Michael Stribling | Safely in the Arms of Love

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental New Age: Spiritual Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Safely in the Arms of Love

by Michael Stribling

Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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1. Spirit of the Highlands
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4:48 $0.99
2. Stormy Seas
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4:08 $0.99
3. Far Away from Home
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4:51 $0.99
4. The Royal City
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3:48 $0.99
5. Alchemist's Workshop
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4:32 $0.99
6. Byzantine Carnival Parade
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4:55 $0.99
7. Veiled Dancers
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5:10 $0.99
8. Asian Flower
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4:26 $0.99
9. Alone in the Night
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5:37 $0.99
10. Kyrie
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3:05 $0.99
11. Dark Times (The Inquisition)
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5:16 $0.99
12. Miserere Mei
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4:19 $0.99
13. Escape and Pursuit
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4:35 $0.99
14. Desolation and Absolution
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5:41 $0.99
15. Safely in the Arms of Love
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6:28 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This CD tells the story of a young highlander's adventures: his leaving home (against his father's wishes) for the big city, falling in love, getting in trouble with the authorities, and escaping to freedom.


Reviews


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Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
Keyboard wizard Michael Stribling takes his usually sunny disposition in a bold new direction with this dark tour-de-force that soundtracks an epic journey from the highlands to the city to exile and, finally, safely into the arms of love.

Stribling’s imagined story takes place in the foreboding depths of the medieval ages, and as such, he has cooked up a musical alchemy that is every bit as brooding as those dark times. But as in those days, there are bright spots in the music as well, so all is not doom and gloom.

This is not to say that the doom and gloom is bad. In fact, this makes the music that much more dramatic and compelling. The bits of sunshine that do peek through provide glimmers of hope for a better future.

The set opens with the subdued pop anthem “Spirit of the Highlands,” which gains momentum in the middle section with some propulsive percussion and establishes an initial sense of hope and confidence. “The Royal City” is as regal as it sounds, with synthesized horns heralding great expectations.

Clouds begin to form with “Dark Times (The Inquisition),” a dynamic track that interestingly starts out sounding like a ubiquitous piece of incidental music from the 1960s/1970s Mission: Impossible television series and unlikely becomes the most rocking piece on the CD, like dark pop.

The highlight of the album is “Miserere Mei,” a total creep-out that sounds like a Gregorian chant gone horribly wrong, but in a good way. After a very gothic, Transylvania-style pipe organ intro, an eerie choir of male and female voices chants “Miserere Mei” to a crescendo, followed by a dark synthesized passage, and then more chanting. The choir sounds similar to the choir in John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates” suite from the Star Wars prequels, as well as the choir in the musical motif during the encounters with the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This one track encapsulates the spirit of the CD and is especially spooky at night.

Although not the final track, “Desolation and Absolution” is a peaceful resolution to the involved themes preceding it. The serene and tranquil tones instill a sense of quiet release and expectant hope for the future.

Once again, Michael Stribling has used his musical canvas to render a portrait of a visceral world of drama and emotion, and it is quite the experience to behold.

Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music & Media Focus
“Safely In The Arms Of Love” is a concept album that follows a storyline similar to a play. While the details of this particular tale, as outlined in the liner notes, are all original, it bears some semblance in form to the mythical pattern popularized by Joseph Campbell in “The Hero’s Journey” which is a metaphor for the process of growth and self realization.

While there is indeed a narrative that accompanies this latest album, it is a tale told in music – and well told it is. Opening with “Spirit of the Highlands” you can almost feel the mist drifting across the moors as sounds that evoke bagpipes, pennywhistles, and Celtic harp set the scene for the drama to unfold. On “Far Away From Home” harp arpeggios, keyboards and synth flute wistfully convey an air of longing. The clouds begin to clear however as track four, “The Royal City” erupts in fanfare, ushering in the entrance to a magical kingdom. Orchestral flourishes swell and swirl and bells ring with appropriate grandiosity. Each track has it’s own very distinctive character and sound which lend to the storybook-like feel.

Michael has shared the story eloquently in word and music, so I won’t attempt to re-tell it in it’s entirety here, but by now an idea of the feel and flow of the album should be clear. This release shows remarkable breadth and depth in it’s composition, arrangement, and performance. “Safely in the Arms of Love” is a grand adventure in music and imagination.

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

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
In the tradition of Michael Stribling’s previous six albums, "Safely in the Arms of Love" is the soundtrack to a story or message created by Stribling. Fully orchestrated and performed on keyboards, the music ranges from very bold and cinematic to quiet and introspective, from joyful to hopeless despair. A variety of world music influences and a broad range of powerful emotions make this a fascinating musical journey. The story itself is told in the liner notes and on Stribling’s website, but even without the text, it is obvious that this album is telling a very adventurous tale.

The story begins with “Spirit of the Highlands,” which tells of a young man leaving his home in the highlands against his father’s wishes. He is headed for the continent, seeking his fame and fortune. Celtic flavors include pennywhistle, fiddle, and what could be the drone of bagpipes. “Stormy Seas” depicts the challenge of crossing over to the mainland. Dark, intense, and very dramatic, this is one of my favorite tracks. “Far Away From Home” is much quieter and more reflective. The boy eventually finds “The Royal City” where he becomes an apprentice in his uncle’s alchemy shop. The majestic and stately music describes the grandeur of the city. One day, the boy hears the sound of the approaching Byzantine Carnival Parade - mysterious and exotic. Fascinated, he leaves work, goes to the carnival tents, and is lured by the sultry music of “Veiled Dancers.” The beauty of one of the Asian dancers and her slow, sensual movements captivate the boy, and he returns later that night to find his “Asian Flower.” The music here is smooth and simple, conveying the magic of new love.

The story is set in Europe during Medieval times, when the Inquisition was in full force, and the young couple knew that their being together would mean serious trouble. Officials arrest the boy and take him away. “Dark Times (The Inquisition)” is full of dread and the feeling of imminent danger. While imprisoned, the boy could only pray and ponder his fate. “Miserere Mei” is pitch black with organ, chanting, and the feeling of utter despair. When all seemed lost, three shadowy figures appeared, opened the cell door and led the boy away from his captors. “Escape and Pursuit” is intense, agitated, and very dark. Guitars and strong rhythms suggest a breathless chase that fades out near the end. Later, the shadowy figures reveal themselves to be the boy’s father and uncle, and his lady love. “Desolation and Absolution” begins mournfully, but turns around about halfway through, becoming hopeful and full of grace. Now “Safely in the Arms of Love” as the story comes to an end, the mood of the music is light, warm, and full of optimism.

Michael Stribling is a master of this kind of musical story-telling, so if you are new to his music, this is a great place to start. Fans of his previous releases will find much to love about Stribling’s newest work. Recommended!