Steven Halpern

Rings of Saturn

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New Age music pioneer Steven Halpern departs far from his signature "Anti-Frantic Alternative" music series for this space music romp through the rings of Saturn. This album is heavy on synthesized electrical sound; rather than digital wind or rocket sounds, Halpern loads on the electro-blurps, blipping console sounds, sequenced organ tones, tones that freefall or take off, buzzes, space sirens, rubbery waves, and other vibrations of an imaginary space voyage. Side two is more melodic, offering Halpern's free-floating piano, angel choir "aums," and the expressive electric violin of Tony Selvage. The violin notes on "Cosmic Blues" are stretched as they ricochet through a shimmering universe; the piece is quite moving. Rings of Saturn is definitely hypnotic and can be an exciting transformation for an overloaded mind. The heavy use of synthesizers is actually quite refreshing when compared to the overuse of digital sound samples. Those who think they know what Steven Halpern can accomplish musically should listen to this album. Quite extraordinary.