Michael Mucklow | Clearly

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United States - New Mexico

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New Age: Relaxation New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Clearly

by Michael Mucklow

A sonic oasis for getting away from it all, ‘Clearly’ is a delightful cross section of superbly performed, insightful acoustic guitar based instrumental music.
Genre: New Age: Relaxation
Release Date: 

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1. Canyon Serenade
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2. Joy
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3. Moonlight Sands
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4. Love's Way
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5. Uni•Verse (One Song)
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6. Cloud Shadows
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7. (It Feels) Timeless
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8. In The Temple
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9. Healer
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10. Sunlit Mesas
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11. Gone For A Walk
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12. Vibrant Aire
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Natural instincts breathe through Michael's instrumental guitar stylings as an extension of his heart and soul. His polished melodic style is textured yet unobtrusive. Borderless, innovative and well crafted, his songs have their own beautifully defined essence. Mucklow is a guitarist that isn't afraid to be adventurous.

Michael Mucklow is an instrumental guitarist who journeys outside the box. His use of alternate tunings crafts music that speaks volumes for his daring. A diverse background gives Michael the courage to pursue individuality and unusual settings for his solo Fingerstyle guitarwork. While his music springs surprises, it also maintains a state of constant grace as it changes pace and direction. His albums are fresh, laid back, unpretentious, and reassuring in their optimism. Simplicity and positive undertones make a wonderful combination; the result is memorable music.

Writing acoustic guitar-based songs since he was 16, his migration as a musician soon led to the electric guitar. Spending several years in original rock bands released a desire to play with passion and intensity - a quality that transfers to the soothing and melodic music he writes today. Connecting with his Source of musical inspiration while in a church band added depth and dimension to his songwriting. When Michael would perform as a solo guitarist, listeners defined his playing as calming, peaceful...even healing. Michael clearly understood that music had the power to produce a positive impact in the human spirit.

His music continued to evolve through influences like Acoustic Alchemy, Will Ackerman and Tommy Emmanuel. Michael's love for the blended sounds of acoustic guitars was solidifying. His exploration of alternate tunings was sparked, re-igniting his desire to write guitar instrumentals. His solo projects are his response to the blending of influences that have spoken most to his heart over the years. This heartfelt music is meditative and unique, easily appreciated and savored. Listeners will find Michael's instrumental guitar stylings relaxing, calming, peaceful...and yes, perhaps even healing.


Reviews


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New Artist Radio

Recommended to everyone that wants to enjoy life from a different soundtrack.
I had never heard of a genre called New Age Fingerstyle so when Michael Mucklow sent me his music I was instantly interested. I was about 3 songs in when it dawned on me that there were no lyrics to this music, I was busy chilling out with the absolutely breathtaking guitar work. The guitar sang to you like a it had it's own voice, soft at times yet powerful enough to bring out the goose bumps down your spine. This is mood music to the max! Refreshing and positive with a slight hint of spanish twang, this music kept my interest with 12 wonderful tracks that were diverse from one another. Something about this music kept giving me goose bumps, hard to explain I think it might have been the soft yet powerful way the guitar was worked. The production of this music was very clear and crisp and easy to listen to but you might find yourself being visited by the goose fairy. I would recommend this music to everyone that wants to take a break and enjoy your life from a different soundtrack.

International Online Magazine

One of the best things ever to grace the R Cat CD drawer!
I was thinking about buying a little grey plastic tub containing about 24 of those vitamin B12, vitamin C amalgamations that promise a kinda upwards health thing with the added benefit of 'calming' additives... none of which have ever seen the light of day as far as regulation or quality control is concerned... for all I know I could be swallowing powdered lawn grass at $10 a pop!!! Now... whatever the short or long term effects of these things is marketed to be, I can tell you that you can chuck the entire tub (and any others like it that you may own) in the bin and get a far more beneficial spirit, heart, and soul enriching experience by simply listening to any one (or more) of Michael Mucklow's compositions! I have, at hand, Michael's most recent recording 'Clearly' and I can tell you that this monumental mood enhancing collage of audio magnificence is one of the best things ever to grace the R Cat CD drawer and the air molecules that float directly in front of these speakers! The album opens with the delicate and inescapably brilliant Canyon Serenade - our introduction to Michael's world complete with beautifully played solo acoustic work accompanied in just the right places by piano and tabla styled percussion. There isn't anything remotely un-engaging in this piece and the magic is evident in the fact that you just cannot pull your attention away for too long without feeling like you've committed an act of betrayal on your senses!

