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Album Review: Another Day in Paradise
Michael Stribling
Cover image of the album Another Day in Paradise by Michael Stribling
Another Day in Paradise
Michael Stribling
2007 / Leelah Music
66 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Another Day In Paradise is the second release from multi-instrumentalist Michael Stribling. This new CD is a soundtrack of sorts for a typical day in paradise, and literally picks up where “Out of the Darkness, Into the Light” left off. More electronic and ambient than acoustic or melodic, the music brings the listener an uplifting mood and a positive state of mind. Johnny Mathis’ percussionist and a radio disc jockey for a number of years, Stribling combines those pop sensibilities with his advanced training in psychology and spiritual studies to present a unique musical point of view. Calling his label “Leelah,” which means “divine play,” 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.” Stribling uses a variety of ethnic musical stylings to give his music a universal theme that can bridge a multitude of cultures. Unlike some of the other spirituality-themed recordings out there, Stribling does not present a world of all sweetness and light. His music has a strong positive feel to it, but does not ignore some of the darker moments or influences that come into everyone’s lives.

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light ended with “A Glimpse Beyond,” and Another Day in Paradise begins with “A Further Glimpse Beyond” coupled with “Procession of the Avatars,” which is based on the 13th century Benedictine plainsong, “Adoro Devote.” Starting with a feeling of floating in vast open space, the march then brings quite a contrast in mood and a cinematic feeling of triumph. “Asian Dawn” makes another mood shift with bamboo flute, keyboard ambience, and the sounds of birds in the background. Both calm and dramatic, this piece has a very haunting quality. “The Sacred Land” has an upbeat and catchy rhythm over a very atmospheric foreground; in the middle, the two styles merge, perhaps symbolizing the natural and the man-made working together. “Ocean in the Sky” is once more ambient and ethereal, with vast open space and the sounds of sea creatures and wind. “Forever Young” is light and whimsical, with the sounds of children’s voices contributing to the carefree spirit. “On A Quiet Afternoon” is a languid piano piece - effortless and easy. Other instruments come in with countermelodies and color, but this is mostly a lovely piano piece. “Union” is an epic 15-minute piece that is serenity set to music - don’t try to wake up to this one in the morning! Sigh... “When Angels Dance” is another beauty. Free and energizing, yet perfectly calm, it makes me think of fluffy white clouds gliding across a brilliant blue sky. “At the End of the Day’ is content and sleepy, relaxed and ready for the journey to dreamland. What a great day!

Another Day In Paradise is an excellent listening experience with full attention or in the background - it works nicely either way. Michael Stribling is well on his way as a major force in new age music, continuing a tradition but also blazing his own trails. His music can be found at leela-music.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes. Recommended!
October 24, 2007