Al Conti | Northern Seas

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Northern Seas

by Al Conti

The myths of the Norse come to life in this artist’s GRAMMY® nominated fourth album, creating a mythical landscape from another time and place, one cloaked in veils of mist when the gods ruled over harsh Nordic lands.
Genre: World: World Beat
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Veil of Mist
3:24 album only
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2. Northern Seas
4:24 album only
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3. Spring Maiden
4:47 album only
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4. Song of Rig
4:15 album only
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5. Thor's Journey
4:11 album only
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6. Dans för Loki (Loki's Jig)
3:45 album only
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7. Odin the Wanderer
4:45 album only
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8. Baldur
5:22 album only
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9. Valkyrja
5:34 album only
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10. Ragnarök
3:55 album only
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11. The Rainbow Bridge
4:37 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The myths of the Norse come to life in composer Al Conti’s new GRAMMY® nominated recording. Northern Seas is Conti’s fourth album and contains eleven original new age/world-fusion pieces that draw on ancient Norse mythology while weaving in modern sensibilities. As with his previous award-winning album, Scheherazade, Conti has taken well-known tales, this time from the mystical lands of the north that originated during Scandinavia’s Viking Age, and woven music around themes and images. By combining ancient and exotic instruments (kantele, Jew’s harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion, and tribal drums) with modern ones (piano, violin, cello and both acoustic and electric guitar), Conti has created a mythical landscape that will carry the listener to another time and place, one cloaked in veils of mist when the gods ruled over harsh Nordic lands.


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Reviews


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Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
The Norse legends of old come to vivid, sparkling life in this multifaceted musical tapestry woven by actor, composer, and musician Al Conti. The fourth album from the multi-instrumentalist is steeped in Viking lore and, as such, brims with the mystery and mythology of those ancient times.

The proceedings begin with the sounds of rushing water and haunting wordless vocals as the seafaring Nordic warriors row their way through a “Veil of Mist” into the realm of the gods. The album is Conti’s personal tribute to such figures as Iounn (the subject of the lyrical “Spring Maiden”), Loki, Odin, Thor, and Baldur. The scope of the CD also includes the Valkyries, the downfall of the gods, and “The Rainbow Bridge.”

The music itself is lush, with rich layers of sound constructed by Conti’s keyboards, synthesizers, pump organ, accordion, and percussion, as well as violins, fiddles, Celtic whistles, and acoustic and electric guitars by other musicians. The result is an album full of dreamy lyricism, epic themes, and memorable melodies.

While the album generally falls into the category of New Age and world music, the most apt description is that it specifically sounds like what might be called medieval pop. In other words, it sounds like Sting at his best post-Police, except without Sting’s vocals. In fact, Sting and Al Conti should get together and collaborate. Sting could use the inspiration.

Northern Seas is definitely a keeper. It’s worthy of the gods, and worthy of your attention.
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John P. Olsen / NewAgeMusicWorld.Com / NewAgeMusic.nu

Al Conti's New World Fusion on Northern Seas
Al Conti is a name many recognize in U.S. and international audiences as a composing musician having a natural ability for producing some of the most vivid story based music in the New Age & World genres, and for those who are wondering, his ability to intermingle these exciting tales of intrigue into each of his award winning projects originates from life experiences and global travels. Northern Seas is the fourth narrative from Al Conti that made a grand impression on me after hearing this new release for the first time. On Northern Seas the ancestral homeland and Nordic heritage of Scandinavia is the theme presented in a manner you will find intensely glorious regardless of your own family coat of arms since the perceptions in imagery and rich instrumental landscape valiantly hold the high ground on this resolute masterpiece. Al Conti has a long family legacy himself arising from a extensive linage of expressive artisans, and in addition to his popularity as a top musician, Al Conti is an performing actor, having made television appearances during shows of the acclaimed CBS daytime drama As The World Turns, commercials, and films, in addition to on stage theatre productions in the United States and overseas. Al Conti’s first albums were Shadows & Poeta and third release Scheherazade from 2008 was a landmark award winning release that resided at the top of ZMR charts for 3 consecutive months, and then received 4 ZMR Lifestyle Music Awards nominations including Album of the Year. Scheherazade then sailed among the clouds to secure Best World Album of 2008 and is played on many satellite and cable channels including Sirius / XM and Music Choice in addition to high watermarks in global radio charts. Northern Seas at time of review publication has reached # 2 in ZMR’s Top 100 chart for October 2010. Northern Seas is a fascinating mixture of New Age & World Fusion with a Celtic inscription on several of the 11 tales of intrigue recounted from the long ago days of antiquity. The indigenous past folklore of Norse mythology brought to light by Al Conti is a melodious one indeed, telling of Norsemen during a time of Viking sovereignty in the Scandinavian nation. Treading a deep imprint on each tale, every single song is crisp, clear, and refreshing as if detailing the pristine landscape and panoramic mountain vistas by deeply spacious tonal qualities. Northern Seas ( Title Song ) has a thunderous opening with an aura of mystery by the piano melody but the free spirited rhythms by flute and violin illuminate the first waterscape images and swiftly place you into the forged from fire and ice Nordic landscape. The light lyricless vocals portray an invigorating atmosphere which greatly changes what could have been pictured as a cold dreary day into one filled with deep but breathtaking rays of shrouded sunbeams. Long drawn out colorful vocals are another positive element that dominates an ambient grounded Veil of Mist. Song of Rig & Valkyrja are adventurous melodies featuring the ancient and exotic instruments used in this albums production. Al Conti is proficient on a wide range of instruments and on Northern Seas he and contributing global talents create the unique feel of ambience using ancient and exotic instruments like kantele, harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion and tribal drums that are melded with modern time instruments of piano, violin, cello, acoustic and electric guitar. Odin The Wanderer is notably mysterious but also carries a palate full of vibrant hues much in part to the charismatic melody and choir that is lightly comingled with alluring violin and accordion tracings. Two flute melodies with a Celtic essence are the vigorously paced Dans for Loki and then free flowing The Rainbow Bridge. Piano and accordion merge in the light song Baldur and the time honored instrument when united with piano turn the tides of time to create an aesthetically pleasing old world essence. Ragnarok has a penetrating melody and light percussion rhythm of true enchantment. This graceful new dimension in elaborate instrumentals of piano, harp, flute, and accordion constitute smooth verses in unison with a light choir while transitioning into a breezy reflection well in harmony with the chosen Nordic folklore theme. Al Conti has crossed yet another threshold with this exciting new release having every telltale sign of award winning success given his intriguing music portraiture of Scandinavian countries centered by Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The majestic highlands, islets and fjords bordering the Barents, Baltic and Norwegian Seas have become the phenomenal harbor setting for this striking new album christened Northern Seas.
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shemusic33

