Nathan Speir - Pianist, Multi-Instrumentalist & Composer



New Age Music Reviews

Artist: Nathan Speir

Title: Searching for Nepsis

Genre: New Age Instrumental-Chamber

Release Date: February 1, 2019

Label: Neptic Music


Source Link:


Nathan Speir is a working man’s artist. He works during the day as an Electrician and makes music when he is not on that job. I personally can relate to that as I have been in the same type of lifestyle for over twenty years now. It is a choice and one that I have found to reap many benefits that I would otherwise never had.

I am talking about the music of course. So, besides the respect I have for indie artists, I can appreciate the whole picture. In other words, I get it. I understand how difficult it is to get balance with two livelihoods and also pay attention to your loved ones.

Nathan has a lot of music out there and Searching for Nepsis will be released in less than a month. The information I received put the entire project in proper perspective: Searching for Nepsis is an acoustic-electric album of ambient chamber music filled with cellos, violin, piano, singing bowls, electric bass, acoustic guitar, some synthesizers, a duduk, and cajon.

The music is considered to be new age chamber. So, you definitely will hear the strong classical influence that is made up of many small instruments accompanied by the piano. I would not hesitate to add world to the overall genre of this recording, considering the array instruments like singing bowls, duduk, and cajon.

There is a steady drone that is created by the cello on this album in many of the tracks. I think that was brilliantly executed throughout. I actually thought it may be the duduk (which is on one track), which is an ancient double-reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood. It reminded me of a recent album I heard that had Indian music. The drone sound is a point of concentration, like when you meditate, however you are able to hear all the other instrumentation.

If you enjoy a lot of different instrumentation and some beautiful piano that leads the way then Searching for Nepsis will be a very satisfying listen. “Song Cycle for Creators” is a wonderful example of Nathan’s artistry. It is flourishing with emotions, colors and the grace of the heavens. It comes together in one track like the movement of the planets around the sun, it is a meeting of time and space with a specific reason.

Nepsis is the art of being watchful, and that can come in many forms.  As with any frame of reference, it all depends on you, the one listening to this music. As always, each individual has their own interpretation of what they hear, the artist that presents the music does have a goal in mind.  I would think the main function of this relaxing and contemplative set of tracks would be for you to focus, relax, center yourself and find peace within This can be a significant space in time that pertains to the title of the recording.

Nathan Speir is an incredibly talented individual that creates amazing music for hungry souls to ingest and assimilate. For this listener, the end result is always positive and energizing. Get your ticket now for the journey.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

January 5, 2019

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1. As the Sun Set  

2. Into the Night  

3. Forest Lights  

4. Warming Up the Heart  

5. Searching for Nepsis  

6. Stars Float in Shadows of Glory  

7. Song Cycle for Creators  

8. Morning Twilight

New Age Music Reviews

Artist: Nathan Speir

Title: Romantic Electrons

Genre: Ambient Instrumental

Release Date: January 11, 2018

Label: Neptic Music


Source Link:

If you have not heard of Nathan Speir by now it is time to listen. The creative wizard just released his 10th solo release titled Romantic Electrons.

As advertised on the artist website, Romantic Electrons is filled with some ambient, chill and downbeat sounds. These tracks are interesting and entertaining at the same time. It does require a lot of creativity for one person to put together music like this. I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into a project like this. The fact that I have always been intrigued by synthesizers and computer-generated sounds and those textures and vibes did not hurt my attitude giving this disc a spin. It opened the door to my mind and feelings. I could not ask for more.

On the inner sleeve of the CD cover Speir asks the question Why do metaphors exist?


Synonyms: figure of speech · image · trope · analogy · comparison · symbol · word painting/picture

Definition: A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract:

So, is this music symbolic of electrons that are bent and twisted and turned to create the sounds of music that you are hearing, or is there romance involved with these electrons? I think for my own interpretation it would be the artist romancing those electrons to do what he wishes; thus, you have 11 tracks of some very atmospheric and intriguing sounds to hear. 

You can ask yourself all these questions after the one question the artist poses or just listen and enjoy and not think about anything. Once again, for my pleasure I like to do both. Ask my self that question, why do we need metaphors and why can we not just accept what is and not try and put labels on anything?This can apply to anything and everything that is abstract, but again are these electronic sounds abstract or devoid of anything you can touch, feel, or get an emotional response from. The CD you can hold in your hand but you cannot do that with sound, you process it the way you see fit, cerebrally and or emotionally. I am not trying to provide a thesis here. I am merely reacting to the question asked. It really made me think!

