12 Songs, 1 Hour 2 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

pianoteacherpam ,

A unique listening experience!

David Peoples is a composer, performer, recording artist and music professor. His latest album, “Looking for Utopia,” is a departure from his previous work, which is best described as traditional, experimental, or jazzy. Here, the piano is the centerpiece but the album is truly a collaborative effort. Through the miracle of technology, Atlanta-based Peoples recorded the piano tracks locally and sent the digital files to South African slide flutist Carina Bruwer and Berlin cellist Natasha Jaffe, who recorded their remarkable additions in their respective countries.

This album truly defies categorization; it is a distinctive blend of jazz, world and New Age styles. In David’s own words, “I am unique. I tell a story. I write narrative poetry in free verse using musical notes.” In this case, the music tells the story of a search for utopia and the amazing discoveries made along the way.

The powerful opening track, “The Valley of Hidden Treasures,” is followed by “Peach Blossom Spring,” a light, jazzy, toe-tapping number as sultry as a spring day in Georgia. The delicate “Moondreams on Crystal Roses” is more ambient in nature; “Dance of the Flickering Fire” is rhythmic and hypnotic. The title track, “Looking for Utopia” opens with a romantic piano solo that is interrupted by a tumultuous instrumental section that builds to a wondrous climax before returning to a reprise of the piano solo and then a gentler, more mysterious version of the instrumental section. “City of Golden Lights” opens with a beautiful flute solo accompanied by the piano; parts of this piece feel quite jazzy but just as quickly the music takes off in a completely different direction, reminding me of how quickly neighborhoods change within even a few blocks of each other in large cities such as Paris (nicknamed the “city of lights”).

The unusual “Crystal Skies,” mostly a collaboration between cello and vibes, has a very “world” feel. Somber and reflective, “Solitariety” explores the dark lower registers of the piano with occasional flashes of light in the upper register. This is some amazing solo piano work! “Glass Flower City,” another delightful collaboration featuring the piano and the cello, is somewhat Asian in feel, while “Glass Butterflies” is more primitive in nature, a musical depiction of the flittering of the colorful insects’ wings. “Hidden City at Crying Rock” is alternately gentle and intense; the closing track, “Take Me to Elysian Fields” (originally the paradise to which heroes on whom the gods conferred immortality were sent) combines ambient sounds with a soaring improvisatory piano track and brings the album to a thoughtful conclusion.

With “Looking for Utopia,” David Peoples makes an impressive entrance into the world of “mainstream” music. If you are looking for a listening experience unlike any other, you don’t want to miss this one. Recommended!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

"Looking For Utopia" is the debut album by Bluesilhouettes, but it isn’t the first album by David R. Peoples, the artist/composer who is Bluesilhouettes. Peoples has composed and recorded in a broad range of music genres that include classical, experimental and jazz. "Looking For Utopia" moves in a different, “more commercial” direction for the self-proclaimed “stuffy academic.” Although it includes elements of jazz, new age and world music stylings, I wouldn’t call this album “mainstream.” Bright, complex and sometimes a bit edgy, this is music that will take more than one cursory listen to “get” - and hurray for that! "Looking For Utopia" expresses the idea that achieving a goal may not be nearly as satisfying as discovering the treasures along the way. Guest artists include South African slide flutist Carina Bruwer and German cellist Natasha Jaffe. After the tracks were recorded in Atlanta, the digital files were sent to these artists to record their parts in their home countries. Abnmusic3 adds vibes and Jwnaugle plays drums. All of the music was composed and recorded by David Peoples.

An Adjunct Professor of Music at the University of North Georgia, Dr. Peoples wrote his first award-winning composition for symphonic orchestra by the time he was 15 and has since performed in piano concerts all over the world. He also plays and performs on horn, percussion and vocals. Peoples has won numerous national and international awards for composition and has had his music premiered throughout North and Central America, Europe and Asia. He has also written several books that include poetry and music instruction.

"Looking For Utopia" begins with “The Valley of Hidden Treasures,” a soaring trio for piano, flute and cello (plus drums in the second half of the piece). Sometimes serene and sometimes very powerful, it’s a strong indicator that this isn’t ear candy or fluff music. “Peach Blossom Spring” is much jazzier and more upbeat with a catchy rhythm and lots of great solo piano! Percussion, drums, Indian tanpura, sitar, and Peoples playing the inside the piano for a dulcimer effect add an interesting diversity of instrumentation to the mix. “Moondreams of Crystal Roses” features electronic ambience as well as layered flutes that paint a picture of an exquisite but fragile landscape. “Dance of the Flickering Fire” is percussive and rhythmic mixed with the “dancing” vibes and piano. More ambient than melodic, I really like this one! The title track begins as a quiet piano solo, gradually building and then quieting again. Near the middle of the piece, it becomes much darker and more ambient with electronic sounds deepening the musical tones until they become chaotic and fade out. The subdued solo piano returns for a short interlude before the mysterious but calmer instrumentation returns. Much of “Crystal Skies” is a duet for cello and vibes - not a common combination, but a very interesting one! Piano and percussion also grace this lovely piece - another favorite. “Glass Flower City” has a slightly Asian sound and is primarily a duet for piano and cello. Slow, open and very soulful, the cello is almost mournful at times. The powerful middle section brings in percussion as well, and then finishes with just piano and cello. “Glass Butterflies” is a magical flute and heavily processed piano piece. Electronic effects are added and Peoples plays the inside of the piano to create a dulcimer effect. The combination evokes all kinds of colorful images as the butterflies sparkle and flutter their wings. “Take Me To Elysian Fields” brings this fascinating album to a close, perhaps poised to begin a new journey?