Music: New Age

March 07, 2011

Dustin O'Halloran, Lumiere

Dustin O'Halloran, Lumiere Neo-classical composer and pianist Dustin O'Halloran recently released his fourth full-length work, Lumiere, via Fat Cat Records. And while the synesthete's "colorful" musical palette is diverse, including past collaborative work with indie group Devics' Sara Lov and his upcoming project with "blackhole New Age" group Stars of the Lid's Adam Wiltzie, his prevailing musical identity is a simple and moving one. O'Halloran's previous work, which includes Piano Solos 1 and 2, along with the soundtrack to An American Affair, can be viewed as both an introduction to and anticipation of the composer's present frame of mind, as manifested on Lumiere. With its beautiful, melancholy piano backed by intriguing arrangements for strings, guitar, and subtle electronics, O'Halloran's new album represents a new level of modern musical introspection.

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February 09, 2011

Q&A with Yanni; Truth of Touch Out Now

Truth of Touch We've been excited about Yanni's new release, Truth of Touch, for a while now. In celebration of the album's release, the man himself was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. Enjoy.

Please tell us about your decision to return to your classic sound as opposed to further exploring vocal soundscapes.
It was time for me to sit down and do some "pure" Yanni music, which I have not done for a long time. I didn't start out with the intent to write and record a new album. After being able to pursue some different musical paths over the past several years, it just came naturally to me that I was ready to go back to my roots. You will definitely know this is Yanni but there is a departure from what you might expect.

What do you like most about Truth of Touch?
I like that I was able to spend as much time as I wanted on the album. Without the pressure of having to release an album in any time frame, I experimented a lot with new sound design. I really enjoyed making this album—I would be in the studio for most of about a year, working late into the night. It's more electronic than acoustic. There are a lot of new fresh sounds and rhythms. It's edgy. I think this album is very honest, and there's a beautiful complexity in the rhythmic content.

Looking back, Keys to Imagination and Live at the Acropolis are regarded as some of your finest moments. What's your favorite album at this point?
That's a difficult questions to answer. I love them all. Certainly Keys To Imagination and Live At The Acropolis represent work that I am proud of and hold a lot of meaning for me. It's like having to choose which is your favorite child, which I cannot do. Each composition represents a different emotion and shares my soul at a particular place in time. Truth of Touch is where I am now and represents my character after all of my experiences up to this point, and it was recorded at what I feel is the best time of my life so far.

Fundraising has been a major part of your career. How did last “Movember” go, and how can people get involved?
I find it very rewarding that I can be a part of something that is helping others such as Movember. I didn't realize that having a mustache could be so "cool" again, and it was great to be involved with helping create awareness for research into curing cancers. People can go to Movember.com to donate and grow their own mustaches in November next year to show support.

And when will your mustache return?
Well, I shaved it several years ago when I was doing a lot of Scuba diving and it has now stuck with me. I don't know that we will be seeing the return of the mustache as it used to be.

Do you ever consider getting back into soundtrack work?
It is something that I enjoy and I would love to get back to it with the right project. I appreciate the amount of emotion and color that music brings to a film, and it's a challenging yet very creatively rewarding part of composing.

What's next?
I'm off to Panama City for the first time this coming weekend for two concerts at the historic ruins of Panama Viejo. It's very exciting and I already feel a very warm connection with the Panamanian people. After Panama, we start a U.S. and Canada tour that I'm excited about, as it will be a more up-close and intimate show of instrumental music that I have been waiting to perform for some time.

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February 08, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Justin Bieber, Thompson Square, Gnomeo & Juliet, Yanni

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays (it's a U.S. record business tradition), and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from across different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster's New Releases section.
 

Justin Bieber, My Worlds Acoustic Justin Bieber, My Worlds Acoustic (pop): Bieber fever continues with the wide release of My Worlds Acoustic. Now available from your favorite music source, this album features mostly acoustic makeovers of songs from his previous albums, plus new track "Pray." The best thing since Bieber's Super Bowl ad.

