Relaxation as a Goal

Forget All Your Stresses— Three New CDs Can Help Make This Task Doable

When it’s time to kick back and relax…. turn off the TV and try one of these outstanding new musical releases that are off the beaten path.

 

Atlantis—A Symphonic Journey

by David Arkenstone

Narada

Prolific new age composer, David Arkenstone’s latest is an upbeat, orchestral journey to the lost continent, much like a film score. The small orchestra is augmented by a colorful assortment of ethnic instruments, guitars, and synthesizers, topped off with background vocals by the legendary Miriam Stockley.

I’m impressed with both the compositions and the quality of the recording. After sixteen or so releases, this is, by far, Arkenstone’s best work.

The melodies are memorable, the arrangements are tasteful and the live performances are excellent. Tempos vary from moderate to lively and the CD relies heavily upon ethnic influences. In the liner notes he acknowledges ‘inspiration’ from composers, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Sergei Prokofiev, to name a few.

Although film-like, the music maintains a ‘positive’ feel throughout. There are no dark or suspenseful pieces. It’s a little moody and exotic at times, but mostly positive and inspiring.

David Arkenstone obviously enjoyed all the details of making this a “concept album.” Unlike George Winston (see below), Arkenstone chose related song titles, background stories and artwork to bring his concept to life in the mind of the listener. A few notable titles include: The Dream of the Gods, Jewel of the Sea and The Temple of Poseidon.

Atlantis by David Arkenstone is worth hearing again and again.

To order call 1-800-767-4748

 

 

Montana—A Love Story

by George Winston

Windham Hill

George Winston’s new solo piano CD is pleasingly diverse. A variety of styles and eras from traditional to the slightly dissonant strains of Frank Zappa’s “The Little House I Used To Live In” comprise the seventeen selections.

The mood is low key, relaxed and thoughtful. The piano sound is perfect. Overall, this is an excellent recording. But with a title like: Montana—a Love Story, I couldn’t help being a bit confused when I found only a few scattered references to Montana in the liner notes and song titles. And in the entire twelve-page booklet there was absolutely no explanation of what the Love Story is all about.

OK, it’s a CD—not a book. The music is good and I’d listen to it by any other name. The performances have a peaceful quality, which is an appropriate accompaniment to the lush desert landscapes outside my window. Winston’s playing on this recording is less busy than some of his earlier CDs. This one’s for chillin’ out. I wouldn’t recommend it for massage or bodywork, but it’s great for relaxing background music.

He does a solo piano arrangement of one of my favorite compositions, Kojo No Tsuki, written around 1900 by the Japanese composer, Rentaro Taki. James Galway recorded this many years ago with a string orchestra on a CD called “Songs of the Seashore.” It’s a sublime piece of music in any version.

To order call 1-800-767-4748

 

 

Liquid Mind VII—Reflection

Real Music

This one is for deep relaxation only. Composer, Chuck Wild continues his series of ultimate de-stressing CDs that are ideal for massage or meditation. The music is s-l-o-w and ethereal, instantly quieting the nerves and subtly uplifting the spirit.

There are no drums, no real melodies to hum along with…just a soothing, gentle series of synthesizer chords with enough motion and texture to keep it musical. The sound is similar to a distant string orchestra in a large cathedral with a soft choir.

Don’t let the word ‘synthesizer’ scare you. This is not like the impersonal electronic soundscapes you hear on some labels. It’s warmer, friendlier and much more nurturing.

This is a very specific style of music. The label should read: ‘for deep relaxation only.’ For anything else… it will be neither effective nor enjoyable.

But for this, it is perfect.

To order call 1-800-767-4748

 

Rob Resetar lives in Tucson, Arizona with his television and a small cactus plant. He can be contacted by email at: resetar@peoplepc.com.

By Robert J. Resetar