Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Celestial
Stephen Peppos
Cover image of the album Celestial by Stephen Peppos
Stephen Peppos
2023 / Sonic Bear Music
76 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
New music from award-winning composer Stephen Peppos is always a treat, and Celestial is no exception! Celestial is Stephen's eleventh album and consists of eighteen original ambient soundscapes that express the beauty and calm of the celestial heavens. Never one to repeat himself musically, Stephen takes us on a sonic journey through the heavens with vivid images of stars, planets and the vast open sky. As he expresses the wonder and beauty of such amazing sights, we listeners are soothed, uplifted and relaxed. Thank you, Stephen! I needed that!

All eighteen tracks were composed, performed, produced and engineered by Peppos, an artist with a long and varied history as a musician, sound designer, and creator of thousands of tracks for his original music libraries. He has also composed countless pieces of music for television, theater and advertising. Instrumentation on Celestial includes keyboards and synthesizers, percussion, and voices (mostly wordless). Some tracks are ethereal and others are more rhythmic, giving the listener a really nice variety of sounds on this colorful sonic journey.

Celestial begins with "Celestial Highway," a piece that suggests both twinkling stars and dark, vast open space. Tinged with mystery, but not danger, we seem to float effortlessly through space, enchanted by the marvels all around us. "Night Sky Revealed" is even more peaceful, with angelic ambient voices and soothing low bass tones lulling us into a sweet sleep - magical and very calming. "The Sun Sphere" indicates (to me, anyway!) that even in deep space, sunrises are spectacular, painting the sky with a stunning array of warm colors that are also visible from the earth below. The album includes three "Celestial Interludes," pieces that are a little more than a minute long, interspersed between the longer pieces - a very nice touch! "Look To the Quivering Sky" is about as serene as it can get, with a gently flowing motion that suggests how it might feel to float on a cloud. Can you imagine what a field of stars would look like? Peppos gives us an idea with his sonic sparkles dancing in the darker strings and electronic washes of colorful sound - another magical track! "Celestial Joy" isn't a giddy dance, but is more of an expression of deep inner peace and calm - feelings of serenity that can be difficult to find these days! "Beautiful Cry to the Universe" is quite different with piano, haunting operatic vocals, and strings. "Celestial Dawning" has a very sweeping, cinematic feel as we continue on our journey through the heavens. The steady rhythm of the drums behind the ambient soundscape provides a very interesting contrast in musical styles and works well. "Celestial Traveller" becomes even more rhythmic, driving the ethereal instrumentation and occasional female vocals - my favorite track on the album! Celestial comes to a close with "Celestial Dance," which is also very rhythmic and mysterious - a fascinating ending to an amazing album!

Celestial is another great album from Stephen Peppos! It is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites including Spotify. A limited number of CDs are available from Stephen's website. Check it out!
April 17, 2023
More reviews of Stephen Peppos albums