In the end, what we have here is some very cool music that can be listened at any time day or night. It does have moods, textures and colors. I cannot ever deny that vibrations which come from any kind of music have an effect on me, positive or negative. In this instance Romantic Electrons was a positive experience for my senses and it made me look at the whole picture. This is something I endeavor to do with all the music I hear. As each individual listener has the freedom to do with it what they desire, makes it all then more enticing to explore!






4/5 Stars

Keith MuzikMan” Hannaleck

January 16, 2018

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01. Charged on the Drizzle

02. Analog Transit 

03. Admittance

04. Waveguide

05. Floating Ground

06. Late Blossom

07. Lost Proton

08. Propagation 

09. Relaxation Oscillation 

10. S.I.P.

11. Telegraphy







For his ninth album, Nathan Speir drew for inspiration from Thomas Hardy's early-1900s poem “On A Fine Morning,” which poses the question: “What is solace?” The North Carolina-based composer provides one possible answer in the form of Part of a Kindly Plan, a ten-song set whose pastoral contents offer no shortage of holistic benefits to the listener. Hardy's text encourages us to take comfort in believing that everything is part of some benign plan, even if a mysterious one, and to draw solace from the humble acceptance of one's place in the universe; Speir was so taken by such sentiments he used the poem as the basis for the titles of several tracks and the album itself. With the composer hewing to a style that's been described as “acoustic ambient new-age chamber music,” the primarily acoustic collection credits the multi-instrumentalist with acoustic piano, acoustic guitars, cello, wooden flute, harmonica, wind chimes, rain stick, singing bowls, and synthesizer, the latter primarily used to replicate a string-section.

In term of inspirations, Speir casts his net wide. Growing up, he discovered George Winston and through his father Patrick O'Hearn and Tangerine Dream; others cited as influences include Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Steve Roach, Harold Budd, Erik Satie, and John Tavener, and as a result traces of modern classical, jazz, new age, minimalism, and Sacred Byzantine music regularly find their way into the compositions. As the opener “Hued Embowment” shows, his is an unapologetically pretty and sometimes serene music. Delicate piano patterns float freely alongside bowed cello and singing bowl accents, all three elements operating in tandem to create a mood of calm and induce contemplation. In a way, the piece acts as a microcosm of Speir's music in so comfortably merging ambient, classical, and Eastern forms into a single, six-minute statement. Elsewhere, a pronounced folk dimension emerges during the dramatic set-piece “As We Turn” when Speir couples synth strings and sampled tympani with acoustic steel-string guitar and piano.

Throughout Part of a Kindly Plan, song-length meditations are built around steel-string guitar and piano, with cello, synthesizer, and percussion generally used for additional colour. All ten pieces have enough in common, stylistically and sonically, to feel connected, yet details separate them, too. A Southwestern detour, for example, is undertaken when Speir adds a harmonica's wheeze to the otherwise piano-centered “Open Ranges,” while the intimacy level is heightened when he dusts his piano and nylon-string guitar playing on “Serenity In This House” with the gentle tinkle of wind chimes and the creak of a piano stool.

Whereas “Good Seasons” soothes the soul with acoustic guitar shadings lightly sprinkled with percussion and synthesizer, “Praxis” explores unusual territory in wedding nylon-string guitar with the meander of Native American wood flute playing and percussive sounds derived from a hand-struck cello fretboard. A coup de grace of sorts arrives at album's end in “Breathing on the Shore,” a sumptuous, nine-minute time-suspender whose becalmed drift of piano, synthetic strings, and singing bowls provides both a thoroughly satisfying resolution to the album and one final musical reply to Hardy's originating question.

