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Flow

Flow

Review by Mark Johnson

Flow is a new age music super-group, featuring the combined talents of superstar producer and director, Will Ackerman (guitar), Fiona Joy Hawkins (piano and vocals), Lawrence Blatt (acoustic and electric guitar and ukulele) and Jeff Oster (trumpet and flugelhorn). These four talented artists have been making their own music for decades and have come together to produce something that allows each to contribute and learn to expand upon the music they were already making. The combined synergy creates something beyond what each individual recording artist could produce. Other album contributors include Marc Shulman (guitar), Tony Levin (bass), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Sam Bevan (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello) and Tom Eaton (guitar and bass).

 

This is a wonderful album, which may soon have a follow up sophomore effort. The band is already going into the studio by the end of 2018. Flow is one of the best new age super-groups ever assembled, and this is a great start. Please pick this album up and be a part of the discovery of this new act and enjoy!


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Arrival

The album opens with “Arrival." Hawkins' piano slowly and quietly sets the stage. Then Oster adds soft brass as the keys rumble and build. Soft percussion from Haynes fills the soundscape. This is a beautiful, and regal opener with quiet brass.

Whisper Me This

Soft chimes and wind open the next track with sentinel-like brass standing tall and strong. Deep bass, soft acoustic guitar and piano bring the full soundscape to fruition. Close your eyes and dream of your favorite place. Yes, you are there.

Flow
The band’s namesake is next. Revolving acoustic guitar rolls by as soft brass enters the soundscape, followed by piano and quietly tapped drums. Hawkins’ whispered voice can be heard drifting through the guitar notes.
Free Ascent

“Free Ascent” is a perfect name and description of the feeling you get from this song. It is like slowly rising in a hot air balloon. Birdsong starts this. Slow, distant trumpet and then soft acoustic guitar rise as the distance grows shorter and the soundscape continues to build. It is like awakening from a dream fulfilled.

Waiting for Sunshine

This is a perfect mix of all elements the band bring to music. It is full of brilliant acoustic guitar, soft trumpet and piano with soft percussion completing the soundscape. If only waiting for the sunshine in Seattle was this interesting. It will be from now on.

Waters Gather

“Waters Gather” opens with regal trumpet (and then soft piano) followed by deep cello from Friesen. Like a painting it comes to you. It is amazing and beautiful in every way. This is probably my favorite track on the album.

And the Sky Was

This is full of soft acoustic guitar pings and warm trumpet playing in between. Hawkins’ soft and steady piano strokes help complete the sound.

A Night in Nocelle
If you haven’t seen pictures of it (or been there) Google "Nocelle, Italy" before you experience this song. It will become crystal clear why they used the instruments and sounds they did on the track. They created another great aural painting with acoustic guitars, trumpet and soft percussion here.
Tenth Life
This opens with deep piano and Hawkins’ soft whispered voice surrounded with soft airy trumpet and intermittent acoustic guitar. It is like a soft summer breeze filling the trees by a lake or beach. Later deep cello and bass are added. The cut is wonderful.
Rest Now My Friend

"Rest Now My Friend” is a wonderful goodbye song filled with warm acoustic guitar and soft trumpet.

 

For Rosita & Giovanni
This is a warm acoustic guitar piece that closes the album well. All the band members take turns adding to the soundscape as trumpet and piano are added.
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