Michael Joseph’s “Into the Blue” is a debut album bursting with creativity! Every note seems charged by genuine artistic joy. If I were to sum up the album with one word, it would be “inspired.” That’s quite rare, in an age dominated by quick solutions and short attention span. “Into the Blue” is especially suited for creative work. Writing or painting with this in the background gives an instant imagination boost. It is, in short, a phenomenal debut!
There’s a story behind “Into the Blue” that deserves to be told. Midmorning on February 11, 2011, during a break from arranging dance music for a specific project, Michael Joseph turned to his wife Beth and said, “I wish I could compose music. I know I can arrange, but to compose would be such a gift.” Knowing her husband and friend for 40 years, she asked him, “Have you ever tried for more than ten minutes?” When he admitted he had not, she encouraged him to sit at the piano for two hours and challenge himself. After an hour, a welcome flood of ideas broke through, and he quickly penned “Awakened.” The rest is, as they say, history.
This episode of Dream Mixtape is dedicated to Michael Joseph:
The remastered version of Joseph’s 2015 single “Awakened” – which you might remember from “Sounds of the Circle VII” – seems clearer and more alive. It is, as indicated above, an incredibly important song for Joseph. If we listen to it outside of context, it is still a fabulous piece. It is impossible not to be amazed by its timeless elegance.
One of Joseph’s inspirations is Eastern European folk music. “Carpathian Echos” contains chord progressions used in music of the Capatho Rusyn people, who live on the borders where Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland meet. I enjoy the atmosphere and the complex, multi-layered melody.
Into the Blue
This is in many ways a concept album, dealing with Michael’s introspection. “That’s why I called it “Into the Blue” and put a picture of myself on the cover,” he says. “I have blue eyes, and they say the gateway to the soul is through the eyes…so in my case, into the blue. In a way each song says a lot about me, as if they are powerful snapshots touching upon different experiences, thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it’s a simple reflection of how I happen to feel at the moment I sit down at the piano.” All in all, “Into the Blue” is a fabulous piece – optimistic and joyous. The arrangement fits the song perfectly.
I very much enjoy Michael’s neoclassical approach. It gives the music broad appeal. “Daybreak” is light and uncomplicated as a spring morning. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and everything is going your way. If you feel down, this song will cheer you up in an instant, guaranteed.
Church of My Heart
No introspection is complete without a religious aspect. “Church of My Heart” is a fascinating musical painting of religion and beliefs, with the elegance of the masters of the past – complete with church bells and a heavenly choir. This is not a vengeful God, but a force deep within that guides us on the path of life. It is a quite complex piece with many layers of sound.
When we get older, asking “what could have been” is almost unavoidable. Small changes could have made a significant difference in our lives. “What Could Have Been” is an intriguing piece, illustrating the consequences of doing something different and how it could have changed everything. It is an exciting thought – and a great song.
Now there is romance in the air! “Lover’s Waltz” shows that Michael can handle any genre. The reflective process continues in “The Quiet Within.” It is a hopeful song.
This part of the album is more contemplative, yet suddenly there’s a quick rhythm. “Escape” takes us on a wild ride. Escaping suddenly seems like a great idea. One thing is certain; it will not be boring! The song is clearly inspired by Yanni, and his many fans will instantly feel right at home.
The Passage of Time
In Michael’s music is a deep fascination for time and how it affects us. Listening to “The Passage of Time”, we get a sense that time is flowing and that every new day is a new beginning. The piano and string arrangement is elegant and well-made. The next piece, “Missing You”, feels like another comment on how time changes everything. Missing someone is a part of this. It is a sad song, but it is not without hope.
Talking about Yanni: “Into the Storm” could have been composed by the master himself. It is an upbeat and surprisingly fast song. Playing this live will burn a lot of calories! The last song is called “Another Chance”. It is a fantastic conclusion to the album. At this stage, looking for the replay button seems like a good idea.
In conclusion: Listening to “Into the Blue” by Michael Joseph and knowing the story behind the album, I feel thankful that he took the time to live out his vision. I’m sure it took a lot of work, but the result is magnificent. Hopefully, the creative process was an enjoyable experience, and that he will give use more albums like this one. Whenever you require a creative boost, take a trip “Into the Blue” and experience its magic.
Score: 94/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, visit michaeljosephmusic.net