May 2017


Mainly Piano

Album Review: Part of a Kindly Plan

Nathan Speir

Cover image of the album Part of a Kindly Plan by Nathan Speir

Part of a Kindly Plan
Nathan Speir
2017 / Neptic Music
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Part of a Kindly Plan is the ninth album from multi-instrumentalist and composer Nathan Speir. An impressive one-man show on this album, Speir composed, mixed and mastered all ten tracks and performed on a baby grand piano, cello, wooden flute, acoustic guitars, “lite” synths, wind chimes, rainstick and singing bowls. He also designed the cover artwork. The album title and the inspiration for some of the music came from a poem by Thomas Hardy called “On A Fine Morning,” which is quoted on the back cover of the CD. Speir refers to this album as “Bright Acoustic Ambient Chamber Music,” an apt title since this is not music that will easily fit into a specific category (a GOOD thing, I think!). The overall feeling of the album is very easy and relaxed. In fact, the music is so soothing that I put it in my wake-up alarm and slept through the entire album! It is music that can easily slip into the background yet is complex enough for focused listening. 

Speir started playing the piano at the age of eight and completed his first full composition at twelve. In his teen-age and college years, he spent a lot of time studying and practicing world religions, which broadened his creative and personal perspectives. Speir earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music theory and composition in 2004 from Palm Beach Atlantic University and founded his own label, Neptic Music, in 2016. Originally from Southern California and raised in Florida, Speir currently resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Part of a Kindly Plan begins with “Hued Embowment,” an ambient piece for piano, cello, and singing bowls. The piano expresses a sense of freedom as it lightly meanders around the piano. The cello feels “heavier” and more grounded - sometimes plucked and sometimes bowed. The bowls are used sparingly, but provide an effective contrast to the other two instruments. “As We Turn” refers to how our outlook on life changes as we grow older. Mostly a duet for steel-string guitar and piano, rainstick, sampled tympani and synth strings add tonal color and rhythm. “Good Seasons” is relaxed and informal with acoustic guitar in the forefront and atmospheric background instrumentation - very simple, yet very expressive. “A Taste of Solace” returns to the piano, acoustic guitar and enough reverb to give it a very spatial quality - so peaceful! “Open Ranges” is a little different, adding harmonica to the piano lead and suggesting vast open space and timelessness. “Serenity In This House” is very open and spare - much more ambient than melodic - with piano, nylon-string guitar, wind chimes, as well as a few other sounds from around Speir’s house. This piece is indeed very serene! Speir says that the title for “Familiar Orbits” refers to many things - “astronomical bodies going around a star, the molecular energy within us and around us, and the regular pathways we follow in life.” Performed on piano, synth string drone, cello and singing bowls, the music expresses comfortable feelings of floating freely as in a dream or dream-state. “Breathing On the Shore” (piano, singing bowls, ethereal sounds, and strings) continues that dreamy, floating feeling. With its 62 beats per minute tempo, the pace matches “slow, regular breathing, perhaps during meditation on a beach.” At just under nine minutes, the hypnotic ebb and flow of the music gently releases any stress or tension you might be experiencing, and brings the album to a quiet and calming close. 

I have enjoyed the other albums I’ve reviewed for Nathan Speir, but this is my favorite so far. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
May 11, 2017
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APRIL 2017




If you have been following the evolution of ambient music, you know it has expanded far-beyond synthesized space music to include many new sub-categories, the most important probably being acoustic-ambient.  And one of the prime innovators in this area over the past decade (and nine albums) is multi-instrumentalist Nathan Speir who primarily plays piano and acoustic-guitars supplemented by cello, harmonica, singing bowls, wood flute, percussion and only a tiny bit of synth.  His latest recording is PART OF A KINDLY PLAN.


The term “ambient” at first signified music without a melody or noticeable rhythm, but that being a somewhat deadend-street musically, it has grown to encompass subtleties in these areas -- slow chord changes, gently-defined rhythm patterns (sometimes in wave forms), and eclectic or avant-garde uses of melody lines (more in keeping with esoteric jazz than anything in the pop music world).  But ambient music has found a solid fan-base and corps of followers, plus a home under the new age music umbrella, and it is safe to say that ambient music is here to stay.  So for the adventurous types who enjoy straying far from the madding crowd (Speir references writer Thomas Hardy on the back cover of the CD), they should take a listen to this excellent example of modern ambient.




Yoga En Red

APRIL 2017



"Part of a Kindly Plan", the ninth disc of the complete artist Nathan Speir, is a personal

contribution to good human vibration through music. With an intimate wrapping of his subjects in an atmosphere of harmony, the American musician expresses his philosophy of integration without limitations in the forms.

