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Album Review: Tranquil Times
Darlene Koldenhoven
Cover image of the album Tranquil Times by Darlene Koldenhoven
Tranquil Times
Darlene Koldenhoven
2013 / TimeArt
42 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Tranquil Times is an all-instrumental recording from Darlene Koldenhoven, a singer, producer, composer, pianist, arranger, orchestrator, programmer, and vocal teacher/coach (whew!) probably best-known for her stunning vocals on Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis tour (“Aria”). Darlene’s work can be heard in hit films (most notably Sister Act and Sister Act II), and in hundreds of movies, records, commercials, live events, concerts, and television shows, making her one of the most sought-after musicians in the entertainment industry. A Grammy winner and three-time nominee, it’s exciting that Koldenhoven is taking her music into new territory rather than sticking to the tried and true. Seven of the eight compositions on Tranquil Times are original, and the styles range from melodic to ambient space music, again demonstrating her versatility and creativity as an artist. There are no vocals on this album, and Koldenhoven is joined on two tracks each by Courtney Jacob on flute and Mike Miller on guitar.

Tranquil Times begins with “Lucid See,” reprised from Koldenhoven’s 2012 release, Solitary Treasures and nominated as Best New Age Song by the Independent Music Awards. Tranquility itself, this beautiful opener is performed on piano, guitar (Miller), gentle percussion, and Koldenhoven’s crystal singing bowls, setting the mood of the album. “Eternal Love” continues with melodic piano and orchestration, creating a blissful mood of warmth and contentment - could be a great movie theme! The one cover tune is an elegant and sweeping arrangement of “Greensleeves” - love it! “Hypogeum” again features Koldenhoven on crystal bowls as well as piano; additional instrumentation comes via keyboards (flutes, percussion, strings). A bit darker and more mysterious, I really like this one, too! The classically-influenced “Surrender” features Courtney Jacob on flute. Piano and orchestration make this piece magical and swoon-worthy - beautiful! “Drifting With Bach” is a clever and hypnotic merging of ambient and atmospheric sounds with symphonic orchestrations interspersed with themes from some of JS Bach’s works. “A Walk in Paradise” is a dreamy piece that again features Courtney Jacob on flute and Mike Miller on guitar. Evoking visions of lush foliage, warm sun, a peaceful ocean or whatever your own definition of “paradise” is, this is peace set to music. “Atmosphere” is a 12-minute track that would probably be classified as “space music.” Suggestions of vast, dark open space punctuated with bright twinkling stars bring the sensation of floating easily through space without fear or concern. Quite different from the rest of the album, it brings the album to a relaxed and tranquil close.

Tranquil Times is a fascinating musical journey and one that should bring Darlene Koldenhoven a much bigger audience. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!
December 29, 2013
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