Robert Jennings / Zhu - CD Reviews

Radio Arad 99.1 FM

(Invitation is) One of the best albums I listened to in the last months. Excellent conception for this recording, the music is bringing you to another reality, the world of dreams and imagination. Magnificent album...

-Sergiu Rusu, Romania

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"Robert's CDs have quickly become very popular with my clients. They are a wonderful complement to the relaxation process of massage."

-Ian Kamm, Registered Massage Therapist
Instructor/Faculty Member, Sutherland-Chan School and Teaching Clinic, Toronto

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Eye for the Future

Tapping deep universal energy through manual contact to flood the internal self with positive energy is a simplified explanation of the Reiki healing system through relaxation and transference of energy. This system allows the body to form a clear channel from the body to the universe. This is done through positioning the hand over chakras or energy centres in the body. Energy is transferred between the giver and receiver and the body is freed of negative tension.

What does Reiki have to do with Zhu and Inner Sanctuary? Everything. Zhu is a certified Reiki Master and practices in Toronto. He is also a classically trained musician. He has put these elements together to form music that incorporates and connects the healing elements of the rhythmic movement of music and those of Reiki.

Inner Sanctuary may accompany a Reiki session perfectly but works on its own as a soothing and relaxing musical journey into the depths of inner space. It is a great late night CD that loosens your mind into a state of grace. The timing and space in which a note is played has the effect of untying tight notches in your body. Inner Sanctuary opens doors and allows the listener to step in and let go.

- Teresinha Costa, Canada

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KLEM Issue, The Netherlands

According to the press-sheet, Inner Sanctuary is the 2nd release of the vancouver-based reiki master & musician Robert Jennings alias Zhu. Subtitled as "soothing music complementing the healing arts", the album immediately gives a new-age impression, which which even emphasized by the CD-cover. All in all 12 tracks are put forward, from which a few are pure solo-piano pieces, next to some intimate electronic music produced on a "digital chamber orchestra", all in a very relaxed manner. Robert's best effort in my opnion is immediately found in the beginning of the album: "Reflection", the longest track on Inner Sanctuary. The overall gentle and very tranquil atmosphere of the CD might appeal to some listeners of Liquid Mind or even to Uk's Kevin Kendle's although Zhu does paints some characteristic, mesmerizing music of his own. For those how who enjoy some quiet music in the evening-hours, this might be a very enjoyable recommendation as such.

- Bert Strolenberg, The Netherlands

Volgens de press-sheet is dit de tweede CD van Zhu alias de in Vancouver woonachtige Reiki Master & musicus Robert Jennings, die bijgaand tevens omschreven wordt "soothing music complementing the healing arts" (e.e.a. wordt nog bekrachtigt door de new-age achtige hoes). De 14-minuten langere album-opener "Reflection" is meteen een uitermate relaxte kennismaking (wat mijn betreft ook het sterkste stuk van het album) die in vergelijking met de rest van de overigens allen kortere stukken nog het meest electronisch aandoet. Persoonlijk denk ik dat dit stuk liefhebbers van bv. Liquid Mind het best zal bevallen. Sommige stukken op de CD bestaan uit solo-piano, bij anderen bedient Mr Jennings zich zeer ingetogen van zijn "digital orchestra" waarin ook wat gitaar en fluitklanken voorkomen. Al met al een uurtje "new-age verpozen" waarbij het openingsstuk het meest interessant is.

- Bert Strolenberg, The Netherlands

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Metamorfosis Massage

Having used many relaxation and meditation style CDs in my years as a bodyworker, I was not expecting anything special when I first played "Inner Sanctuary". I was surprised. This is a very unique and diverse collection of wonderfully written music.

As a tool, music is as important in my massage practice as my table, and when relaxation is the desired goal, "Inner Sanctuary" is my first choice. It begins in the clouds and takes my clients to higher planes quickly and effortlessly.

-Gary Lambert, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México

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Its production is modern, the music is great and it's more than well played. Inner Sanctuary is among the best new age CDs I heard recently.

-Emil Hadzi-Panzov ( radio program host and music magazine editor), Macedonia

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New Age Voice Magazine

Zhu is a Reiki master, which is a form of energy healing, like a laying-on-of-hands for those of you who aren't familiar with it. His compositions are inspired by this system of energy work which is extremely gentle, and they are inspired to facilitate healing, meditation and visualization. The music almost disappears as you concentrate on removing the blockages in your energy and relax. The healing works by drawing in the healing energy and letting it flow, and the music smoothes the passageways for it to flow.

