All Is One - One Is All is the 36th album (many of which were released in Europe) by Gandalf and his eighth release on the Real Music label. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist from Austria, Gandalf has always been a colorful philosopher and storyteller with his music. On this album he performs on piano, guitars, saz, keyboards, atmospheres, and percussion. He is joined by Agnes Milewski (vocals), Merike Hilmar (cello), Karin Leitner (Irish whistle), Peter Aschenbrenner (bodhran, bass flute, and Irish whistles), Vasile Marian (duduk), and son Christian Strobl (drums).
Based on his past recordings, at first blush one was expecting a no edge musical experience somewhat similar to Steiner’s label mate Bernward Koch. There is a certain element of truth to that expectation but as soon as the disc loaded this was the first indication that this was going to be a unique listening experience. With only five tracks present, the shortest track runs no less than nine minutes suggesting that Steiner was in an adventurous mood.
Remembering is the seventh Real Music release from German pianist/composer Bernward Koch. One of Real’s most popular and enduring artists, Koch has been creating graceful, uplifting music for several decades now, releasing albums on the label since 1998 (he released his debut, Flowing, in 1989). A classically-trained and internationally-loved artist, Koch’s music is always sweetly optimistic yet expressive and complex enough to keep it interesting with repeated plays.
Forgotten Road is the second album from pianist/composer Eamonn Karran following his 2014 Real Music debut, Distant Sun. Even more so than his first album, Forgotten Road evokes the ancient Celtic roots of Karran’s home in Northern Ireland. The music is piano-based (electronic) and often richly orchestrated (synth), reflecting a variety of moods and colorful life experiences. A devoted family man (father to five and recently a grandfather for the first time), Karran often finds his musical inspiration comes from his daily life.
Etheria is the new fifth volume of The Elements Series that Peter Kater recorded on the Real Music label back in 2005. I loved those albums, which were titled Air, Earth, Water, and Fire, so it came as a very pleasant surprise that there was a fifth installment created almost ten years later. Kater’s piano and synthesizers are accompanied on some of the seven tracks by Richard Hardy on bamboo flutes, and soprano and tenor saxophones.