Let the stress dissolve as you cruise into the depths of Blue Maze. Smooth melodies over sensual soundscapes take you to those places you love to be...."
A note from Mars:
This production contains a nice blend of soft Jazz and New Age. Its sensual waves will take you on a journey to revisit all the memories you hold close. I can't say this was its original intention, but during its creation it just formed a life of its own. Twilight's Miracle is the image of a comfortable lounge where shards of moonlight streak the floors and embrace the room in a warm cocoon. Meanwhile, Utopian Trance's (#10) seductive mood will have you stare into your partners eyes while dancing on the balcony under the stars.
Reviewed by Bill Binkelman
Recording under the name Blue Maze, keyboardist Mars Lasar has released an album that really sits well with an urban smoothy like me. File this one alongside the work of people like Astral Jazz, Richard Bone, and other practitioners of that subset of jazz that swings but with a certain level of cool and sophistication that many purists would find disquieting. However, this is not smooth jazz, per se. It has very little trace of "groove" or rhythm and blues. It's more like late night, heart of the city, click of ice cubes in a glass of Jim Beam kind of music. You could certainly say this is sexy music, I guess (not that I know anything about that!). It's definitely got a libido factor way up there.
While I compared this to both Astral Jazz (who records on White Cloud) and Richard Bone, those comparisons are more from a standpoint of vibe (not vibes! no pun intended) than compositional nature. In fact, from a musical/thematic angle, I'd compare this to one of the great undiscovered albums out there, Peter Blake's Private Dawn. Hush has a soft easy-going way about it, like Blake's music does. It's jazzy without being jazz; smooth without being numbingly soulless. Where Astral Jazzis spacy jazz and Richard Bone's trilogy (you do know which albums I'm talkin' about, right?) is fun and funky in a cyber/retro way, Blue Maze/Lasar has his sites set on cityscapes of neon, steel, sparse traffic, soft conversation, and sighs of relief.
The opening track is not the best thing here, so don't judge the album by it; however, it introduces the feel of the album. That first track, "Luna Palace," features sultry sax and electric piano alongside slow tempo drums and lush (and I mean lush) synth strings. It's a decent opener, but not what I would pick. However, things do get cooking with the second song, "Beam With Me." Mid-tempo beats, great underlying synth washes, chugging synth-organ, and a jaunty bass/drum rhythm section combine with a jazzy piano melody to make me want to cruise into the wee hours of the night. The strings come on at the chorus and this shit is too beautiful for words. I am the world's biggest sucker for a hook - this song has 'em! And the next song, "Astral Diary" is another winner. It's like an ice-cold dose of Jonn Serrie, circa Midsummer Century, melded with smoky urban sensibilities. The drums are little pronounced at times for my taste, but the synth work is superb!
While some of the cuts on the CD are a little too uptempo for the desired late night texture, overall, Hush hits a lot of the right notes for me. The title cut is romantic in spades, with a soft piano melody and underlying synths adding a feeling of regret and sadness (ah, unrequited love!). "Sweet Surrender" is a solid blend of heavy bass with almost twinkling synth notes that, amazingly, works pretty well. "Utopian Trance" ends the album on a midtempo note of electric piano, snare drum/cymbals and strings, heralding the coming day as the long night of passion winds down.
While Hush is not for ambient or spacemusic fans or for those who like their romance awash in sweetness and purity, those of us with some hot blood in our veins will, I think, resonate to the sultriness of these ultra-catchy numbers. Like a Henry Mancini soundtrack from the 21st century, Mars Lasar/Blue Maze's Hush is a soundscape of the city and all the romance, love, sex, hopes, and dreams that walk its streets at 2 am. Time for another tumbler of Johnnie Walker, my friend!
Amazon.com customer reviews:
5.0 out of 5 stars *****
Late Night Music Done Right
Reviewd By Michael Hayes
Mars Lasar has been a long time favorite of mine and I can honestly say I've enjoyed all of his works. He has worked as a producer and programmer for Seal and Herbie Hancock. His works have also appeared on television shows Baywatch, Equal Justice, and This is the NFL. Mars has recorded at least 23 albums (39 if you count the 8 volumes of Baby Scapes and 8 volumes of Mindscapes). His work runs the entire gambit of musical moods.
Blue Maze lies somewhere between Sapphire Dreams and the Eleventh Hour series in musical texture. Unlike many CDs instead of hitting you with a high powered set of fast tracks Mars slowly easies you into the first up-tempo track and that makes the collection work very well.
Luna Palace starts off the album with a slow luscious sax and strings piece with hint of Kenny G flavor yet still uniquely stylistically Lasar. Beam with Me starts to pick things up with a mid-tempo Rhodes piano with sexy jazzy flavor. Astral diary has nice tasty slow spacious solo fretless bass carrying the melody. Seeds of Fortune get things cooking with an up-tempo piece in the vein of the 11th Hour series. Hush is a slow mysteriously beautiful waltz with classical overtones. Twilight's Miracle has that real late night bluesy jazz texture. Whispers of Eternity is a beautiful ambient and spacey with flute melody. Temptress is beautiful 6/8 waltz with piano and strings. Sweet Surrender is another 6/8 waltz New Age style. Uptopian Trance rounds things out with another mid-tempo piece in the vein of the 11th hour series.
