Listening to EverSound’s new compilation “Keys of Beauty” got me thinking about Suzy Kassem’s famous quote: “Life is like a piano. White keys are happy moments and the black ones are sad moments. Both keys are played together gives us the sweet music called Life.” Including pieces by some of the finest artists in the New Age music genre – John Adorney, Michele McLaughlin and Suzanne Ciani – this collection shows why the piano is the finest instrument there is. Played by talented and accomplished artists like this, it resonates to us on a deep, personal level. Get ready to be amazed by keys of incredible beauty!
Solo piano is becoming more and more popular these days. Artists like David Nevue and the above-mentioned Michele McLaughlin are leading the new, streaming-based wave of solo piano – while George Winston is still going strong. He has just released a new album and getting ready for a new tour. Its popularity is easy to understand since solo piano is perfect as background music in almost any context. Especially at the modern workplace, where few workers have an office of their own and you need headphones to block out noises. Here the sound of the piano can be both relaxing and inspiring. It is soothing to the brain and reduces stress.
The first piece on “Keys of Beauty” is EverSound veteran John Adorney’s “Beautiful World” (taken from his 2014 album “The Wonder Well“). It is one of those rare melodies that seems to contain a whole cosmology; Simply by listening, you see the world with new eyes. There’s so much beauty to take in, everywhere you look. It fills us with gratitude. That said, there’s a melancholy here too that seems to suggest that this world of ours is fragile. We cannot take its beauty for granted. It is a perfect album opener!
“Pure Joy” by Michele McLaughlin is a brand new song from her “Memoirs” (2019). The title is not lying; It is a light-footed melody, filled with nothing but positive feelings. Michele’s genius is in not making it sound sugar-sweet. It is about genuine, happy emotions. Pure joy is not an easy feeling to capture in art, but Michele manages it splendidly.
Sample all tracks on eversound.com
Next out is a true New Age music classic; “Mother’s Song” by Suzanne Ciani, taken from her eminent “Neverland” album (1988). The song sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did back then. It communicates a is a love that never will go away, a love that is there in your heart whenever you go. It is a fabulous tribute to mothers and motherhood. If you weren’t convinced about the whole “keys of beauty” thing, this song will win you over.
Moving on to one of the brightest new stars on the New Age music scene; EverSound artist Nitish Kulkarni. “As The Water Lilies Grow” is one of the finest songs from his 2014 “Synesthetic,” which we scored 98/100 and awarded the “Best New Age music album 2014” award. It is a fabulous piece, featuring John Adorney on cello. “Keys of Beauty” is not strictly solo piano, which gives it more variation in sound.
Now EverSound takes us for a hike: “First Light” by Randy Baltzell is from his debut album “Heart of the Wilderness” (2018) album. It is a gentle piano melody with light strings. I very much enjoy its intro; close your eyes and you’ll sense the shift from complete darkness to the day’s first light. It is fabulous sound design. No wonder this piece is Baltzell’s most popular song on Spotify.
Talking about brilliant piano melodies; “Coming Home” by Curtis Macdonald is nothing less of a jewel. It was recently featured on EverSound’s “Where the Heart Belongs – The Very Best of Curtis Macdonald” – and it sounds equally impressive here. Its sentimental and heartwarming melody communicates every aspect of a homecoming; the joy, but also the time that were lost when apart. Marvelous!
EverSound has also invited some very talented new artists to contribute on “Keys of Beauty.” Juan Sanchez has only released 6 singles, but has already established a following of more than 25 000 monthly listeners on Spotify. “Rebirth” is his most popular piece. Put it on and you’ll understand why. The melody is heavy with melancholy, yet there’s a force here, an undercurrent, that is driving the song forward – concluding in a spiritual rebirth. Notice the strong reverb; usually it would ruin the song, but here it gives room for each tone to develop. It’s extraordinary for sure.
Stuart Hoffman’s piano and flute melody “Open Up Your Heart” brightens the atmosphere. It is taken from his “Silent Longing” (1999) album, another New Age music classic. Given the compilation’s focus, it is interesting to notice how the piano affects the flute. While the flute stands for nature, wilderness and the culture of indigenous people, the piano is modernity, progress, and technology. Even if we might think of the piano as something old, it is a very technically complex instrument compared to the flute.
Tomorrow is Never Promised
At this point on the album we are introduced to Kokhe. Some of you might remember him for his albums on the Serenity Music label (especially “Follow Your Heart” from 2003). His contribution here is called “Tomorrow is Never Promised”. It is a gorgeous piece with a thought-provoking atmosphere. Life is so fragile, and nothing is certain. The sad melody adds dark colors to the compilation. No yin without the yan, I guess. It is a very wise song.
The happy notes are back with Yisroel Ament’s “A Inspired Moment.” It is a short piece describing a feeling of creative bliss, a time when new ideas keep on flowing. Simply by listening you come closer to your inner artist.
One of the best songs is saved for last: Joseph Nimoh’s “Solitude.” It is taken from his “Conversations on Piano” album. Nimoh is describing a good kind of solitude. It is a break from everyday life, a stolen moment where you can focus on nothing but you. It is a brilliant album closer.
To sum it up, EverSound’s “Keys of Beauty” is a rediscovery of the piano. We tend to forget that it is “the King of instruments.” The compilation is a welcome reminder of how versatile and many-sided this instrument really is. That’s why «Keys of Beauty» will fit in almost any occasion, from your daily work routine to a romantic dinner. It features some of the best performers out there, from established A-list artists to up-and-coming talents.
It seems like a universal truth; when you invite the sound of the piano into your life, it gets better. But don’t take my word for it. Experience “Keys of Beauty” for yourself.
For more information and music samples, go to eversound.com