Bill Wren & Frank Ralls | Journey Around the Sun: A Mayan Odyssey

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Journey Around the Sun: A Mayan Odyssey

by Bill Wren & Frank Ralls

Genre: New Age: New Age
Release Date: 

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1. Winter Solstice 2012 (Feat. Jim Farrelly) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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0:55 $0.40
2. Between Heaven and Earth (Feat. Sandy Williams, Misty Ann Sturm & Nick Curry) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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5:00 $0.99
3. Water and Flame (Feat. Nick Curry, Sandy Williams & Philip Pan) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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2:10 $0.99
4. Journey Around the Sun Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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4:31 $0.99
5. Apocalypse Island Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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4:16 $0.99
6. Mayan Prophecy (Feat. Michelle Amato, Nick Curry & Sandy Williams) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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5:41 $0.99
7. Mayan Moonlight (Feat. Misty Ann Sturm) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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2:45 $0.99
8. The Lost City of Maya (Feat. Michelle Amato) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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4:09 $0.99
9. The Voyage (Feat. Jim Farrelly) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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1:02 $0.40
10. Vessel of the Seven Lords (Feat. Pegge Ealum) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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4:40 $0.99
11. Road To Chichen Itza Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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3:03 $0.99
12. Beyond The Misty Veil (Feat. Michelle Amato, Jim Farrelly & Sandy Williams) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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3:16 $0.99
13. New Heaven, New Earth (Feat. Nick Curry) Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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0:49 $0.40
14. Eternal Hope Bill Wren & Frank Ralls
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4:01 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Reviews


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Frederik + Gerda Plets-Van Der Linden > Freger65 (Belgium)

This cd is a really adviced far all nice New Age collections
Fantastic cd, really excellent balanced concept a superb harmony of sounds by several instruments created around he Mayan calendar as theme and named The Journey around the sun. A real wonderful masterpiece of New Age from Bill Wren & Frank Ralls.
This cd is a really adviced far all nice New Age collections

Tamara Merson

Exciting music
This is such dramatic and full music! The unexpected happens here. Interesting and exciting music!

REVIEWS NEW AGE

Una magnífica superproducción musical!.
Tras haber colaborado juntos en el primer proyecto del músico Bill, el productor Frank Ralls y Bill Wren inician un nuevo y sorprendente viaje traspasando los misterios del mundo Maya. Como salida de la gran pantalla, estos dos grandes compositores nos presentan un álbum sin parangón que mezcla la grandiosidad de la música acústica orquestada en directo con la riqueza de los sintetizadores, prevaleciendo y con acierto, la primera; Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey es un Digipack/Enchanced CD que nos deparará agradables sorpresas. Un numeroso elenco de grandes instrumentistas se encuentran a las ordenes de Bill y Frank: a las voces, la gran Michelle Amato y Misty Ann Sturm, al Pennywhistle, Jim Farrelly, a la flauta y al piccolo, Pegge Ealum, al violín, Philip Pan, a la viola, Kyle Wehner, al chelo, Nick Curry, al cuerno francés, Aaron Brask, a la trompeta, Brian Osborne, al trombón, Ryan Bricknell, a las guitarras acústicas, Sandy Williams y el propio Frank Ralls, al bajo, John Gibson, en los sintetizadores, Tom Sells y Frank Ralls y al piano, percusión, batería y conjunto orquestal.

Breve y la mejor, eso es indiscutible. "Winter Solstice 2012" es la introducción al álbum y aunque sólo son cincuenta y cinco segundos, el whistle de Farrelly es tan emocionante, tan intenso que deja con ganas de más, menos de un minuto no es suficiente. El inicio no puede ser mejor, un preámbulo de lo que será una de las escuchas más gratificantes. Comienza el viaje!.

Como todo álbum que desee sumergir al oyente en un contexto único, Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey enlaza toda y cada una de sus pistas, sin sentir ni un solo corte, un detalle importante. "Between Heaven And Earth" está llena de luz, la segunda pieza del CD es una música que hace soñar; sobrevolando nubes se distinguen frondosos bosques, verdes montañas y grandiosos templos mayas. Guitarras, arreglo de cuerdas y percusión mantienen viva la magia!.

En "Water And Flame" entra con fuerza los sintetizadores, pero sólo para ofrecer el sonido de las olas del mar y crear un ambiente inquietante con un synth pad como fondo de acompañamiento. Con misterio y un sutil toque de oscuridad, un solo de guitarra y posteriormente de violín, ofrecen el tono más triste y siniestro del álbum.

El tema "Journey Around The Sun" está lleno de vida y dulce ritmo. Aquí, la música electrónica y la música acústica encuentran un punto de entendimiento perfecto. Aunque la melodía es repetitiva y el ritmo inalterable, los diferentes sonidos que surgen al paso del tiempo hacen que esta pieza sea idónea para el descanso o la reflexión. Un leve y encantador toque de Chill!.

