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Signature Synchronicity

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Customer Reviews

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

Fiona Joy is a truly a remarkable composer and pianist whose graceful and elegant piano work is as technically impressive as it is emotionally evocative. In fact, the depth of feeling that goes into her music is one of the things that distinguish her in the new age music genre. In addition to her exquisite piano playing, Fiona’s airy vocals imbue the tracks they are on with an ethereal ambiance that reminded me at times of Enya. With this new release, “Signature – Synchronicity,” Fiona reprises the stunning piano compositions from her recent solo piano release, “Signature - Solo,” but here adds accompaniment by a host of world-class musicians, recorded at GRAMMY winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman’s iconic Imaginary Road Studios.

The opening track, entitled “Ceremony,” is a song which Fiona wrote for her wedding and begins with a lovely and lighthearted piano arpeggio that unfolds in a way that brought to mind the path a couple might follow as they begin their life together. Fiona’s misty angelic vocal is a highlight of the track called “Grace,” which she wrote for a fan who shared that Fiona’s music helped her through a profound personal tragedy. This album seems to include more vocal tracks than I remember hearing on Fiona’s previous albums. Interestingly though, her vocals have a whispery, ghostly quality that blends in with the instrumentation rather than standing out as in traditional vocal recordings.

On a track (no pun intended) called “Invisible Train,” a feeling of forward motion is captured by ex-Pat Metheney Group percussionist Jeff Haynes, and an atmospheric element is created by one of my favorite instrumentalists, Premik Russell Tubbs who plays and EWI, or electronic wind instrument. Premik has recorded and performed with huge list of top artists including Ravi Shankar, Santana, Lady Gaga, Sting, and more. Up next is a pleasant surprise, and one that was not on the Signature –Solo album in this form. It’s called “Grace (Chill Version)” and is a reprise of track 2 but with a twist. This version includes Fiona’s son, Nick Hawkins doing beat-box percussion, as well as the ambient horn maestro himself, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, as well as a number of other top-notch musicians. I love the cool contemporary feel they’ve given to the song, and the way Fiona’s vocals drift dreamily over the instrumentation.

Fiona’s compositions range from subtle and understated to more elaborate and ornate but always exhibit the emotional expressiveness she has become so well known for. The term “synchronicity” is defined as: the coming together of inner and outer events. On Fiona’s homage to this phenomenon, her deep inspiration and artistic vision combine with the exceptional talents of the many gifted musicians and producers she had the good fortune to work with.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit:
MichaelDiamondMusic.com

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

“Signature-Synchronicity” is the highly anticipated album by Fiona Joy, an award-winning pianist, composer and vocalist from Australia. Recorded at Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, the album was produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton (who also mixed the recording) and James Englund. As the sequel to her “Signature-Solo” album, “Signature-Synchronicity” features piano ensemble arrangements of its predecessor’s solo compositions. Fiona Joy’s own vocals grace much of the album, along with contributions by a fantastic lineup of musicians who lend various instruments throughout - including cello, violin, flugelhorn, keyboard, bass, percussion, electric and acoustic guitar - as well as additional layered vocals.

“Ceremony” opens the album with a cascading piano melody, washes of wordless vocals, Jeff Haynes playing a tapping percussive rhythm, and Tom Eaton on keyboards, electric and bass guitar. It’s an uplifting introduction that conveys a feeling of flight. Following is the aptly-named “Grace”, an elegant piano piece that gently unfolds like a beautiful flower blooming. Fiona Joy provides lyrical vocals in a delicate breathy timbre, as opposed to an emotive singing style, as she is joined by Eugene Friesen on cello, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and Tony Levin on bass. An alternate ‘chill version’ of this song is included on the album, which additionally features electric guitar and bass, as well as Fiona Joy’s son, Nick Hawkins, on beat-box. One of my favorites is “Invisible Train”, a more dynamic piece that showcases a passionate, flowing piano melody caressed by wispy, wordless vocals and driving percussion. The equally winsome, “Signature”, is a contemplative interlude-like piece, beginning with Paul Jarman on tárogató - a woodwind instrument common to both Romanian and Hungarian folk music. Together with Fiona Joy’s spacious piano melody and Will Ackerman’s glistening acoustic guitar, these three instruments beautifully weave around one another. I’m also particularly fond of “From the Mist”, another gentle tune that opens with drifting piano notes in a higher register. Accompanied by cello, as well as Rebecca Daniel on violin and Paul Jarman playing an Irish whistle, it feels like taking a stroll through the countryside. Perhaps most cherished is the closing piece, “Little Star”. Complimented by subtle touches of electric guitar and bass, I find the peaceful piano melody to be especially moving yet lulling.

