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Indie Music album by Martin Tillman, Michael Hoppe, and Tim Wheater

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from "Wind and Wire", Issue 12

  • Dec 8, 1999
"Afterglow" is another superlative release from Michael Hoppe and his frequent collaborators, cellist Martin Tillman and flautist Tim Wheater. After successful recent individual releases from Hoppe and Wheater on the Real Music label, it was a surprise to find this album on HOS. "Afterglow" is very reminiscent of the trilogy of "The Poet", "The Dreamer", and "The Yearning", which were released several years ago on Telarc - the first with Hoppe and Tillman, and the latter two with Wheater and Hoppe. The premise of "Afterglow" was to make a completely improvised album with no boundaries or rules except deep emotion. Hoppe guides and suggests harmonies and chord changes from the keyboards, and Tillman and Wheater take flight individually on some tracks and in perfect synch on others. The freedom and fluidity are amazing, but it seems mind-boggling that such rapture could happen without some pre-composing - these are true artists at work!

As I've said before, the cello is my second favorite instrument (after piano), and Tillman's often haunting style can transport and envelop the listener in sheer beauty. On "The Waiting", "Long Ago", and "Distant Call" the yearning he evokes sends goose-bumps up and down the arms and back of the neck. On "The Reckoning" and "The Listening Wind", he provides the rhythm, playing the cello as both bowed and plucked bass - great stuff! These two more up-tempo pieces are a great addition to the slow flow of the other eleven tracks. Tim Wheater also really shines on this CD, displaying his virtuosity and versatility on a variety of flutes. His duets with Tillman on "The Listening Wind" and "Thoughts of You" are exceptional. Again, these are true artists at work, and the results are breath-taking.

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Kathy Parsons ()
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I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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Under the skilled and intuitive guidance of musician and composerMichael Hoppeon keyboards,Afterglowis a collaborative effort of deep sensual beauty and full-figured elegance. With such improvisational songs as "Shadows Fall," the driving pulse of Martin Tillman's cello intensifies the mindful meandering of flutistTim Wheater's rounded tones. And on the bittersweet "A Thousand Whispers," Tillman's strings take on a boldly brooding neoclassicism bearing out the project's premise to have "deeply felt performances" supercede all other motives. Elsewhere, as on "The Listening Wind," Wheater's melodies float, quiver, and reverberate a pattern of primitive lines in contrast to Tillman's innovative, plucky tick-tock. Built solely on the nonwritten structures set by Hoppe, the emotionally rich and relaxingAfterglowis the spontaneous, supple, and spirited union of three of the most masterful soloists of instrumental music.--Paige La Grone
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Label: Hearts of Space
Genre: Indie Music
Release Date: June 22, 1999
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