Joy follows Canyon Serenade and continues to inspire hitherto measures of awe and atmosphere... the kind you'd love to have permanently surrounding anyone who dares pass through your door with the slightest hint of negativity about them. This piece would surely confine that mindset in a heartbeat! It's such a bright, summery, melodic piece with just about every note carefully caressed for the right amount of time and with the right amount of co-ordination that some of the greatest guitar players often take with a pinch of salt. I don't think that happens here... I think Michael knows he's adequately blessed!

Moonlight Sands meanwhile, takes the stage where the guys from the latino appreciation society normally reside and within a few bars, the entire track takes shape to become an accomplishment strewn in every direction with skill and superb stylistics. A beautifully arranged piece worthy of much praise and appreciation. Michael's managed to put personality between the riffs and chords and a very attractive personality it is! Watch out for the lovely piano and acoustic work that surfaces about mid-way through the track!

Love's Way picks up the tempo with some very clever support from the percussion talents of Jon Gosen. The guitar work is whispered and dreamy in places and the approach works exceptionally well. You get the feeling that Michael's guitar is actually as much an extension of his heart and soul as his body is.. whatever way you look at it... Love's Way is a wonderful piece of jazziness with icing!

Uni•Verse (One Song) is one of the most beautiful instrumentals I have heard in a long time. Very ambient and very effective in it's mood enhancing delivery.. excellent guitar work just grabs you at that point where you would rather not be let go for a very long time. Watch out for the equally remarkable piano arrangement that comes in at around the 2.14 mark... lovely!

Cloud Shadows comes to us provoking just about every bright and sparkling memory we've ever had of comfort, contentment, and pure positive creativity all rolled into one. It's difficult for the average composer to achieve that kind of response but for me as a listener, it wasn't difficult at all! Then, we get to (It Feels) Timeless - what a great title for such a timeless piece of music! Again the guitar and percussion work are synchronous to the nth degree.. a superb arrangement with some very fine engineering at the mixer end of the spectrum!

In The Temple is an absolutely brilliant piece of music with guitar, percussion, piano and synth all working so closely together they might as well have been played by an eight armed super musician! There are little hints of blues, contemporary jazz, and little reminiscences of folk here and there... I'll leave it to you to find them before you get to Healer - a rather sad and slightly introspective tune that provokes reflection at a point where you thought you were all out of reflecting! It's a beautifully crafted piece of work is this and it firmly establishes Michael and co as a very accomplished group of musicians who know a thing or two about how much can push the emotions!

Track ten just happens to be Sunlit Mesas - a lovely example of 'borderless' and innovative fingerpicking that's actually prevalent throughout this CD but even more welcome here. The guitar work is so clear and sensibly recorded that you feel like michael is sitting right next to you. I'd love to know what this guitar is... there's barely a hint of poor lutherianship anywhere to be found. (is that the right word Michael??).

Gone For A Walk is so seamlessly bright and optimistic it's hard to stop yourself hitting the rewind buttons as your disbelief would have you do time and time again. Michael Mucklow has composed another work of beauty that has the same effect on your audio senses that some of the greatest finger-picked guitar tunes ever composed do.. brilliant!

The final track on this wonderful album is the anthemic Vibrant Aire. What a rather magnificently innovative piece of music this is.. meandering guitar riffs and phrases, attention holding percussion and some very fine engineering make this track stand out like a rose among fuchsias... it's a cleverly arranged piece of music that has more depth and colour than your average Renaissance painting! Very nice music boys!

Michael Mucklow's 'Clearly' is a monumental collection of guitar-focused classics that have the power to lift your spirit and your mood while subtly massaging just about every sense of well being you ever thought you possessed! Buy this album if you like clever guitar playing and stunning production all set with a contemporary edge. Bless you Michael for bringing this one into the world!

