U.S. reviews of AOMUSIC's CD, "...and Love Rages On"
John P. Olsen announces upcoming review of "...and Love Rages On!"
John P. Olsen reviews "...and Love Rages On" Sept. 29, 2011
Michael Diamond reviews "...and Love Rages On" Feb. 10, 2011
During the time AOMUSIC's CD, ...and Love Rages On is being aired and promoted, we will continue to post published reviews as they become available:
In any album review, the music is the obvious focal point. However in the case of AOMUSIC, while the sound is clearly the focus, there is so much to share about the unique creative process and the intention behind it, that a review would be incomplete without shining a light on those aspects as well. Serving as a brief introduction or gateway, the word “AO” [e’i-o] comes from the ancient Polynesian language and means “pure light” or “all colors.” This second meaning is particularly descriptive as the music is a virtual rainbow of sound and soul.
To delve a bit deeper into what a rainbow sounds like coming out of your speakers, AOMUSIC has been described as “a pan-cultural acoustic fusion of musical texture from around the globe… a commonwealth of spirit and celebration.” The first comparative reference point that came to mind as I began listening is the music of Peter Gabriel – although not surprising since they site him as a major influence, along with the likes of Deep Forest, Afro Celt Sound System, and Adiemus.
AOMUSIC is comprised of three primary collaborators, Richard Gannaway (stringed instruments and vocals), Jay Oliver (keyboards and synth samples), and Miram Stockley (vocals) who is also the voice of the aforementioned group Adiemus. Their collective recording industry credits are impressive to say the least, and include having worked with Sheryl Crow, The Eagles, Celine Dion, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Mike Oldfield, Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen, and many others. Miram’s creatively layered vocals, which have sometimes been compared to Enya – although distinctly different and exquisitely enchanting in their own expression, can also be heard on the “Lord Of The Rings” film soundtrack. The group had the honor of being asked to compose music for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. There are also a number of other associate producers and musicians who add their hues to the rainbow.
One of the most distinctive and integral facets in the sound of AOMUSIC is the inclusion of a variety of children’s choirs from around the globe. On this CD there are five different choirs representing South Africa, China, and The Republic Of Georgia, as well as the US. Lyrics are often a variety of ancient languages or carefully crafted phonetics, chosen for their “shape.” While there are diverse musical elements and cultures represented, there is one overriding message of the album and of the group: “AOMUSIC is the spirit, color and timbre of global oneness.“
In addition to highlighting the children’s musical contribution on the album, AOMUSIC is committed to this goal: “ to establish a non-profit foundation to benefit all the choirs” and to promote the value of music in their curriculums to give them skills and a focus towards a better future, especially in countries where children have been displaced by war, natural disaster, or political unrest.
With regard to their creative process, in an increasingly familiar hallmark of the digital age, the three principle artists are rarely together in the same place at the same time. In their words, “ we compose as three musicians in three different cities, in three studios. Ricky (Richard) creates the base of the song form, sometimes mocking it up with one of the children’s choruses, other times leaving it blank for Miriam to write her own chorus. Then Richard brings it to Jay, whom he refers to as “the maestro”, who augments harmonies and joins in producing a template for Miriam to design her vocals.”
What all this adds up to is a sound that, while it has its influences, is unique and speaks its own creative language. This album, “…and Love Rages On!” is less ambient than their previous two releases, and features powerful driving percussion and rhythmic tracks that uplift the spirit and get your head nodding and foot tapping as well. Beautifully crafted electronic textures and earthy stringed instruments blend with the groove and the vocal tracks to create a sound that “is derived from the purity of primitive world culture… and at the same time, is presented within a palette of modern timbre and production.” One thing I particularly enjoy is the way vocals and choirs are sometimes processed with digital effects to add a whole different dimension to their sonic signature.
AOMUSIC is a magical merging of accomplished professional musicians and blossoming young talent, and according to the group, “the goal is to never stray from a sense of purity and innocence. The childlike spirit must remain within every piece, isolated or together. It’s about a collective spirit.” This album is majestic in its vision and magnificent in its presence, promoting a message of urgent relevance for our times.