Northern Seas are awash with beautifully rich Celtic and Nordic sounds
The myths of the Norse come to life in composer Al Conti’s latest recording. Northern Seas is Conti’s fourth album and contains eleven original new age/world-fusion pieces that draw on ancient Norse mythology while weaving in modern sensibilities
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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Northern Seas" is Al Conti’s follow-up to his award-winning 2008 release, Scheherazade. Two years in the making, the eleven original tracks are based on Norse mythology from the time of the Vikings. A multi-instrumentalist who plays piano, acoustic guitar, violin, electronic keyboards and percussion, Conti has created a vibrant, cinematic tour of ancient times and places. Additional musicians add wordless vocals, guitars, fiddles, Uilleann pipes, and Celtic whistles. Also an actor and world-traveler, Conti brings a wealth of life experience to his music, giving it plenty of substance tempered with the wisdom to keep the music accessible. The music ranges from dark and stormy to absolutely buoyant and carefree - all of it paints vivid pictures of mythological characters and their fabled lives. In addition, the colorful liner notes summarize some of these tales and explain how the music was conceived - a beautiful package well worth the few extra dollars more than a download.

We begin our journey on "Northern Seas" with “Veil of Mist,” a dark, exotic, and very mysterious piece that evokes fear of the unknown as well as the thrill of a new adventure. “Northern Seas” has a strong rhythm that moves it forward while keyboard, voices, guitar, and various other background sounds convey a spirited optimism. “Song of Rig” becomes more dancelike with a catchy beat and a simple, lively melody. I love “Dans For Loki (Loki’s Jig),” the most carefree piece on the album. In mythology, Loki was known as a trickster, but this jig focuses on his playful, fun-loving side. Complete with Uilleann pipes, fiddles, and many other instruments, it’s a dance of joyous celebration. Delightful! “Odin The Wanderer” tells of the father of the gods and his quest for wisdom. Darker in mood and conveying the feeling of searching, it’s another beauty. “Valkyrja” was a group of goddesses whose task it was to choose warriors lost in battle and take them to the afterworld. The majestic sweep of the piece suggests strength and honor - gorgeous! “Ragnarok” is the name for the demise of the gods and the ultimate battle between good and evil. Haunting and almost without hope, the feeling of loss is heartbreaking. Our journey ends with “The Rainbow Bridge,” a bridge that unites our world with the realm of the gods, offering hope to all.

"Northern Seas" is another truly great album from Al Conti. Highly recommended!
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REVIEWS NEW AGE

Una música majestuosa, reveladora del misterio y el poder de las leyendas viking
Dos años después de su último lanzamiento (Scheherazade), el músico New Age, Al Conti, decide embarcarse en un viaje musical fascinante bajo el título "Mares del Norte", Northern Seas. Un digipack con una presentación asombrosa, al igual que la música que se incluye. Conti apunta en el interior del formato textos sobre la mitología escandinava, muy útiles para comprender el carácter de cada pieza. Descubrimos una música majestuosa, reveladora del misterio y el poder que encerraba las creencias y leyendas vikingas, once títulos que van constituyendo con sus melodías un mundo poderoso y hostil. Todas las composiciones de Conti son interpretadas por teclados, sonidos electrónicos y por diversos músicos de género celta, ofreciéndole a cada melodía un increíble sonido, hechizante. Estos instrumentistas son: Francesca Genco (voces), André Maquera (Guitarras), Hannah Beth Crary y David Nolan (Fiddles), Rob White (Uillean Pipes) y Tim Cummings (Whistle alto en Re y Whistle bajo en Re).

