2014 / Sonic Bear Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Stephen Peppos’ highly energetic and at times frantic debut Vertigo was released over 6 years ago and over the years his creations have become increasingly pastoral and reflective. So those of you that are craving the return of the Indiana Jones of New Age music may be disappointed with his latest beauty. Still is an extension of what Peppos began on his prior release Stephen’s Dreams as he continues to focus on a more reflective and meditative music showing that when compared with his debut that stylistically he is a very ambidextrous musician.
On all of Stephen’s prior creations he has collaborated with someone at some level however this time around all 15 tracks of Still is composed, arranged, performed and produced by him. That said there is absolutely no filler to find here as the focus is to slow your pulse and heart and allow the understated melodies and softly performed songs allow you to briefly exit from your lives everyday challenges and chaos.
Nevertheless there are some significant standout songs one of them being the elegant “Heart Of The Matter” as well as the short string embellishment of “Prelude Always”. Speaking of string embellishments, which appear here and there throughout the album, “Above The Clouds” is another tearful song that will lift you up and have you gently floating on air. The open movements are tied together by a tenderly swinging passage that reappears throughout the song.
Still from cover to music is stripped down naked and downright vulnerable as this is clearly Stephen Peppos most reflective recording to date. However considering Peppos track record it would not be safe to assume more of the same next time around as in the words of King Solomon there is a time for everything. But for now be still and enjoy this pastoral musical moment knowing whether musically flamboyant or reflective that Peppos is always capable of making momentous music.
October 10, 2014
Review by Kathy Parsons