Friday, April 29, 2022

New Music: Arkenstone's MIDDLE EARTH Revisited

David Arkenstone Releases Surprise Single 
"The Houses of Healing"

Artist & composer David Arkenstone’s loyal Arkenfans were stunned by the announcement that he is releasing a 20th Anniversary follow up to the original Music Inspired by Middle Earth, released in 2002.

Below, we reveal the cover art for the first single, released today, featuring the legendary Faramir and Eowyn.

Read the full announcement by music blogger Robin James on Ello.

Stream "The Houses of Healing"   

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Monday, March 28, 2022

REVIEW: David Helpling's New Single "This Burning Sky" feat. Nidhi Bhatmuley

Last Friday, David Helpling released the second single from his highly-anticipated new album, IN, dropping 4.15.22 on Spotted Peccary Music. "This Burning Sky" features vocalist Nidhi Bhatmuley singing expressive wordless vocals conveying the story of a being who sacrifices herself to save her world. In listening to the music and Ms. Bhatmuley's singing, one wonders if she may have the power to elevate consciousness to the level of the divine. 

Helpling creates this new world on guitar and synthesizer, hand drums and percussion; he is joined by Matthew Stewart on drums. Ms. Bhatmuley's vocals interlace with the instrumentals. The music soars and dives, shooting upwards again; we imagine the sun is high and bright as the vocals become evermore passionate. One imagines a phoenix. New textures emerge and vanish again, and we experience breathlessness. Is this Rebirth?

Listener reaction to "This Burning Sky" (7:20) has been highly positive, judging from commentary on social media. It seems we are, collectively, ready for intense journeys and adventures again even if it is through the safety of our headphones for now. We desperately want, even need, the being for whom Ms. Bhatmuley speaks to be triumphant. We ride musical waves of emotion as we empathize with her struggle, and her sacrifice. 

Cosmic energy is at play. Helpling seems to be communicating with worlds far beyond ours. In this track alone, his music echoes across the ether, uplifted by Ms. Bhatmuley's soulful callings. This unforgettable anthem of loss, hope and rebirth told in Helpling's signature cinematic style is a strong choice to follow the lush electronic first single, "Waves Dream of Breaking."

Helpling says IN was created during the span of a decade, and we cannot wait to see what the rest of the album will deliver! Preview the music and the limited edition bundle with vinyl exclusively at Bandcamp.

Nidhi in red sari, David in black shirt, smiling.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Live Concert by Joan Sánchez Presents a Romantic Option for Valentine's Day 2022

A CONCERT IN YOUR HOME: Enjoy Joan Sánchez & Iratxe Ibaibarriaga, from Barcelona to your Big Screen

Joan (aka Juan to fans in the U.K. and U.S.) Sánchez is a classically-trained musician who enjoys experimenting with emotive expression through ambient and electronic music, painting musical worlds of twilight and sweet melancholy, often precise, unforgettable and elegant. The music understands our personal concerns and helps to dissipate any tension, allowing a sense of comfort to surround and protect our spirit.

Sánchez gave a rare live concert on Friday, January 21, 2022 at 8 pm for a small live audience in the Rosazul Studio in Barcelona, Spain. The ticketed event was also live streamed worldwide thanks to a flawless two-camera production by, and runs just under 54 minutes in length. The contemplative nature of the music, the candlelit atmosphere, and lack of dialogue make it a likely favorite for casting to “the big screen” to set a romantic atmosphere at home.

We see the two musicians, Sánchez seated at a black piano with rows of small white candles, and cellist Iratxe Ibaibarriaga, elegantly dressed in black and seated throughout the performance. Ms. Ibaibarriaga plays on many of the selections, alternating with Juan playing solo piano. This review highlights just a few tracks from the concert set list of 11-songs, fan favorites chosen from across Sánchez’ three albums released in recent years.

The first selection, "Piga al Cel" (performed on Piano & Cello) is from the artist’s new album TOUCH & SOUND. The name of the song comes from a Catalan language expression that in English means “freckle in the sky.” Juan shares in an earlier interview, "This is how my sister as a child used to describe the moon, she said that the moon was a freckle in the sky. I always found this description of the moon so sweet and tender that I wanted to write a song about it."

"Very Young Old Man" (on Piano) from Sánchez’ second album NOW THE SILENCE pays tribute to the man who shaped Sánchez's view on the piano and music in general; piano teacher Enric Torra Pòrtulas. “I was 20 years old and he was 80 years old. I was amazed, as I'd never seen so much energy and enthusiasm in a person of his age. He loved teaching piano; anyone could see that immediately. He was a Very Young Old Man."

The word Ataraxia refers to the total absence of desires or fears, achieving mental peace and happiness by controlling positive and negative emotions, a state of mind that is characterized by tranquility and the total absence of desires or fears. The concept of ataraxia is to achieve mental peace and happiness impossible to alter by controlling positive and negative emotions, "Ataraxia" (on Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND.

The term "Paralian" comes from ancient Greek origins, meaning "one who lives by the sea.” "Paralian" (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND, "There are a million and one things I take for granted in my life, and living within 10 minutes of the Mediterranean sea is definitely one of them. There’s nothing quite like being able to pop down to the beach in a heartbeat whenever you need it. Because of this, I think it’s one of the best places to go to feel closer to nature and connect with the planet, more so than anywhere else." 

Joan Sanchez
Listening to the music of Juan Sánchez is haunting and profound; sometimes the story is difficult, there is a beauty in the hesitant searching for words, and then cascading ideas tumble forth, a visitation from a blurred face, passions remembered and lost, the warm sunshine and awkward moments meeting new friends for the first time, and always, the quietude that  endures. Sánchez’ cinematic songs inspire filmic moments in listeners’ minds.

Watching Sánchez perform these original pieces in concert reminds us that there is a person behind the magic moments he creates for us. Calm and confident, Sánchez plays effortlessly throughout the concert, eyes closed, head bowed as if in meditation, and then he is present again, transitioning smoothly between solo performances and duets with Ms. Ibaibarriaga. His earlier life experience as a performing musician is evident in his comfort at the piano, and in the generous interplay with his fellow performer on cello.  The candlelight concert concludes with the title track from his debut album, “Rebirth.” 

At the end of the livestream, as the performers stood for applause, Sánchez addressed his live audience in his native Catalan language, a charming reminder that we’ve enjoyed an intimate moment in this elusive artist’s life from across the world.  Hopefully, such performances by Sánchez will be less rare as the world opens up again.

Where to Watch: 


Perfect for fans of: Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Lindsey Stirling

Five Stars *****


  • Piga al Cel (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Very Young Old Man (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Ataraxia (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Woolgathering (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Paralian (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Beautiful Rose (Piano) from the album REBIRTH
  • When Daybreak Comes (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • November 2021 (Piano)
  • Now The Silence (Piano) from the album NOW THE SILENCE
  • Those Fridays (Piano & Cello) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Immersion (Piano) from the album TOUCH & SOUND
  • Rebirth (Piano) from the album REBIRTH

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