Nikkos

Angels Dreaming

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When new age became popular in the 1980s, pop critics often dismissed it as boring, bloodless, and vacuous -- and in some cases, it was hard to argue with them. But in the 1990s, sweeping generalizations about new age became increasingly problematic because some creative, interesting music found its way to the new age bins. One of the talented musician/composers in the new age field is the Italian-born flutist Nikkos Bifaro Vincenzo, who only goes by his first name professionally. Angels Dreaming shouldn't be written off as Muzak; parts of the 2000 CD are fairly substantial. Some of his instrumentals are pretty innocuous, but some of them are soulful and haunting -- Nikkos is at his most creative on the moody "Barcarola," the Asian-minded "Oriental Stars," and the South American-influenced "Natsuno Melody." World music has had a positive effect on certain new age artists, and Nikkos' best instrumentals indicate that he is one of them. Take "West East," for example -- the tune has the sort of tranquility that new age audiences crave, but its Asian leanings hint at the forms of spiritual music that Buddhist monks have been playing for centuries. Although not perfect, Angels Dreaming is -- more often than not -- an appealing example of new age's more creative, risk-taking side.

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