Michele Ippolito Music Reviews/Quotes
|Synthesizer artist Michele Ippolito continues to carve out her own special niche of soothing electronic music for relaxation on her third, and best, release, Drifting In Dreams. Where her first recording, Mystic Moods (2006) drew a lot of comparisons to the music of Liquid Mind, she is now emerging from that shadow of similarity as she explores a different vein of soothing synthesizer tonalities, while still retaining some of the neo-classical influences that Liquid Mind (aka Chuck Wild) harnesses. Ippolito deftly expands the colors of her palette adding some new instrumentation and additional spacemusic textures, mixing her strings, synth chorals, and spacy washes/pads with the result being a cohesive "wholeness" of blissful sonic soundscapes. At times, the music has an almost organic quality to it, as it ebbs and flows with a breath-like semblance. Also worth mentioning is how great a job of mixing and mastering was done by her husband, Vince. This is one relaxation album that you may be sorry if you don't listen to it on headphones - the mix is sumptuous and the engineering is crystal clear. |
Before I get on to describing individual tracks, I do want to comment on something tangential to the music. I must admit that when I first saw a picture of Michele Ippolito (and her husband) I was taken aback. Now, of course, the new age and spacemusic genres don't automatically connotate a certain type of person as being representative of that category. Still, when I saw Michele and Vince's pictures, my first thought was "They look like someone's grandparents!" And I don't mean that in an ageist way, but more that with the undeniable scarcity of women making electronic music today, the last thing I expected was a woman who looked more like she should be bringing me a plate of fresh-baked cookies as opposed to first rate ambient/new age electronic music. Talk about misjudging the book by the cover! Anyway, it just goes to show that electronic music's appeal is broad indeed and, as Vince told me in an email, "We all age...but music keeps all of us young." Amen to that!
Moving on to the music on Drifting In Dreams, some track titles portray the sensation of slow and gentle movement that those songs will musically convey to the listener, e.g. Ship Ahoy and Drifting In Dreams, while others paint a more subdued, less active, mood, e.g. Mystical Forest, Ancient Lullaby, and On The Prairie.
Reaching for the Stars represents one of the "newer" directions Ippolito is exploring on this album, as she folds in twinkling upper-register bell tones among the undulating strings, chorals, and ambient textures. On headphones, hearing the tones appear one at a time is a treat, as if individual stars were blinking into and out of view. The title track hints at mystery as it opens with some lower (almost drone-like) washes, and here some chime-like tones are also heard, but deeper in the mix. The palpable sense of "drifting" is characterized by the ebbing and flowing of the chorals and synth textures. Across Still Waters starts off with low-pitched bass and violin strings and a pronounced classical feel before injecting some ethereal elements. Any movement characterized by the song's music is less emphasized than on Drifting In Dreams, as the title would suggest. On The Prairie does indeed have a pastoral glow to it, with waves of chorals and lush strings enveloping the piece in warmth and capturing the wide horizon aspect of standing on the prairie as the sun sets on a clear, perfect summer day. Mystical Forest is, most likely, the biggest departure from the artist's previous releases as synth wooden flute at the outset is accompanied by a low-pitched solo string bass line and reverbed upper register tones. The track takes the listener into the titular forest, as deepening shadows don't bring fear, but instead reveal a new world come to life as daylight fades under the canopy of leaves. This is a classic slice of electronic new age music, recalling the glory days of the genre in the late '80s and early '90s! Ippolito also tries her hand at injecting rhythms into her music for the first time on Midnight Moonlight Trance. Tribal drumbeats and ethnic percussion pulse underneath amorphous layers of synthesizers with an echoed tone now and then pinging in the background. The track's success would seem to indicate that Ippolito may want to consider migrating more of this music style into her future discography, as she does it well. Note that the toms and percussion were played by Vince...is there another Ippolito soon to emerge as a recording artist on the horizon? Time will tell.
