Sunday, October 4, 2015

Instrumental New Age/Classical Review: Barbara Hills-Moon and Shadows

Release Date: October 19, 2014
Label: House in the Wood Productions
Website


Barbara Hills has always been influenced by music. Devoted to her chosen path, this artist and composer sold paintings to pay for her guitar. Barbara has been an educator and has founded her own studio House in the Woods Productions. Barbara’s Welsh heritage influences her work and it often shows in Celtic undertones and a focus on nature and the environment. The photographs on the cover of the album are all locations around the artist’s home, sharing with us the love of nature and all of her glory. Moon and Shadows was arranged, recorded, engineered and produced by Barbara Hills.

Moon and Shadows is a journey of sorts that takes you over fields, deserts, moon covered skies and babbling brooks. Sea and space, woods and the flutter of butterflies can be found-but so can quirky pieces like “Hidden Depths” and “Landfill Tango.”

An ethereal piece filled with woodwind instruments and tender piano sequences, “Moon on the Moat” evokes a dark fairy tale in the making. Mist rises from the ground and you walk out on the veranda to meet a figure as he rises from the fog. The moon peeks through the cloudy sky and a shiver of trepidation slides through you. One dance. One night. One breath of passion. Where will it lead as the music only the two of you can hear takes you away? This piece is seductive and projects a midnight landscape rife with possibilities. Electronic elements are woven in further adding to the layers of mysticism and wonder as the dance goes on, winding into the night…

“Indigo” is the last piece on the first CD in this collection. Pensive, the song begins with a synthetic floating sound, quickly morphing into magical chimes, a plodding rhythm dotted with percussive elements and melodic voices. Starry skies filled with nature’s wonderment cascade around the listener until the very last portion of the song when it erupts in a vivacious blend of instrumentation as vivid as a painting.

“Dark and Sleepy Forest” is on the second part of this two CD set. Leaves crunch and percussive elements pound as you try to get away from whatever it is that stalks you in the night. Floating electronica music wafts through, reminding me somewhat of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. More leaves crackle and blend with dark synth and multi-instrumentation to craft a trip down nature’s shadowy realm. Enter if you dare for you do not walk alone.

Barbara Hills is an artist and sound engineer who has crafted an album devoted to nature. She was inspired by locales near her home, creating an audible landscape of earth, sea and sky. This album was an enjoyable experience with ethereal pieces like “Moon on the Moat” and quirky little numbers like the heavily electronica based “Landfill Tango” and “Hidden Depths.”

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Moon on the Moat, Dark and Sleepy Forest, Indigo


Tracks:
01. Desert: Midnight Ride
02. High Pines
03. Hidden Depths
04. Landfill Tango
05. Galaxies
06. Moon on the Moat
07. Deer at the Brook
08. Winter River
09. Woods After Rain
10. Pebbles
11. Field of Clouds
12. Indigo
13. Walk to the Fallow Meadow
14. Caverns
15. Kingdom of the Swan
16. Suburban Dawn
17. In the Shadows of Roasting Spring
18. Dark and Sleepy Forest
19. Snowflakes
20. Sea: Sunrise
21. Northern Lights
22. Leaving Orbit
23. Return of the Butterflies
24. Rain On the Road



Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
October 4, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


 




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