Our Favorite Recently Released Contemporary Multi-Instrumental Music Albums

December 10, 2014 by Admin

Below we present a list (not in any particular order) of our favorite Contemporary Multi-Instrumental Music albums released during the third quarter of 2014. We highly recommend each of these albums. To qualify for this list, an album had to be a new release (not a re-release) in either July, August or September of 2014, feature primarily multi-instrumental music, and be available for purchase on either iTunes, Amazon.com, or CDBaby.com. In selecting these seven albums from over a hundred possibilities, we applied the same rigorous standards that we use in choosing music for play on GAIA Prime Radio. So if you enjoy the music we play on our station, we are confident that you will enjoy the music on these albums as well. Click on the album title or CD cover image and you will be taken to iTunes where you can listen to samples of music from that album and/or purchase it.


Medicine Woman 5: Transformation – Medwyn Goodall

“Medicine Woman 5: Transformation” is the latest in the Medicine Woman album series from composer and musician Medwyn Goodall. Born in Yorkshire, England, and most recently residing in Cornwall, Medwyn began composing original songs as a teen, earning local notoriety with his band Trax. In the years to follow, he learned to play a vast range of instruments, including mandolin, piano, drums, harp, flute, glockenspiel, panpipes, vibraphone and synthesizer, and cut his first album in 1987 at age 26. Since then, he has recorded over 75 albums, sold over three million records, and topped the UK music charts twice.

Some of Medwyn’s recent releases have been under the alias Midori. He explains that he chose this alias so he “could record projects that were more ethnic, eastern, or produced for the healing arts” without confusing fans of his other music.

Inspired by elements of Mayan culture and the indescribable beauty of the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, the music on “Medicine Woman 5” can best be described as melodic, relaxing, inspiring, and at times astonishingly beautiful. Light and emotional acoustic and electric guitar expressions are interwoven with soulful panpipes and stirring Bamboo flutes; all on an ambient foundation of natural rainforest soundscapes. The result is music that evokes visions of penetrating light filtering through lush green trees and ancient ruins, transporting mind and soul, though healing energy and deeply relaxing moods.


The Healing Muse – Ron Clearfield

An accomplished cellist, composer and conductor, Ron Clearfield graduated Summa Cum Laude with Bachelors and Masters degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music studying with Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot and string pedagogues Joseph Silverstein and Leon Barzan. he also attended the Berkshire Music Festival (Tanglewood) as a fellowship student for two consecutive summers. Ron comes from a lineage of gifted musicians. His father was a professional clarinetist who performed with major orchestras through out the United States and Ron’s grandfather, originally from Russia, was a fine pianist and teacher. Ron performs on a beautifully restored cello made in 1696.

As a cellist, Ron Clearfield was previously a member of the Indianapolis Symphony, the Miami Philharmonic and the Miami Opera Orchestra. He has performed with such pop notables as George Benson, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt and Dionne Warwick as well as with classical luminaries Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Aaron Copland and Seiji Ozawa. Ron was featured on national TV as solo cellist for the A&E Judy Collins Christmas Special at the Biltmore Estate. Just recently, Ron recorded on the Grammy Award nominated CD Rare Bird Alert with Steve Martin and Paul McCartney.

As a composer, he has previously released three critically acclaimed recordings: “Dream Manifestation,” “Time on Earth,” and “Music in the Silence.” He has scored for numerous television and film projects including: Homeward Journey, which aired on PBS and the film Opening Doors Within, awarded first prize at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival.

As a conductor, Ron Clearfield has served as Associate Conductor with the Miami Beach Sinfonia from 1980-1988. He was also the founder and Music Director of the Blue Ridge Orchestra from 1999-2011, and has conducted the Asheville Youth Orchestra since 1994. In 2011 he started the Appalachian Festival Orchestra, an orchestra dedicated to performances for humanitarian benefits and causes.

Clearfield’s music has been acclaimed by physicians, therapists and body workers as an amazing tool for relaxation, therapy and healing. In fact, the cello has been studied sonically and shown to have the closest wave pattern to the human voice. Ron has observed first hand that this quality can have profound healing abilities. In the liner notes of “The Healing Muse,” He describes two particularly poignant and powerful examples of how his music calmed a young boy with severe ADHD who felt like his head was on fire and how playing for a comatose friend who had been in a horrendous car wreck and was unresponsive for weeks responded to Clearfield’s music after only a few minutes and began the long journey to recovery.

