Review written by Steve Sheppard (One World Music Radio)
I needed this album today, the world is a crazy place at the moment and I craved a sanctuary of calm to find some much needed balance. The good news is that sanctuary has been found via this superb release from Phippen and Crawford called Suspended Within.
We have seven steps to serenity and healing within this album and the first step is the really ambient and spacious title track Suspended Within. Thirteen minutes of floating awareness, a long form piece that allows the listener to just be, Phippen’s flute here is delightful and creates an inner energy of reflection and peace, while Crawford’s bowls are so delicately played, one can feel the body and mind relaxing on this very first opening track, we are indeed on a journey of self-discovery and balance.
Love’s Elixir follows the title track, this is such a charming piece that starts so lightly, but then with a slight energy shift, the composition almost empowers itself. Again the chimes and Phippen’s flute manifest such a wonderful moment for us all to enjoy, I can only assume that both artists must have really centered and focused themselves to create this level of improvisational mastery.
The longest track off the album is called Heart Cave, at the very opening segment of this arrangement, one could almost feel a gateway open up, I have found the whole album deeply calming, but through the tones of this quite soothing composition, we can really feel like we have entered a realm of total truth though music and an inner dimension where time does not exist, only the beautiful and creative musings of Phippen and Crawford. Once more we have total proof, that both of these musicians have a symbiosis beyond anything that we have witnessed musically so far.
Metamorphosis is indeed a track where one can feel change occurring, the resonance of Crawford’s bowls are quite incredible to listen to. I had a decent pair of headphones on whilst reviewing this album and at this point the sheer energy of her performance was quite breath-taking. Peter Phippen has such a tender way with the flute, it is no wonder he can bring forth such a blissful and harmonic style into the mix. I have listened to this piece several times, and have found that each time I have done so, it has further illustrated the changing motif in the composition, it has depth, a lightness of spirit and a charming energy about its constant evolving construction.
Innocence is our next offering, and after the changing theme of the previous arrangement, this one almost has a light childlike quality about its refrains. The resonance of healing motif here is both loving and tender; a real essence of healing can be felt through what is a really comforting and nurturing musical offering.
Echoes Through Time I found the most fascinating of all, perhaps the title drew for me various pictorial scenarios? Yes, I have done a lot of spiritual work in my time and for me personally I felt that this one, was a track that could be used in a journey, a calling could be felt here. The style by Phippen was just stunning and reminded me of the work of fellow English flautist Nigel Shaw in parts. The clever use of echo here worked so well and at times I almost became totally lost in this so very relaxing realm of musical recuperation.
We now finish with another long form arrangement called Yearning. This is probably the most important track off the album, listeners, and meditators you will have travelled on a long deep and soothing journey with both Phippen and Crawford. Both musicians now have to leave you refreshed, at peace and back in your everyday life. The tones used here do just that and allow the listener to slowly gravitate back to their own lives. The sound techniques in this composition, allow the listener to ground themselves in a perfectly peaceful ending composition.
Suspended Within, never has a title been more apt, I have reviewed many healing based albums, but this has to be one of the best, my main reason for this is that the musicians extensively use long form to manifest some very wide open spaces for you, as a listener to explore, they create change and slowly promote healing through the music, but this is done in such a caring loving way, one cannot help to be both impressed and very deeply relaxed at the end of the journey.