As part of his path of experimentation and eclecticism, in which the music of Speir has been listed as "ambient chamber music", "acoustic-ambient", "piano-oriented", "new age", or "avant-garde", "Part of a Kindly Plan" (Neptic Music) adds one more step to that path, in this opportunity, working with a large number of acoustic instruments such as piano, guitars (steel and nylon strings), wooden flute, cello, harmonica, rain-stick and bowls, plus integrating, in a couple of themes and to achieve volume in his music, synthesized sounds.

In the process of training Nathan Speir attended the University of Palm Beach Atlantic in Florida and earned her bachelor's degree in music theory and composition. After that, Speir, who now lives in North Carolina, actively began to record his own original music and launched an impressive series of albums and singles that include recordings that range from piano solos to synthesized, as well as a combination of the two types of keyboards, sometimes supplemented with other instruments such as Native American flute, guitar and cello, in addition to having recorded alternative arrangements of some of his compositions.

The musical inspiration of Speir arises from a wide variety of sources including modern classical, jazz, new age, minimalist composers and Byzantine sacred music. "Part of a Kindly Plan" is a gentle music disc, with a rhythm rate linked to the heart, which explores the interior of the human being and our communication with a harmonious world. The different tracks of the new album of Nathan Speir propose a connection with the acoustic, from a pleasant aesthetic and within a climate related to the sacredness of the existence. "Part of a Kindly Plan" is available to be downloaded online.

-- Pablo Rego, music critic

[online translators utilized]

Magle International Music Forums




APRIL 2017





Nathan Speir is a multi-instrumentalist who plays everything on his albums including his latest, Part of a Kindly Plan. As on his previous eight albums, he plays piano the most, but he is equally adept on acoustic guitars (both steel-string and nylon-string). He also adds, on various tracks, some long-bowed cello lines, Native American wooden flute on a couple of numbers, harmonica on one piece and little-highlights of tapped Tibetan singing bowls here and there throughout.


I am partial to his guitar sounds, shown off especially on “Good Seasons” (which also has synth strings and a little cello in the background) and “Praxis” (including a little dueting with flute). But his forcefully-played piano on “Passing Charcoal Clouds” and “A Taste of Solace,” and his serene piano performance on “Serenity in This House,” are also noteworthy.


This music is on the ambient-side of new age music. It is mostly acoustic (just a few moments of synth-strings hidden in the mix on a few of the instrumental songs). The music tends to be slow and floaty with few definitive melodic themes (as with most ambient), but lots of soothing, caressing, gently-propelling passages that have a feel-good quality to them. This is definitely a recording for modern-ambient-music lovers to check out.


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                                                       APRIL 2017


NATHAN SPEIR/Part OF A Kindly Plan: 


A fearless experimenter, Speir finds ways to push the limits of ambient/new age in ways that only someone really committed to the form can do.  Inspired here by some long ago read poems about tranquility and finding happiness, Speir's vision seems to say that wonderful things can come out of the quiet if you let it.  Mind-opening music throughout, there's no noodling here as he gets you on track early and keeps you there for the rest of the ride.  A solid bet for when you need an alternative to noise by a real pro.

The Sounding Board - Zone Music Reporter

The Emotive Leaf
By Nathan Speir
Released 1/5/2015
A Leaf For Every Season
Like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant world, pianist and composer Nathan Speir offers up his double album, The Emotive Leaf. Following in the tracks of noted pianists such as David Lanz, Heidi Breyer and others, Nathan gives us two discs of the same compositions, one with solo piano and the other with light ensemble, and both are remarkable. Although this 21-track album presents contemporary music at its finest, there are roots of classical music secreted in the compositions. The music exudes a gentle passion that is strong for its melody, yet intricate in its design. On the ensemble pieces, Nathan played all the instruments making him a talented multi-instrumentalist, but he is an equally talented solo player. 

Nathan Speir's musical biography dates back less than ten years, but he has been playing and creating music since he was twelve years old. He has degrees from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and he produced his first album,Between Earth and Sky, back in 2006. He has released several more albums and after listening to The Emotive Leaf, it was obvious to me that his dreams have been his muse all his life.

Disc 1 – Ambient Chamber

Mindfulness of Your Pain is a beautiful ambient tune featuring delicate flute and placid piano. It is a reminder of the pain of the earth as we continue to ignore her (him) and damage her on every level. How many millennia did it take the planet to establish ecological balance, only to have it tilted in a few hundred years?