 

Thompson Square Thompson Square, Thompson Square (country): Husband-and-wife team Keifer and Shawna Thompson release their self-titled debut, produced with the help of Jason Aldean's band. The album features last summer's country hit "Let's Fight" as well as new Top 20 single "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?"

 

Gnomeo & Juliet Soundtrack Various Artists, Gnomeo & Juliet (soundtracks): The soundtrack to the animated children's film based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet includes two new songs by Sir Elton John as well as some of his beloved classics. Also features selections from the score by James Newton Howard.

 

Yanni, Truth of Touch Yanni, Truth of Touch (New Age): The latest album by the New Age icon has been touted as "the return of Yanni as you know him." Features 15 new tracks of contemporary instrumentals as well as a few vocal forays, such as the lovely "Can't Wait" and the hauntingly beautiful "Secret."

 

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February 01, 2011

Artists to Watch 2011: Yanni Tours, Releases New Album Next Week

Yanni New Age icon Yanni (or contemprary instrumentalist, as he prefers it) is planning a major comback this year, and it will all start with the release of his new album, Truth of Touch, which comes out next Tuesday. The album is being hyped as a return to his true form, or, as his website puts it, "the return of Yanni as you know him," perhaps meaning a return from 2009's Voices and Spanish counterpart Voces, which were quite a departure in that they featured vocals and received mixed reviews. Yanni and his orchestra are already in the midst of a massive tour across Mexico and will continue with 40 dates in the U.S. and Canada beginning March 21 in Peoria, Illinois. Talks are also underway about a possible tour of China in September. So it looks like 2011 is a promising year for the distinguished musician; he's even started to grow his famous "mo" back for the charitable orginization Movember. As the Yanni Nation mobilizes once more, if you want to explore the music that makes it all happen, or just need to brush up before the new album arrives, The Essential Yanni is a good place to start.

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December 28, 2010

Eminem, Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, More: Napster Favorites: Top Hits of 2010 (playlist)

Napster Favorites: Top Hits of 2010 (playlist) Featured this week is Napster Favorites: Top Hits of 2010, a collection of the biggest songs of the year compiled into one major playlist. Who could forget Eminem's monstrous return on "Love the Way You Lie," featuring Barbadian pop star Rihanna? Or Katy Perry, who released a string of hits in 2010 as well, dominating the charts with several songs from her smash album Teenage Dream, beginning with the single "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg? The UK's Taio Cruz, meanwhile, burst onto the U.S. scene this year with the catchy "Dynamite," while Enrique Iglesias, not to be outdone, hit with "I Like It," featuring Pitbull, which became a huge party anthem. Other featured songs include chart-toppers from Far East Movement, Drake, B.o.B, Lady Antebellum, and many, many more. What were your favorites of 2010?

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December 22, 2010

2010 Holiday Playlist Round-up

We've got a whole slate of nifty new holiday playlists this year for your seasonal listening enjoyment. We hope you like them as much as we do—click away and let us know what you think!

Club Christmas Club Christmas: Danceable holiday music to keep the Yuletide party going. Includes music from Mariah Carey, Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, and more.

Winter Journeys Winter Journeys: Classical music for cold-weather travel. Including works by Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Leroy Anderson.

Hot Pop Holiday Hot Pop Holiday: Contemporary pop stars sing holiday favorites. Features fun renditions by artists including Lady GaGa, Mariah Carey, and the Glee cast.

Smooth Jazz Christmas Smooth Jazz Christmas: Smooth jazz artists including Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Kenny G, Jeff Golub, and Diana Krall celebrate with holiday classics.

Hard Rock Holiday Hard Rock Holiday: Heavy seasonal sounds for a head-banging holiday. Featured artists include August Burns Red, L.A. Guns, Skid Row, and Spinal Tap.

Funky Christmas Time Funky Christmas Time: Holiday music with a groove. Features seasonal favorites from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, and more.

Holiday Chill Holiday Chill: Downtempo Yuletide favorites by David Arkenstone, 2002, and DRM, plus remixes of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Mel Tormé.

