Once Upon a Christmas Star
Electronic Artist ROB ASTOR Releases Stunning Second Christmas Offering ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR Filled With A Mix Of Contemporary Instrumental Arrangements And Traditional Textures When an artist releases a Christmas CD, they're generally trying to cash in on the season. Not so with Electronic and New Age musician Rob Astor. As proven on his first holiday album (2006's SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT CHRISTMAS COLLECTION), Rob creates beauty that not only enhances time honored classics, the effort he puts into his creations simply breathes new life into them. The same can be said of his new Christmas CD ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR. Continuing with a tradition to top himself on subsequent releases, Rob Astor's ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR takes apart any conventional thinking when it comes to recording well known holiday chestnuts and placing them side-by-side with titles a bit more obscure. ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR opens with an unusually brilliant reworking of the "Snow Waltz". As if orchestrated with Mannheim Steamroller in mind, the music takes off with a pulsing electric guitar panning between sound channels while keyboard textures create a snowy musical backdrop. From one flurry of sound into another, "The Winds Of Yule (Carol Of The Bells)" has a very similar feel to the album's opening track. Starting out strong, the music relaxes in the middle, then Rob brings the intensity up again at the end. Taking liberties of all kinds, Rob Astor transforms "O Christmas Tree" into a toe-tapping pleaser, adding elements of Contemporary, Jazz, and Southern Gospel into his arrangement. "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" has a magical intro while the overall feel is of Children opening presents on Christmas Eve. Four additional traditionals on ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR go through a similar reworking while encountering the creativity of Rob Astor. "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" relies on building around percussion and brass. "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" might very well be New York City's Central Park in it's new setting. The message of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" sparkles in a Jazz Fusion cross pollination combined with bells and strings. And, you've never heard the angels get down like you will in "Angels We Have Heard On High". The Southern Gospel Swing style arrangement is a splendorous, joyous jam. For listeners seeking something a bit more conventional in arrangement on ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR, Rob Astor delivers the goods with an assortment of tracks. "Sleigh Ride" is up-beat and bouncy as ever. "I Saw Three Ships" takes cues from the Julie Andrews version where parts of the music go up instead of staying in the same key throughout. Tchaikovsky's "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Dance Of The Reed Flutes" from "The Nutcracker Suite" also remain true to their written forms. Enlisting help for this project, Rob Astor asked song writer friend Harry Grillo to do vocals for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The only vocal track on ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR, Harry's voice fits right in with the album's selection of instruments that includes pan flute, lute and hammered dulcimer, bringing a more organic feel to the album. In keeping with the theme of his first Christmas offering, Rob Astor also includes a selection of rare holiday tracks to balance the set. On ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR, look for those moments in "Echo Carol (While By My Sheep)", "Past Three O'Clock", Gustav Holst's "In The Bleak Midwinter", and "Still, Still, Still". Whether you're searching for something new and different, or comfortable and familiar, Rob Astor's ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR delivers. The selection of music and the arrangements used make this the only holiday CD you will need to buy this year. Rob goes above and beyond the accepted norm of the season yet again. ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR has something for everyone. ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS STAR Track List: Snow Waltz The Winds Of Yule (Carol Of The Bells) Sleigh Ride O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Featuring Harry Grillo) I Saw Three Ships O Christmas Tree Do You Hear What I Hear? Echo Carol (While By My Sheep) Past Three O'Clock It Came Upon A Midnight Clear Still, Still, Still In The Bleak Midwinter Wexford Carol Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy Dance Of The Reed Flutes Little Drummer Boy God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen O Little Town Of Bethlehem Go Tell It On The Mountain Angels We Have Heard On High.