Frank Steiner, Jr.
2012 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Into Forever is German composer Frank Steiner, Jr.’s third release on the Real Music label, following I Ching Symphony (1998) and Touching Silk (2004). Very soothing and calming, the seven tracks were composed, arranged, produced and performed by Steiner on a combination of keyboards that play a full range of orchestral instruments, piano, voices, and atmospheric sounds. Of this music, Steiner says, “I wanted to create an acoustic perfume, a soft musical fragrance to help listeners relax and unwind.” I would say that Steiner has succeeded very well in his goal. I must caution you, though. Don’t try to wake up to this CD! I had it in my wake-up alarm a couple of mornings and slept rather blissfully through the whole album! The tracks range in duration from just under five minutes to just under fifteen, so the music has plenty of time to evolve and develop at a very leisurely and organic pace. More ambient than melodic, this music is wonderful while working, reading, meditating, and any other quiet activities that welcome a calming influence. As is the norm for Real Music releases, the production quality of this album is stellar.
Into Forever begins with “Love’s Whisper,” a beautifully orchestrated piece with an Asian flavor to some of its themes. The atmospheric background gives the feeling of floating freely in deep space while the piano provides a gentle and unstructured melody line that expresses warmth and contentment. “Floating Petals” is almost a piano solo, with light strings accompanying. The slow, graceful melody beautifully depicts the random movement of weightless flower petals going wherever the water takes them - I love this track! “Divine Fragrance” is a 15-minute ambient masterpiece. Very ethereal and at a tempo similar to deep breathing, this lovely piece will gently ease you into a tranquil state of mind. “Lead Me To You” is piano with hypnotic ambient sounds that include the sweet chirps of small birds - magical! “Sparks of Love” is my favorite track. It begins with the sound of the ocean with light string washes here and there. When the piano enters, it adds a very simple but wonderfully heart-felt melody to the ambient strings, allowing each note to float on a soft cloud of sound - so peaceful! “Mystery’s Invitation” is another beauty. Much darker than the other pieces, it carries a strong feeling of mystery (hence the title, I’m sure!), but not of dread. It’s a great ending to a great album!
Available from Amazon, Apple Music and streaming sites like Spotify. This is a beautiful album if you enjoy music that is on the ambient side. Recommended!
February 24, 2012
Review by Michael Debbage