Kids Sing the Hits Christmas Kids Sing the Hits: Christmas: Favorite holiday songs performed by the Kidz Bop Kids, the KidzTown Kids, the Countdown Kids, and more.

Classic Rock Christmas Classic Rock Christmas: Holiday standards with a beat. Includes songs reworked by The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more.

Santa Movie Soundtracks Santa Movie Soundtracks: Songs featured in holiday movies by Elvis Presley, The Jackson 5, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and more.

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November 30, 2010

Ken Elkinson, Music for Commuting, Vol. 1-6

Ken Elkinson, Music for Commuting, Vol. 1-6 Guess where this guy's based? Heh heh, if you guessed Los Angeles, City of Angels amid a metallic sea of auto-covered pavement, you'd be right. Multi-instrumentalist Ken Elkinson has created a compositional series, Music for Commuting, here compiled as Vols. 1-6. At first glance, you might take the title literally—other New Age artists have released material with the sole intent of traffic-frustration-ease, like Steven Halpern's Drive Time Rx. But unlike Halpern's upbeat, borderline smooth-jazz offering, Elkinson's is a patient, expansive sound that can almost be seen as an embrace of surrounding environments, or simply a accompaniment to life's journey as a whole. Comparisons have been made to Brian Eno's Music for Airports, though Elkinson has stated his influences come more from '80s synth-pop and Pink Floyd. Overall, Music for Commuting, Vol. 1-6 is an enjoyable synth-tastic ride full of effervescent, spacey, and exploratory etherea. And with tracks like "The Man with the Orange Shoes," "The Unforgiving Fog," and closer "Mission Accomplished?," Elkinson's nostalgic, slightly tongue-in-cheek, but austerely sincere musical personality brims with a persistent likeability.

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November 01, 2010

George Winston, Autumn

 We're a week away from falling back with the clocks to standard time, which yields both the blessed extra hour and depressing dark ride home from work. In any case, much like legendary New Age composer George Winston's Summer, his Autumn wonderfully captures the feeling of the season, encapsulating melancholy, nostalgic passages and whimsical transformations. Tracks such as "Woods," "Moon," and "Stars" provide a picturesque sound, perfect for a brisk fall morning or cozy fireside evening. Originally released in 1980, the album celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is one of Winston's first major releases. Autumn is a beautiful precursor to December, which will also turn 20 in a just a few years.

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October 20, 2010

Napster Launches "The 00's" Radio Station

The '00s Starting today, Napster subscribers can now enjoy "The 00’s" radio station, highlighting the greatest music and most popular artists that shaped the past decade. "The 00’s" will take fans on a musical journey through the era of dance pop, auto-tune, crossover rap, reggaeton, and much more. This station includes the first hits by artists we now consider household names, like Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé (as a solo artist), and 50 Cent. It also follows the rise of new styles, like reggaeton—represented by artists like Daddy Yankee and Noreaga—and highlights mega-groups like Black Eyed Peas, Destiny’s Child, and The Pussycat Dolls. And of course, we didn't forget your favorite chart-topping pop and rock artists, like Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Coldplay, and Papa Roach, just to name a few.  So what are you waiting for? Napster subscribers: Log-in, go the Radio Station tab, select "The 00’s" station, and enjoy! Not yet a Napster subscriber and feeling left out? Click here to sign up and enjoy "The 00’s"—and so much more!

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Flamenco: Sauve y Nuevo!

Nuevo Flamenco Flamenco Suave
Flamenco is an exciting, alluring musical style with Spanish roots dating back to as early as the 15th century. Centered around vibrant classical guitar instrumentation, there have been many variations since its origin. We've assembled two introductory playlists: Nuevo Flamenco (fully covered here), which focuses on bold, newer takes on the classic form, and Flamenco Suave, a slower, sensual set. Legendary Spanish master Paco de Lucia, pop-oriented mainstays Gipsy Kings, the explosively dynamic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, and passionate classical master Armik all make the cut. What are you in the mood for: A lively, upbeat dance party, or a romantic, sensual excursion? Either way, the scintillating world of flamenco is a simple click away.

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