Apparently it is becoming an annual event to expect a new creative release from the Welsh guitarist who has somehow managed to release three releases in the same amount of years. How he manages to write his beautiful music at his current rate is amazing. And while this is once again another splendid creation, there is this underlying feeling of diminished returns as Howe continues to play it safe with his unobtrusive pastoral instrumental mix found on Island of Anywhere. Though be ready for a few surprises.
Island of Anywhere is the third solo acoustic guitar release from Welsh composer and ecologist Mike Howe. Howe’s first two albums with the Real Music label, Time Stands Still (2009) and Round River (2010), provide listeners with a peaceful respite from the hectic pace and harsh realities of everyday life, and Island of Anywhere picks up the thread where the other two albums left off. Most of the seventeen tracks are solo acoustic guitar and a few feature Howe on bass, keyboards, and percussion as well.
Stellar Connection is French composer/instrumentalist Thierry David’s fourth release on the Real Music label. This fascinating album is a combination of melodic, ambient, and space music, and David describes his creation like this: “In this new album we travel through interstellar space looking for possible connections with unknown and mysterious elements.
Mediterranean is Amberfern’s second release on the Real Music label and the first in his Distant Horizons Series. The series promises to take listeners on “relaxing and beautiful musical voyages along routes less traveled, to the quieter and most spiritually peaceful corners of the world.” This first installment transports us to the ancient Mediterranean with gentle rhythms that suggest warm, balmy breezes and a much simpler time... We begin our journey with “Ottoman Palace,” an exotic piece that sets a tone for the album.
Into Forever is German composer Frank Steiner, Jr.’s third release on the Real Music label, following I Ching Symphony (1998) and Touching Silk (2004). Very soothing and calming, the seven tracks were composed, arranged, produced and performed by Steiner on a combination of keyboards that play a full range of orchestral instruments, piano, voices, and atmospheric sounds. Of this music, Steiner says, “I wanted to create an acoustic perfume, a soft musical fragrance to help listeners relax and unwind.” I would say that Steiner has succeeded very well in his goal.