New Age Instrumental Review: Michael Stribling-One World Release Date: September 20, 2019 Label: Leela Music Website Michael Stribling sent me his last album almost two years ago. I was fortunate to have the pleasure of covering Union-Music For Lovers. Now with the arrival of One World, I get another opportunity to explore his diversity and explorations of world and new age music. I was a bit in awe of the talent this man has at his command. I was looking for this long list of credits and what I saw was all tunes, tracks, and tinkering by Michael Stribling. I certainly did not expect to see that when I heard the first and title track as it filled the room and enter my consciousness. Tom Eaton did the final master of this recording and as with so many others, he did an excellent job. And so, it is, as many that have traveled that road before him, Michael made the right choices. Because of that series of events and choices he has created an absolute masterpiece of eclectic world new age music. The lead-off track "One World" is one such track that is the perfect introduction and pacesetter for what will follow. There is something mystical and alluring with the wind chimes these artists use in their music, and that was one of the finishing touches for that track. The one thing you can count on with One World is an amazing cross-section of music utilizing traditional world music instruments and the new technology for the finishing touches, so everything comes through crystal clear and the kind of gentle and impactive persuasion that you would expect from a recording like this. The lighthearted "African Marketplace" puts you right there walking down the street and visiting with all the vendors. I imagine it is quite different than what you would witness in the U.S. I would expect the goods being offered would be interesting as well. I have a feeling Michael is speaking from his own special experience. If not, he sure knows how to paint a picture with his music. It gave me a sense of being there. That is what any recording artist would want his or her audience to experience while listening to music. So, from my perspective, it was mission accomplished! Michael takes you to a "Shaolin Garden" then to an "Aboriginal Campfire" and then back to the rat race with "Marching Through Manhattan" (although that term may be out of context when it comes to this music). The point is that you become an instant world traveler through the music and colors brought forth on every track of One World. The whole point is that we are One World, one community, one people, and that is not only obvious with the track titles, but the music also speaks for itself. This is all done very with a very impressive recording with a panoramic view of the world that is conveyed through one man's music. Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck http://www.newagemusicreviews.net/2019/09/michaelstriblingoneworld.html” - Keith Hannaleck

New Age Music Reviews

Paradise Lost Michael Stribling 2010 / Leela Music 58.7 minutes Paradise Lost is award-winning composer Michael Stribling's seventh album and is perhaps his most ambitious project to date. His Songs of Hope and Healing was named Best Electronic Album in the 2006 New Age Reporter Lifestyle Music Awards, and each subsequent release has garnered similar accolades. Stribling's albums often tell wordless stories or depict spiritual journeys and experiences, and this one solemnly commemorates the displacement of the Native American peoples at the hands of the Europeans who traveled to North America and laid claim to the land, often without regard for the lives of the people who were here first. The twelve original compositions are divided into three acts or movements: paradise in the "before" days; the coming of the white man and the resulting conflict and tragedy; and lament, requiem, and resolution. The music is often very symphonic even though it is electronic, and nature sounds are effectively placed throughout the album. Although much of the story being told is full of heartbreak and tragedy, the music does not become overly dark or violent. I have enjoyed all of Stribling's music, but I think this is my favorite of his albums so far. Few artists are as adept as Stribling in successfully combining ambient and melodic music, and his recordings are always a pleasure to listen to. Paradise Lost begins with "Prairie Dawn," a piece that depicts wide open spaces and an endless sky. Peaceful and serene, we hear the quiet world as it gradually awakens. "Guardian of the Plains" suggests the majesty of vast open plains, conveying a sense of solitude and calm. "Forest Heart" is very light and gentle, blending acoustic guitar with flutes, then adding French horn and other orchestral instruments. The results are gorgeous and incredibly tranquil. "Hunting Party" is a favorite. Rhythmic and intense, it conveys focus and energy. "March of Destiny" signals major changes and the resulting confusion. The latter part of the piece has a military march sound, but it is more melancholy than triumphant. "Approaching Storm" is ambient and becomes darker as it evolves. "Vision Quest" tells of the people seeking the wisdom to guide them. Also very ambient, turmoil and confusion seem to give way to a sense of direction. The title track includes the sounds of battle behind an intense rhythm that builds as the piece develops. "Hymn for the Fallen" is solemn and reverent, allowing time for reflection and remembrance. The final track, "Return to the Spirit World" is an almost eleven minute meditation on the return to the spirit world "from whence we all come and to which we all return"(quoted from the liner notes). The music is soothing and gently reassuring about the spiritual home all souls return to at the end of this earthly life. Paradise Lost is certain to return Michael Stribling to the top of the new age/adult contemporary charts. It is available from www.leela-music.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Highly recommended!” - Kathy Parsons