As with many albums of this type, the CD works best when played all the way through, because while the 11 tracks have their own identity, the cohesion of Ippolito's trademark sounds allows for strong mood continuity throughout the album. Earlier I endorsed headphones for listening to Drifting In Dreams, but it would sound just as soothing (maybe even more so) played on external speakers. A person might miss some of the nuance but the music is so peaceful and relaxing that unless you don’t mind falling asleep with headphones on (what I wear for 'phones, would result in a big "Ouch!"), I'd only use headphones when you are fairly wide awake. Either way, Michele Ippolito has your ticket to dreamland, punched and ready to go. Nighty-night and you WILL sleep tight.
|Rating: Very Good|
Drifting in Dreams is very much an end-of-day, low-volume kind of disc. There’s no way to deny its simple, subliminal call for you to relax. It has a definite grace and allure, and it stands up nicely to a close listen. A strong release for New Age fans that will also appeal to anyone who just enjoys good, quiet music aimed at helping you unwind.
Sometimes it speaks to us so real
The music of Michele Ippolito is a smooth stream of healing waves which cocoons the listener from the first seconds and gives him shelter from the everyday worries. And one wants to be protected and stay in this sanctuary alone for a while with these divine harmonies.
It is easy to relax and meditate with the music of the newest album of Michele Ippolito named “Drifting In Dreams”. When you listen to its soothing compositions you realize that all your troubles remain in the past and it is not necessary to regret them because the new exciting world is opened before your eyes. The new hopes come into your heart and your mind becomes clear and receptive for creation.
The keyboard music of Michele Ippolito is truly wonderful. It sounds so gently and at the same time majestic. Soft arrangements, ethereal and polyphonic orchestrations create an inimitable environment. What can one want to say while listening to the album “Drifting In Dreams”? Most of all one statement comes to mind – listen to this music and be inspired!
The Entertainment Bank
Think about this scenario. Your day has been horrible, everything that could possibly go wrong did, and you have finally made it home to what is hopefully your place of sanctuary. You pour something to refresh yourself, and begin to relax, but there’s something missing. You lit the candles, you're in your comfy clothes and chair, but t.v. is out of the question, and the quiet storm is not quiet enough for tonight. Chicago born and bred composer Michele Ippolito is the answer to your prayers with her very tranquil album "Drifting In Dreams."
When I listen to classical music or jazz, my mind is connecting to all of the elements that are unfolding, and my radar is on to catch the next phrase or rhythm. “Drifting In Dreams” is relaxing. Michele’s music is a flow of one breath to the next. Sounds of ease and comfort are set to form with tasteful analog digital orchestral, and vocal textures that cascade with peaceful textures and are never frantic or pressured.
The 11 track CD will soothe you from beginning to end. On the last 3 selections, "Midnight Moonlight Trance," Mystical Forest," and "Ancient Lullaby," Ippolito incorporates even more elements, like the electric piano answering breathy flutes. Percussion is rarely used, but on “Midnight Moonlight Trance,” I’m reminded of composer/keyboardist Patrick O’Hearn’s interesting use of minimal sounds against a wash of weaving harmonies. There is no disruption in the overall relaxing experience of this CD. I especially liked the use of harp, and vocal “Ahhs” on “Ancient Lullaby.” I like electronic music, especially good electronic music when it’s not grating to listen to. The music of "Drifting In Dreams" is soothing and perfect for setting a quiet mood. The mix sounds great with headphones on, and I recommend highly it for unwinding, relieving tension, or for use as background music while you kick back with a good book. This is also great music to get a massage by.
Some reviews mentioned a palpable and recognizable similarity to Liquid Mind's music present on Mystic Moods. On first listen to In The Clouds, one might be tempted to repeat that assertion, but just as I stated in my Mystic Moods review, there are plenty of subtle and even not so subtle differences coursing through Ippolito's music which distinguishes it from Chuck Wild's (Liquid Mind). In The Clouds actually hews closer to a blend of new age and classic spacemusic, while the Liquid Mind series has, in more recent years, featured a strong neo-classical element (more sampled orchestral instruments, such as solo woodwinds).