U.S. reviews of AOMUSIC's CD, "Twirl"
During the time AOMUSIC's CD, Twirl is being aired and promoted, we will continue to post published reviews as they become available:
AOMUSIC - TWIRL: Highly impressive world/electronic with some fantastic percussion undercurrents that will suck you in to it's vortex and spin you out as a newly "awakened" being (unless you're already caught up in the miasma of "mindless" music that's so prevalent on today's .mp3 players)... If you're already seeking music that's a cut above the pap served up on today's AM (& even FM) channels, though, you'll find this sonic adventure to your liking! We reviewed their "Grow Wild" CD many years ago in issue #41... They were impressive then & are even more-so on "TWIRL". The album is slated for an October 2008 release, so you'll want to go to their site, at www.aomusic.com/ (right now) & get yours... or download only the .mp3's that you enjoy most. One of the more energetic pieces is "Obayo", with a crisp vocal opener followed by excellent percussion that segues nicely into a very danceable piece of music. Rather than "world" (if I had to categorize their playing), I would term this as "universal" - but with the universe viewed from human minds open to possibility and hope... As I listen to this, hope is the feeling that courses through each and every composition (maybe Obama should be using this as his campaign theme. No matter what word you use, though, this CD will be well-received by your aural/mental channels... I give it our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as "PICK" of this issue for "most inspiring musical experience". Get more information at their site (above). Rotcod Zzaj
You may indeed want to 'twirl' to the boisterous and joyous opening number of this intriguing album. Children's choirs from Beijing P.R.C. and Bangalore, India join primary artists Richard Gannaway (stringed instruments, vocals), Jay Oliver (keyboards, synths) and Miriam Stockley (vocals) for an offering that is truly "world music." Additional artists include Sowmya Raoh (vocals), Andy Georges (stringed instruments), and Kimba Arem (didgeridoo). In searching the liner notes for the translation of the first number, I found the following note: "Lyrics on this CD that do not appear in the booklet are made up phonetics, carefully chosen for their 'shape.'" Interesting. And the second encounter I've had with made up words. Perhaps this is a trend. Other words are fused together from Ancient Polynesian, West African, Central African, Zulu, Arabic, Swahili, North Sotho, Xhora, Nguni, and Hindi languages, most often accompanying playful English lyric passages (We came here to play & we'll not go away until every blue heart has been tumbled & rolled into opals of joy down this big ragin' river of love . . .). The overriding energy of this offering is of joy and uplift. The sounds are unique in their assembly, and I think most will find this a joy to listen to. Well done!
AO MUSIC Twirl
AO Music is "a multi-cultural experience." It is from combined efforts of four extraordinary performers - Richard Gannaway on stringed instruments and vocals; Jay Oliver on keyboards, synths and samples; Sandeep Chowta on co-production and Miriam Stockley on lead vocals. They are supported by The CRC Children's Choir of Beijing, The William Joseph International Academy for Performing Arts Children's Choir of Bangalore, India, Sowmya Raoh (of Mumbai, India) on vocals, Andy Georges (of Los Angeles) on additional strings and Kimba Arem (of Boulder, CO) on didgeridoo.
This is a very cool experience. Miriam is one of the top new age vocalists in the world. She has the ability to use her voice as an additional instrument in the ensemble. The sound design is flawless and seamless. The rhythms come from Jay's synths. Richard's strings are sweet and sublime.
This is just an amazing CD! I find myself sitting here with goose bumps as I try to describe it. It has something for everyone and more! The whole experience is completely overwhelming! It is joyful to the 10th power. It has depth. It has meaning. It is "in your face." It says, "Get up and move! Share the good vibes. Be part of the journey. BE THE JOURNEY!"
The music permeates every fibre of my being. I had to get up and dance despite my severe arthritis. I felt no pain. I felt joy. I was one with me. I was within myself looking at myself from the outside as I looked at myself from the inside. I was a mirror in a mirror in a mirrorŠ. I was the ultimate conundrum.
The music ended. The spell was broken. The soul was rejuvenated. I was tired. I was energized. I felt no pain. I had new perspectives. Over the years I have experienced several profound responses to music. There had not been one like this before. The other experiences were internal stimuli responding to the external. This is the external from the internal back to the external and back to the internal once more.
This is a great CD and an immediate entry to my all time top 25!