On “The Healing Muse,” Ron is joined by a cast of gifted musicians in an inspiring hour-long compilation of the most relaxing, meditative and healing selections from his three previous albums “Dream Manifestation,” “Time on Earth,” and “Music in the Silence.” Guest artists appear on bamboo flute, zither, silver flute, harp, keyboards, guitar, percussion, English horn, violins, and viola. This album beautifully incorporates all the elements we look for in the music we choose to play on GAIA Prime Radio. With the warmth of Ron’s cello taking the lead, the music is innovative, complex, melodic, sophisticated, memorable, peaceful, deeply emotional, soothing, and mostly “simply beautiful.” Very highly recommended.


Winds of Samsara – Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman

Recently nominated for a Grammy Award (New Age Album of The Year), “Winds of Samsara” started off as a simple tribute to the respective “Fathers of their Nations,” Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela (India and South Africa). However it eventually blossomed into an epic album involving more than 120 spirited musicians from 5 separate continents and took over two years to write and record.

The dream of Wouter Kellerman (south African flutist) and Ricky Kej (composer from India), this album draws from many disparate cultures and speaks to themes of peace and positivity. The music is wistful, sincere, full of symbolism, and swells and ebbs with multiple layers of complex rhythms and harmony. In fact, everything about this album is outstanding–beautiful cover artwork, outstanding compositions, exceptional production. and mesmerizing performances.

Notable artists supporting Kej and Kellerman on “The Winds of Samsara” include Guitarist Paul Carlos (Crystal Moon), Ciro Hurtado, Vanil Veigas, (Mahatma), Tholsi Pillay (New Earth Calling), Michael Gallant, (Journey To Higher Ground), Lamine Sonko, Susan Mouton, (Madiba), Prakash Sontakke, (Longing), Chaitra HG and Gayathri Suresh, Mauritz Lotz, (River of Time), Fiona Joy, (Grace), Michael Lewin, Seattle Pro Musica Choir, Devan Ekambaram and Dave Gross (Nocturne)

Recalling Gandhi’s mantra “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” Winds of Samsara truly puts happiness within your grasp.

UPDATE February 10, 2015: Winds of Samsara has won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album.


Voices From Heaven, Vol. II – Tron Syversen & Runar Halonen

Tron Syversen, who began taking piano lessons at the age of 7, is from Norway and often records his music at his cabin close to the sea near Oslo, or at a monastery in Italy close to Assisi. He has become a pioneer in the growing European relaxation music community. Blending his improvisational skills as a jazz pianist, his deep roots in the melodic folk music of Norway, and his subtle intuitive perceptions developed from his meditation practice, Tron has distilled a unique form of music that is both evocative and healing. His soothing and relaxing compositions have therefore become a favorite among the new age audiences and holistic therapists all over the world.

Voices From Heaven, Vol. 2, as was the case with Vol. 1, is composed and performed with Runar Halonen, an authorized Nordic spiritual healer, and features the angelic voices of Tron’s musical soulmate, Helene Edler Lorentzen, and others. It’s goal is to take you on a deep journey within yourself.

With Tron’s expressive and reflective piano as the primary voice, varied instrumental accompaniment, and the ethereal vocals, the music on this album is certainly spiritually soothing and calming. And each of the three tracks on the album is nearly twenty minutes in length, so if you prefer uninterrupted extended play background music for work, meditation, relaxation, massage, yoga, or some other activity, you will definitely enjoy this album.


Music That Matters: Relaxing Music Benefiting Lovelight, Helping South African Children In Need – Various Artists

How this album came to be is quite an interesting story. “Music That Matters” is produced by NewVision Music, a music production and promotion company based in Austin, Texas. The organization is headed by Kevin Wood, a 10-year radio and retail promoter in the music industry, as well as a New Age music recording artist. He and his wife Jennifer were inspired by the philanthropic works of Martin and Kelly Dowman from Austin. The Dowman’s had for several years been pursuing the betterment of impoverished communities in the country of South Africa by joining the forces of LoveLight, a non-profit program serving the kids in that country. The core mission and vision of LoveLight is to help these communities rise above the circumstances of pandemics like HIV/AIDs, hunger and poverty in the post apartheid era. Lovelight funds programs and provides volunteers to give these kids hope and a brighter future.

