A dreamy, “must have” solo piano album, perfect for relaxation and quiet contemplation. – Dyan Garris
The pandemic period certainly brought out some outstanding music. “Dream World” by Joseph Akins is no exception. This is Joseph’s 9th piano album and is 11 tracks and 43 minutes of sensitively played solo piano. His music has often been compared to that of David Lanz, but in his own style, of course. Now, 100 million streams on Pandora makes a huge statement. He’s definitely doing something right.
“Dream World” opens with the title track. This is a great 4 minutes of piano peace, with an enchanting melody and excellent use of both upper and lower registers. It may reflect that strange new territory we all found ourselves in 2020 when we were presented with a totally new reality. I found this very enjoyable and both grounding and centering.
Following is the completely peaceful “Peacefulness.” Beautifully and gracefully played, there is a wonderful and sophisticated refinement here, as well as throughout the album.
Among other things, the lockdowns we experienced due to the pandemic made many people more aware of nature and their surroundings. “Whispers in the Woods” feels like the pitter-patter of little forest creatures whose presence and sounds may be drowned out by the hustle and bustle of “normal” life. I love the melody here and the flow. It’s gorgeous, and a favorite on the album.
As we get further into the album, what really stands out is the natural elegance with which Joseph plays the piano. There’s a velvety grace to each song and a definitive style here. And sincere apologies, David L., I think Joseph is even better if that is possible.
“Exhilaration” is smooth, flowing, and wonderfully melodic. With its upbeat mood and passionate feel, it lifts the spirits gently and easily. The twinkling “Starlight” is a beautiful piece that perfectly captures the mysterious intrigue of our night skies. Soft and gentle, this is also a favorite.
Now for some fun. . .”A Moonlit Dance” is lovely and lilting. Tender and romantic, with perfectly executed trills, this has got a nostalgic feel and is just perfect in every way.
A mysterious, intriguing piece, “Who Am I?” takes a deep, introspective dive into the psyche. Again, beautiful, and in a style that speaks deeply to the soul. I feel like this should have lyrics. It’s completely gorgeous.
Quiet and contemplative, “The Bird Song” is also just lovely. I love the melody and the graceful flow. There is a feeling of freedom and expansiveness, much like soaring high in the sky must feel.
“Melancholy Dream” isn’t particularly sad or somber. It is definitely dreamy, sensitive, and calming to the soul. Very pretty. Ditto for “Night Storm,” which is gently sparkling.
The album closes out with “A Moonlit Dance (Alternate Take).” This is just as lovely as a version as the first take. Slower, gentle, dreamy, and tender, this is a beautiful, heartwarming piece, and a perfect end to the beauty that is this album. Well done!
Releasing August 6, 2021, the album is available as a physical CD as well as digitally. Listen/get “Dream World” here: https://josephakins.bandcamp.com/album/dream-world
Official artist website: https://www.josephakins.com/
Watch music video of Dream World title track:
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