Fantástica "Apocalypse Island". La percusión étnica y los diferentes instrumentos de viento nos acercan a lo que pudo ser la vida y la cultura de esta civilización mesoamericana. La orquesta y los acordes nativos forman un complejo musical lleno de ritmo y belleza!.

En "Mayan Prophecy" aparecen tres instrumentos sensacionales: la voz profunda de Michelle Amato, una guitarra con aires aflamencados por Sandy Williams y el melancólico violonchelo de Nick Curry. Agridulce y hermosa.

"Mayan Moonlight" es un sueño. Apacible a más no poder, la guitarra rasguea acordes lentos, mientras la voz de Misty ayuda a conciliar el descanso. Sumamente tranquila, "Mayan Moonlight" es la composición más suave de todo el álbum.

Una música entretenida y rítmica envuelve a "The Lost City Of Maya", donde las cuerdas reproducen acordes con aires orientales y su melodía invita al baile gracias a percusiones étnicas y al juego de voces femeninas.

Otra de las piezas breves y poderosas del álbum es "The Voyage". De nuevo, una música que parece haber sido extraída de una gran película. Los arreglos orquestales son sobresalientes, creando un música llena de sentimiento y de una emoción difícil de describir. Lamentablemente, es de corta duración!.

"Vessel Of The Seven Lords" es una de esas composiciones que gusta escuchar una y otra vez, identificar cada uno de los instrumentos y disfrutar de sus melodías. Aunque la orquesta es magnífica, el protagonista es el flautista Pegge Ealum, que con el dulce sonido de su flauta va dando vida a la hermosa melodía. Fantástico!.

La composición con más ritmo es "Road To Chichen Itza" una música estimulante y llena de fuerza, donde por primera vez aparece una contundente batería que acompaña a los instrumentos de viento y cuerdas. La fuerza en esta pieza es realmente increíble. Me gusta!.

Después de la ímpetu de la composición anterior llega una calma optimista y alegre, "Beyond The Misty Veil". Una pieza que da protagonismo a diferentes instrumentos, así como voces, piano, flauta y la siempre sorprendente guitarra de Sandy Williams, que con sus punteos hechiza al oyente. Otra grande de Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey.

"New Heaven, New Earth" es desconcertante. El chelo de Curry eclipsa a todos los instrumentos, escasos en esta pieza. El chelo interpreta acordes tristes y sin melodía definida.

"Eternal Hope" es un final alucinante. En esta última pieza el Maestro Ralls deja ver una destreza y un sentimiento inefables frente al piano. Lo mejor no es sólo la melodía, hermosa y apasionada, el dúo que forman el chelo y el piano es espléndido. Sin duda, Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey es merecedor de un final como este. Chapeau!.


Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey es una magnífica superproducción, la música es majestuosa, respaldada por el mínimo detalle tanto en la producción como en la puesta en escena; todo lo que rodea a este álbum es prodigioso. Los Maestros Bill Wren y Frank Ralls buscaban sorprender e indudablemente lo han conseguido y con creces. Este álbum está destinado a ser Best seller y estará entre los grandes trabajos revisados en Reviews New Age. Sencillamente extraordinario!. Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey es una joya muy altamente recomendable!

reviewsnewage.com
05/09/11

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
Just in time for the end of the world comes the second collaboration from composers Bill Wren and Frank Ralls, inspired by the ancient Mayan prophecy regarding 2012.

Judging by the sunny disposition of the music on this sophomore disc, it’s clear that the duo subscribes to the positive view of the legendary prognostication, that of hope-filled change for the better, a promising transition, rather than doom and destruction.

As with their debut CD, Wren and Ralls have created an upbeat collection of bright, poppy melodies layered with rich instrumentation and brought to life by virtuosic performances. The musicianship is of very high caliber. Each instrumentalist is at the peak of his or her powers, beautifully complementing each other without overshadowing each other and yet maintaining his or her unique talents. All of this comes together seamlessly under the creative and technical guidance of Wren and Ralls.

One of the highlights of the album is the evocative and poignant “Mayan Moonlight,” with its soulful violin melody draped by single-strummed, widely spaced velvet guitar chords.

Mayan prophecy or not, this album is worth your time if you enjoy slick jazz-rock fusion.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Journey Around the Sun: A Mayan Odyssey" is the follow-up to Bill Wren and Frank Rall’s 2008 debut "One Day in a Life." After the release of the first album, Wren became fascinated with the Mayan civilization and its 2012 prophecy. This is a concept album centered on a voyage of exploration and discovery - a soundtrack of sorts - with a broad range of world music influences. Much of the music has a big cinematic sweep and is very visual. Wren does not perform on any of the fourteen tracks, but Frank Ralls appears on piano, synth, percussion, drums, and orchestral programming. He is joined by an impressive group of supporting musicians on voice, wind instruments, strings, brass, and guitars. The sound quality is superb - crystal-clear yet very warm. It is no surprise that the album has already hit #1 on ZoneMusicReporter.com.The enhanced CD includes videos of live performances of “Beyond the Misty Veil” and “Vessel of the Seven Lords.”

