REVIEWS

[The Night Shifters is] a fascinating ride. The voice feels a lot like Neil Gaiman. This is a huge compliment in my mind, and one not to be taken lightly.” - Melinda VanLone Reviews

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sedona Through Time



Sedona Through Time (3rd edition), by Wayne Ranney, is the third book in what I like to call Ranney's Rock Trilogy. Book One, Ancient Landscapes Of The Colorado Plateau (co-written with Ron Blakey), takes us step-by-step through the landscape changes in the Four Corners area, beautifully illustrating each geologic occurrence with Paleogeographic maps. Book Two, Carving Grand Canyon, zooms in on the most breathtaking landform in North America, delving into a lesser-known feature called the Mogollon Highlands, which turns out to be one of the major forces in the formation of the Grand Canyon and of Sedona, the focus of Book Three.

By the time you read Sedona Through Time, you've got a much better idea of how the layers in Sedona formed, because they are many of the same layers present in the Grand Canyon. But once you go Southeast to Sedona, those layers have changed a bit in character, and some unique features appear, like the Schnebly Hill Formation. The helpful diagrams, maps, and photographs that are present in Books One & Two of Ranney's Rock Trilogy are also present in Book Three, and they are very effective in illustrating the geologic events that created Sedona.

Anyone who visits Sedona and nearby Oak Creek Canyon is struck by their beauty and serenity. They possess a profound spirit that is as beautiful as what you can experience in the Grand Canyon, but is much more up-close and personal. Having some knowledge of what the rocks are and how they got there enhances that experience. For visitors whose curiosity is piqued, the book also includes a point-by-point road and trail guide. So take it with you when you visit – you'll see Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon as you've never seen them before.   

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jango Radio Airplay



As Kickstarter is for writers and other creative folks, so Jango Radio is for unsigned artists trying to get wider exposure for their music. Michael Levy has a campaign going with links below, so check them out!

Classical music is my favorite genre, and I'll do anything I can to help musicians and composers make the music they love. I'm thrilled that the internet gives we creative folk broader opportunities to gain an audience. Please spread the word . . .


Yet MORE juicy gems of news...I am currently running a Jango Radio Airplay Campaign, in my efforts to gain a more global audience & at last, I am beginning to see the fruits of my labours blossoming - in the last few days, I have had new fans of my music, from as far afield as Venezuela, Dubai, Israel & the Netherlands:

http://www.jango.com/music/Michael+Levy

Jango Radio offers the unsigned artist like myself, the unique opportunity for exposure to a global audience, with controllable levels of global airplay, specifically tailored suit the tastes of a audiences who already like a variety of similar-sounding artists to myself, from the World/NewAge/Classical /Early Music genres...

Tracks from my albums are featured in paid airplay, in Jango Stations from similar-sounding, already established signed artists & composers from the World/New Age/Classical genres - these include Ofra Haza, Jean Michel Jarre, Hayley Westenra, Claude Debussy, Enigma, Yanni, Zefir Records Early Music Channel, Yasmin Levy, Dominik Johnson, Enya, Amethystium, Kitaro,Ray Lynch, Loreena McKennitt, Andreas Vollenweider Vangelis & Ravi Shankar.

It was quite a challenge trying to think of artists who sound similar to my lyre compositions & arrangements, but in coming up with the list, what I considered most was not so much the actual sound of my lyre, but the general serene, meditative, contemplative mood/feel I attempt to convey in
most of my compositions & arrangements - all these established artists & composers all seem to tick most of these boxes.

Here is my blog about my discovery of the potential of Jango Radio has for the unsigned artist, in offering the opportunity of global audience:

http://www.ancientlyre.com/blog.html/launch_of_my_jango_radio_station

Thanks once more, for helping me in my relentless mission, to rescue of the forgotten refrains of the lyre of antiquity & strive to see it rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of its dusty, ancient slumbers, to become once more, the vehicle of the sweetest means of musical expression that was once known to Mankind!

