Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: SNOW ANGEL


REVIEW: SNOW ANGEL by Michele de Wilton

SNOW ANGEL, the third album by Michele de Wilton, sets the soundtrack for the season. The composer/producer/pianist’s third album ushers in the forthcoming Holidays with special songs for celebrating from Thanksgiving well into the New Year.

Upon receiving this album, one is struck by its stunning packaging and design elements, and the appropriateness of the title as it applies to the lovely image of the artist herself. One’s next thought is that this album will be THE ideal hostess gift and stocking stuffer, and that you must immediately order five more in time for the holidays! It is only upon popping it in the stereo that one realizes it will also set the perfect backdrop for all of your holiday activities at home, from entertaining to decking the halls.

Recorded in July and September of 2011, Snow Angel is a one-of-a-kind album that was created and compiled in order to follow the chronological period of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. For instance, the opening track, “Thanks,” is cleverly-titled for the Thanksgiving holiday. “Thanks” is a previously-unrecorded song with a sweeping and joyous melody that sets the stage for the rest of the album—and season. “Snowfall” is another previously-unrecorded original song with which de Wilton evokes imagery of a freshly-shaken snow globe with high notes signifying falling flakes of snow. The cascading piano melodies and twinkling sound effects of the keys connote snowflakes falling at various speeds—all in a cinematic framework of imaginative ingenuity with the likes of Danny Wright and Thomas Newman. In fact, the artist made a special effort to capture the “crystalline” sound by re-recording it on a superbly restored 1909 Steinway Model B piano perfect for reaching the clearest high notes. “Winterbluegreen” is the third original song, with a slow and pensive melody that is as gentle as snowflakes tumbling across a frozen plain. The instrumental song, previously released on de Wilton’s Daydream album, was inspired by “Blue Winter,” a poem by Robert Francis.

The traditional Christmas carol favorites are decked out in all their glory and performed with an amazing array of genuineness, harmoniousness, and joyous piano playing. “Angels We Have Heard on High” is a classic that Michele keeps relatively traditional, but not without infusing a melodious mix of ear-friendly notes. The following piece, “O Holy Night,” is another traditional song that awakens the child-like spirit in all of us, along with “Good King Wenceslas.” Notably, the harp-like embellishments produced on the piano in this piece are stellar. The next set of songs—“O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman,” and “What Child Is This,”—is a running arpeggio of holiday enchantment.

Michele pays homage to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Snow Queen, on “Waltz for Gerda & Kay.” The story involves issues of good and evil, relationships, and love; Kay and Gerda display love for each other, despite Kay’s abduction by The Snow Queen in her ice palace. The ambulating and seemingly somber piano tones resemble the tinkling sounds of icicles forming, expanding, and breaking. In a similar manner, Michele’s inspiration for including “In the Bleak Midwinter,” stems from a childhood experience at the age of 8, while learning the carol based on a poem by Christina Rossetti in a school in Greece. According to de Wilton, “The heat quit… and it was cold.” Perhaps the warm, sweeping piano melodies in this piece can give an uplifting feeling to make it through life’s rough spots… especially in the season’s midwinter blast of arctic air.

De Wilton includes one live bonus track on the album, “The Ice Maiden,” inspired by a Norse myth about a frost goddess. (See the Ice Maiden music video at http://youtu.be/Q98BhxaK_GQ). First recorded for her debut album, Myths and Legends, during a snowstorm at the Chicago Recording Company in 2008, de Wilton admits that she prefers this live track over the other, and was excited to find a reason to share it with her fans. On “Winter Bloom (Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming),” de Wilton’s creative licensing soars high, with the song mixing original and traditional melodies that are finely-tuned and interwoven.

At the end of the Holiday season, Michele creates a celebratory homage for the New Year with the addition of “Auld Lang Syne.” The traditional New Year’s Eve ode is full of rippling piano melodies that wax and wane with delicate emotion in an almost reflective manner, promising renewal for the year ahead.

Snow Angel is releasing on Michele de Wilton Records, November 22, 2011; it was recorded on a 1909 Steinway Model B and at the Chicago Recording Company on a Steinway Concert Grand. The album was engineered and mixed by Dennis Tousana, mastered by Steve Sundholm, and manufactured by TSI. The stunning package design by Merge Design & Interactive and photography by Brian Kuhlmann deserve special mention, as both lend to the highly gift-worthy look and feel of the CD. Tenderly, it is dedicated by de Wilton “In loving memory of my grandmother Doreen Grace Robertson, who gave me my first book of Christmas carols.”

The album contains 16 tracks, with a total running time of 50 minutes.

Rating: Highly Recommended *****

Links:
http://www.micheledewilton.com - Official Artist Website
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Michele-de-Wilton/26000011732 - Official Facebook Page
http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/michele-de-wilton/id289424939 - iTunes
http://youtu.be/Q98BhxaK_GQ - “The Ice Maiden” Music Video

Track List:
Thanks
Angels We Have Heard on High
O Holy Night
Snowfall
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
What Child is This?
Waltz for Gerda & Kay
In the Bleak Midwinter
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Good King Wenceslas
Winter Bloom (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming)
Winterbluegreen
Silent Night
Old Lang Syne
The Ice Maiden (Live)
Total running time: 50 minutes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sounds from the Circle - A Review by John Olsen


"The New Age Music Circle is an online community forum founded by international composer, producer, and music circle host Suzanne Doucet. Having a membership roster well over a thousand members from around the world, the Circle forum is the leading discussion platform where top New Age artists, industry professionals, and music fans alike can share music, videos, post information about events and participate in forum discussions.