MainlyPiano.com

Love, Light, and Water Probably three of the most powerful forces in our lives are Love, Light and Water and probably in that order. The latter two will keep the body thriving, but the first, love, keeps the soul alive. Electronic artist Michael Stribling seems to have woven together a kaleidoscopic web of music that brings together all the forces into one powerful album. This is my third review for Stribling and I feel that not only are his compositions getting better all the time, but his ability to join themes that have innate relaxing qualities and even healing properties seem to be improving. The album is split into three sections and you guessed it, they are called Love, Light and Water. Love: The opening of the earth’s eyes after a starry slumber and the illuminating rising of the sun is portrayed in the opening number "First Encounters", which segues nicely into "Dream Frontiers". "Dream Frontiers" has that eerie, yet familiar sound of a Theremin. The sound of an electronic wraith dances in your mind as your dreams take shape, nebulous though they may be. Pleasant Journeys" is a remarkable tune for its tabla percussion and synthetic score. Sort of organic versus inorganic and yet they are complimentary. It is a trip on a rocky road with lots of exciting things to see. The very music of discovery. Light: "Bright Silence, Quiet Light" is a dazzling tune with flowing, faraway harmonics that dance about like red laser light on white clouds. It is the musical billowing of lumpy, cumulus clouds that expand moment after moment that capture your attention. Nothing makes you feel lighter. Water: One of my favorites on Love, Light, and Water is "River Canyon". The majesty of the music is quite grand. The rolling tempo belies the power of the water that flows endlessly, carving the gorge into breathtaking depths. Who knew what beauty would be revealed after layer upon layer was worn away. At the Gates" is fairly reminiscent of a Kitaro tune and there is nothing wrong with that. The music is not that of someone on the outside looking in, but of one who has crested a pinnacle and there before him or her in gloriously splendor is the beginning of all things possible. Michael Stribling's music is always calming and thought provoking. With his third [fourth] recording he proves that there is nothing repetitive in his repertoire, only fresh perspectives with every listen. Michael's music keeps the soul alive. Rating: Very Good” - RJ Lannan

New Age Reporter

Feel-Good New Age Synth-Pop This debut CD from New Age artist Michael Stribling (Out of the Darkness, Into the Light) sounds not like the work of a newbie, but rather that of an experienced, old musical hand. Perhaps this is due to Stribling’s pop past as drummer for Johnny Mathis, which informs many of the propulsive tracks on this buoyant collection. In fact, it was the second tune, "New Day Dawning", which hooked me on Music Choice: Soundscapes with its initial tranquil reverie that eventually burgeons into a joyously upbeat tune full of hope. The CD has a nice mix of synth-pop (especially the Genesis-like "Let the Pony Ride"), grand keyboard washes of sound ("Big Planets", "Reminiscence", "Peace at Sea"), and hauntingly beautiful solo piano interludes ("Trust", "Before the End"). This is a bright, vibrant, and very accessible New Age CD that even aurally discriminating fans of pop music might enjoy.” - Raj Manoharan
Out of the Darkness, Into the Light Michael Stribling 2007 / Leela Music 62’41" Out of the Darkness, Into the Light" is multi-instrumentalist Michael Stribling’s follow-up to 2006’s chart-topping "Songs of Hope and Healing." I haven’t heard Stribling’s earlier work, but I sure like this CD! Most of the ten tracks are ambient and spacious, but there are a couple of very rhythmic, uptempo pieces that make you sit up and take notice. The piano appears in several of the pieces, but this is much more of an electronic CD. Stribling’s mission is "to help others in their journey toward wholeness through the gift of music, by creating works that inspire and uplift the human spirit" (from his website). Stribling calls his label "Leela Music," and "leela" means "divine play," so this music obviously comes from a rich variety of sources. Stribling has been playing the piano since he was seven, and was a percussionist for Johnny Mathis early in his career. After several years working as a studio musician, playing in musical theater, and radio announcing, Stribling went back to graduate school in 1981 and became a marriage and family therapist. After working in that field for many years, life changes brought him back to music in 2005. Lucky us! The CD opens with "Driven," a piece whose pounding beat and intoxicating rhythm I find completely addicting. In the car, I had the volume up to the point of being almost painful and kept hitting the "repeat" button on the CD player. My piano students could probably hear me coming from several blocks away! Sure to bring a smile and more than a few head bobs! From there, we get down to more serious business. The title track takes us on a journey that begins with the feeling of dark mystery that is non-threatening, but not entirely comfortable. As the piece unfolds, it explores several themes, gradually brightening until it breaks into the light as the darker theme fades out. "Northern Lights" gives the feeling of floating in darkness that is deep, but also very peaceful and beautiful. Various sounds suggest the changing colors of the Northern Lights as they melt from one breathtaking hue to another. Gorgeous! "Letting Go/Afterthought" is much more introspective and melancholy. The middle section of the piece is solo piano, personalizing it even more. One of my favorite tracks is "Longing," which begins with a very simple but compelling rhythmic theme that suggests a plucked stringed instrument. That theme continues throughout the piece as string washes add fullness and color. Becoming more orchestrated as it evolves, the simple theme comes to the forefront from time to time. As feelings of longing are, the piece is tinged with sadness and loss, but is not without hope. Very effective! "Glory and Honor / A Glimpse Beyond" begins on a jaunty, upbeat note. More melodic than most of the works, it also has an infectious rhythm and a playful spirit that segues later to the ambient feeling of crystalline open space and of floating peacefully on air. Out of the Darkness, Into the Light" is a fascinating musical journey and one that I really enjoyed. It is available from www.leela-music.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. Recommended!” - Kathy Parsons