Bandcamp Goodies And Children's Stories



Here are more freebees and fabulosities from the lyre of Michael Levy. See the links below . . .


Free Bonus Features Now Available For All Downloads of My Lyre Albums on Bandcamp!

I am pleased to announce that there are now unique free bonus features available for downloads of all my lyre album releases, only available on Bancamp!

Bandcamp is a little known but incredibly versatile digital music download store, specifically designed for the unsigned artist. Bandcamp not only offers downloads cheaper than both iTunes & Amazon (just $7 for an LP album, compared with $9.99 for a standard iTunes LP, or $8.99 for Amazon), but also offers the best audio quality - either amazing lossless audio files,identical to the original quality studio recording mix (e.g. 24-bit WAV of FLAC audio files) or broadcast quality 320kbps quality MP3s.

Not only this - for all my albums on Bandcamp, there are now 2 totally free bonus features included for each & every album download! These free bonus features are:

1. The detailed, fully illustrated PDF booklet of album notes of all the essential historical background & research behind each of my albums.

2. A free download of the HD video of my lyre playing as filmed by the BBC - the sadly missing outtake from episode 2 of the BBC4 series, "The Dark Ages An Age of Light" - which after an entire day of filming, for the final cut of the episode, they only used a meagre 40 second clip of "audio only" of my lyre playing, recorded during the film shoot!

Here is the all important link to my albums on Bandcamp:


For anyone who really want to show their appreciation of the daily struggle of us unsigned artists, there is also an option to pay a tip! Only on Bandcamp, there is an option to chose to pay more than the standard $7 download price offered - the more appreciative purchaser of my albums on Bandcamp can chose to pay whatever they think the album is actually worth!

If you are all able to share this link with the rest of the known Universe, this would be greatly appreciated - thank you all, for your support in my relentless efforts to "get my music out there"!


New CD of Educational Children's Stories - Featuring Tracks From "The Ancient Egyptian Harp"!

I was very pleased to recently hear from Robina Wilson, an author of children's stories, right here in the rainy UK! She wanted to use tracks from my experimental EP "The Ancient Egyptian Harp", for the publication of her unique CD,  "Music in Stories".

This educational CD features stories and instruments from Iraq (oud), Persia (daff), Turkey (kaval), Palestine (rebaba) and Egypt (story 5 - featuring my archaic arched harp - almost identical to the ancient Egyptian Shoulder Harp of the New Kingdom, some 3500 years ago!).

I would be really grateful if you could please kindly show your support to this author & "spread the word" about her CD to any parents, schools or book stores out there, who may be interested in this fascinating collection of stories & world music - here is the link to all the details about Robina's CD:



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ancient Ring Tones



What kind of ring tone would Plato have? Follow Michael's links below and get one for yourself!

Seriously Serene Lyre Music - For Your Cell Phone!

One of the precious few advantages I have of living in the 21st century CE (instead of BCE...where I more truly belong!), is the ever increasing, new fangled & wonderful ways there seem to be, of "getting my lyre music out there" - it is now even possible to download hundreds of tracks from my albums, directly to your mobile phone!

If you too wish to have a seriously serene, utterly unique ancient lyre music RINGTONE for your mobile phone, it is possible to download one from both Nokia Music & my Reverbnation Store - below are the download links:



Who knows, some day, somehow,  I will get every once annoying mobile phone in the world, ringing to the glorious lyre music of the ancient world...please keep "spreading the word"!!!

also in my latest new bulletin:

http://www.ancientyre.com/news.html

Other bits of news - for every new individual out there, who decides to subscribe to the ancientlyre.com mailing list, they now recieve an automatic email of thanks, which includes free download links, to the HD video the outtake of my BBC4 film shoot (which I mercifully managed to wrangle from the BBC!), a free MP3 of a bonus track, "Ancient Lyre Strings" (not featured on any of my album releases) & free download links
to the detailed PDF booklets of my detailed album notes for all of my releases...in the hope that in return, new listeners might hopefully feel like sparing a few moments to rate & review my releases on major digital stores such as iTunes & Amazon - so far, my album reviews are the best means i have of gaining attention, from the rest of the unuspecting world!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Musical Adventures In Time Travel



I'm delighted to announce that Michael Levy has a new album available, with multiple links for downloading listed below. You fans of the harp, of ancient music, and/or of history – unite and buy this album!

