It's always refreshing when an artist finds a unique niche and knows the role his or her music plays in the listener's life. In the case of elegant, meditation-minded composer/pianist Kevin Kern, it's creating an atmosphere for pure healing and relaxation. Rather than work up grandiose themes or pop melodies like some of his better-known new age peers, he is all about warmth, intimacy, and chilling out. Skeptics may bristle at liner note essays like his "Winding Path Guided Visualization," but at least he's honest about his primary goal to soothe, and that he won't mind if we drift off into a gentle sleep before waking up to a deeper self awareness. He enhances his piano on lush numbers like "The Touch of Love" with guitar and flute, and "The Way of the Stream" features a beautiful acoustic introduction by guitarist Jeff Linsky. Opening with a gentle rainstorm and Native American flute ambiences, "High Above the Valley" leads Kern into more exotic territory than ever before. Longtime Kern fans might not find these melodies quite as memorable as those on previous discs, but their simple beauty is undeniable.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran