new age and e-music communities, I have not really embraced his music.

Then I heard Snows of Kilimanjaro!

The first thing that impressed me about this CD is an endorsement from Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.  I have always admired "Fergie's" rebellious nature, her persistent ability to come back and her style in general.  She endorsed the project because it helped to raise 200,000 pounds for"Children in Crisis," a charity that she founded in the early 90's. 

Then I read Jeff Stewart's liner notes.  (Jeff is an executive with New World Music, Medwyn's label.)

It is difficult to paraphrase the entire essay so I will not try.  In short, Ron Friend organized the expedition to honor his son, Martin Friend.  Martin was murdered in Uganda as he was planning his climb up Kilimanjaro.  All 20 climbers in Ron's party reached the peak.

Finally, I listened to the music!  It is delicious!  It is a dramatic soundtrack to a dynamic event.  Med's cheerful music showcases ethnic influences galore.  It also shows divine inspiration.  It seems to me that this entire project was in God's hands from the start.

This music is bright and uplifting.  It is "as refreshing and pure as the snow itself."

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Themes, Variations and Rings Around the Moon

by John Kerr

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The full title of this CD is Themes, Variations and Rings Around the Moon, and this was my introduction to John Kerr's music. I was very impressed, to the point that after hearing a few more of his albums I'd say he's one of the most gifted musicians I've come across. Like some of his other releases of the last few years this one contains a mixture of melodic pieces and spacemusic.

John Kerr has a distinctive style whereby his melodic pieces tend to be played on piano accompanied by synths, and sometimes his hallmark choral effects. He has a real knack for coming up with melodies which are obviously heartfelt and have an emotional feel to them. In my experience that's something which doesn't happen often, at least to this degree, in the world of instrumental music.

The spacemusic pieces are also very good. The track Pensive Moon is an obvious one in this category, with just over eight minutes of flowing atmospheric music which the title would lead one to expect.

The mood of the CD varies from uplifting melodic and rhythmic pieces like Oh Happy Moon which ends sounding like a fanfare, to the wistful and thoughtful on tracks such as Reflective Moon and Pensive Moon.

If you haven't yet discovered John Kerr's music then Moon is a great starting point.

Reviewed by Dene Bebbington for Ambient Visions


Hidden Vibrations

by Rey

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Hidden Vibrations is a set of dense sequences and deep atmospheres from Ulrik Rey Henningsen recording as Rey.

Ulrik follows the recent flurry of Scandinavian e-musicians as he creates grand scale soundscapes by combining those sequences and atmospheres.  He adds some sci-fi experimental sounds and eerie vocal samples to give this CD its outer space overtones.

And this disc is absolutely in-your-face space music.  There are no pretentions of a story or recurring theme.  The space music feel is the only common thread.  Each composition has its own story and integrity.  Together they give the set its integrity.

At that, it is excellent space music.  It is a 1999 release.  That makes listeners wonder where it has been for over two years!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts



by Simon Williams


One of the greatest - and most enjoyable - challenges in reviewing music occurs when there is little or no information in the liner notes and no press release or publicity to accompany the CD. 

Transicity (Read it again.  It is TRAN SI CITY.) is such a CD.  Simon Williams gives no clues as to what his intentions are or to who he is.  The listed web site address is for the record label, not for Simon.

But the real story and appeal is in the music.  this CD is a unique hybrid of Berlin school sequences and symphonic synthesizers.  Simon adds some nature samples to give this a pastoral feel.  It is bright and energetic e-music.  Deep listeners will just plain feel good after hearing this disc.

This is an excellent effort from a real sleeper.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


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