Release of my Second Compilation Album Today!

Five years in the making, I am pleased to announce the release today, of my second compilation album of solo lyre music, "Musical Adventures in Time Travel"! In conjunction with my first compilation album, "Ancient Landscapes", this new compilation was created to provide a broad cross-section of some of my own personal favourite compositions for solo lyre, as originally featured in my many other releases since 2008.

In addition, "Musical Adventures in Time Travel" also features a brand new composition for solo lyre, in the war-like ancient Greek Dorian Mode: "The Battle of Thermopylae" . Here is a link to view a video featuring this track on my Youtube Channel:


This epic 22 track compilaton also includes my brand new arrangement of Dr Richard Dumbrill's magnificant interpretation of the 3400 year old Hurrian Hymn Text H6 - this time, performed on my new hand-made lyre, with natural fibre silk strings, tuned in the wonderfully pure just intonation of antiquity.

The fully illustrated PDF booklet of the detailed album notes can be freely download here.

Below are the major download links for the album:





The physical CD of the album can also be ordered now, anywhere in the world, from Reverbnation:


(Due to the epic proportions of this compilation for the physical CD, I had to remove 2 of the tracks, simply in order to fit them onto a single CD!) 

Please "Spread the Word" - many thanks!! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Tyranny Of The Starred Review


Some day people will look back on this transitional period in the writing/publishing industry and they'll be able to map out the trends pretty clearly. But right now, in the middle of this mess, it's hard to figure out what works and what doesn't, especially for authors who are self-publishing. An excellent example of this is the reputed power of the starred review. I read an account from a successful self-published author in a Kindle newsletter explaining how she managed to build an audience by petitioning book review bloggers to review her book and then asking them to also post their reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. This sounded like a great idea.


For a year I attempted to do the same thing she had done. I had a magic number in my head – 50 reviews might vault me into the spotlight and get my book under the eyes of readers. So I queried bloggers. In fact, I think I must have queried close to 1500 bloggers. After a year of hard work, I managed to get 6 reviews for one title and 9 for the other. The whole sloggy process forced me to recognize a few things.

1. Every damned writer out there is petitioning bloggers for reviews, 2. It takes way more than 50 reviews to get people to notice your book, 3. Some writers have compensated for that unhappy fact by paying for fake, glowing reviews or even by writing (sometimes hundreds of) fake reviews themselves, and 4. When you manage to get legitimate reviews, sites like Goodreads tend to drag down the average rating of even the best books.


When I made my original pitch to bloggers, I briefly listed my professional publishing credits and mentioned the fact that one of my books was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award. I hoped this would assure bloggers that I'm not an amateur – that I do, indeed, know how to write. I was a bit discouraged when so many of them ignored my query (though not hurt, because this is just the sort of experience professional writers have with publishers – you develop a thick skin). But as I read the review policies on these sites, it quickly became apparent just how hard bloggers were getting slammed.

I had become part of a massive wave, made up of professional writers and amateur writers alike. Or as an old writer friend put it, I found myself “down among the lepers.” So many scabby palms are extended toward these bloggers, many of them have flat-out refused to review any book that wasn't published by big publishing houses. And who can blame them? Even I'm getting requests for reviews from writers, and I don't have a review blog.


I invested so many hours in my quest for reviews, my writing came to a complete halt. One of my books did manage to get 33 reviews (as of this writing), but this was not even one of the titles for which I was requesting reviews. And sadly, 33 reviews haven't helped much to boost the sales of this book, even though all of them are real, genuine, un-paid-for reviews.

