Takala's first album is energetic and visionary. It's classified as New Age/Neo-classical, but it brings in elements of jazz, world-fusion, ambient music, and other contemporary genres. Takala integrates a wide range of instrumental sounds into the mix, including strings, horns, woodwinds, Japanese koto, percussion, wordless vocals, and piano/synth.

The music changes pace and ideas, as the composer has included original pieces created over several years. Track 1: World Traveler is an upbeat song with layers of instrumental contributions supporting the theme. Track 2: Enraptured shifts to a more romantic style of composition. Track 3: Japanese Maple edges toward world-fusion with the use of oriental instruments and melodic motifs. Track 4: Ocean Swells is an ambient piece that utilizes unusual synth sounds and textures with recorded ocean waves sounds in the background.

Track 7: Groundwater sounds like a classical string orchestra work from the 19th century. Track 9: Passing Clouds is a 10-minute composition. It features a strong piano lead with haunting vocals supported by strings and other orchestral instruments as the piece develops. The album ends with Track 10: Moonlight over Havana, a piece that shares a musical legacy with Ravel's "Bolero." A Latin-style bass ostinato leads into a full-out samba with guitars and percussion.

This is a highly creative selection of music. It doesn't stay in one place but mixes it up with instrumentation and genres. The music is intriguing and requires repeated listenings to absorb all of the ideas that are presented in the format. People with a taste for new multi-flavored musical work will be delighted with Takala's new release.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Aleksandra Takala
10 tracks, 58 minutes
CD $13.891, mp3 $9.49