Ryan Marvel | Reflecting Forward

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New Age: Solo Instrumental New Age: Relaxation Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Reflecting Forward

by Ryan Marvel

Solo piano music filled with healing, soulful harmonies and reflective space.
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Reflecting Forward
4:59 $0.99
2. Forgotten
3:16 $0.99
3. Conflict
3:16 $0.99
4. Apology
4:16 $0.99
5. Horizons
6:26 $0.99
6. Renewal
4:51 $0.99
7. Then, Now
3:30 $0.99
8. Stillness
3:24 $0.99
9. Reverence
4:12 $0.99
10. Somber
2:30 $0.99
11. Waiting
3:28 $0.99
12. Hopeful
1:59 $0.99
13. Nostalgic
3:24 $0.99
14. Beginnings
4:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
2017. This year has been one of great personal challenge and abrupt change. It was natural for me to turn to the piano for respite and healing. Through this process, coupled with the love from my family and friends, I rediscovered my musical voice. I eventually found beauty while in pain, and saw goodness through struggle, even when conflicted. I began to remember the gift of making connections. I learned to block out the noise and trust myself again. I began to see the value of letting go.

So, by looking back, learning, and now, beginning to look ahead, “Reflecting Forward” took shape. This collection represents steps toward cautious healing, both personal and collective, and recognition of fierce love.

I intentionally left the titles simple. Many of these compositions were conceived out of a place of profound challenge and each one means something deeply personal to me. I imagine, and hope, that these pieces may resonate with you emotionally as well as musically.

It’s critical that we be vulnerable with one another. If you want to know what story is behind a certain piece, ask me sometime.

This album is about looking back, taking what we find there and moving forward. For me, renewal is very much an ongoing process, and less about journey’s end. I hope this music brings as much healing and peace to you through listening as it did to me in the making.



to write a review

Candice Michelle

Authentically personal, prepossessing instrumentals
Ryan Marvel is a pianist and composer whose latest album, Reflecting Forward, consists of 14 original solo piano compositions that were inspired by a time of great personal challenge and abrupt changes for the artist. Intentionally having kept the song titles simple, most of the pieces are given just one word names, each perfectly capturing an emotion, experience or moment in time that could be likened to listening to a musical scrapbook or photo album.

The opening title piece, “Reflecting Forward”, begins with a quiet, solitary note that builds in intensity, resolving in a chord. Repeating again and then fading to silence, it is followed by gentle piano chords that bring-to-mind some of the quieter compositions of George Winston. One especially intriguing piece is “Conflict”, which opens with what sounds like muted piano before moving into higher register chords and notes. The muted piano effect returns once again, as the arrangement builds into a song that effectively reminds me of music from Liz Story’s “Escape of the Circus Ponies”. Seemingly moving between minor key ruminations and major key celebrations on this album, Ryan displays excellent command of dynamics and compositional arranging. He patiently allows each chord to ring out on the piano and isn’t ever in a hurry, nor does he rush the compositions – and no single note on his piano is played before its turn. The beautiful closing piece is ironically titled “Beginnings”, which subtly shifts between emotional moods and atmospheric tones. Beginning in a pensive fashion, Ryan moves on to a more assured approach to the music, before concluding in a series of gently-played upper register notes.

Authentically personal yet without revealing too many secrets, Ryan says that he hopes these pieces will resonate with listeners emotionally as well as musically – and they certainly did for me. I especially love the album’s balance of light and shadow, as well as its intriguing element of inconspicuous restraint, not to mention Ryan’s obvious penchant for composing prepossessing instrumentals!