So I have to wonder: How much do readers rely on reviews to make their purchasing decisions? And now that reviews have come to seem like pure gold to writers and publishers, how much can readers trust those reviews?


Maybe not so much. One cardinal rule of entrepreneurship is that providing a service to someone who is trying to make money doing something is often more profitable than doing that thing yourself. Reviewers have realized this. So not surprisingly, some fake review services have sprung up. And – also not surprisingly – some writers are too cheap to pay for all of those fake reviews, so they just write their own. Most of these folks aren't even that clever about how they construct those reviews. You can spot the fakes pretty quickly by looking for one thing right off the bat: they have dozens, sometimes hundreds of reviews and their average rating is 5 stars.

Do a quick check on Goodreads and you'll notice that even the classics, the very best books ever written, books that have inspired people and changed their lives, usually have an average rating between 3.5 and 4.5 stars. Then take another look at a book that claims an average rating of 5 stars. If you notice that they all seem to be written in the same voice and use all the same key words, there's a good chance they're phony.


Conversely, if you notice a book tends to get good reviews, and someone posts a scathing review, there's a possibility this negative review was written by a writer trying to sabotage the competition. This has been going on for years – in fact, it's a major plot point in Dean Koontz's thriller, False Memory. Fake bad reviews may be as common as fake good ones.

So what's the verdict on starred reviews? Should I stop trying so hard to get them? Pretty much – yeah. All of that time I spent trying to drum up a handful of reviews could have been spent writing. Writing is what I would rather do. Remember that choice – whether you're a writer or a reader.




The wonderful and wacky illustrations for this post were stolen from my husband, author/artist Ernest Hogan, and he can do nothing about it.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Well-Tuned Noodle



Just when you thought the noble noodle couldn't get any classier, Michael Levy scores a spot in a commercial! Here are the links . . .


My Lyre Music is Being Used To Advertise Noodles in America!!

As an unsigned artist, there is "getting my music out there"...& really "getting my music out there" - my lyre music is now being used to sell Noodles throughout the USA!!!

I was very pleased to receive an email from an advertising firm, on behalf of the USA based Noodles Company who wanted to use a short clip of my track "Music of the Celestial Spheres" from my recent album "A Well Tuned Lyre - The Just Intonation of Antiqutity" to aid a radio advertising campaign throughout most major grocery stores throughout the USA!

A sneak preview of an MP3 of the forthcoming "serenely surreal" radio advert can be freely downloaded here

Who knows, maybe this time next year, I might be moving on to even greater things, & license my lyre music to sell  Roman toilet cleaning products?? BRING IT ON!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why Do People Love Music?


Michael Levy's music has been featured on a very interesting BBC program examining why people love music, dance to music, and have emotional reactions to music. It's an interesting question, and one I have often asked myself. Check out the link below . . .


MY LYRE MUSIC WAS FEATURED ON BBC RADIO 3!
I was delighted to hear a clip of my new arrangement of the 1st Delphic Hymn To Apollo (from my album, "A Well Tuned Lyre - The Just Intonation of Antiquity") on BBC Radio 3!
The show was episode 1 of a broadcast called "The Story of Music Question Time",  (this broadcast is part of the BBC's "Story of Music" season - every Monday evening in the interval of "Radio 3 Live In Concert"), presented by Sue Perkins & Tom Service. 

Over five episodes, Sue and Tom will be looking at questions like why music makes us dance, why we divide it into 'major' and 'minor', and why there are eight (or should that be twelve?) notes in a scale...They'll be covering everything from from music history (why do people revere JS Bach so much?) to psychology (how can a simple sequence of notes stimulate our brains to feel emotion?) to music's global reach (does every culture use the same notes and rhythms?).

The clip from my new arranagement of the Delphic Hymn to Apollo in the just intonation of antiquity can be heard 8 minutes into this fascinating show - simply click on the link here to hear the show on BBC iPlayer!