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Album Review: In the Flow
Michael Brant DeMaria
Cover image of the album In the Flow by Michael Brant DeMaria
In the Flow
Michael Brant DeMaria
2011 / SoundsTrue
62 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
In the Flow is a compilation of the most healing music from Michael Brant DeMaria’s first three albums, chosen by DeMaria for “their profound ability to heal and move the emotions held in the body.” Dr. DeMaria, a clinical psychologist as well as composer/musician/performer, first experienced the healing power of music and sound after surgery at the young age of six. He has witnessed sound’s ability to heal himself as well as many clients, students, and concert and workshop attendees over the past twenty-five years of his practice. The ten tracks come from The River (2003), Siyotanka (2008), and Ocean (2009), the latter two of which were Grammy-nominated. Known primarily for his native flute playing, DeMaria performs all of the instruments on the album, which also include piano, keyboards, and a wide range of world percussion. Some of the tracks are more melodic and rhythmic, but most of the music is ambient and very soothing. Some of it is almost mournful, which can be extraordinarily cathartic and comforting. As the title suggests, all of the music flows at a slow, leisurely tempo.

In the Flow begins with the title track from The River, a slow atmospheric piece for native flutes, piano, and keyboard washes that offers comfort and warmth. “Journeying” also comes from The River, and picks up the tempo a bit with rhythms from both keyboards and various hand percussion instruments. Mysterious without being threatening or frightening, it provides an almost eight-minute soundtrack to a journey within. “The Village” from Siyotanka is again very atmospheric, with interesting rhythms from keyboards and hand percussion. The flow of this piece feels more physical, moving you along as you visualize your own interpretations of the sounds of the music - again very peaceful and welcoming, but mysterious. “First Light” usually implies the beginning of a new day, but it can also indicate a return to hope and healing. The gentle sounds of piano, flute, and keyboards envelop the listener with reassurance and peace. “Becoming Takoda” has a bigger, more cinematic feel to it - very visual and dramatic. “Siyotanka Reprise” is a haunting native flute solo that comes from deep within. The evocative “Moonlit Sea” from Ocean conveys a gentle, hypnotic motion and rich dark colors. “Finding Forever” has a magical, inspirational quality that assures that all will be well. Simple piano and native flute patterns played over layered atmospheric keyboards create a feeling of tranquility. The title track from Ocean suggests the mysterious vastness of the sea with dark flute tones against a shimmering keyboard backdrop. “Stillness” concludes our journey with an exploration of piano and bass sounds backed with atmospheric keyboard washes, encouraging us to let go and just be.

In the Flow is the first in a series called “Music For Emotional Healing,” and Michael Brant DeMaria again proves why he has become one of my favorite artists! In the Flow is available from www.soundstrue.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Highly recommended.
July 17, 2011