As far as comparisons go, the track "On Skylark's Wings" reminds me of Jon Mark's Asia Journey, owing not just to the synthesizers used but also a hint of Asian motifs via plucked strings. "Dreamstar," the next song on In The Clouds, brings to mind Robert Haig Coxon's The Inner Voyage with its soothing flowing melody played on a variety of keyboards and buoyed by haunting angelic chorals. There is also a hint of Llewellyn scattered in amongst some tracks, such as "Reflections," although the almost omnipresent abundance of chorals makes the comparison somewhat tenuous, I admit. Yet another comparison (which I pointed out in my Mystic Moods review) is with Larry Kucharz, but Ippolito takes much less of a minimalist approach than Kucharz does, preferring to keep the music flowing non-stop on each track.
Ippolito also introduces some new wrinkles on In The Clouds, such as the lilting flute on "Horizon" (this elicits yet another comparison, that being to English artist Mike Simmons, who frequently blended layers of keyboards with sampled wind instruments). "Celestial Voices," likewise, sounds "new" to me with delicate plucked harp joined by high pitched chorals and not as many other synthesizers in the mix as on other cuts.
The variety that becomes evident as one delves deeper into the CD is a sure sign that Ippolito is maturing and growing as an artist. While there can be little denying that In The Clouds is cut from the same cloth as Mystic Moods, that statement could be made about many artists in this genre (i.e. albums frequently contain an artist's musical "signature"). Still, when I listened on headphones, I was surprised by just how (a) "new" and (b) varied the music on this recording is. Obviously, if you play it in the background and very softly, you may not hear the same degree of change that I do.
The whole issue of "new" versus "the same" not withstanding, what In The Clouds does contain, with out a doubt, is a collection of peaceful calming electronic new age music pieces, a sixty-minute musical tonic for de-stressing from the insanity that most of our day-to-day lives have become. Michele Ippolito proves that she is no one-hit wonder with this strong and accomplished sophomore effort. Solidly recommended.
R J Lannan
Once in a while an artist puts forth a quality album and it reminds me of why I started listening to the genre in the first place. Michele Ippolito's new release In the Clouds is such a work. It is blending of electronic, New Age and a bit of ambient music and every song is deliciously thought provoking and peace rendering. From the first note to the last, the lightness of being is freed over and over again unfettering the spirit to reflect, relax and refresh.
In the tune Sunrising I could see the first rose-pink glow of the daystar and feel the simultaneous warmth. I knew that soon my day would be bathed in the light of life. Every second was fresh and the moment held possibilities. Michele's music is uplifting and bright as layer upon layer of darkness gives way to the sunlight hours.
Dreamstar is a very delicate song. The sighing of sound is ever so gently mixed with flowing waves of shimmering reverberation. It is as if the sonic vibrations stretch out a gossamer hand and I grasp it to be pulled along with the music. I feel the spirit floating away to an ephemeral destination that only a free spirit can know.
Horizon is one of my favorites on In The Clouds. It has whispering waves of sound in the music. Angel voices, almost imperceptible sing softly. The dominant voice of the flute lends a mellow, almost Celtic tone to an already beautiful, ambient foray along the boundaries of human perspective. Michele's music encourages me to look beyond the horizon, no matter how far, to see another side of my dreams.
Mixed with low vibrations Atmospheric is a rather heady tune with a surrealistic melody. As the music unfurled in the background I felt weightless, without the burden of corporal hindrances and I could feel the ascension of the soul up beyond my own imagination. Is this what it is like to be out of the body?
Celestial Voices is an eponymous tune that seems to drift on forever. It has an insubstantial quality that suggests voices floating up into the heavens and echoing until they reach the end of the universe. You may or may not believe in helpful celestial beings, but there you have it. Somehow, Michele has discovered what they sound like in a state of bliss and captured the feeling for all to enjoy.