Steve Sheppard

Review from One World Music Radio
I sit here in the very beginnings of a new year and hope that 2018 can be more kind to me than the preceding one, like the artist Ryan Marvel, 2017 had been a severe year of extreme change, with many emotional challenges.
Ryan Marvel as thus created Reflecting Forward as a journey of healing, I for one salute that and am most grateful for the sojourn into this album; perhaps I would find the contents as cathartic as Ryan himself, as at this time I sure need it.
This voyage of restorative musical balance starts with the title track, Reflecting Forward is a wonderful example of an artist, who in one track, can sum up the mood of the album and the yin and yang of emotions in just under five amazingly reflective minutes.
Most of the song titles are a simply a single word, no over-elaboration needed here, just the truth of thought. The theme continues with the second piece entitled Forgotten. Memories seem to reveal themselves here with each key played and a sense of letting go can be found within the composition as well.
Conflict sees Marvel employ the technique of dampening the strings; this herald’s the arrival of a more upbeat composition. There is something both very appealing and energetic about this arrangement. At times the performance bursts into musical passages that contain a lush music colour, then back into an essence of apprehension, this is without doubt one of the cleverest tracks off the release.
On Apology we have a more moody composition that creates a delicate pastiche of nervousness and concern, but weaves its quite brilliant narrative so well, that a back drop of honest sincerity can also be found within the weave of this breath taking piece.
One of my favourites would turn out to be Horizons, that’s exactly where we are now; this is one extremely reflective opus, one that is bathed in a deeply contemplative energy. This moment of introspective genius captured my imagination and heart and perhaps one, through the tears, can see new horizons as of yet untouched, this is a song of great hope.
Once reached, there is no turning back; this is the quite brilliant Renewal, a composition that has such a charming flow and resonance about its arrangement. The performance here is sublime and quite empowering too, one that employs a really vigorous but immaculate performance.
Let’s float over the half way line together and listen to the piece Then, Now. There is such a splendid interplay between the past and present here on this composition. This song is almost like sitting in your arm chair and reflecting on what has been and what is now. Marvel has produced a moment of blissful philosophical piano.
Stillness is a piece that has a well of great ambience about its nature, and to that ambience is added a delicate melody from the heart, one that brings comfort and calm. Marvels sensitivity here is moving and something profound to behold; another one of my personal favourites from the album.
As we move into the deeper regions of the release, we come across a track called Reverence. The veneration and respectful performance says it all, the tempo is slow and careful and played with such a level of respect; this is both tender and touching to the musical ear.
At times we all have moods that are less than cheerful; these moments of serious nature will flood our hearts and minds if we allow them to. On the piece Somber, we have a short form composition that illustrates that mood perfectly, the style and execution of this track is clever and insightful, one that also contains many musical rooms of shadows within.
The vastness of the ambience in the track Waiting is delightful, the pause and breath of performance is magical. Ryan Marvel’s skills at producing full flowing solo piano are simply stunning. This is one of those tracks you cannot stop playing, as it manifests such beautiful imagery from each and every note played.
The shortest offering on the album is the light and almost cheeky composition called Hopeful. At just under two minutes you have the perfect remedy for any sombreness you may have had. Marvel creates a sun kissed track that literally sparkles on the horizon and burns your fears away.
The penultimate piece off the release is entitled Nostalgic, I have had many moments feeling like this over the past weeks, many doors have closed, but through this gentle and caring performance we can access the more happier moments of our colourful past. This is beautifully played and carries a feeling of love and respect well within its musical boundaries.
The end is the beginning, the beginning is the end, we have shared many, many moments of reflection on this musical journey with the artist, now he has one more gift for us to take along with us on our way, and this is his parting gift called Beginnings. Marvel delivers a perfect ending piece, one that seems to round up all the emotions of a turbulent year of change and challenge, in a very memorable last performance.
Reflecting Forward by Ryan Marvel is indeed a cathartic journey, one that could be a much needed remedy for our world today. This album allows us to reflective and understand our thoughts, and thus be more thoughtful in the future. Marvel as a pianist has a talent that is rare, he creates a vibrant colourful narrative with his music and has a level of sensitivity that allows us the space to heal through the music, this is one album that you just have to embrace and feel the love from.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
I listen to an incredible amount of music in the course of writing reviews of new recordings and sheet music, and as much as I enjoy that, every once in awhile, an album comes along that smacks me upside the head and makes me stop and say “WOW!” Ryan Marvel’s "Reflecting Forward" is that album. I have thoroughly enjoyed Marvel’s previous releases, but this one is so intense and so emotionally powerful that it won’t be an easy task to take it out of my player and move on to something else when the review is finished. That doesn’t happen very often.

The fourteen original piano solos emerged from a personal crisis and the challenges and healing processes that followed. In Marvel’s own words: “The record represents emotions and reflections throughout the year, and what I experienced in trying to heal, cut out the noise, and rely on my own trust and personal growth. The album, to me, represents pain, anger, realization, healing, peace, love and renewal. It’s not meant to be a sad album…As I said in the liner notes, renewal is an ongoing process…and we all go through things in our lives that require us to look deep inside of ourselves and re-commit ourselves to family and friends. It’s personal, it’s human.” All but two of the tracks on the album were recorded at Piano Haven Studios in Sedona by Joe Bongiorno. The other two were recorded at Coupe Studios in Boulder, CO. Bongiorno did the mastering and the piano sound is absolutely perfect.