www.MainlyPiano.com

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light By Michael Stribling Label: Leela Music Released 1/1/2007 This is more like it Michael Stribling has a little more pep in his step on new album, Out of the Darkness, Into the Light, his follow up to Songs of Hope and Healing. This one has a stronger ambient texture with contemporary overtones. A few of the tracks have that minimalist quality a la Steve Roach, but for the most part the music is Stribling's friendly, therapeutic offerings as a study in serene. Driven has a Progressive Rock tempo that really grabs your attention. It has a pounding bass line that gives strong forward movement and, not to sound redundant... progress. It made for a great tune in the car, but it would be equally at home on a club dance floor. Ever onward! Out of the Darkness, Into the Light, the title cut, is a sensuous journey of sound. The tempo is pendulous as the melody unfolds and the drifting sequences begin. As the title suggests the music is a bit busy and then more organized and focused. At last everything flows in the right direction. My favorite cut on the album is Northern Lights. The sense here is that there is a closet minimalist at work. At over nine minutes long it has a dreamlike quality that allows you to drift around sampling different states of mind. Shades of grandfathers Brian Eno and Steve Roach. For me the tune was musically transparent. It plays well in the background no matter what you are doing, but it still makes its presence known. Mild clarinet, flute and brooding background make for a pleasing contemporary tune called Ripples of Awareness. It has just a tinkle of industrial sound, but the music turns out to be pastoral in an electronic sense. With this kind of tune you might actually sense what happens when the ripples stop and the surface returns to a calm state. One of the most interesting tracks and the last cut on the CD is called Glory and Honor / A Glimpse Beyond. A powerful bass track and crescendos of sound everywhere gives this tune a strong, influential tone that sets the background for a vision of the future. There will be pure light, voices will be sparkling clear and your cares will be lessened. To me it sounded as if Michael made this into a trilogy of music, with a beginning, middle and an end that becomes lighter as it progresses. To me he has held true to his theme. My title to this article, "This is more like it" is a reference to Michael's previous album Songs of Hope and Healing that I felt didn't really reflect his title. However, on Out of the Darkness, Into the Light I believe that he has hit his mark. The start of the album is jittery and unsure, a mild confusion. But by the time we finish and come full circle we are more calm and balanced. More reassured and focused. I like that. It has "divine play". Rating: Good + - reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/2/2007” - RJ Lannan

