2021 / Sound Manipulations
Review by Michael Debbage
It has been well over a decade since the last Mars Lasar review so let’s cut to the chase. What a brilliant way to revisit music from an old musical friend who brings elements of the soft nuances of his spectacular 1998 Sapphire Dreams and fuses it with the broader strokes of the lush leanings of 2006’s Yosemite-Valley Of The Giants. Considering these 2 albums are the highly favored past recordings from a musician who defies being categorized, Coastal Escape is truly a getaway from the get going hectic pace of life.
The musical visit of the Northern Californian coastline begins with the echoed flavored “Big Sur Skies” framed with the distant owl sounds (perhaps perched in the redwoods), keyboards, light percussion and enchanting ethereal vocal chants. The latter 2 musical aspects remain on “Valley Of The Giants (Revisited)” only this time the wordless vocals and Lasar’s piano are a greater focus. This is by no means a pure replica of the song but rather the spirit of a theme being revisited. Add the opening organic acoustic guitar work on “California Dreams” contrasted with Lasar’s sweltering yet symphonic synthesizer and maybe a fretless bass, well this will have you daydreaming of the Golden State.
Only three tracks in and you should be realizing by now that Mars Lasar is truly on top of his musical game. From the mystical “Enchanted Forest” that is for the lack of a better word enchanting, to the return of the charming ethereal vocals on “Mendocino Love”, Lasar is apparently in his element musically describing the beauty of the Northern California coastline. The remaining balance of the tracks are more in line with the mellow madness found on the beautiful recorded gem Sapphire Dreams that to this day remains this reviewers personal favorite.
For many years Lasar has been intriguing us with his wanderlust of multiple genres with his highly creative energies constantly keeping him on the go. Highly capable of transporting himself from new age, solo piano, chill to electronic genres with the greatest of ease makes it a curse and a blessing to follow this artist. Never a sellout, everyone should expect the unexpected as Mars Lasar marches to the beat of his own drum. But if you are going to pay tribute to the magical landscape of the Northern California coastline then you better make your musical interpretation dreamy and dramatic. Lasar effective takes the accessible ingredients of the aforementioned and sprinkles it with his magical music potion. Needless to say, Coastal Escape is yet another top shelf creatively crafted album from Mars Lasar.
July 16, 2022
Review by Kathy Parsons