“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water,” is a famous quote by poet Rabindranath Tagore. That might be true, but sometimes you can come a long way by simply listening to the sound of water. This sound can also be used in music, something fans of Acoustic Ocean can attest to. Their new album “Blue Moon Rising” is about Remembrance, Gratitude and Renewal. It is from start to finish an incredibly rewarding listen.
Acoustic Ocean is the collaboration of two veteran musicians and recording artists Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan. They debuted in 2009 with the album “Light Returning”. The title track from this album has been one of the most popular songs on New Age Stars Radio of all time. Their second album, “Reflections on Still Water”, was released in 2010. “Chimes of the Spirit” followed in 2013. Peggy Morgan died in 2016. The song “Love is a Force Field” on “Blue Moon Rising” was recorded before her passing. You may sample all Acoustic Ocean albums here.
A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)
Acoustic Ocean has always had a unique sound, and that is luckily intact on “Blue Moon Rising” as well. First song is called “A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again)”. It has a wonderful flow with a nice touch of improvisation. The acoustic guitar is center stage. We immediately notice Acoustic Ocean’s wonderful use of space; it feels like a concert venue or hall. This gives the song a sense of depth.
From Acoustic Ocean’s homepage I learned that a Blue Moon is typically associated with women’s mysteries, intuition, and the divine aspects of the sacred feminine. Some modern magical traditions associate the Blue Moon with the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a woman’s life. The title track starts with the sound of crickets. Then – almost before we can adjust our ears – a duet between Bette Phelan on bowed dulcimer and Kay Aldrich on cello is heard. The melody has a celebratory feel. It is impossible not to feel happy and relaxed while listening to it. Next song, “Recalling Beauty”, is a more contemplative and thoughtful piece, featuring some gentle guitars.
I have always been fascinated by how refreshing and renewing Acoustic Ocean’s sound is. No other artist or band I know of has the same effect. Just listen to the song “Deep Grace / Scarborough Fair” and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Perhaps it is the sound of water and nature? Or is it the free-flowing style? At the same time Acoustic Ocean manages to keep the music interesting and engaging. The mentioned song is divided into two. The first is happy and positive, while part two makes you stop and think.
Talking about meditation music; the following songs “Spirit Awakening” and the beautifully named “Lotus Petals Falling On The Pacific” give time to relax, think and just breathe. Wonderful!
The song “Love is a Force Field,” features Peggy Morgan on harp and vocals. Its positive and warm atmosphere fills us with Gratitude. There’s so much love here; love for each other and love for music. The song itself is a force field and a lasting memory.
The Silent Storm
Acoustic Ocean’s music is never just easy listening. It has rich colors and many layers. “The Silent Storm” contains both light and darkness. Far in the background is something threatening, something to avoid. It is a song of hardship and emotional turmoil. If a song could be 3 dimensional, it would be like “The Silent Storm”. It truly is a work of art.
I very much enjoy the album’s overall design; notice how there’s one light and bright song, followed by a more dark and contemplative song – like a cycle. It makes the album very well-balanced. With “Sweet Mana From Heaven” it gets much lighter, then “Shadow Dancers”, with its duet of bowed dulcimer with cello, takes us into the darkness again. “All Things Made New” makes sure that the album ends on a high note – with the sound of water, of course.
In conclusion: Acoustic Ocean’s «Blue Moon Rising» is a very wise album. It really makes you appreciate the cleansing powers of music. Remembrance, Gratitude and Renewal are so powerful concepts, and they affect the album deeply. It is one of Acoustic Ocean’s finest releases, and that future of the band seems to be in the best of hands. If you are not already a fan, “Blue Moon Rising” will convince you to become one.
Score: 94/100 – See how I rate music here
Visit Acoustic Ocean’s homepage – where you can sample and purchase the album.