BuddyHollywood.com

Subtle, emotionally rich, textured yet unobtrusive.
Ever had one of those Francis of Assisi moments, when you see a sunrise and your heart goes into your throat and you weep because no other expression can capture your emotions? Perhaps it is the touch of your lover’s hand, or that one special glance that makes you melt. Or maybe it is during those quiet interludes sitting before a fireplace contemplating the vastness of the universe and your infinitesimal place in it that enlightenment takes place. Those are the themes fingerstyle guitarist Michael Mucklow explores in his soothing yet exhilarating instrumental release, Clearly. “Canyon Serenade,” the project’s opener is a gentle exultation of the glories of nature. There are snatches of melodies in harken back to an old Christmas carol, and the spirit of the song seems to encourage heaven and nature to ‘sing!’ “Joy” is a subtle celebration of that misunderstood state of being that is often attributed as an emotion of sublime happiness. In Mucklow’s world, “Joy” appears to be more about graceful acceptance and contentment mixed with expectation. “Love’s Way” is flecked with a bosa nova sway; seductive yet demure. “(It Feels) Timeless” builds on the recurrent theme of celebrating our place in the universe first posited in “Uni-Verse,” and the seven and a half minute electrified epic, “In The Temple,” frees Mucklow to ponder the nature of the human and the divine. Michael Mucklow’s niche lies somewhere between the Canadian folk sensibilities of Steve Bell, the classical leaning of Christopher Parkening and Muriel Anderson, and the exquisite, populist fingerstyle of Larry Belknap. Clearly is subtle, emotionally rich, textured yet unobtrusive. This is a project that warrants repeated listens.

Innerchange Magazine - Ron Rudin

It's easy to listen to the entire album again and again.
Michael Mucklow plays guitar, bass and piano. He is joined by Jon Gosen, piano, syth, percussion, and Eric Banas on piano on some of the tracks. The guitar-focused Clearly, is one of those albums that is so good that it almost defies description. I could take the easy way out and say “go to www.michaelmucklow.com, and hear the entire CD by clicking on 'listen'”. But, I must write on. It is Clearly obvious (to me) that the music is soothing, vibrant, musically and spiritually inspiring, brilliant, emotionally rich, healing, and joyful. Hopefully these “words” won't distract you from the here and now. Tune in, you'll know whether it's worth a listen.

The songs don't repeat themselves; the style varies; this makes it easy to listen to the entire album again and again. The clear melodic squeaking sound of the fingers moving on the guitar strings brings you into the room with the artist. You hear elements of jazz, folk, classical, and new age music. The more I listen, the more I like it.

On his web site Michael Mucklow shares his inspiration for each song. About the song “Loves Way”, he says: "There are times when God expresses His love for us in a more gentle way...He is comforting and wooing us. When I began writing the lead melody line for this song it began to feel like I myself was being reminded of how gentle God's love has been toward me. I'm very thankful for those times."

And Mucklow's thoughts about track six, “Cloud Shadows”: "Clouds are very distinct entities in the desert because of the clear blue sky. When they are moving slowly and gently above the earth their shadows are cast upon the ground, hills and mountains. It can be mezmerizing to watch those shadows slowly make their way along."

Playing while doing yoga, meditative movement, massage, eating breakfast, or talking with friends, may inspire you to cast your shadows gently upon the earth.

Metal Haven / Ativ

The music is not only well crafted, but crafty and it is all delightful.
Michael Mucklow is an adventurer. His Music speaks volumes for his daring as he has gone about his quest for the unusual settings for solo finger style guitar. Michael is joined by Jon Gosen (Piano, Synth & percussion) and Eric Banas (Piano).

The music on Clearly springs several surprises, but it also has a state of grace in its calmer moments. The members share ideas, interpoling them and then taking them out into articulately giddy terrain.

The musician’s ideas are constantly fertile. Canyon Serenade has a nice early morning sunrise feel. It would be a great track to encourage you to get out of bed on a cold winters day. The guitar is backed by gentle percussion and sparse piano notes.

Moonlight Sands has a more latin jazz feel in which the percussion works really well. It has a downbeat/sinister verse section. There is a slow catchy piano solo towards the end of the track.