For Kevin an Jennifer, “The Music That Matters” compilation was seen as a beautiful and inspiring way to bring together talented artists with extraordinary music to support the LoveLight cause.

The album features the music of 36 cutting edge, established, and award winning artists, including 9 Grammy nominees, drawn from the “new age,” “meditative,” “world fusion,” and “relaxing music” genres. Moreover, all of the artists donated their musical participation without any expectation of remuneration. A small sampling of those notable participants include: Fiona Joy, David Arkenstone, Stephen Peppos, David Lanz, Chris Spheeris, Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel, Karunesh, Paul Avgerinos, Phil Coulter, Ashana, Michael Hoppé & Martin Tillman, Diane Arkenstone, Medwyn Goodall, and many others.

The quality of the music on this album simply outstanding, and it is indeed unprecedented to have so many of these fine musicians on one compilation. “Music That Matters” is a wonderful way to become familiar with a wide variety of new music created by star caliber artists who care enough to donate their work freely in service to others. Not since “We Are The World” nearly thirty years ago has such a distinguished group of socially conscious musicians come together to lend a helping hand to those in need.

This stupendous collection of three-dozen songs, which has been called the finest compilation of New Age music in many years, is only $9.98 as a download. Please consider donating to LoveLight and supporting the great work they do by purchasing this album. We give the music our highest possible recommendation.


The Gathering II – Various Artists

“The Gathering II is a compilation of musical selections from artists who have recently recorded albums at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. Co-produced by Ackerman and Tom Eaton, “The Gathering II” is a follow-up album to the outstanding and highly successful (Zone Music Reporter’s Album of The Year) “The Gathering” from 2012. This latest album features twenty-one different artists performing one track each. Most are solo instrumentals (piano, guitar) while others feature instrumental and vocal (wordless) support.

The pianists include Jim Gabriel, Dave Kydd, Laura Sullivan (from her Grammy-winning Love’s River), Kathryn Kaye, Louis Colaiannia, Masako, Denise Young, Rebecca Harrold, Heidi Breyer, Dominic Silla, Stanton Lanier, Fiona Joy, Ann Sweeten, Vicente Avella, Isadar, and Lynn Yew Evers. The guitarists are Lawrence Blatt, Matteo Palmer, Shambhu, Ryan Michael Richards, and Vin Downes – some of the best acoustic instrumental musicians composing and recording today.

Supporting artists include Imaginary Road studio luminaries such as Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat, Noah Wilding, Jill Haley, Jeff Oster, and Ackerman himself.

For those who are new to the appreciation of high quality solo instrumental music, this album is an excellent place to start. For those not new to this genre, this album should definitely take an honored place in your collection. Very highly recommended.


Native Chill: Spirits Calling – David Arkenstone

With three GRAMMY nominations, twenty Billboard hits, and millions of fans worldwide, David Arkenstone has established himself as one of the best contemporary instrumental musicians of our time. David has recorded over thirty albums, toured extensively including performances at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, scored dozens of films and documentaries, and composed music for the Olympics that is used to this day. NBC Producer David Michaels, who makes frequent use of David s music, says, ‘David writes with fire, passion and emotion, all at once simple and complex. He’s an artist capable of constant inspiration.’ That is why we have made him one the featured artists on GAIA Prime Radio.

“Native Chill: Spirits Calling” combines Native American musical elements with a somewhat down-tempo chill-out sound. As we have come to expect from David, the music on this album is innovative, complex, sophisticated, and well crafted; deftly blending intersecting layers of Native American flute, various types of percussion, light electronics, traditional Native American chants, and other subtle instrumentation. If you are need of a laid back, relaxing sound, to put off stress or unwind from a hectic day, this album will fit the bill.

Coming Soon: Our favorite albums released in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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