"Journey Around the Sun" begins with the lovely “Winter Solstice 2012,” a short prelude that lays the groundwork for the musical adventure that follows. It melts into “Between Heaven and Earth,” the destination of our journey. This piece moves at a leisurely pace, propelled by guitar, voice, strings, and percussion. “Water and Flame” opens with a haunting cello solo and sounds of the ocean. Acoustic guitar picks up the solo which gradually evolves into an exotic duet with the cello. From there, we segue into the title track, an ambient guitar piece with atmospheric keyboard washes and light percussion. “Apocalypse Island” picks up the tempo with a strong beat and strings that suggest gliding on the water. Horns give the piece weight and drama in addition to strings and a joyful flute. In the middle, percussion takes an invigorating solo, stirring the soul before we continue our smooth sail across the water. “Mayan Prophecy” is both beautiful and almost heartbreakingly sad. Guitar, cello, and vocals lead the way on this one. “Mayan Moonlight” sparkles in the dark stillness. “The Voyage” is another short piece. It begins with thunder and then it’s as if the sky opens up and releases warm and glorious sunshine. “Vessel of the Seven Lords” conveys a sense of adventure and of moving forward. Big and colorful, it’s easy to let the imagination run wild with this one. “Road to Chichen Itza” continues in this grand style, this time suggesting triumph and success. I love it! “Beyond the Misty Veil” is a wonderful, lighthearted guitar piece that conveys simple joy and contentment. As it unfolds, flute, voice, piano, and strings are added. “Eternal Hope” is a gorgeous concluding piece for piano, cello, and atmospheric washes - a warm and optimistic end to our wonderful journey.

"Journey Around the Sun" is an exciting second effort from Bill Wren and Frank Ralls. Be sure to check it out!

Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music & Media Focus
If I were asked to write a one-word review of Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey, that word would probably be “wow!” And perhaps followed by another exclamation point or two if space permitted. This new release by Bill Wren and Frank Ralls can best be described as epic on every level – including the concept, song writing, musicianship, arranging, orchestration, and even the packaging and promotion.

Bill and Frank have created a genuine concept album, with a theme that, while ancient, intersects perfectly with the present. The liner notes provide a bit of story narrative, while the music and the listener’s own imagination are best left to fill in the details. Bill Wren had become fascinated with the Mayan civilization and, in particular their 2012 prophecy. Drawing on his deep respect for the Mayans and their highly advanced ways, he envisioned a concept album centered on a voyage of exploration and discovery. From this seed idea, Bill began, on his own, developing the initial compositions, which he eventually brought to Frank Ralls for development and through extensive collaboration the pair brought the project to fruition.

Within the diverse tapestry of world musical influences woven throughout the album are threads of Spanish guitar, Celtic-style penny whistle, gypsy violin, Middle Eastern sounding hand drums, Indonesian gamelan, and much more. In addition to these sonic spices, there are a wealth of Western instruments including synthesizers, guitars, bass, flute & piccolo, violin, viola, cello, French horn, trumpet, trombone, piano, drums, percussion, and more, as well as female vocals. I can hardly say enough about the arrangement, orchestration, and sense of dynamics on Journey Around The Sun – just exquisite. Kudos to Frank for his contribution on this aspect of the production. I should add that this is an “enhanced CD” and includes two bonus videos of tracks from the album being performed lived with a full ensemble that provide a stunning visual image of the aforementioned orchestration.

For a full length review of this CD, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com

Serge Kozlovsky

Writings by Serge Kozlovsky / http://sergekozlovsky.com
In the guise of fatal century
A pattern of golden hopes

The flowing melodies of the album “Journey Around the Sun” stirs the soul from the very first moments. They are so strong and powerful that you can easily start the exciting journey towards the unknown lands and distant times.

The conception of the album is inspired by Bill Wren’s deep interest in ancient Mayan civilization and, in particular, their 2012 prophecy. As a result we can enjoy his new joint work with Frank Ralls which exceeds the separate genre boundaries and can be named a real new age multicultural project. The music of the album is enriched with influences from Spanish, Mediterranean, Eastern European gypsy and other ethnic traditions.

Many outstanding guest artists took part in the recording of “Journey Around the Sun” and their masterful performing makes its sounding so natural and refreshing like a pouring Summer rain drops in the sparkling rays of the warm Sun. And the vocals of Michelle Amato add an incredible charm to the whole project.