Blue Maze is definitely one of my top 5 Mars Lasar albums. That is saying a lot since there are so many to choose from. Blue Maze is late night music done right.
5.0 out of 5 stars *****
Blue Maze - Hush,
Reviewer: Phil Baird from Davie, Florida USA
When was the last time you actually closed your eyes (and didn't fall asleep) while listening to the modern instrumental melodies of a new CD?
Well, Mars Lasar, with help from a few friends, brings you some great, relaxing, tuneful melodies to embrace on his release titled "Hush". Working under the group name of "Blue Maze", the keyboardist has found a comfortable composing place with bright, catchy tunes suffused with ethereal instruments. Literally awash with synths and smooth percussive backbeats, the haunting songs make you wish that Mr. Lasar would follow this particular musical course once again.
Drift into the first track "Luna Palace". You will find the title imagery to be in keeping with the music itself as the opening piece truly paints a mind picture of reverie on the pale blue dot we call Earth. The title track is highlighted by Mars' piano surrounded by just the right touch of synths and percussion. Other tracks have a hint of contemporary jazz beats but are often tempered with melodies that truly have a melancholy floor to their structure.
If you are looking for something "different" but with the power to bring you back to listen time and time again then order this one. "Hush" will be in the changer for many years to come. Enjoy.
5.0 out of 5 stars *****
Timeless catchy Melodies
Reviewer: Will Luckie from Cologne, Germany
Mars Lasar is the musician behind the name. Hush - Blue Maze is a kind of magnificant, timeless & beautiful music. Like space-music in a bar-atmosphere! Jazzy, groovy, lushy, alternated songs for people with a good taste. Highly recommended!
Mars Lasar.com reviews:
Subject: Simply; Thank You
I like your mellow music the best. I purchased Blue Maze and Nocturnal Diaries. Thank you for the Mars radio as well. That is a very generous thing to do. Smart as well, if I could not have listen to so much of your music I probably would not have bought any.
Subject: My Mars Library
Since I first wrote to you about my "discovery" of your beautiful music, I've really accumulated many of your cd's. It's hard to pick my favorite, but I think Olympus is about the closest. Your music suits all kinds of moods, and I play it accordingly. I've just ordered Holiday High . Thank you also for the complimentary Blue Maze cd which you sent with 11:22 Arrival. I really enjoy ordering directly from your website!
Subject: Blue Maze - Yosemite, Land of the Giants
I recently ordered both the Blue Maze CD and the Yosemite CD - All I can say to both of them is WOW!!!! I play the Blue Maze CD at least three times each day and the Yosemite - Land of the Giants twice - ( I run out of time to listen to it any more than two times. ) Both are incredible. I hope that you will put out a follow up to the Blue Maze CD as it is music that is soothing to all. Keep up the great work !! Love your stuff !!!!!!!!!!
Subject: RE: My best inspiration..
Absolutely my all time favorite music, you inspire some of my best assemblage and abstract works. I especially like listening to your Blue Maze album, sitting on the porch in the summer heat, very sensual and relaxing stuff.
I'd like to hear more like it. Also like the Big Box and Vertical Velocity, great painting music...more, more more.
And of course the 11th Hour albums, take me to far away and exotic places, that show up in my digital works.
Truro, Cornwall England
Dear Mars In 1992, my brother played the track VICTORY for me from your OLYMPUS CD. From that moment I have been completely hooked on your music. I took a Sound Engineering course at Truro College a few years ago. One of our assignments was to produce a handout on a musician of our choice which would then be used to give a presentation to the rest of the students in the group. Now, who do you suppose I chose to base my presentation on, Yes, it was Englebert Humperdink! No, just kidding, and no disrespect to Mr Humperdink intended. It was of course yourself. I read out what I had prepared on the handout - a full A4 sheet which gave details of your work with well known artists such as Seal and your compositions for the Olympic Games etc. I then played WHISPERS OF ETERNITY from your BLUE MAZE CD. It went down extremely well, the majority of my fellow students (of which there were about fifteen) telling me later that they really liked the track. So you see, I'm doing my best to spread the word :~) My favorite CD of yours has to be ESCAPE but all of them are superb. Of your 4 recent releases (COLLABORATIONS, FINAL FRONTIER, NOCTURNAL DIARIES & 11.04-PANORAMA) I think I like 11.04 the most, but again the other 3 are superb too. Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to the next Mars Lasar CD, on which I hope you're working very hard :~) I send regards to you and your family, (and pets) and would like to thank you for your great music which enriches my life. Lee. Truro, England.
From: Wilhelm L¸cken
Date: Dec 7 2005
Subject: "Christmas from Mars"
How skeptical I was when I put the new disc from Mars Lasar into the CD-player. No more christmas-songs .. I thought ... not again ?Holy Night?... I?ve listened to it a thousand times before. But what a surprise: each song revealed to be a masterpiece of subtle jazz-pop-music like Mars' incredible project ,Hush - Blue Maze. Far away from trash and silly mainstream, but very exciting and sophisticated. All the originals are transformed by Mars into his own style of catchy melodies. The listener will suspect the traditional songs only for short moments. The rest is Mars Lasar's typical handwriting of completed music in higher spheres with rich warm textures of harmonies, fulfilling every dream of perfect music. Excellent producing, a feast for the ears.
Will Luecken (Cologne, Germany)