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Monica Williams – Within Us All Review

In our busy and hectic lives, it is so easy to get “lost” and forget who we really are. Monica Williams’ new album “Within Us All” is a welcome reminder of the powers that we all possess, but somehow lose track of. Each of the ten songs has a title that guides us along the path of rediscovery – for instance, “You are Resilience” and “You are Forgiving”. “Within Us All” is a heartwarming, healing, and well-balanced release that fits well in any relaxation playlist. It is a proof that Monica Williams is one of the most promising stars on the New Age music scene today.  

“Within Us All” will be released tomorrow, 15 November 2019. 

Monica Williams is classically trained and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. She co-founded the ensemble Phoenix Rising. “Within Us All” is the follow-up to Monica Williams highly successful and award-winning album “Journey of Tears” (2018). Monica shares her love of music with the next generation at Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek, CA where she teaches 35 students and is the director of Flock of Flutes. Some very talented artists contribute to “Within Us All”; Lynn Tredeau (piano), Sherry Finzer (bass flute), Michael Kent Smith (guitar), Will Clipman (percussion), and John Herrera (synths, creative, mixing and mastering).

You are Compassionate
The album opener is called “You are Compassionate”. It is a remarkable piece in many ways. Firstly, the sound design is sublime, perfect. Herrera’s synth is a mesmerizing backdrop to Monica’s flute. The heart-like rhythm and textures are beautiful beyond words, and the melody is fantastic. I also like the fact that the first “you are” is associated with something as unselfish as being compassionate. There is a lot of wisdom in that.

Speaking about unselfish behavior; The next piece is called “You are Forgiving”. Tredeau’s piano is a nice contrast to the previous song. There’s a simple elegance to the melody that beautifully illustrates the process of forgiving. It is about letting go and moving on. It is never easy, but necessary. Here we also get to hear Finzer on bass flute. Already at this stage, the listener will notice the variation in sound, which gives the album high replay value.

You are Memorable
It is a distinctly human need to be remembered after we are gone. It is the reason why pyramids were built. “You are Memorable” is a slow and kind of dark piece. Perhaps the deep rumble we hear can be interpreted as time, while the flute is the very act of remembering? It is deep, that’s for sure.

The mood changes totally with “You are Happiness”. Notice the change of flutes, and how we can sense how the feeling of joy increases throughout the song. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and everything is going your way. Smith’s guitar accompanies the flutes wonderfully.

You are Adventure
At this stage, we leave the feeling of safety and comfort behind. We are going on a grand adventure to somewhere far East, to a place filled with mystique and intrigues. Clipman’s percussion, and the beautiful selection of effects in the background, make this into something truly spectacular. It is an adventure you don’t want to miss.

As if underlining the endless possibilities that we all possess, the next piece is called “You are Free as a Child”. It is one of the most excellent songs on the album, featuring Tredeau on piano. It has a playful edge, making us reflect on freedom and how to rediscover our inner child.

You are Resilience
I must take a moment to mention Michael Rogers’ incredible and very colorful cover artwork. It shows how all these super-human powers can be found within. The song “You are Resilience” focuses on these powers. There seems to be a fight between good and evil, showing resilience on a massive scale. It is a courageous, fiery sound. “You are Integrity” continues in the same atmosphere, albeit a bit more graceful and elegant.

The ending is quite meditative. I like the soundscape on “You are Not Alone”; it is a space, almost a vacuum, where the only clear sound is the flute. It is a song about breaking free and realizing that you don’t have to carry all the weight yourself. “You are Enough” is the inspired album closer. It has a nice touch of improvisation, emphasizing on the freedom that comes with being in total harmony with your surroundings. Everything you need is already inside you. It is the most essential message of all.

In conclusion: Monica Williams’ “Within Us All” is a superb meditation and relaxation album. I especially enjoy the variation in sound, which gives it broad appeal. The combination of flute, piano, and synth is inspired, much thanks to Williams’ talented friends. It is a release you will find yourself coming back to, again and again.

We all need a pep talk from time to time, someone saying, “You are enough”. There’s a lot of healing in that, more than you think.

Score: 95/100 – See our scoring policy

For more information and music samples, visit bayareaflutist.com