Martin Lass

Martin Lass: Sonnet

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No one disliked categorization more than Duke Ellington, who used to argue that there are only two types of music: good and bad. But realistically, a certain amount of categorization is necessary. If an artist's music is going to sell, it has to be marketed and promoted -- and part of the marketing/promotion process is describing the music you're trying to sell. Martin Lass is one of those artists whose music isn't all that easy to categorize. A classically trained violinist, Lass provides gentle instrumental music that has a strong classical influence (although it isn't classical per se) and occasionally has hints of Celtic folk. For the sake of convenience -- and for marketing purposes -- Lass has been described as new age, which is probably just as well because Sonnet is calm enough to appeal to the new age market. And when one sees words like "healing" in the liner notes, it is obvious that Lass is going after new age audiences. Although Sonnet is the violinist's first U.S. release, it isn't his first album -- before Sonnet, he recorded eight CDs that were released in Australia. If Sonnet is essentially new age -- and new age is as good a description as any -- it's important to know what type of new age it is. The term new age is a lot more far-reaching than it was in the '80s; it is used to describe everything from spacy, atmospheric, electronic sounds to rhythmic stuff with world music leanings. Sonnet is an example of the more classical-influenced new age, and even though the material falls short of mind-blowing, all of it is pleasant and sincere.

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