Surprise is another driving force, as the album changes pace and direction. After the gentle (It Feels) Timeless, the atmosphere turns to a churning one on In The Temple. A dark sustained electric blues lick opens the track, backed by a somber sounding piano. The most passionate moment comes when the blue licks loop into the track towards the end.

This is the first time I have heard finger style guitar, and am proud to have reviewed this album. In short, the music is not only well crafted, but crafty and it is all delightful.

Midwest Record Review

A sonic oasis for getting away from it all.
A fingerstyle guitarist that isn't afraid to be an adventurer, Mucklow let's his influences lead the way as he shapes and shifts them along the way. With a pair of like minded pals, this introspective, ambient and easy disc is a sonic oasis for those looking for a way to get away from it all. An interesting player with a bright future.

Rambles.net

It is rare a CD lives up to its name as well as Michael Mucklow's Clearly
I first listened to it on a quiet weekend afternoon at home and was immediately drawn to the wonderfully clear and resonant notes of the acoustic guitar that poured out. I turned the volume up, which is always a good sign, and hit repeat when the CD had finished, which is an even better one. Whether played quietly or loudly, on good speakers or mediocre ones, these 12 instrumental guitar tracks, united by Mucklow's supple fingerstyle guitar and attention to melody and mood, are easy to like.

Though not without its shortcomings, Clearly is an unpretentious, expressive and audibly joyful listen that may just be the perfect relaxation CD for people who hate relaxation CDs.

A little over half the tracks are played on acoustic guitar, minimally accompanied by light percussion and occasional piano, and it is on these unornamented pieces that Mucklow's command of the guitar really shines. The opening track, "Canyon Serenade," starts simply and doesn't so much build up as go deeper into its own melody to culminate in a surprising ending. "Cloud Shadows" has an easy, laidback sense of movement that fits its title perfectly. "Universe" is almost a lullaby with a tasteful touch of piano, while "Joy" and "Gone for a Walk" are, appropriately enough, more vivacious, slightly folksy pieces that sing of clean country air. A few of them sound rather similar on initial listens, but when they are all so beautifully evocative, it's hard to mind.

The electric guitar pieces tend to be less effective, and especially after the acoustic tracks they seem a bit cluttered and fussy in comparison. "Sunlit Mesas," a piece to saunter off into the sunset with if ever there was one, is the obvious exception. "Moonlight Sands" is pleasant enough in a mild-mannered, jazzy Latin way, but the synthesizer intro to the seven-minute-long "In the Temple" is an unwanted trip back to the 1980s, as is the beat in "Love's Way." Neither is offensive enough to skip, but it is at these points that Clearly inches towards elevator music and kitschiness.

But for all that, the album's virtues are much more memorable than its faults. Clearly is atmospheric enough to serve as soundtrack for quiet times, melodic enough to simply sit back and listen to, and altogether a promising solo guitar debut for Michael Mucklow. Just one question arises: why hasn't Windham Hill signed him up yet? - Jennifer Mo

Amazing Sounds

This is a beautiful album, intimist and melodic.
In this work we find a nice collection of melodic themes dominated by the guitar, flowing through Rock Ballad, Contemporary Instrumental music, Jazz, Folk and soft Pop. In many of the tracks the listener can clearly appreciate the personal style of the artist, well polished after years of exploration, collaborations with other musicians and some influences such as that of, for instance, Acoustic Alchemy. In conclusion, this is a beautiful album, intimist and melodic as well. ~ Marcella Cirignola

Amanda Reynolds

I love this album.
Michael Mucklow's "Clearly" cd is one of the most beautiful instrumentals I have heard, not just in long time, but in my whole life. It is one of my favorite cd's to wake up to in the morning on my cd player/alarm clock. What soothing and wonderful sounds to wake up to...and get ready for the day with! I highly recommend this cd to anyone and everyone. This music is not limited by genre. The artist is versatile and smooth. The music is like a breathe of fresh air. And just in time for spring!

shookmusic studios

Awesome! The perfect blend of relaxation and motivation.
I really enjoy listening to this CD at work. I love guitar and look forward to possibly collaborating with Mr. Mucklow in the future.
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