Finally the title tune, In The Clouds, with its throaty sound and echoing melody closes the album. The tune centered on a familiar phrase and it calmed me without my putting too much thought into it. I just surrendered to the music and it rewarded me with tranquility. The music was layered in blue skies and white puffy clouds until it reached the upper atmosphere and then the stars were there waiting for me like old friends. The known constellations welcomed me with their pleasing configurations and fantastic anthologies.
The music of Michele Ippolito never fails to deliver peace. The eleven songs on the album flow into one another almost seamlessly. It is one continuous journey in the realms of quietude on a road paved with serene music. I recommend this album to all who love pure New Age and ambient music.
But sadly there are not many times in grown-up life you are able to throw everything aside and just stretch out in a field and do nothing but looking up. Even in your holidays you will find yourself constantly on the move, even when the idea was to stay still and relax.
This is where Michele Ippolito’s new album In The Clouds has something profound to offer. This one hour long album successfully recreates the very atmosphere of looking up and imagining actually being in and among the clouds. Ippolito’s second album (first being Mystic Moods from 2005) strikes a perfect balance of lightness and vastness; it is not too bright and it is not too cold either.
Simplicity is a keyword here. I find Michele Ippolito’s arrangement to be tasteful and very well done. I must admit that I am a fan of analogue synths, and Ippolito’s is using some fine choir and string synth banks – but it must be said that some listeners might find the sound to be a bit dated. But even if you fall under this category, give it a chance because the album’s true quality lies in the gentle ambient melodies. Michele Ippolito is classically trained on piano and this can easily be heard in the flute, harp and string melodies, which for some reason reminds me of classical music.
In The Clouds strikes a perfect balance of lightness and vastness; it is not too bright and it is not too cold either.
The atmosphere is very much the same throughout the album, but on some parts have a more detached and cold feel, while other parts are considerably brighter – just like a day in the field. After all, the sky is constantly changing. It is hard for me to select one or two favorite tracks because they are all connected, but I absolutely love the colorful second track On Skylark’s Wings.
Other reviewers have compared Ippolito to Chuck Wild’s massively popular Liquid Mind project. I think that is a good comparison, and Wild’s fans will feel right at home here. But Ippolito has managed to create an album that just might be a little lighter and less complex – all in a good way.
For this In The Clouds has been nominated for the 2009 Zone Music Reporter Awards in two categories. After all, looking at the clouds is perhaps the most relaxing thing you can do.
In The Clouds is simply a perfect album if you need something from a 5 minute to a 1 hour timeout. If you give yourself just a small dose of this before a stressful business meeting or a large family gathering, you will for sure find back to that priceless inner calm you felt as a child when you were cloud gazing in a green field. Anything that can give such an effect must be considered a gift to the listener.
What a wonderful and remarkable album!!!
What memories is your heart longing for?
This music is a precious remedy in a human’s mad world. It arouses the spirit and harmonizes it. It lifts it above the everyday worries and gives the listener a long awaited space. You can easily stay in the endless cosmos for a long time. And this Universe is you. The present-day society tends to collapse your inner world in order to more easily manage your consciousness and behavior because it needs obedient slaves. The music of Michele Ippolito is a convenient possibility to free yourself.
Her long awaited album “In The Clouds” is the artist’s second release. Michele Ippolito continues to compose celestial harmonies which create a peaceful state of mind and soul. Her music is perfectly suited for various healing techniques and meditation. Delicate ambient textures very gently support your mind in tranquility helping to realize the sources of your anxieties and sadness.
The music of Michele Ippolito is good for every day life as well as for very special moments of your life.
Author: D.A. Cross
This is soothing, calming music that is appreciated for reflection, meditation, mental/emotional preparation for sleep, reducing anxiety, making a prayerful or thoughtful environment, perhaps for creative processes such as writing or painting, massage or healing meditations. It is very effective for calming the restless spirit and agitated mind - a common state of being these days! Some "new age" music can have jarring moments that disrupt a calm moment, but this music is serene and calming throughout and reflects the artist's respect for the process of inviting peace and calm to the mind and spirit. Truly lovely music.