A synthesized background wafts behind the tune A Little Fear and the tune is a bit stormy. It has a blustery melody replete with wind and rain with just a touch of darkness. I could feel my umbrella collapse and the rain dampened my clothing. Home seemed so far away and that was my greatest fear, not reaching home. 

Telescopic is an elaborate tune full of mysterious nuances. Doors unopened, questions unanswered and emotions undiscovered are found in the notes of this cascading melody. The tune is sparkling in tone and furtive in structure. Sometimes in life we look through the wrong end of the telescope and become confused. This is the time to turn things around.

Disc 2 – Solo Piano

I hear influences of Erik Satie in the music whether it is intentional or not, especially on the title tune The Emotive Leaf. It has that drifting, dawdling movement to it that gives me a sense of an unhurried journey. What the music does is set me at ease, relaxing me and making me receptive to thoughts and emotions that are just on the edge of consciousness. For some reason I felt that the ensemble version had more movement, as if I was walking and the scenery came over the horizon rather than me drifting in a tiny boat along a river. Strangely, both songs reminded me of a 1960s film called Paddle to the Sea, based on a book by Bill Mason.

The echoing tune Ambition is slower than I thought it would be. It is as if the mood is more pensive, but it does not lack drive. It just seems even-tempered, unhurried and focused. It has a beginning and an end, a destination sought and a goal achieved.

Where No Words Can Reach starts in a minimalist tone, but gathers momentum. It has a somber tone, perhaps representing a place in the psyche that cannot be accessed by mere words. Sometimes complex ideas and thoughts have a language of their own. Nathan proposes that music might be the key that unlocks this door.

The album takes a brighter turn with the final cut called Dreaming As It Should Be. There are elements of the East in the mix, but it does not overpower the main theme. It is sunny and light hearted, a fitting end to the album of serious emotion and thought provoking themes.

Bonus track: Bicycle is the longest cut on the album at over six minutes. It is a musical journey really, a trip that took two human-powered wheels and lots of carefree days to chronical. As the landscape goes by, the mind takes the snapshots that later will become stories and then change into vivid memories.

Nathan Speir is on the right track for composing music that delights and inspires. The emotive leaf that spiraled gently from that old tree in the front yard in late autumn keeps going even after the cold wind of winter blows into next spring. Highly Recommended.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/5/2015

Triad Arts, 88.5 WFDD Public Radio


Pianist/composer Nathan Speir draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources including late and modern classical and jazz composers, New Age artists, minimalist composers and sacred Byzantine music. His new album which was just released last week captures the essence of his journey through life and lessons learned along the way. It’s titled The Emotive Leaf.

Nathan shares his reasoning behind his title track, the way in which music can promote empathy, and his fascination with space and astronomy.

Winston Salem Journal - Relish

Electrician about to relase sixth album

Nathan Speir started learning piano when he was 8, and by age 12 he’d completed his first fully written composition, according to his website.

On Monday he will release his sixth album, a two-disc set that begins with ambient chamber music and transitions to a re-interpretation of the tracks in solo piano.

“I look at this album as an emotive novel put to music and summed up on a leaflet, thus the name ‘The Emotive Leaf,’” he said in his press release.

Speir received his bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2004, and in 2006 he released his first electronic instrumental album.

Originally from Southern California, Speir, 34, and his wife and children live in Winston-Salem. He is a licensed electrician and works as a full-time maintenance electrician at Forsyth Tech Community College.

For more information, click here. His CD is available at CdBaby, iTunes and Amazon.

Q: Describe your music in general and your CD in particular.

Answer: I am a pianist and composer, and I try to avoid the title as a “new age pianist.” “The Emotive Leaf” is a truly heartfelt ambient chamber and solo piano album. I try to produce music, or any art for that matter, with a higher purpose in mind. “The Emotive Leaf” is an ambient piano music diary about introspection and the noetic heart.

Q: What media do you prefer?

Answer: I prefer as much real acoustic instruments as I do electronic instruments.

Q: How did you develop the material for this CD?

Answer: These songs were initially composed over the course of 2013. By 2014, I had enough material to seriously begin recording and producing the way I felt best ... and in a way my resources would allow, at the same time. I did everything at my home studio and digitally recorded, mixed and mastered the album through my computer.

Q: What did you enjoy about this project?

