ENLIGHTENED PIANO RADIO
“Our world is busy enough. Listen to music that will restore you!”
Ann Arbor, MI, UNITED STATES
“If this new music was a TV show, it would be National Geographic Explorer, taking you to stunning places around the world,” shares Michigan-based cinematic, neo-classical composer Marc Enfroy.
“For this album, I wanted to write mini soundtracks that inspire feelings of awe and quiet reflection,” Marc shares.
True to his promise, Enfroy’s latest, Surrounded, is a mind’s eye travelogue capturing the essence of exotic locations with imagination, and triumphantly impressionistic musicality. The immersive music on Surrounded frames each location with dynamic piano-driven, neo-classical flair. Surrounded will be first presented as a series of singles that will later be bundled as an album.
Enfroy is one of new age and neo-classical’s most distinct and distinguished voices with a body of work spanning six critically-acclaimed albums, one of which peaked at number two on Billboard’s new age album chart. His music whisks listeners away to altered states and mind’s eye journeys with cinematic, piano-based compositions, delicately and impactfully textured with orchestral touches, ethereal vocals, and other emotionally-dynamic enhancements.
Enfroy has earned acclaim from numerous tastemakers in the new age music world including three nominations and one win for Zone Music Reporter’s Best Neo-Classical Album award and appearing on best album lists by MainlyPiano.com and NewAgeMusicWorld.com.
Enfroy has also earned accolades from WAWL and KTEP Radio, ZoneMusicReporter.com, NewAgeMusicWorld.com, MainlyPiano.com, GRAMMY®-winning pianist Laura Sullivan, GRAMMY®-nominated new age composer Al Conti, and Billboard-charting producer/recording artist Randy Copus.
Surrounded is a return to Enfroy’s evocatively grand aesthetic after exploring darker realms of beauty on his last album. On a personal note, the album’s mood is inspired by rekindled love and a new marriage to his wife, Sharon, an artist in her own right, having co-written half the music on the album.
Surrounded is a pathway to lush, foreign lands. Each composition conjures the soul of the soil as it is envisioned through myth, wonder, and daydreaming. Album standouts include Aotearoa, Land of Fire and Ice, and Lavande de Provence.
Aotearoa—which is the original name of New Zealand—mines the line between mournful and majestic, hitting that sweet spot where beauty makes you tear up. The composition opens with haunting strings before introducing a delicately stirring classical-flavored piano motif. Soon, the song takes off with an anthemic gait, winding through a sonic odyssey. “With this song, I wanted to capture the mystery and yearning for the pure essence of New Zealand,” Enfroy shares.
The melodic beauty built into the tune Land of Fire and Ice perfectly captures the blue wonder of Iceland. As the arrangement unfolds, Enfroy uses thoughtful musical dynamics to take the listener from the land’s quiet glacier lagoons to its fjords filled with waterfalls and finally on to its towering mountains and volcanoes.
The track Lavande de Provence snapshots an intriguing area of France, bringing to life the beauty of the Provence region, known for its boundless lavender fields.
Interestingly, Enfroy has never traveled to the locations he elegantly portrays in Surrounded. “I strive to capture musically how I imagine faraway places,” he shares. “I also try to stir the same emotions nature evokes in us when we feel small but connected to its beauty and vastness.”
Up next, Enfroy will embark on another foreign journey, fusing industrial rock, folk, and electronica while working with his wife on her upcoming solo project.
“Crossroads” reviewed by
Crossroads is a 2016 recording released by pianist, musician and composer Marc Enfroy. The album also features vocalists Aili Laine, Lila Ives, and Paul Enfroy. I have a lot to say about this album, much more than I can sum up in just one review, but I’ll start by saying that “Crossroads” is an honest and true musical adventure. It’s is an album that is full of compositional mastery, and the writing in the pieces has clearly seen a painstaking and tedious intention behind every note and chord progression. Marc blends many different sounds to create “Crossroads,” some that are quite unconventional, and he makes it work brilliantly. Piano, strings, electric guitar, “techno style” synth pads, and vocals can all be found here. It’s an incredibly diverse album as well, and “Crossroads” will have you listening to music that is energetic, meditative, and everything in between. Some of the songs are top 40 material and others are much more unique in their genre, but all of the songs share Marc Enfroy’s personal signature. Definitely in my top five favorite albums of the year, “Crossroads” is refreshingly innovate and at the same time incredibly listenable.
On an album of 16 mind blowing tracks, it’s difficult to choose three favorites to write about. “Your Silence Is A Razor” would have to be one of them though, as this track harnesses the freshest and most modern approach to musical songwriting I’ve heard in the genre to date. Aili Laine sings with seasoned passion as the music powerfully drones around her voice, and we’re taken to our knees in this somewhat crushing rock ballad. The piece builds quickly, and once it does, it never stops pushing the sound at you – it demands your full attention. This is music that will not let your ears take a break until it’s over, and it’s absolutely magnificent.
“Fading White” is a detour from that experience, beginning with some soft synth pads and a beautiful melody, skillfully sung by vocalist Lila Ives. As the piece builds, we’re introduces to violins, piano, and eventually a full drum kit and background vocals. Every song on this album has a way of building into something incredibly intense, and this song is no exception. By the time we get to the end of it we find ourselves immersed in a piece that moves in a number of directions, ebbing and flowing in intensity, and ultimately taking us through the rafters with musical emotion. It’s clear that Marc is taking no shortcuts in having prepared an album that is the highest quality product. The vocals are simply amazing, and the recording itself is beyond effective in delivering a musical experience that is breathtakingly memorable.
“Wildfire Rising” begins like a piece from a motion picture soundtrack. Piano and ambient pads, with some light violin work open the song. Before long, the music explodes into something completely different, combining heavy distorted guitar and world music elements. Ambient vocals, piano, bass and drums lead the listener into a blazing wildfire of sound and expression, and there’s no backing away from it. There’s a really nice build up in this piece about three quarters of the way through, at which time everything dies down momentarily, leaving only the piano and violin parts. From there the music builds again, guiding the listener to a tense and eruptive ending. The combination of world music elements and rock feel would probably make “Wildfire Riding” my favorite track on the album.
“Crossroads,” frankly, is not for the faint of heart. This is not a recording to relax and listen to. It’s an incredibly complex collection of songs that do much more than simply engage the listener. These tracks command you to go out of your way, to enmesh yourself in the experiences and the stories that this album attempts to tell. It’s aggressive, dominating, invigorating and exhilarating all at the same time. This is music with complete and total intention behind every single track, start to finish, and it’s the kind of album that is a rarity in any genre of music. After all, even the strongest of composers don’t create genius works all of the time. I give “Crossroads” my highest recommendation, and I think anyone and everyone should give it a listen. There’s something for absolutely everyone to take from this brilliant recording, and I give it ten stars out of five. Well done “Crossroads” team!