"Michele's album is very relaxing and extremely musical compositionally.
"As someone who practices daily mindfulness for relaxation, I can recommend this album in it's entirety to anyone who want to enjoy the moment to moment unfolding of the soundscape Michele creates. Just close your eyes and be swept away into a tranquil state of relaxation, by listening to the gentle ebb and flow of beautiful music, interesting sounds, and the illusion of angelic voices. This combination captures the attention, easing the process of staying anchored in the present moment".
What we actually got here is a new age recording in a kindred vein as the music of e.g. Liquid Mind or Robert Haig Coxon’s "The Silent Path".
The eleven tracks make up one hour of overall relaxing and free form music that sooths the mind while it offers a welcome repose and escape from the hectic of nowadays world.
The long form synthetic textures and choral pads are serene and warm, making a perfect audio companion while e.g taking a break on a sunny day while looking up to the sky to see cloud formations slowly drift by.
All in all, the intimate and harmonic content and gentle flowing melodies of "In the Clouds" will easily bring the listeners into a state of harmony, peace and tranquility while it also revitalizes the inner spirit.
This "refreshing oasis for the mind/spirit" is also well suited for meditation.
"Bill Binkelman is a long-time icon in the industry"
From newcomer Michele Ippolito comes the album Mystic Moods, an excellent collection of serene electronic ambient/classic new age compositions in the same vein as Liquid Mind, Robert Haig Coxon, and others like them. Equating someone’s debut recording to Liquid Mind is a bold statement, to be sure. However (after multiple playings of the album), I am confident in my assessment. Ippolito does belong in the company of Chuck Wild (a.k.a. Liquid Mind), albeit perhaps not as his equal yet, but she is certainly close behind. The seven tracks on Mystic Moods are lush, floating soundscapes, played out on an assortment of synths and keyboards, notably chorals, strings, plucked harp, and also “classic” new age sounds and textures. While the recording is short (just a few ticks under 30 minutes), what’s here is of such high quality that I can’t imagine anyone complaining – just hit the repeat button for goodness’ sake!
While there is a certain sameness to the music from track to track (obviously intentional so as not to present jarring juxtapositions song-to-song), upon closer inspection (if one listens intently on headphones), the subtle, even pronounced, differences between selections are readily apparent. The opening “Destination” features ethereal chorals and delicate plucked harp while “Malibu” emerges as closer to hushed spacemusic with gently ebbing and flowing tones and washes anchored by a plaintive and lovely solo melody which resembles a woman soprano and the added sounds of soft bell-trees. The title track begins with harp and lilting flute cushioned by soft synth washes, fleshed out by the later addition of strings. “Sunset” presents the kind of massed chorals that Larry Kucharz uses on some of his recordings and the effect from Ippolito is no less mesmerizing than Kucharz attains on his albums. The relative starkness of the chorals, uncluttered with much in the way of accompaniment, introduces a minimalism that perfectly captures the essence of the song’s title while still glowing with warmth and beauty. “Spa” closes the CD with classic electronic new age elements flowing serenely under gentle harp and plucked guitar. There is a rich emotional resonance permeating all the pieces on Mystic Moods despite the presence of so many overt electronic components in the music.
Michele Ippolito’s debut CD is one of the best first efforts I have heard in years. It’s near impossible to believe that she is a newcomer. Everything from the mix, production, quality of the synths, and even the subdued simplicity and beauty of the album’s (professional looking) graphics and fonts points to this being the work of someone who has been around for a long time. For lovers of calm and peaceful electronic new age and spacemusic (as well as ambient fans who don’t require dark soundscapes or minor tonalities), I can’t recommend Mystic Moods highly enough. I have no doubt you will be as impressed and delighted as I was.
Spike O'Dell of W.G.N. Radio Says:
It's Beautiful. I was listening to it while preparing for the show this morning. Great job with it...
