“American Travels” is the initial track on Heading West, and it provides listeners with an insight into the new direction taken by Mike Howe. Howe establishes a very specific atmosphere for Heading West that is bolstered by “Old Wooden House.” There is a pristine and untouched feel to the compositions on this CD that will stick with listeners long after the title closes up. “Hope” is a very deliberate and alluring styling that weaves together small-time coffee house and full-on operatic rock.
Stillness: A Collection is an absolutely stellar collection that allows individuals to be sent away on a dreamy and austere journey through the minds of some of the greatest current composers on the scene. More importantly, this CD allows listeners to find tracks and performers that they like, so that they may purchase other releases from their discographies. We have reviewed a few tracks on Stillness: A Collection in previous coverage, but the deft arrangements of these tracks provide a considerable context than would not normally be had.
“Scene Through The Mist” is the perfect opening to The Veil of Whispers; the gravity of the female vocals that are present here will immediately cause listeners to take notice. Listeners will continue to focus in with the beginning of “L’Invitation au Mystere”. The track takes an interesting tack in that it blends together electronic and organic; there is an interplay, a context that is continued through the bulk of the track that eschews any vocals or lyrical content.
The ethereal opening to Earthsong and Stardance transcends the current period and touches upon mystic societies, traditional monk chants, and even more aboriginal approaches to music. What unites the disparate elements on both parts of the initial suite is the skill used in creating a seamless musical effort. While the two parts of “The Unfolding of the Worlds” represent the longest tracks on Earthsong and Stardance by far, Gandalf keeps things interesting while creating a microcosm of the different sounds, styles, and influences that will ultimately be tapped during the album.
“Song For Kiara” is the first track on Relaxing Melodies of Nature, and the resulting effort immediately tattoos Fuke’s inimitable style onto the minds and hearts of anyone fortunate enough to listen in. “Summer’s Love” takes a slower pace, adding a deeper, more deliberate sound to what listeners expect from Fuke. It is during Infinite Love where the disc moves to the next plateau; the track gains a little speed as the arrangements continue to wash over listeners. Little more is needed to create a fulfilling track than the piano and a little bit of atmospheric elements.