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  • Jonathan Widran

ANN LICATER, Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation

Long before I had met Ann Licater and seen her transform a meditation service at the Agape International Spiritual Center into a full blown soul symphony of relaxation and transcendence with just a few breathy tones from one of her many flutes, I gave a glowing review to her captivating 2007 debut Following the Call. I wrote: “What the listener gets out of this stark, soul-stirring 16-track collection by lifelong silver flute player Ann Licater. . .is partially dependent on the open-minded heart and spirit he or she brings into the experience.”

That’s exactly the mindset that longtime fans and newcomers invited into the multi-talented flutist composer’s peaceful universe should have when they listen to Quiet Spaces: Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation, Ann’s latest exquisite work and first since her debut to showcase her gently powerful flute magic unadorned, except for very subtle rhythmic accompaniment on three tracks by bassist Peter Phippen, a Grammy nominated artist/producer.

Licater’s larger ensemble recordings over the past decade have made her a major indie new age artist, popular across a multiple of earthly and skybound platforms, nominated for countless awards and even landing on Kim Kardashian’s “Crystal Meditation” playlist launch on Spotify. Yet there’s something purer, deeper and more emotionally resonant that happens when she stirs the imagination and creates different moods and vibes based solely on the tones of different flutes.

The mission of her Quiet Spaces is perfectly captured in the second part of its title: “Flute Meditations for Mindfulness and Relaxation.” It’s a beautiful, long awaited sequel to Following the Call, featuring essentially the same exciting array of world flutes as the first album – including Native American, Native American-style, transverse folk, silver alto, a Mayan temple flute replica, and an Eastern Tennessee Butternut Native American flute.

Ann's fellow flute fanatics may enjoy trying to identify which is creating what sounds, but Ann’s impressive flute collection – the new age equivalent of a rocker accumulating rare guitars - is really just the tool she uses to facilitate a much needed sense of personal peace in our increasingly chaotic world. Starting with the gently graceful invitation to explore those “Quiet Spaces” in inner places suitable for an “Aspen Awakening,” and on through deeper, more haunting explorations like “Ancestral Gathering” and “Ancient Shores,” Ann sets the tone for a multi-faceted experience that’s designed both for chilling out for a few moments (i.e. perfect for 45 minute massage or yoga session) and achieving a sense of healing and a lasting inner peace - impervious to the world’s chaotic pull.

For those who prefer a guided meditation, Ann obliges with poetic titles like “Canyon Solace,” “Divine Harmony” (whose sense of resonant spatial echoes is truly otherworldly), “Celestial Traveler” and “Dreaming at Daybreak.” The tracks are all just a few minutes long, but to truly embrace the Quiet Spaces Ann wants to take you to, the album needs to be listened to in its entirety.

This is music that demands to be experienced worldwide, and to that end, it’s great to hear that Ann’s Cul De Sac Mystic Productions has announced a new agreement to distribute its digital catalog under exclusive license to Disney Music Group with publishing administered by Seven Peaks Music.

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