Answer: I was so moved by the initial composition process — that special space of time and feeling during those euphoric moments is arguably the peak of the whole production. I also enjoyed the lessons learned, as usual, from the whole production process. If that wasn’t enough, I was ecstatic to see the physical disc printing 100 percent funded on Kickstarter ... what a blessing!

Q: How have you evolved as a musician?

Answer: I have been learning a lot about studio recording, mixing and mastering. I have to say that those are really arts in themselves. I feel like the way I write and play music has always had an improvisational approach, even after formal music school in college. What continues to evolve is my command over my playing and writing.

Q: Who has influenced you?

Answer: John Tavener, George Winston, Keith Jarret, Pat Metheney, Patrick O’Hearn, Steve Roach, Harold Budd, Carlos Nakai, Chopin and Erik Satie, to name a few music icons that have influenced my music.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Answer: My biggest challenge is balancing my time and resources for producing music. I wish it could be full time, but it is not full time for me. Independent artists like me wear all the caps to successfully release professional music for the public ... and keep their day job(s) at the same time.

Q: What does your music do for you?

Answer: It perpetuates my need to create. It teaches me many lessons in life. For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.

Q: What do you hope your music does for the listener?

Answer: I hope that my creations enhance the ambience in the listener’s life, and, in doing so, the listener holistically benefits. This kind of music lends to thinking and reflection (aside from relaxation), and I believe that’s a more serious and personal territory for some people. Some don’t like to go there at all. However, I believe that serious things can bring great joy.

The Emotive Leaf                       
Nathan Speir
2015 / Nathan Speir
Disc 1: 44 minutes   Disc 2: 49 minutes
The Emotive Leaf is pianist/composer Nathan Speir’s sixth album and is scheduled for release on January 5, 2015. The 2-disc set features piano-based ambient chamber music on the first disc and a solo piano re-interpretation of the same pieces plus one on the second. Often very dark and somber, this album takes listeners on an emotional  journey that each will interpret somewhat differently. Speir explains: “I look at this album as an emotive novel put to music and summed up on a leaflet, thus the name The Emotive Leaf.” Relating to the experiences that inspired the music: “Even though the essence of those experiences are untouchable, I know that I was able to capture the energies of those experiences into the music because I had to wipe the tears off after performing each piece during the recording.” Deeply personal yet universally understood via the language of music, Speir has created a poignant reminder that even though we have very different life experiences, we all share a similar emotional journey through life.   
Disc 1 begins with the title track and features piano and strings (especially cello), drawing the listener in with beauty and grace. “Mindfulness of Your Pain” goes deeper and darker with piano, native flute, and cello creating a hypnotic, atmospheric sound painting. “Ambition” is a haunting and powerful mystery. I really like this version of “A Little Fear,” which begins with a more orchestral sound that gradually becomes a guitar and piano duet with other instrumental effects added here and there. Somewhat lighter than most of the other music, it offers rays of hope. “Tears That Heal” begins in a very dark place, gradually becoming somewhat lighter as healing takes place. Mostly a piano piece, strings and ambient sounds add sonic color to the music. I also really like “Accepting the Medicine.” Very dark and somewhat more dramatic in places, it promises that things will get better (my interpretation). “Telescopic” is the liveliest of the ten pieces, swirling and dancing all over the piano keyboard with background strings trying to keep it grounded. “Dreaming As It Should Be” ends the disc with sunshine breaking through the clouds, offering a fresh start. Piano, strings, guitar, and light percussion end this disc with warmth and renewed optimism. 
Although the second disc is a re-interpretation of the same songs, the tone is somewhat different, being solo piano. Quite a bit of it seems more peaceful, but it also seems more  vulnerable and stark. I love the way the deep bass of the piano sings in “Ambition,” making a deeply personal statement. “Tears That Heal” beautifully expresses a very raw emotional experience that gradually lightens. I really like the piano version of “Accepting the Medicine,” too, and the raw, personal quality it has - very in-the-moment. “The Bicycle” is a lively piano solo that keeps moving throughout. “Where No Words Can Reach” is perhaps the darkest of the pieces, and I think this is especially true of the solo version - a nightmare set to music. The solo version of “Dreaming As It Should Be” also brings a return to hope and sunshine, ending the disc with warmth and gentleness.
The Emotive Leaf is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes and will be released officially on January 5, 2015. Check it out!
Kathy Parsons