All of the pieces on "Reflecting Forward" are excellent, but I’ll mention some of my favorites. The album begins with the title track, a piece that begins with an intense intro that represents the sudden, devastating change that happened earlier this year. The rest of the piece is much softer and more cautious, representing a tentative hope. “Forgotten” was composed about Marvel’s 11-year-old daughter and her dance between being a child and a teen - a difficult time in every young girl’s life. Heartfelt and bittersweet, it truly shows the tenderness of a loving dad. “Conflict” features passages with the piano strings muted and the plucking sound that makes contrasted with the flowing quality of the more “normal” way of playing the piano - very intense and deeply emotional. “Apology” goes really deep and dark, but is also hypnotic and haunting. The piece lightens gradually as hope for forgiveness returns. The repeated pattern on the left hand in “Horizons” represents the steadiness of the horizon while the right hand is more improvisatory and reflects both the uncertainty and the possibility of this past year. “Then, Now” is almost a soliloquy and feels very isolated, introspective and brutally honest. “Stillness” goes even deeper inside, expressing loss and despair, but also finding rays of hope to cling to. “Somber” is very spare with lots of damper pedal utilized to create an effective atmosphere of dark reflection. “Hopeful” is much lighter as the dark clouds start to give way to sunnier skies and moments of joy. “Beginnings” closes this incredible album with cautious optimism and hope amid much change and complexity.

I don’t use the term “masterpiece” very often, but I really feel that "Reflecting Forward" qualifies. Ryan Marvel says that creating the music brought him much healing and peace, and I’m sure it will do so for his listeners as well. I give the album my highest recommendation. Again, WOW!

Shoshana M

I've listened to a fair amount of contemporary solo piano albums, and I don't think that I've ever listened to an album that knocked me off my feet then picked up me and took me somewhere that I didn't expect to go. A place that I need to go. Even though I was unaware that I needed to go. Ryan Marvel's compositions are pure genius. I don't think that there were any tracks on this album that I didn't love, that didn't affect me, that didn't move me. Believe me, you need to buy this album. Now.

Darla Bower

Reviewed by Enlightened Piano Radio
The fourteen original piano solos on Reflecting Forward by Marvel’s own words “represents emotions and reflections throughout the year…..the album to me represents pain, anger, realization, healing, peace, love and renewal.” The liner notes and the poem on the inside of the cover are a powerful read and set the stage for an excellent musical experience. It’s a rarity that an album comes along where I have trouble picking just a few pieces to comment on and review, this album fits that description so buckle up. There were so many favorites that I had to narrow it down, which was a difficult task.

The powerful album begins with the title track Reflecting Forward. The intro gave me a pleasant carpe diem moment where dramatic pauses give way to a gentle yet strong lyrical presentation. It was my seize the day moment and encouraged me the listener to keep moving forward in life no matter what happens. This piece gives an honest introduction to a journey that Marvel has been on personally. It is stunning!

The second piece that grabbed my attention was Forgotten. It made me feel both warm and contemplative. Ryan with his soft touch whispers over the keys and captures gracefully the nostalgic moments in time. I loved it. Conflict is my next favorite on the album. The plucking of the piano strings was unexpected and breathtaking. I loved the sound of the contrast of the strings and keys. The contrast to me representing conflict within. When the sound of the plucking turns to the keys, the voice within is released into the sound of the keys. In a discussion with Ryan the point here I think is the voicing of the piano being related to what is heard when your own voice is released and heard after being silent. I heard both the challenge, conflict and release within this piece that musically represents his life. A beautiful contrast painted on the keys of the piano. I loved the color and tones of this song.

One of the most powerful pieces to me on the album was Apology. According to Ryan, he is proud of what this piece represents both musically and emotionally. I loved the arpeggio’s in the piece. The timbre of this song is deep and dark evoking many different emotions throughout. The lyrical presentation of words that cannot be spoken but rather are gleaned and expressed on the piano. This track is a reminder of the mastery and command that this artist has of the piano. It was my wow moment on the album. This piece had different elements of the masters woven throughout and it was very appealing to me the listener, drawing me in.

Apology ended up being my favorite on the album.

Each piece on the album represented such different array of sentiments expressed musically by this talented composer. Reflecting Forward is a remarkable and raw representation of Ryan’s journey over the past year painted on the canvas of the piano at the hands of a gracious master. Reflecting Forward is SPECTACULAR and is one of my top picks for 2017 to close out the year.