Saturday, December 23, 2023

REVIEW: ANN LICATER - Between the Stars

Between The Stars
Cul de Sac Mystic Productions

This is flutist Ann Licater’s seventh album and, as if it needs stating, she deservedly sits with the best flutists in the New Age Music genre, and it becomes more apparent with each successive release. Between the Stars is sub-titled “flute passages for meditation and inspiration” and that is 100 percent on the money in encapsulating what these fourteen tracks excel at for every minute of playing time.

One thing worth mentioning is that, unlike other meditative/relaxation albums, the album’s tracks never run past five minutes and most are considerably shorter (the longest is 4:51 and the shortest is 2:15). Now, for some, this may seem out of character for this subgenre of music, but personally, I loved the shorter track duration as it allowed Licater to criscross between her assortment of flutes (see details below) and their different “voices” which really added to my enjoyment. I felt like she was taking me on a voyage of discovery of different flute heritages which I found delightful. Even with the short track times, the album is completely cohesive and it should prove ideal for not just meditation but also massage, bodywork, or purposeful reflection. The transition from one flute to another is handled with adroitness and I myself never experienced a disruption of the soothing, calming mood whenever I listened to Between the Stars.

Licater is joined by multi-instrumentalist Ivar Lunde, Jr. (see details below) and he provides perfect accompaniment (and I do mean perfect as whatever instrument he performs on, it blends seamlessly with her flutes). As for Licater, it wasn’t until I read the liner notes that I discovered she played piano on two tracks and she displays an uncommon naturalness using a sparse approach to notes from the piano. Just the right amount of melody from the keyboard to accompany the lead flute on the two songs in question.

Every single song on Between the Stars is a gem, and while the mood between tracks can shift subtly, the overall effect of these instrumentals is pure relaxation and stress relief. That said, under attentive (as opposed to background) listening, the excellent recording quality is revealed as well as the attention to nuance for both Licater’s flutes and Lunde’s assorted background accompaniment. If you enjoy relaxing flute music, this album is a must have.

Note that Ann also has traveled widely giving performances, workshops, and basically revealing the healing effects of the assorted flutes in her repertoire and guiding people all over the world to a more centered and healthy way of life.

Executive producer: Ann Licater
Album produced by Ann Licater and Ivar Lunde, Jr.
All songs composed by Ann Licater
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ivar Lunde, Jr. at Skyline Studios, Eau Claire, WI

Ann Licater: Alto flute, folk flute, Mayan-style drone flute, Native American flute, Native American-style flute, Ocarina, Silver C flute, piano
Ivar Lunde, Jr. : Frame drum, acoustic bass, guitar, synthesizer

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