A Day of Poetry 
Nathan Speir
2012 / Nathan Speir
51 minutes
A Day of Poetry is pianist/composer Nathan Speir’s fourth album, but a first for me. Also a visual artist, Speir’s music tends toward darker tones and shadings, and is most often on the ambient side. Some of the nine pieces are solo piano and others are piano accompanied by synth strings; three are two-piano duets with the parts recorded separately and mixed together. My ears aren’t often fooled by electronic instruments, but Speir did an excellent job of making these instruments sound like the real thing - including the piano itself. Although the music is on the darker side, it is not at all mournful or despairing. It is introspective, reflective and heartfelt, allowing us to get a glimpse into the artist’s expressive soul. Speir began playing the piano at the age of eight and wrote his first piece at twelve. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory and Composition in 2004 from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Previous recordings have included solo piano, electronic with piano, and an ambient Christmas album. A Day of Poetry is an exceptional listening experience - either with full attention or in the background. Fans of ambient piano and chamber music would do well to check this one out!
The soft and dreamy two-piano duet “Morning Duo” begins the album gently and with a cozy warmth. “A Little Sanctuary” introduces cello and violin with the piano, creating a peaceful ambiance that is soothing and restful. As the title suggests, “A Stream of Thought” flows where it will, unrestricted and undefined. That isn’t to say that the music rambles or makes no sense - in Speir’s very capable hands (and mind), it’s a very beautiful and fascinating piece. “Photopositive” is another of the piano duets and has a somewhat livelier rhythm on one piano while the second part is much more spare and free-form - a favorite. “Shades of Hue” is a gorgeous ambient chamber piece for piano, cello, and violin. With a full palette of rich but muted sonic colors, it expresses a wide range of emotions that easily flow from one to another. I love “Mysterious Perspectives,” another ambient chamber piece that this time stays very dark for its almost nine-minute duration. Piano and cello create feelings of suspense and intrigue without danger or fear - extremely effective! “Legend of the Pelican” is another favorite. Graceful and almost melodic, piano and strings tell a story without words that is compelling and from the heart. 
A Day of Poetry is a very beautiful and evocative album, and I look forward to hearing more of Nathan Speir’s music! It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
Kathy Parsons

Ariel Publicity

California-born and based in North Carolina, Nathan Speir adds another dimension to contemporary instrumental piano music with colorful ambient sound-scapes and genre-bending, new age, classical, and jazz idioms.  Brighter Days is a fourteen-track release that incorporates solo piano with synth, percussion, and fluid musical melodies that are serene and contemplative throughout.


“New Horizons” opens with a delicate, sweeping piano melody that echoes with cheery luminosity that is broken up by a few metallic bell sounds.  Atmospheric washes of noise fill the background with vibrant soul and a multi-layered sound with thick textures.  The ambient washes decrease, as the piano sounds flutter wildly.  The soft piano tones are relatively reserved with a minimal musical range, as many of the notes are repeated for a dreamy effect.  The lack of much variation is not particularly off-putting.  At any rate, the song is a fitting introduction to the rest of the album.


“The Fresh Air” opens with a fluid, metallic bell sound that persists with some background percussion and flute-like, synth noises.  The airy flute cuts out, as the light, jazz-focused percussion fills in the remaining sounds.  The piano also appears to add some texture to the song. This is a fairly textured song with piano, percussion, synth flutes, metallic bells, and atmospheric washes.  The crystalline and metallic bells permeate the song with fluid music that is never too ho-hum.  In fact, the flute stylings and harmonious array of sounds near the end of the song provides an energetic listening experience. 


“Quiet Hours” begins with a clang of a bell and a faint hint of muted percussion sounds.  There is little in the way of additional instrumentation.  The muted crystalline tones resemble East Asian gongs to a point and the whole set-up is rather rudimentary and avant-garde.  The instrumental tune is only two-minutes long without additional piano sounds.  The end of the song features cymbal-like sounds.


“Remission” opens with a soft, piano melody without much additional instrumentation, until symphonic ambient washes of cinematic sound fill in the background.  There are instances of metallic clinks, sparkles, and whirrs, too.  However, the plaintive piano melody is most evident, as it is very serene and calming.


“Cusp of Twilight” opens with a few light piano-like tones and twinkling of metal.  A deep, atmospheric wash is steady, foreboding, and all-encompassing.  The metallic chimes and piano offset each other with a fine interplay that is very delicate and precise.  The piano-like tones change from fairly clear and bright to slightly muted, as the atmospheric elements bridge everything together.  Overall, the song is relatively slow, but highly-contemplative. 


