Koch has created a sound painting vibrant with the beauty of nature. Whether you are meditating, sleeping, or simply relaxing, this angelic music will fill you with the glow of Nature’s Light.
Filled with Light
|1. Summer Anthem 6:11|
|2. Crystal Light 4:05|
|3. Free 3:45|
|4. That June Feeling 6:50|
|5. Provence 2:58|
|6. Treetop Glide 3:36|
|7. Elfin Dance 3:03|
|8. Evening Calm 4:28|
|9. Quiet Day 3:38|
|10. Tidal Flow 5:28|
|11. In Her Eyes 5:08|
|12. Underwater Sunbeams 5:40|
Over the last few years, we have been fortunate enough to review a few of Bernward Koch’s albums, including Remembering, Silent Star, and Day of Life. Filled with Light is his latest release, and I feel that Koch has been able to make his strongest and most cohesive statement yet. Filled With Light begins with “Summer Anthem,” a softly-stated track that uses repeated statements laid down by a twinkling piano. Minor shifts and changes are enough to wholly transform the track with each and every minute, and Koch is able to build upon the themes initially laid down.
“That June Feeling” is extremely touching. The piano is able to contribute a cogent narrative statement that sweeps up into something that could easily be added to pop stations. One can imagine a set of vocals added to the mix and the resulting effort rocketing up the chart. As such, Koch is able to tell a thick book’s worth of narrative with each distinct section of the single. Listeners will be on the edges of their seats until Koch moves into “Provence” and “Treetop Glide.” “Provence” swings things back into a more traditional classical style of sound, while “Treetop Glide” veers more into the new age sound of the 1990s, drawing on the rich musical tradition of the decade.
“In Her Eyes” is the penultimate track on Filled with Light, allowing Koch ample time to create a touching and sedate composition that builds off a bit of happiness and a dollop of sorrow. “Underwater Sunbeams” is the concluding statement on this release, and it slows things down considerably. Each note means something, and listeners will be transformed by the end of this concluding statement.
Top Tracks: “That June Feeling,” “In Her Eyes”
German composer and multi-instrumentalist Bernward Koch is one of the most enduring artists in the New Age genre. A classically-trained musician, he signed his first deal for an instrumental project under his own name in 1989. His debut album, Flowing, was released in the US in 1990, and several albums of a jazzier nature followed. In 1997, Koch signed with the San Francisco Bay Area based record label, Real Music, and they re-released Flowing that same year. Many albums later (Filled with Light is his ninth release for Real Music, plus many compilations), Koch’s distinctive keyboard/piano/flute sound continues to delight listeners looking for music for relaxation, stress relief and to lift the spirit. The warm, delicate charm of Koch’s music is a constant in all of his releases and is something his fans have come to rely on.
Filled with Light is a collection of twelve original pieces. Koch performs on piano, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass, glockenspiel and cymbals. Koch’s wife, Christiane Bohm, often adds her grace to the music with her beautiful flute playing. Christoph Koch, Bernward’s brother, plays 12-string guitar, cajon, drums, percussion, and bells.
Filled with Light begins with “Summer Anthem,” a very gentle piece with a simple piano melody and pastel washes of synth strings — a lovely start! “Crystal Light” seems to give a nod to the immortal J.S. Bach with keyboard, various instrumental sounds, and ethereal choir voices — heavenly! “Free” feels the way I imagine floating on a fluffy white cloud would feel like, gently drifting in a clear blue sky. “Provence” is a beautiful duet for piano and flute — poignant and a bit haunting, it’s a favorite. I don’t like heights, but I love the serenity of “Treetop Glide” and the warm, cozy blanket of sound it provides. “Elfin Dance” is by far my favorite piece on the album. Darker and more mysterious, it’s a slow minor-key waltz for piano, keyboard, flute, guitar and glockenspiel. Love it! “Quiet Day” returns to a very peaceful mode with piano and strings soothing the soul. “Tidal Flow” is another favorite with its compelling rhythms, guitar, keyboard and bass. This one also has a slightly mysterious feeling and is absolutely gorgeous! “Underwater Sunbeams” expresses the heavenly beauty of light making its way into the water. Very ethereal with occasional bright sparkles, it’s a wonderful way to end this magical album.
Longtime fans of Bernward Koch’s music will find much to enjoy in Filled with Light. If you are not yet familiar with his music, this is a great place to start.
Bernward Koch is one of those classic New Age musicians you can’t help but like, and he’s produced some of the most peace filled and tranquil opuses you would ever wish to hear. My personal journey with Koch started in 2005 with the release of Walking through Clouds, and year in and year out he has never failed to impress me with his mellow and serene compositions. Filled with Light has a perfect summer ethic about its overall construction, with moments of sun kissed reveries like “That June Feeling,” or the warm embrace of “Quiet Day.” This release would be perfect to take on a journey through the woods and towards a mirrored lake, where you could be in rapture listening to the quite emotional “Underwater Sunbeams,” or as you gaze at your partner in the radiance of a perfect day and find love “In Her Eyes.” Bernward Koch never fails to always manifest pure ambience with each and every composition, like the loving resonance of “Evening Calm,” or the incredibly dreamy musical vista of “Tidal Flow.” Filled with Light is one of those releases that brings a warmth to your heart and peace to the soul. It’s an album of outstanding natural beauty, created by an artist who is totally on top of his game. Just leave this one on repeat, your ears will love you forever.
You’ve got to give New Ager, multi-instrumentalist Koch a lot of credit for keeping true to his original vision and not selling out while keeping his aim true as it ever was. A gentle set that celebrates living in the light, this almost one man band has developed a deeper feeling for tranquility over the years and makes it really shine here. A gentle set that is not twee, Koch opens the door to a new phase in his instrumental music career in fine form. Well done throughout.