New Age Reporter

MICHAEL STRIBLING SONGS OF HOPE AND HEALING Leela Music (2006) While not the most misleading title I’ve ever seen, Michael Stribling’s Songs of Hope and Healing may elicit some head-scratching from New Age music fans during the first track, “Percocious” which opens this diverse CD with propulsive sampled ethnic percussion and drums amid influences from gamelan, Africa kalimba, and the Far East, setting a fast pace as if one was running on the Serengeti plains or up a mountain path in Tibet. If you come to this recording expecting nothing but serene gentle soundscapes, you’re either going to be pleasantly surprised or alarmed. In fairness to the artist, according to a letter which accompanied the CD, this variety of moods, tempos, and styles is wholly intentional. Stribling is quite adept at navigating through the various sonic waters he travels, whether it be the flowing ambient-ish washes and tones of “New Day Dawning” (which morphs into a bouncy cheery slice of electronica, a la Davol or Soundician), the dramatic spacy washes of “Big Planets,” a plaintive and sparse solo piano piece (“Trust”), the burbly electronics and syncopated synths on “Where do we go from here?,” or the somber ambient soundscape of “Reminiscence” which may invite comparisons to Patrick O’Hearn at his least percussive. The album contains twelve tracks, two of which clock in at over nine minutes in length. “Peace at Sea,” one of the lengthy tunes, is a contemplative flowing new age piece with lots of synthesizers and occasional ebbing and flowing string washes which could also be categorized as semi-classical (all of this is buoyed by the sounds of waves underneath it all). The artist makes a dubious choice for a final track, the rhythmic electro-tribal-world fusion tune “Striding Through Eternity,” but I think he was aiming at ending the CD on an optimistic and energizing note, not going out on a more typical peaceful fade into nothingness. Kudos to him in making that unusual decision. Michael Stribling took a 25 year break from music and Songs of Hope and Healing is his return to the fold, as it were. Apparently, the absence hasn’t hurt his talent or his skill. This CD is well performed and produced and the originality of some compositions can’t be overlooked either. Everything here is accessible and enjoyable from the get go, provided you have a broad taste in new age music. The more uptempo electronic pieces dominate, so be prepared to tap your toes or snap your fingers (there are some catchy hooks to be heard). If I was pressed for a comparison, I’d be tempted to cite Peter Buffett, or Aetopus, although the former’s music tends to be more cinematic in feel and moodier. Stribling wears his heart on his musical sleeve, which in this case is just fine with me. I hope he doesn’t leave the scene for another 25 years before making more music like this. Rating: Good+” - Bill Binkelman

New Age Reporter

Songs of Hope and Healing Michael Stribling Leela Music (559) 436-4994, www.leela-music.com As a whole, the eclectic and widely varying styles in Michael Stribling's new recording, Songs of Hope and Healing may leave you in wonderment trying to categorize it. In addition to the tranquil tracks inferred to by the CD's title, there also are intentional diversions of ethnic percussion and electronica. The serene New Age tracks are the album's strengths: "Peace at Sea," the nine-plus minute ode to the ocean with its waves of strings and opening water sounds, and the two ambient tracks, "New Day Dawning" and "Big Planets," with their broad and pastoral orchestrations all top the list. Other points of musical interest include the electronica-based tracks "Percocious," an ode to Stribling's percussion past and influence of Jan Hammer; the Main Street Electrical Paradestyle of "Striding Through Eternity"; the peaceful "Love Will Find a Way"; and the piano solo "Trust." If your customers have open minds, broad tastes, and eclectic styles, turn them onto Michael Stribling with Songs of Hope and Healing.” - <b>Peter Manzi</b>

— <b>Sounds from the Ground Up</b>

SONGS OF HOPE AND HEALING I’ve have been listening to Michael Stribling's new album for a few weeks now. Yeah, sometimes I listen to the same album for a month before I actually put down words. Songs of Hope and Healing offers a mix of electronic and contemplative tunes that are very palatable, but the title of the works seems a bit off center. Don’t get me wrong. I think that all music has some cathartic properties, especially with our genres of music. Stribling's mix of energetic tunes and emotional themes has that effect. Michael's CD has some long cuts on it; some of them better than eight minutes, but once you get into it, and you will get into it, the time passes without notice. The opening tune Percocious has an almost industrial electronic sound. It has a driving beat and a snappy score that gets the heart pumping and the feet tapping. There’s a bit of drama to the subject and a taste of the Oriental with the banging of the gongs. Notice the spelling of the title. I like his sense of humor. The mood changes quickly and positively with the next song, and one of my favorites, New Day Dawning. I thought I could feel the rotation of the planet with this music playing in the background. The song is a metamorphosis of force as the sun warms the earth and, as the song progress, it gains in inertia as well as energy. There is momentum gained and spirit renewed. With a whisper of angelic voices and a touch of ocean waves Peace at Sea is the absolute best cut on Songs of Hope and Healing. This song is true to the overall theme of the album and I played this one a hundred times; it is that beautiful. It has a pastoral score that more than once crescendos with emotion and excitement. Musically, it is the sun guiding your course to home. It is the climax of seeing the rocky shore after being lost on the dull, green ocean for a lifetime. It is the crimson and gold delight to the eye of the sunset once safely on terra firma. And for this miraculous journey - you never leave your doorstep. Outstanding. With a nod to composer Jan Hammer and to every Italian TV commercial there ever was comes the spunky tune Striding Through Eternity. This is a funny bouncy song that gets you going. If you have trouble rising each day, just play this one. It generates its own energy and you are powerless not to be affected. A fun tune. It seems like Michael's music is a good balance of liveliness and feeling after all. I enjoyed listening to the music especially driving down the road after a long, hot afternoon with the day’s work done and with the knowledge that home was not far away. Rating: Good +” - RJ Lannan

New Age Reporter