Just when you think the contemporary instrumental music pendulum is swinging toward acoustic instrumentation, another new age keyboardist comes out with an all-synthesizer album that shows the versatility and creativity available in the field of electronic music. The latest to cross my desk is the album A New Awareness by Richard Shulman, who has been making great new age music for something like four decades. I have heard scattered albums of his for many years, and every one I have ever heard has been right on the money.

This new one is a new age music project made in heaven. Shulman has created a dozen tunes with each one corresponding to a specific Ray, sort of a Ray of Life, I guess. He likens these Rays to “emanations from God.” The Rays are delineated in a new book, The Reality of Your Greatness authored by Michael G. Love, who helped Shulman zero in on each Ray to make the music. This is self-help at the highest level, or, if you believe all of this is Higher-Power-inspired, then this is God-help. Go to Reality of Your Greatness dot com to get more info about the book and the Rays. Regardless, if you are into self-discovery, personal growth and increased awareness of the universe around us, and want steps to help you move to a higher level of energy and “greatness,” this is something you might want to check out.

Zeroing in on the music, which is what brought all of this to my attention, this is melodic ambient (not necessarily a contradiction in terms -- melodic in short bursts but ambient because of the meandering improvisational aspect of the music). The music contains the sounds of a variety of synthesizers intermingling (occasionally used to sound like something else, a flute for example, for a few moments), by mostly floating, soaring, dreamily cascading, cloud-hopping, space-gliding and water-droplet cleansing. This is most definitely pure and powerful new age music. Highly recommended for lovers of new age and ambient music, for synthesizer and improvisational music aficionados, and for new age lifestyle and exploratory self-improvement gurus. What a long, strange trip it’s been...