2009 / Sonic Bear Music
Review by Michael Debbage
This is Stephen Peppos’ third full length album in less than 3 years and as prolific as he is becoming, to date this has not diluted his ability to compose and create very memorable albums. Stephen's Dreams completes the partial mellow promises on his sophomore effort Follow The Mist, and takes his listeners on a complete dreamy meandering magical walk in the clouds. Like the uniqueness of a snowflake, the musical adventurer has presented his listeners with an entirely different musical landscape.
The album has a total of 13 tracks all simply named Dream 1 through Dream 13. At first sight the titles of the songs, or lack thereof, appears impersonal. However, it was Stephen’s desire to allow the listeners to interpret their own dreams without any preconceived or guided labels. The fantasies last from 4 minutes to almost 7 minutes, the latter represented on the closing track. There are really no standout tracks just a multitude of ambient detailed memorable melodies that will have you floating on air.
Despite the mellow magic of Stephen's Dreams this does not discount the artist’s ability to be detailed and unforgettable. With the exception of the exceptional Tommy Loyola on flute on Dream 3, once again it is about the musical wizardry of Peppos. In fact, this particular song is probably the album’s most active dream but not at the expense of distracting from the pastoral dreamy qualities of the album’s theme. Though it does paint a completely different musical picture found on the ambient closer that clocks in at close to 7 minutes.
From the frantic and energetic debut Vertigo to the ambient mellow magic of Stephen's Dreams, the Indiana Jones of New Age music is more than capable of taking his listeners on an adventure of completely different musical landscapes. Like the uniqueness of a snowflake, Peppos is clearly refusing to pigeon hole himself and takes absolute creative liberties. This is a risky adventure for any artist who could lose a portion of his listening audience. However, his creativity is no less enthusiastic on the dreamy ambient Stephen's Dreams as it was on Vertigo. Instead of a wild magic carpet ride go grab your pillow and warm blanket and let Peppos carry you away into your own imaginary fluffy clouds of peaceful tranquility. Either way it’s a great journey.
August 25, 2009
Review by Kathy Parsons