"...a brilliant instrumental soundscape of relaxation, serenity, and tranquility....some of the finest sounding music in the world today."
Rhonda Readence, reviewyou.com
"....the many different styles of music on Cyclone blend together to form one solid release that has enough variety in it to please anyone, no matter what style of music you most prefer."
Matheson Kamin, reviewyou.com
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Michael DeLaFleur, who writes all his own material, plays all the instruments, and recorded and engineered the album Cyclone, is out to prove to the music world that he is a master of his domain. All the proof anyone needs is contained in his 14-track sophomore album titled Cyclone, a brilliant instrumental soundscape of relaxation, serenity, and tranquility.
The album begins with “Dance,” a 54-second track with a funky vibe that is a nice introduction to Michael DeLaFleur and the sound he has created. The opening track rolls smoothly into “Hi Volume,” a beautifully composed piece of melodic instrumentation. The sound is exceptionally clear and precise, and if this track is any indication of the sound quality throughout, listeners are in for a treat. The title track, “Cyclone,” opens with the soothing sounds of a thunderstorm and then bursts into magnificent guitar playing that showcases Michael’s diversity. Heavier riffs that bring to mind Black Sabbath are coupled with flowing melodic hooks that defy categorization. The song builds in intensity much like a cyclone does, until it ends with the graceful sound of falling rain.
“Orange Sky” carries a melody that is hauntingly familiar, yet one would be hard pressed to put a finger on exactly what it is reminiscent of. With a sense of familiarity and tranquility, this piece is comfortable and warm. Michael’s piano playing is light and confident, the instrumentation is flawless, and the sound quality is absolutely inspiring. While listening to this piece, it is entirely possible to feel completely relaxed and whole. “Peace Maker” also has a sense of familiarity to it, as if it is an old favorite, even to listeners who are hearing it for the first time. There is a melancholy feel that will tug at the heartstrings, but at the same time, it offers a sense of confidence and strength. This track can actually be an exercise in mediation, if listened to with eyes closed and an open mind. “Boom!” begins with an extraordinarily melodic rhythm that will remain in the head for hours after hearing it. One of the most intricate pieces on the album yet with regards to sound quality, this one will surely be a fan favorite. “Boom!” is beautifully addictive and hauntingly creative.
Cyclone spins onward with “The Dragon Awakens,” a track that feels a bit out of place on this album and not as pleasing to the ear as the preceding offerings. The bass line is slick, the musicianship and sound are incredible, but one must wonder if the vocalization is necessary. At times it seems to be a bit much, and at others it is the perfect touch. Perhaps Michael needs to pick and choose where to add the vocals and where to remove them. Overall, the piece is melodic and inspiring with a relaxing rhythm that has a spiritual essence about it. “Blue Ridge Sunrise” speaks of the mountains that Michael DeLaFleur grew up looking at in Front Royal, Virginia. A beautiful piece of the country that inspires a beautiful song, “Blue Ridge Sunrise” encompasses nature’s gifts and Michael’s own into a pleasing harmony of expertly played guitar and incredible composition. A song that allows the mind to journey into the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains as the sun graces the day, this piece is another wonderful example of music that could be used to enter a higher state of consciousness through the art of meditation.
“Maxifunkilicious” starts off just as the title suggests: with maximum funk. It’s got a beat with attitude that will get the feet tapping. As usual, the sound quality is stellar and this tune has a bit of jazz, some soul, and all funk. “Kitty Mama Theme” is an odd one. Listeners with cats will love this track, and perhaps so will their cats. Excellent instrumentation is coupled with the meows, purrs and mews of cats and kittens. It’s rather cute and cuddly with a catchy, happy beat that will bring smiles. “Intuition” is another signature Michael DeLaFleur masterpiece with incredible sound production, excellent musicianship and precise composition. This piece flows exceedingly well and showcases Michael’s talents as writer, composer, musician and engineer. Well done.
“I Didn’t Inhale” carries a sense of humor with sound bytes of Bill Clinton’s famous line. For the stoner in all of us, this psychedelic offering will bring a twisted smile to the face. Michael does a fantastic job with the loops and samples in this piece. It is intricate and there are many layers to this song that sit beautifully, one atop the next. This piece is art, pure and simple. “Tidal Forces” picks up the tempo a bit and there is a spectral feel to this one. Michael’s flair for the dramatic comes forth in this track as the rhythm rises and falls and then rises again. He keeps it all moving smoothly and this is yet one more example of the artistic creativity harbored in the mind of this musician.
Cyclone closes with “Just For Fun,” a slower tune with some Santana-like guitar work that will leave listeners in awe. In Michael DeLaFleur’s bio, he states, “he can’t sing well but that hasn’t stopped him yet.” What Michael DeLaFleur does do well is write and compose music, play every instrument that needs to be played, and engineer and produce some of the finest sounding music in the world today. With talents like that, being able to sing suddenly doesn’t seem all that important after all.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Musician Michael DeLaFleur has followed the 2009 release of Realization with 2010’s Cyclone. With his new release, DeLaFelur takes a rock base and combines it with many different genres to create different styles for the numerous tracks on the CD.
To start the Cyclone CD off, DeLaFleur created a short track entitled “Dance”. “Dance” has enough of a beat that anyone who wanted to could get up and move, but it would he short-lived, as the track that doesn’t quite hit one minute. Next comes “Hi Volume,” and finds DeLaFleur combining rock and jazz into one enjoyable song, and the sound byte “This should be played at high volume” adding depth.
The title track, “Cyclone,” is one of the hardest rocking songs on the release. Here, DeLaFleur’s guitar playing brings to mind other guitarists like Vai or Satriani.
While “Cyclone” is one of the hardest songs on the album, the following track, “Orange Sky,” is quite the opposite. Featuring DeLaFleur on acoustic guitar rather than electric, it is a nice contrast to the harder songs that are found on the release. Once “Orange Sky” has come to a close, the album gets heavy again on “Peace Maker”. “Peace Maker” is one of the best demonstrations of DeLaFleur’s skills a composer. “Maxifunkilicious” is the most apropos title on Cyclone. The song finds DeLaFleur showing off his skills in creating music with a funky beat.
On the most unusual track of the release, “Kitty Mama Theme,” DeLaFleur has taken real life sounds from cats, including purring and meowing, and added these sounds into the body of the composition. At points, it sounds like the cats are actually singing along with the music. As far as the music for the track is concerned, the oriental-flavored rock music that DeLaFleur composed to use as a bed for the cats is well written and really could easily have stood on its own if DeLaFleur had chosen to leave it alone. To add a little bit of humor to the album, Michael DeLaFleur took one of the most famous quotes in the nineties and created a song around it. The “I didn’t inhale” quote from President Clinton is used to create a humorous effect on the track by the same name. Now, if only DeLaFleur had kept the track of “I Didn’t Inhale” under six minutes. The nearly ten-minute track ended up beating a joke to death.
On “Tidal Forces,” Michael DeLaFleur blends a steady beat with a bit of a techno edge to create one of the most unique tracks on the album. To bring Cyclone to an end, DeLaFleur included the song “Just For Fun.” Since the track is just over a minute, the short, jazz-like song leaves the listener wanting more.
To create the album, Michael DeLaFleur played all of the musical parts. The album proves that DeLaFleur is not only a talented songwriter, but he also is a talented musician, as well. Altogether, the many different styles of music on the Cyclone release from Michael DeLaFleur blend together to form one solid release that has enough variety in it to please anyone, no matter what style of music you most prefer.
Copyright 2015 by Michael DeLaFleur. All rights reserved.