Jim Brenholts resides in N. Versailles, PA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. reviews of AOMUSIC's CD, "Grow Wild"
During the time the Grow Wild CD was being aired on National Public Radio in early 2000, AOMUSIC & their management hired "The Creative Service Co". out of Boulder CO to submit the CD for music reviews in select publications throughout North American cities. Here are some of those printed reviews:
AOMUSIC, Grow Wild: "It is infrequently that I come across (musical) energy this exciting! This CD features a duo, Richard Gannaway and Jay Oliver. There are some reviewers/listeners who might lump this in with some broad category like "world beat" or "new age," I suppose. What an absolute
disservice they would be doing to the public. This is, quite simply, some of the most astonishing and beautiful music I have heard in years! If you came across the package in store racks, you might miss it, as it's a fairly nondescript insert. Once you open it, though, and begin reading their liners and history, you'd quickly realize that this IS the music of "light" with the potential to illuminate (and energize) millions who are living the life of the lost. Each piece is superbly crafted from various cultures around the world to raise your awareness of the connectivity we all share (whether we're prepared to deal with that or not). Lyrical mastery contributes, of course, but the composition is the key here, and AOMUSIC have that down PAT, people! It's not just an aimless swirl of rhythmic pabulum, either, this music ROCKS (no matter what the pace of the tune is). I'm impressed enough (and that takes something these days) to declare it the PICK of this issue for "best all around music"! No matter what your musical background/preference, I'm confident you'll agree. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Let yourself GO... get wild... natural...free!"
AOMUSIC- AO MUSIC Grow Wild CD album shows the need for the world to be forever on the search for new music. You will hear the sounds of Africa, North & South America, Polynesia, Ireland and many other nations. But, as you listen, you begin to feel like a child again and create your own worlds to blend in with each new sound."
"Whatever these guys are smoking, I want some, 'cause this is some pretty groovy music from a place very much outside the world of mundane reality, "a place where music, color, form and movement blend into one expression"
AOMUSIC Grow Wild released 2000 AO Music -" Eclectic World beat Pop **** (four stars) Flawless blend of pop and world beat sprinkled with catchy haunting melodies. Don't be surprised if the tracks "Chameleon Makebelieve" and "Haumea" cross over into mainstream radio.
Given their melodic pulsating groove, AOMUSIC also could conceivably strike a chord with the Dave Matthews audience."
CD PRODUCTION: 10
BEST TRACK: "Chameleon Make Believe"
WORST TRACK: there are no bad tracks on this album
OVERALL RATING 10
AO - Grow Wild (AO Music). Richard Gannaway & Jay Oliver, a pair of highly talented musicians, paint a portrait of world sounds with various languages and ethereal melodies. It's a mélange of vocals and rhythms. What sets this apart is a sort of playfulness that invites listeners to wrap themselves in the rhythmic tapestries and turn on the imagination."
"Recently a couple of guys named Richard Gannaway and Jay Oliver decided to let their music grow wild on their first album. Their mission is nothing less than heroic. Using a healthy attitude for having fun with sound, they've created a unifying sound that can reach out to almost anyone."
"The fist step is to get people to engage their hearts again," Jay Oliver points out. "Art needs to promote positive thinking and energy. We're at a state in history when the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. We're becoming one people, one culture, tied together financially, with instantaneous Internet communications, sharing news and art, and questioning the old ways. We want our music to help people prepare for the changes, to let them know it's okay to embrace the changes."
Richard Gannaway says the group's mission is even simpler:
"We want each listener to walk away from this music with a deeper sense of dimensional freedom," "Children invent their own worlds around them everyday and, AOMUSIC will always present a very colorful palette that encourages that sort of playful imagination..."
Through it all, AOMUSIC's spirit grows wild and infuses the lyrics with laughing dare, a challenge to use your imagination and find other worlds to explore. At other times, the songs of Grow Wild come to us almost as prayers.. The translation of the single verse does more to sum up the spirit of the album than any reviewer ever could.
"The sounds are soothing, yet they crackle with life. An intriguing blend - world music, from a different world. Each song is a brick in the big picture, the languages change but their meaning is clear."
"According to the musical duo AOMUSIC, the evolution of the world requires
new music that pulls sounds and words from many places, cultures
and peoples. On their debut album, Grow Wild, AOMUSIC creates global
music that resonates with a natural musical geometry, giving their
sound a primal, timeless instinctive universality. "We'd like the listener to be loosened from any imposed restrictions of what is possible and feel invited to entertain a new story, says AOMUSIC's Richard Gannaway."
AOMUSIC, Grow Wild - "They are called AOMUSIC, a musical duo that have worked with Sheryl Crow, The Eagles and Jimmy Buffett. AO is the ancient Polynesian word for light, and light is what AOMUSIC brings into their music. On Grow Wild they are sending out a very positive message not only in their music but in their words. They are telling us that it is time to go back to the heart and spread out our wings, for we all come from one. Truly an inspiring and positive CD for all of us."