In general all compositions of the album are united into a single whole and it is impossible to stop listening to it. And all of them are perfectly arranged. The three quarters of an hour runs absolutely imperceptible.

The album “Journey Around the Sun” is one of the most impressive releases in the genres of new age and contemporary instrumental music which I had a chance to hear recently. I am sure it will be among the most memorable albums of this year.

I can characterize the new project of Bill Wren and Frank Ralls as music which brings hope.

Serge Kozlovsky
http://sergekozlovsky.com

Bill Binkelman

Wren and Ralls have done it again!
On their follow-up to the acclaimed One Day In A Life, Bill Wren and Frank Ralls have expanded the scope of their musical vision by injecting a variety of new elements, such as the introduction of world beat influences as well as some more overt neo-classical touches. In addition, Journey Around The Sun is a true concept album, the liner notes detailing the story of a voyage in search of the secret of the Mayan civilization and perhaps unlocking the key to 2012. Despite this rather mysterious and “heavy” theme, the CD retains the duo’s winning ways with an abundance of the same warm, accessible melodies which made their debut such a critical success.

Wren first envisioned the project and he then developed both the thematic elements and the basis for all the music on Journey Around The Sun. Working with Wren’s initial melodies, the pair then fine-tuned each of the fourteen tracks, working collaboratively to produce the final product, including the arrangements, which as on One Day In A Life, are the album’s strong suit. Wren and Ralls then brought in top notch accompanists and guest artists, e.g. vocalist Michelle Amato (whose singing enhances every track she is featured on), guitarist Sandy Williams (his dexterous playing permeates many of the songs), and violinist Philip Pan (concertmaster for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, he heads up a talented string trio on the album). In addition to these and other musicians, key personnel lent a hand in arranging and composing, including Terry Winch and Ike Sturm. Ralls contributes on piano, keyboards, percussion, and drums, as well as receiving album credit for programming the orchestral accompaniment, although it’s clear that the CD was a joint effort, principally by Wren and Ralls and with significant contributions from Winch and Sturm. The other accompanists whom I did not mention by name all perform admirably with each playing their respective part of the whole with style and flair.

Stylistically, as mentioned earlier, some of the music on Journey Around The Sun flirts overtly with world influences, sometimes centering on an Eastern European/gypsy-like violin (such as at the at the start of “Water and Flame”) as well as Mediterranean/Spanish guitar, which can be heard on that track and “Mayan Prophecy.” At times, the string accompanists impart a strong neo-classical element. Ethnic tribal beats merge with soaring violin on “Lost City of Maya” which also interjects what sounds like gamelan tones. “The Voyage” features pronounced penny whistle which, obviously, gives the music a decided Irish cast. I even detected some traces of Middle Eastern spice sprinkled here and there.

However, the real stars of the show here are the great orchestral soundscapes, similar to what made the pair’s earlier CD such a winner, as well as the use of some catchy beats on selected tracks. As I wrote in my review of One Day In A Life, when Ralls and Wren really crank it up, their music draws favorable comparison to David Arkenstone’s superb disc, Sketches from an American Journey, among others. The orchestrations are superbly layered in with guitar, keyboards, wind instruments, and percussion/drums. The sound is BIG but never bombastic or overblown. A few tracks go for a more minimal sound, such as “Beyond the Misty Veil” which is mostly guitar, wordless vocals, the three person string section, piano, and penny whistle.

When a recording features this much variety, it’s difficult to describe the music without literally reviewing every track, which I cannot do in this space. I haven’t even mentioned how Wren and Ralls “bridge” the songs with the sound of waves (since the liner notes tell the tale of a sea-going voyage, as well as one on land) and few other nature sounds now and then. With a literal “tale” in the album’s liner notes, one could easily follow along with the music and sounds which would certainly add a whole other element of satisfaction. Myself, I enjoyed the many players’ musicianship, the solid orchestrations and arrangements, and the compositions themselves which seemed to get better and better with each playing.

From the rousing second track “Between Heaven and Earth” with its stirring melody that evokes the beginning of your voyage, to the wistful title song which merges a lovely guitar refrain with gentle chill-out rhythms, to the folk rock influences on “Road to Chichen Itza,” and ending with “Eternal Hope" and its solemn neo-classical strings and plaintive piano, Journey Around The Sun will indeed take the listener on a voyage to different settings, some joyous, some haunting, but all of them brimming with a spirit of exploration and discovery. Bill Wren and Frank Ralls have definitely trumped One Day In A Life and the future for these two seems limitless at this point. Finally, the two also display a sly sense of humor by incorporating the song titles from their first CD directly into the liner notes for this album. Brains and talent – you can’t beat that combination, can you?

Bill Binkelman
Zone Music Reporter