Capt. Christopher of "Cheezmuzik" WTUL New Orleans Says:
Serge Kozlovsky:Republic of Belarus
(c) (p) 2005 Ippolito Music
Having returned just for a moment
To a source
You’ll never be as you used to be before….
What is attractive in a new, half-hourly Michele Ippolito’s album called "Mystic Moods"? What makes this calm electronic music such a magnetic one? And why doesn’t it “set you free”?
This is a music-meditation, the music that impels you to listen attentively to your feelings, to sense your inmost wishes and stay alone with yourself. And, maybe after one has listened to "Mystic Moods" he will realize what it means as far as he had never plunged in the innermost of his own personality before. And what is hidden behind the veil of a day-to-day tumult and goals and wishes dictated by other people? What is dozing off somewhere deep in your consciousness, for the time being dispirited by the society around you, or, maybe hidden from it. And what is your true self, a real one, without far-fetched conventionalities and false masks?
Michele Ippolito’s music impels to think and feel empathy. This music expresses an inconstancy of everyday emotions and a permanency of an inexhaustible depth of human consciousness. The constancy of that inner source which rules over the life. As far as the divine is concealed deep in human consciousness and one have to learn how to feel it. It is so easy and incredibly different at the same time.
Michele Ippolito proposes to start a journey to your true self. Her music sends you back to the source which is consigned for oblivion for a while but this very source is you. With great care the musician is guiding you through emotions flashing by before your eyes like glimpsing pictures of a colour movie. You are plunged deeper and deeper all the time. This plunge brings a content to you.
Fresh and transparent, this music washes you with its warm waves. It arouses your consciousness and heals your heart. And you want to live and create over and over again because just in it the God is…
An angelic music of "Mystic Moods" is a guide of the divine to the world of humans.
New Age sounds with a decided Classical influence make this a perfect sound for relaxation or meditation. The compositions by Michele Ippolito are just right for bringing peace and harmony to both mind and body.
American Spa Magazine: Bridget Eldridge
Amazing Sounds/Edgar Kogler: Barcelona Spain
MICHELE IPPOLITO"MYSTIC MOODS"
"Mystic Moods" is a beautiful space travel based on the use of synthesizers, ideal to let imagination soar through inner worlds. The Ambient style present in the album is melodic and symphonic, full of spectacular orchestrations with synthesizers and a certain romantic character though it doesn't fall into an excessive sweetness. Michele offers us a careful selection of seven pieces in which she presents us the best of herself as a composer. The impressive orchestrations of the themes show her experience as a composer as well. The music transpires sensitivity from all its pores.
Ron Warnick: "Music Scene" Sauk Valley News
The back of the CD case explains the music well: "Soothing melodic sound voyage...soundscapes allow the listener to create their own moods". It accomplishes what it sets out to do.
Dene Bebbington/Melliflua: UK
This short debut album by Michelle Ippolito features slow motion airy washes and drones in a manner that is reminiscent of Liquid Mind. As with other relaxing and meditative new age/ambient albums the music on Mystic Moods is designed to instil a sense of peace and harmony in the listener. It does this by a delicate blend of wafting electronic clouds, piano, harp, and flute sounds.
My first impression was that the tracks are rather samey, but pay more attention and you'll notice the changes – it's like seeing cloud formations throughout the day as they gradually shift their patterns. We get started with “Destination” where airy chorale effects brush changing hues of sound across parts of the soundscape and sparing harp notes add an almost solemn emotional feel.
The track that captivates me most is “Cerebral”. Shimmering ribbons continually whoosh past, and again there are vocally tinged washes but this time they are deep or nasal conveying a sense of deep thoughts wondering about the meaning of life. The overall feel of this piece is one of earnest contemplation. The mood changes a little between tracks, so that the following piece “Mystic Mood” is somewhat lighter with plucked harp and brighter washes.
Mystic Moods is a worthy debut, generally pleasant to listen to and the right length for this kind of music that for me can become mentally wearing if too long. Comparison to Liquid Mind is apt, and anyone who enjoys his brand of restful drifting new age ambience would do well to check out Michelle's release.