Sounds from the Circle 111 is the 2011 CD release from Circle members who submitted their New Age, and related sub genres music for consideration. Host and founder of the music circle, Suzanne Doucet then produced this rather special album which contains 40 songs and holds over 3 hours of music...."

(please click over to New Age Music World for the full review of this compilation, associate produced by yours truly...)

Monday, September 26, 2011

SoundAffects Experiment Helps Pedestrians Tune In


I remember living in NYC before iPods, cellphones, and all the other ways we now find to tune out. Unruly traffic forced one to walk everywhere, seeing, smelling, feeling and hearing the sights of the city. Ones' senses were constantly assaulted by the street and other people, so it's no wonder we all stuck earbuds in the moment they became popular. Now, Parson's School of Design in NY is exploring said street sounds to see if a new perspective can affect the way we feel about our environment in a most interesting study. Click thru to read on...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Danny Wright Announces Benefit Concert on Sun. Sept. 18th


Beloved pianist Danny Wright has announced the creation of The Danny Wright Foundation for Music, which is to be launched with an exciting star-studded concert at The Orleans in Las Vegas, NV on 9/18/11 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are available to the public for just $25, an incredible price to see such a huge array of talent in an all ages show! This is a good one for the whole family, and for a great cause. The Danny Wright Foundation was formed to provide a source to help people through the power of music. Its Mission Statement: “Healing the planet one heart at at time. Dedicated to the enrichment of the lives of All People with the understanding and appreciation in the healing power of music. Helping people the “Wright Way.”

Danny is also releasing a new album in October titled Soul 2 Soul, full of original compositions that absolutely shimmer under his fingertips. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Afternoon Journeys with Al Conti


We all have our unique body timing. For me, it seems that at 2:20 each day, my eyes wander to the clock and I know its time to have tea and refresh my mind. Music is a wonderful way to reawaken one's mind, especially if it's upbeat yet not disturbing to your coworkers.

That said, I'm glad to have discovered the music of award-winning composer Al Conti, after he won a Best of 2010 Award from Amazon.com. His music is an upbeat hybrid of new age, world and contemporary instrumental with backstory that takes one to the land of the vikings (Northern Seas) or the Middle East (Scheherazade).

One can easily stream previews of Al's four albums on his website, or purchase CD or downloads from Amazon.com, where it is noted that people who bought his music also bought Enya, Yanni, Gandalf and Bill Leslie...good company to be in. Signing up for the Quarterly newsletter earns you a free download, too.

Appropriately, Northern Seas has been submitted to the 54th Annual GRAMMY(R)Awards for 2011 (Best Album: New Age); I wish this talented composer the very best of luck!

Follow Al's progress on composing and recording his forthcoming album at: http://alconti.blogspot.com/

Website: http://alconti.net/northern.html#
Amazone: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VI0F4O/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
Twitter: @al_conti

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Painting in Sound with Heidi Anne Breyer




Heidi Anne Breyer, who won Zone Music Reporter’s Best Instrumental Piano Album 2010 and Best New Artist of 2010, has signed a distribution agreement with New Leaf Distributing, to begin this Fall. She also announced the recording of a new album, due out this winter, and a forthcoming DVD collection of relaxing music videos.

The new album, Breyer says, promises an introspective view of the artist’s life, combined with a passionate perspective on her adopted country, the United States. Central to that theme is the ever-evolving piece “American Gothic,” which Breyer debuted on her initial album release, Winter Light. The new album will be produced with GRAMMY® Award winning Producer and Engineer Corin Nelsen of SynchroSonic Productions Inc. in Maine.

Another Place and Time garnered across-the-board critical acclaim and won Breyer the aforementioned ZMR honor, which is decided largely by airplay and the votes radio DJs. Recorded and produced by Grammy®-Award winning producer Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studios, Another Place and Time is a collection of Breyer’s original compositions with haunting melodies and vocals that reflect upon the most intimate moments of our lives. In addition to piano and vocals by Breyer, Another Place and Time features several of today’s finest musicians including cellist Eugene Friesen, Charles Bisharat on violin, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Jill Haley on English horn and turns on guitar by both Will Ackerman and David Cullen.

In describing Breyer’s first two albums, respected music reviewers like Kathy Parsons, Bill Binkelman, RJ Lannan, and Michael Debbage have used phrases like “haunting,” “powerful and evocative,” and “a stunning contemporary piano album.” Breyer’s work as a musician, vocalist, lyricist and composer often reflects the art and poetry that inspires her, whether it be the introspective paintings of Alexander Volkov or the poignant poetry of Maricet Delaney or Mary Oliver. In fact, Volkov's paintings were the inspiration for various pieces on Another Place and Time, leading to a series of 12 music videos, soon to be available as a collection on DVD.

Click thru to read the full story...http://www.prweb.com/releases/HeidiAnneBreyer/2011/prweb8728017.htm

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BELLYRAMA - A Beautiful Event for Yoga Mamas




Doula Sarah Longacre's innovative Blooma Studio has launched a beautiful event with her annual Bellyrama yoga tribute to mothers and mothers-to-be. Wouldn't it be lovely to see the event grow, right along with all those beautiful bellies?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michele de Wilton - Shimoda



The incredible solo pianist Michele de Wilton composes, performs, and portrays the heroine in her latest visual music production. A mother of two young children, Michele inspires us to rise above the everyday to find great beauty in our lives.

Michele shares her insights, humor and experiences in her heart-warming blog, everyday serenity.