Music Recommendations

This part of my web site tries to introduce some records that I enjoy, maybe you'll find something you'd like to listen to, too!

music___ambeon___fate_of_a_dreamer.jpg Ambeon: Fate Of A Dreamer
(C) 2001 Transmission Records

A very rare record; it took me nearly a year to find a used copy on Amazon for a reasonable price. Recorded and produced by Arjen Lucassen, a Dutch musician known in his home country for his project "Ayreon", this album features several of Arjens songs, with new lyrics provided by singer Astrid van der Veen, who, at the time of the recording, was only 14 years old. The music on this album has a dark, sometimes almost gothic sound, but can mostly be described as progressive rock with lots of synthesized ambient sounds. This is also the reason for the name of artist label — "Ambeon" is a combination of the words "Ambient" and "Ayreon".
The voice of Astrid is absolutely amazing, especially considering her age. Bright and with a wide vocal range, she still mesmerizes me whenever I listen to this album.
Sadly, Astrid is apparently no longer in the music business, so this will remain the only Ambeon record ever made. Still, I truly love this album and it's unique style and will probably listen to it many more times.
music___jackie_allen__love_is_blue.jpg Jackie Allen: Love Is Blue
(C) 2004 A440 Music Group

A beautiful Jazz record which I found while I was at a job site in California. One of the plant operators at the plant I was working at had this CD playing and I was immediatly captured buy this incredibly soothing, sexy female voice. I listened to the CD a few times and ordered it, once I got back home.
Most of the songs are slow, backed up by piano play, but there there are also a few faster songs. The album makes a perfect companion if your'e in a calm mood or just need some background music that can flow along while you do some reading or have a glas of wine.
Instruments used on this record include piano, guitars, accoustic bass and percussion. If you enjoy Jazz, you might want to give this record a try. Check out Jackie's Website if you'd like to know more about Jackie and her music.
images/music___marillion__misplaced_childhood.jpg Marillion: Misplaced Childhood
(C) 1985 EMI Records; (C) 1998 EMI Records (Digital Remastered 2-Disc Version)

From Jazz to Progressive Rock. This is from my favorite band, Marillion. I started listening to Marillion in high school around 1991, when a friend copied a few tracks on a tape for me to listen to on my walkman, and I got hooked. The lead singer, Fish, has a very distinctive voice and this combined with the overall style of their music makes them very unique. The style of their music ranges from slow ballads to hard rock, all on the same record. Their lyric are usually dark and moody, especially on their first albums. That's what probably attrackts me most to their records.
Sadly, their style has changed significantly since thse lead singer left the band in 1988. The new style of Marillion so far didn't catch my attention as much as the 'old' Marillion did.
Anyway, if you like the style of early Genesis or Peter Gabriel, then try to listen to a few Marillion songs of the Fish era (1983 - 1988), I think it's well worth it.
images/music___sarah_brightman___fly.jpg Sarah Brightman: Fly
(C) 1996 EastWest Records GmbH

If I had to use a single word to desribe this record I would say: UNIQUE. From all the records that I own, this is the one that I played the most, at least considering the fact that I only own it for about 4 years. Of course, there have been records that I played more often, but then I also owned them for the much longer period of time.
What makes this record so unique is the fact that it combines so many different styles in one single album, ranging from musical over pop to rock, including some spiritual and new-age inspired titles. This, combined with Sarah's excellent voice makes it a very unique record. But this also makes it especially hard to describe the entire album, since each track is completely different and would have to be described seperatly. Maybe I should also mention the fact that this record includes guest appearences by Andrea Bocelli, Chris Thompson and Tom Jones.
You might have a hard time trying to find this record, though. It was produced in Germany and is considered an 'Import' here in the US.
images/music___alannah_myles___rockinghorse.jpg Alannah Myles: Rockinghorse
(C) 1992 Atlantic Recording Corporation

I doubt that there are too many people my in my age group that don't remember Alannahs hit "Black Velvet" from 1989 from her debut album "Alannah Myles", which I found myself playing again a couple of times recently. I did some research and her second album, "Rockinghorse", sounded promising, so I ordered it.
The album starts off with a very powerful rock song, "Our World Our Times", driven by Alannahs dark and rough voice, a song that wants me to turn the volume way up... After this, the album delivers a good mix of rock, blues and two ballads ("Sonny Say You Will" and "Song Instead Of A Kiss) where Alannah also shows that she can deliver a softer voice. With "The Last Time I Saw William", she also includes an easy flowing pop song.
Overall, this album sounds like it's going to be another one of my favorites...
images/music___simple_minds___black_white.jpg Simple Minds: Black & White 050505
(C) 2005 Sanctuary Records

I have been waiting for this album to be released in the US for almost a year now, but for whatever reason this seems to be impossible. And the price to order it here is truly outragous.
So the first thing I did when I went to Germany this year was to check for this record. And apparently, every record store in Germany seems to have this record available.
Anyway, this is an incredible return for Simple Minds, after 5 years of absence. Somehow, the sound has grown from 80's pop to an excellent rock style. Still, there is no mistake that Jim Kerr & Band are back with a vengance. After listing to Glittering Prize 82/91 for the past 5 years, combined with a few newer tracks from their DVD set "Seen the Lights - A Visual History", this record shows a move from pop to rock, but still features Jim Kerrs awesome voice combined with an incredible soundtrack. Admittingly, not every song on that CD will remain in my playlist forever, but there are quite a few good songs on here. My absolute favorites are 'Home' and 'Dolphins', followed by 'Underneath The Ice' and 'Kiss The Ground'.