Michael Ryan

Between Earth & Sky

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Guitarist Michael Ryan and flutist Adam Kaplan explore various musical forms on their first joint effort Between Earth and Sky. The songs illustrate that both musicians are also songwriters, with Ryan penning four songs, Kaplan contributing five of his own, and both artists teaming up for "Angels" and "Irish Farewell." They create music with semi-classical forms, such as "Rondo" and "Tarantella," only to infuse them with jazzy melodies and arrangements. Both musicians get equal opportunity to shine, as Ryan strums along to Kaplan's nimble flute on "Encuentros," and his fluid work takes a back seat to Ryan's solo acoustic moments on "Sunset Solitude." Most songs feature a flute and guitar duet on a single melody, which digress into each instrument's solo interpretation of the melody. The arrangements are rounded out with solid backup from dreamy synthesizers and a barely present bass, while some of the livelier tracks are flavored with percussion. The upbeat highlight of the album is the arrangement of "Malaguena," where Kaplan takes control of the undulating melody and Ryan plays a fierce flamenco guitar. It is an interesting last track for this otherwise mellow album, and makes us look forward to hearing more from these two talented musicians.

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