Un misterioso comienzo para Northern Seas es "Veil of Mist". Una pieza aterradora, describiendo un escenario desconocido, desolado y arriesgado. La tenebrosa voz de Francesca, junto al sonido del mar y el sonido de acordes sobrecogedores de gaita celta confieren un tenebroso carácter al tema. Escalofriante, pero muy interesante. Me gusta!.

"Northern Seas" es la pieza que da título al álbum. Una obra principalmente electrónica y de sutil ritmo que comienza con frialdad, tornándose valerosa y suave a la vez en su cenit gracias a las convincentes notas de guitarras, violines, whistles y voces.

La composición más dulce y entrañable de todo el álbum lleva el nombre "Spring Maiden", donde un teclado reproduce simples y tiernas notas, acompañadas por el rasgueo de la guitarra de Maquera y un fondo musical de sintetizadores. Una delicia musical con una primera parte apacible y una segunda emocionante. Qué belleza!.

"Song of Rig" es la canción que Conti compone para el dios guardián de la mitología nórdica, Heimdall. Una música muy rítmica, de incesantes notas de teclados que son seguidas por el poderoso sonido del uillean pipe. Un tema fuerte, soberbio y apasionado. Me gusta!.

Dios del trueno, Thor es uno de los dioses nórdicos más conocidos. "Thor's Journey" es una de las grandes piezas de Northern Seas, una de mis preferidas. Una composición que mantiene una marcha provocadora y heroica a toque de arpa, teclados y alentadores acordes de fiddles. Sorprendente!. Wow!.

"Dans för Loki (Loki's Jig)" es jubilosa, alegre y llena de vida. Un baile interpretado por el rasgueo de guitarras, violines y vientos que se van alternando, el conjunto forma una de las piezas más hermosas de todo el CD. Despreocupada y con un estupendo compás esta composición es simplemente bellísima!. Mi preferida sin duda alguna!.

La principal deidad dentro de las creencias vikingas era Odín, dios de la sabiduría, la guerra y la muerte. "Odín the Wanderer" es un tema que muestra la prudencia y el respeto que imponía este dios, impulsor del orden. Cabe destacar la rápida melodía que brota del violín, realmente magistral!.

"Baldur", dios de la perfección y la belleza. En esta obra, Conti aparca por unos minutos los ritmos enérgicos y las rápidas melodías, componiendo una música relajada, atenta y profunda. Teclados y otros instrumentos van surgiendo dentro de la calma que establece esta delicada composición.

Pura fuerza y belleza es "Valkyrja", palabra nórdica cuyo significado es "la que elige a los caídos en batalla". En esta pieza, la emoción surge a sutiles ritmos de percusiones y una melodía increíble llena de ímpetu gracias a las guitarras, las gaitas, voces, uillean... Que aportan pasión y aliento en todo instante. Otra de mis preferidas!.

"Ragnarök" es el destino de los dioses, según la mitología vikinga, "la batalla del fin del mundo". Una pieza que muestra la lúgubre calma que continúa después de la tempestad. Arpa, sonidos ambientales, voces y teclados son el fondo musical para un piano que reproduce tristes notas, apagadas. Qué vacío produce esta pieza.

El comienzo de "The Rainbow Bridge" es de una belleza alucinante. Un solo de whistle que continuará incansable abre la pieza que dará fin a Northern Seas, una de las obras destacables de este álbum. Esta composición deja ver un final amable, tierno, donde un arpa y un acordeón y algunos instrumentos electrónicos acompañan en una de las melodías más hermosas de todo este maravilloso trabajo. Sin palabras...


Northern Seas es uno de los proyectos sobresalientes de este pasado año. Al Conti puede estar más que orgulloso de este último trabajo que sigue cosechando éxitos en todo el mundo, radios y crítica no cesan de ofrecer estupendos calificativos para todas y cada una de las piezas que componen esta maravilla, y no es para menos, once composiciones extraordinarias y muy interesantes han sido creadas por uno de los grandes maestros del New Age. Northern Seas es un álbum MUY Altamente Recomendable al que doy la mayor puntuación.

reviewsnewage.com
07/01/11
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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music & Media Focus
It’s hard to imagine a more prestigious accolade for a recording artist than having your album, not only nominated for a Grammy, but making it into the final round. Al Conti is among the few who can claim that honor. His fourth CD, Northern Seas not only attained that rarified status in the Best New Age Album category it has achieved great success on the charts and adulation in the press since its release. With its cinematic ambience and blend of ancient and contemporary sounds, Northern Seas takes the listener on an enchanted journey to another time and place. However, not resting on his laurels, he has begun work on his next recording which is sure to be eagerly awaited by many fans. I know I am certainly one of them!
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