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Album Review: Moonlight Beach EP
Rick Erlien
Cover image of the album Moonlight Beach EP by Rick Erlien
Moonlight Beach EP
Rick Erlien
2022 / Rick Erlien
20 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Moonlight Beach is a four-song solo piano EP by pianist/composer Rick Erlien. Rick's previous album was The Music of Yosemite, which was released in 1994 on the Real Music/myndstream label and was performed as part of the Yosemite National Park Centennial Celebration. A licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor, Rick also creates one-of-a-kind Music Portraits in custom sound healing sessions (a full explanation is on his website).

Rick explains his inspiration for Moonlight Beach: "The waves speak to me of deeper undercurrents of feelings and wisdom, spiritual messages about a harmony which exists but is not plainly seen or perceived. The music I compose is to get in touch with these deeper vibrations of the soul of nature in particular the ocean in the specific case of Moonlight Beach. Awareness and connecting to nature is very healing and music helps with the connection toward a deeper feeling of peace."

Moonlight Beach begins with "Moonlight Beach All Around," a beautiful piece that is more ambient than melodic and expresses the profound peacefulness of being by the ocean when it is calm. The easy ebb and flow of the rhythms of the tide are hypnotic, making it easy to let go of stress and worry. The ocean is always there and always will be, and I often find that very reassuring. This piece is very much like a walk on the beach, letting go and just "being" for a while. "Moonlight Beach on the Sand Looking at the Ocean" begins with a musical impression of sparkling sunlight dancing on the waves as they roll onto the beach and back out again. Gulls and other shore birds might be gliding overhead and there might even be some seals or sea lions playing or cruising by in the surf. These elements can create feelings of deep inner peace as well as of being part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Somehow, all of that is captured in this soothing piano music. "Moonlight Beach Splendor" is also very ambient yet very descriptive of the beauty of a tranquil ocean with gentle breezes and all the time in the world to let the beach work its healing magic. "Swami's Beach" is a bit more dramatic, but is still very soothing. Rolling broken chord patterns could be describing the movement of the water with somewhat bigger waves as they build and diminish. It's a lovely finish to a beautiful album.

You can sample "Moonlight Beach" on Rick Erlien's website. The EP can also be streamed or downloaded from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes, and streamed from various platforms including Spotify. It's a great way to experience a beach walk without getting sand in your shoes!
February 22, 2022