“Give Thanks” opens with an airy synth sound, light percussion, and tabla-like drum sounds.  The atmospheric waves of sound brighten the instrumentation.  There are hints of tinny cymbals, whooshes of electronic sound, wood blocks, piano keys, and swishy percussion.  The music is best described as light electronic dance music.  The instrumental tune is a spacey version of Enigma’s dance elements, but it is still inherently unique, experimental, and most of all—enthralling.  By the end of the song, the percussion is a little more active and rock-like elements appear—only for a moment.  There are touches of jazz, new age, world, and avant-garde, which create the most diverse track on the album. 


Nathan Speir’s latest, Brighter Days, is an album of extreme virtuosity on the piano, synth, and percussion.  The album is relatively reserved; except for a few upbeat tracks.  The ambient sound-scapes on many of the tracks suggest a strong new age and electronic presence, which still retains some world beat and jazz foundations.  Overall, Brighter Days does not suffer from any deficiency.  


Artist: Nathan Speir

Album: Brighter Days
Review by Matthew Forss

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)


Born in California and based in North Carolina, Nathan Speir reinvents new age and contemporary piano music with solemn pieces of splendor and contemplative tunes of magical joy.  The instrumental work, A Day Of Poetry, is a nine-track release than incorporates solo piano with some sampled string accompaniment.  In this case, Nathan’s piano textures are fluid, inspirational, and relaxing in a very poetic way.


“Morning Duo” opens the set with very delicately-played piano notes that sparkle with morning sunlight and echoing beauty of sonic resilience.  However, the song is rather short and void of vocals or additional instrumentation.  Nevertheless, Nathan opens the album with a very poignant song that is rich with inner and outer brilliance.


“A Little Sanctuary” begins with piano notes and the low drone of an electronic string instrument.  The higher violin tones permeate the primary instruments with heavenly beauty.  The higher tones appropriately offset the sparkling piano tones and low cello-like accompaniment perfectly.  The music is instrumental and meditative, but there are more instrumental effects on this track than on others throughout the album.  The pizzicato effects even appear near the end of the song, before the high shrill of the violin sounds signal the end of the song.


“Mysterious Perspectives” begins with a pensive piano melody and low, reverberating electronic string accompaniment.  The cello-like sounds make the song eerie and dark; especially with the lower piano register.  However, the piano notes reach a higher climax and the string sounds brighten in unison.  Both instruments seem to wander about almost aimlessly, but that is not necessarily a negative attribute.  In fact, the manner in which the song is composed creates an experimental approach that is different with each repeated listen.  Specifically, something new is discovered with each listen.


“Floating” begins with a few quick piano notes that ambulate slowly throughout the entire song. This is one of the slowest compositions on the album, but that does not make it entirely boring or negative.  In fact, the song is an instrumental ode of poetic beauty with plenty of room to think, dream, and reflect.  The spacious song is something Hearts of Space would welcome or fans of new age piano.  Do not let the spacey description deter a listen, since the main title of the song suggests a light, airy, and simplistic musical masterpiece, which Nathan delivers admirably.  


“Legend Of The Pelican” opens with wispy piano notes and an electronic string sample that resembles low cello tones, but the piano becomes more pronounced.  The pizzicato sounds interrupt the piano and cello-like sounds, but they provide a more Enya-esque quality that is serene and beautiful.  The different musical tones provide a more textured song that glitters with classical, new age, electronic, and easy listening moments suitable for any occasion.  Near the end of the song, the electronic strings resemble the higher notes characteristic of a fiddle or violin, which seem to move in and out of varying timbres.  The result is a very emotive piece; especially near the end of the song.


Nathan Speir’s impressive new release, A Day Of Poetry, is an instrumental wonder on contemporary piano and a few other electronic strings.  The music is void of vocals and percussion, which is not a negative.  The music moves in different directions weaving a tapestry of aural sounds into enticing packages of musical candy for listeners of new age, instrumental, classical, experimental, and ambient music.  There are no worries here, as the music is intelligently-composed and deliciously-delivered with heartfelt intentions.

Artist: Nathan Speir

Album: A Day Of Poetry  
Review by Matthew Forss

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)