Mike Howe is a veteran in the music business, but I feel that he has continually kept his ear to the ground. This means that there is vibrancy to each of the tracks on Island of Anywhere that simply is not present on a release at another musician’s similar part of career. After the strains of “Beyond the Mountains” wrap up, listeners are provided with an emotionally affecting track that straddles the barrier between environment and civilization.
The opening track to Stellar Connection, “Portal Quest,” does a tremendous job in setting up the rest of the album. The haunting melodies and urban soundscapes that issue forth provide a foreboding sense of dread. David’s ability to speak directly to his listeners is why this disc gets off of the starting blocks with such momentum. “Plenty of Space” builds off of “Portal Quest,” and it is this six-minute track that fills in some of the open spaces that were left with the initial track.
“Ottoman Palace” starts out Mediterranean, and the track allows Amberfern to create a bold sounding title. The track kicks into high gear at about the 50 second mark, providing listeners with a brief glimpse of the hustle and bustle of a marketplace. Moving from that, there is still a quick tempo and motivated feel to this introductory track. Moving into “Es Grau”, Amberfern shifts the album’s paradigm considerably; the song is much more atmospheric than the introduction would indicate.
Rajendra Teredesai’s Divine Dimension begins with “Antar Naad” (Call Within), a track that sets the stage for the different approaches and styles that are presented during the album’s runtime. Teredesai plays the bansuri (a type of bamboo flute), and creates compositions that provide listeners with a considerable amount of instrumental narration. Each of the compositions stretches out over a six-plus minute runtime, allowing Teredesai ample opportunity to expand on arrangements or otherwise capture the minds of listeners.
“Secrets of Life” is tremendously enthralling, with Fuke’s composition here blending in equal amounts of atmospheric and narrative music. The presence of wildlife during this track provides a timelessness to the composition, and grants Fuke considerable momentum coming into “Dolphin Island.” “Dolphin Island” showcases Fuke’s ability to weave a cogent narrative through the tracks on Spirit of Nature, as well as to provide listeners with additional insight into his influences.