“Signature-Synchronicity” exudes pure elegance and a classically romantic flair, with some of the compositions having a cinematic quality reminiscent of a period film. Even at its most dramatic and powerful, the piano melodies retain an exquisite gracefulness. With past works including piano solo, piano instrumental and piano chill albums, “Signature-Synchronicity” is a majestic display of Fiona Joy’s illustrious repertoire.

From MainlyPiano

"Signature - Synchronicity" is the promised orchestrated version of Fiona Joy’s first solo piano album, "Signature - Solo" (2015). Produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, and James Englund, "Synchronicity" was recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont. In addition to Fiona Joy’s piano, keyboard and vocals, "Synchronicity" features world-class musicians such as Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Eugene Friesen, Marc Shulman, Premik Russell Tubbs, Jeff Haynes, and Tony Levin. A classically-trained pianist from Australia, Fiona Joy has created an impressive collection of recordings beginning with her 2004 release, "Portrait of a Waterfall" (as Fiona Joy Hawkins). Several of her earlier albums were also recorded at Imaginary Road Studio and co-produced with Will Ackerman who refers to Fiona Joy as “one of the brightest lights in contemporary instrumental music.”

The Signature Series is an ambitious project that has evolved over a period of five years. Fiona Joy originally conceived the project as an expression of her inner life and how the deteriorating “signature” bone in her left hand was affecting her ability to share her music. It ultimately evolved into a series about the ideas we buy into and the modern fairytales we create for ourselves, as well as an exploration of emerging recording formats and how they are received. Both albums have been released in multiple formats. The song list is the same on both albums, except that on "Synchronicity," “Once Upon Impossible” appears once and there are two versions of “Grace.”

"Signature - Synchronicity" begins with “Ceremony,” a lively, upbeat piece that features piano, vocals, percussion, electric guitar, electric bass, and keyboard pads. “Grace” is becoming one of Fiona Joy’s “signature” pieces. (A different arrangement was included on the 2014 Grammy Award-winning album, "Winds of Samsara" by Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman.) This version features piano, Fiona’s ethereal vocals, flugelhorn, cello, and NS bass. The addition of strings enhances the emotional power of the melancholy “Fair Not.” Overflowing with heartbreaking emotion “Once Upon Impossible” is just Fiona’s voice and her piano. “Calling Earth” first appeared as “Earthbound” on 600 Years in a Moment (2013). This version includes piano, vocals, cello, and NS bass. “Invisible Train” picks up the energy level considerably with piano, vocals, EWI, percussion and NS bass. The chill version of “Grace” introduces Fiona’s son, Nick, on beat box - an interesting addition to keyboard, vocals, percussion, electric guitar, electric bass, and flugelhorn. The elegant title track is slow, pensive and very heartfelt; tarogato and acoustic guitar add their magic to the mix. The gentle “Little Star” concludes the album simply and without a lot of embellishment.

It’s always fun to hear different arrangements of favorite music, so if you enjoyed "Signature - Solo," you will definitely enjoy "Signature - Synchronicity." I have to admit that I’m still partial to the Solo version, but that’s just my personal preference. Recommended!

Signature Synchronicity, Fiona Joy Hawkins
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