I was surprised and pleased to receive an email from music reviewer and master wood craftsman RJ Lannan in February, 2012 which read:
I am one of the reviewers at Zone Music Reporter. For some strange reason I believed I had a copy of Beloved. I clearly remember the girl on the white bed. But I have looked everywhere and I can find no record of you sending me something. May I impose on you for a review copy? Thanks in advance.
R J Lannan
In fact, because the music that I record in large part is my attempt at personal healing by creating an aural diary, I typically do not promote or send out copies of the albums to reviewers. And I had sent no copy of Beloved to anybody except my dear friends, Kitty and Creek Norris.
But for some time, I have been a fan of The Sounding Board by RJ Lannan and Binkelman’s Corner by Bill Binkelmen, which are music review columns published by ZoneMusicReporter. So it was a bit of a rush to see that here in June RJ Lannan had decided to review “Beloved,” one of my favorite projects. He had this to say:
[reprinted from http://zonemusicreporter.com/recording/viewreviews.asp?rvwbrd=2&rvwbrdpstn=1&rvwbrdcmmt=981]:
I love my writing job because I never know when a surprise will arrive in the mail in the form of great music. This time it is flutist Bill Leyden‘s latest creation, Beloved. For some unknown reason I have been receiving lots of flute music is the last two years; De Maria, Adams, Finzer and many more. Leyden’s music is powerful, yet remains subtle throughout the album of fifteen songs. There are some haunting solo performances as well as multi instrumentals. The light, synthesized orchestral accompaniment of many of the songs is filmy, weightless and does not impede the flow. Where the Hammond organ came from, I’ll never know. Furthermore, there are many Native American flute influences throughout, but that is not in fact the main theme. It sub-title could be something like “things you love” or “a musical journey in my life so far” of the things that I love. In any case, the gentle music is very additive and just the right medicine to calm the spirit. I beg indulgence with my Spanish title translations.
Beloved, the title tune opens the album with a sultry blend of haunting flute and back ground strings. It is s slowing pulsing melody, a heartbeat of passion if you will. There is a drifting quality to the music, a free-floating sense of a heart wandering about and then, returning to the point of origin, to return to safety perhaps.
Rel[oj] de la Vida (The Clock of Life) is the music of a solo wooden flute with its wondrous echoing sound and organic sense. I could hear the music reflect off canyon walls and through the forests as the mountains counted the seasons with their own sense of time. Man has yet to adjust his own spiritual timepiece to such magnificence.
The crash of ocean waves opens the song The Wake I Left. Synthesized background and flute verse balance in a song of inner directed refection. Like the sea, the tune does have a noticeable ebb and flow that slows down the heart long enough to permit retrospection.
Gueve del Tosoro (The Treasure Cave) is a solo piece that notes the history of a mysterious place in the south of Spain. You travel the coast road until you reach La Calla de Moral and take a right turn. The cave is one of the few carved by the sea and has stories of great fortune left by ancient conquerors. The treasure may actually be the blissful beauty that surrounds the area. Bill’s flute snakes along the paths and ends up somewhere in the hills where the legends and splendor abide.
Second Growth seemed so appropriate on the day of this writing. The storm came in quickly, and with a cleansing wash covered everything around me. The air was fresh and pure after its passing and everything seemed renewed. The leaves were greener, the irises were a brighter purple and the sky was study in blue contrast. Bill’s use of sinewy violin, gentle drones and an echoing flute promised second growth that was palpable.
Ya Habibi may be Arabic for loved one and so carries the title in a Middle Eastern themed solo flute tune. Though the arid wind blows and the empty desert freezes in the nighttime, the warbling intro and peaceful melody reminds me that there is no sun hot enough to desiccate the power of love. And no distance is too great to try to separate the heart of a lover from another.
Bill Leyden has at least forty albums that I know of. He is a master of the Native American flute and his music is intricate, emotional and peaceful. His dogma is that once we understand the theory of the Incans who believe that our body is surrounded by a special energy, than we can use the knowledge to heal in extraordinary ways. His music has made me a believer.
|Rating: Very Good|
(Reviewed by RJ Lannan 6/22/12)
As I read the review, I was astonished at how well RJ understands the story behind the Beloved album, as he put it in words that go beyond a mere description to a level where the emotion and ‘voyage’ of the track and its place in the album are masterfully conveyed.
Thank you, RJ!