-Dan Liss, USA

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Jazz Magazine

ZHU-Inner Sanctuary (12tks/62mins)

Air, floating, weightless. Or, maybe, mysterious, tender, flowing. Or, better to say, pure, clear, light. To my mind, all these epithets can be rightfully attributed to the music by Zhu. Next to his debut album «Journeys», which received broad recognition of the listeners, Canadian musician has recently released his new album «Inner Sanctuary», which is similar to clear and transparent diamond. The music by Zhu rises spirit and really gives a shelter to a person being exhausted by the modern world, which is often cruel and depressively insane. Undoubtedly, the music possess so strong healing abilities, because Zhu is not only a musician. He has the third degree of dedication in Traditional Japanese Reiki and he also is a certified Reiki Master in Usui Healing System. For those who do not know what Reiki is, I can tell that it is a healing system where a person is healed by energy coming from a Reiki Master. And the Reiki Master is a conductor of healing energy which cleans the channels in a human body. Of course, this is a rather rough description for this delicate process. Music by Zhu was highly estimated by other Reiki Masters, which successfully use it in their healing treatments. Still, «Inner Sanctuary» is good to hear for any person just for relaxation and removing of accumulated stress.

Zhu has began his musical studies since age of six. He is a classically trained composer and orchestrator. His music is influenced by the orchestrated works of such a famous composers as Smetana and Dvorak, and also by modern musician Andreas Vollenweider. Similar to sparkling on the sun water splashes, refined music by the Canadian multiinstrumentalist is likely to the Far Eastern melodies of famous Kitaro.

Still, I need to say that Zhu has its own, very special style. And one more thing: his arrangements are very rich. Zhu uses all the advantages of modern electronic musical equipment, giving listener a possibility to enjoy the play of many varied instruments.

So, do not miss this charming album released by brave, independent studio «Gopher Productions». I would like to conclude this very short review by the words of Zhu himself, which characterize his creative work best of all: "I am constantly researching, trying to unlock more doors leading me to information about the roots of healing and improving the state of the human condition. I have found that music is the vehicle by which I can share my discoveries with the world".

-Serge Kozlovsky, Minsk, Republic of Belarus

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Fab Magazine

…a lush soundscape to accompany the Reiki process. Although made with that specific purpose in mind, the music, created with over 120 instruments, some of which didn't even exist before, stands alone as something soothing and beautiful. This CD is definitely worth the purchase.

- Mark Noel Cosgrove, Ontario, Canada

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FAB National magazine

Zhu is a Toronto-based Reiki practitioner and musician with a set of hands intent on healing and creating soothing sounds. His CD Inner Sanctuary is available on Gopher Productions CDs, and incorporates both acoustic and digital instruments to create what one might call a Reiki session soundtrack. (Reiki is a traditional Japanese method of opening blocked energy passages in the body.) Zhu was inspired to create music for the healing process after attending a Reiki healing circle in 1994 during which the background music detracted from the atmosphere. A classically trained musician, Zhu hopes that Inner Sanctuary will help listeners "wander with the music, gently guided to imaginary, secluded, and exotic locales." Inner Sanctuary is a pleasant, non-distracting listening experience that would not be unsuited to listening in quiet, relaxing times, to help you fall asleep, or to provide a lush aural background for romantic evenings.

-Robert Thomson, Canada, USA, Australia, Scotland, England, and South Africa

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Radio Interview

"...even the crew in the studio were saying how relaxing it was....."

-Doug Dent, CIUT 89.5 FM Ontario, Canada

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Para Astro

Journeys, Music for Relaxation & Reflection door Zhu straalt een rustgevende Reiki-
geest uit. De Muziek ontwerpt fraaie landschappen in zachte tinten. Een nieuwe dag dient zich aan, de grand piano vertelf sprookjes aan een dwarsfluit of een gitaar...Alles is vrede. Genieten mag!

-Geert Verbeke

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Wind & Wire Magazine

Describing your release as "soothing music complementing the healing arts" doesn't earn you points with non-new age music fans, who can view such statements as "danger-angelic music alert!" Thank goodness the cover art of this solid release from Zhu is innocuous, though. At least it has a chance of reaching an audience. Those who give it a try will hear a well-crafted album that encompasses everything from ambient to solo piano to traditional music for relaxation.

Much (but not all) of the music on Inner Sanctuary could appeal to listeners of artists like Liquid Mind, James Johnson, Robert Haig Coxon, and others like them. This is calm and beautiful music, especially the album opener, "Reflection," which is uncharacteristically also the longest song by far (at over fourteen minutes long). Breathy synth choruses are matched by washers of other keyboards in the background. Zhu carefully avoids sweetening the mix, even fringing in some unique other elements to add some contrast to the gentle waves of music.

The rest of the songs on the album are all shorter pieces. Some of the pieces use piano alone or in conjunction with keyboards, lending the music a Tim Story-like edge, albeit in a major, not minor key and a more optimistic tone. "Moonlight" is lovely and has a movie soundtrack feel to it, with gorgeous synth strings aplenty. "Photographs" is warmly nostalgic and "Forest" is quiet and serene (featuring solo piano). Singling out songs is difficult because there's actually a fairly wide variety here, swinging from ethereal to solo piano to synthesizer and back again. "Daydreams" reminded me a little of Kevin Kendle or even Danna and Clement. There's even a warm guitar-like keyboard used on "Visitor."

I enjoyed the varied musical approaches that Zhu took on Inner Sanctuary. I realize that the album's diversity makes it a qualified recommendation to various listeners. However, the recording is well done and makes for an enjoyable hour-plus worth of listening, if you don't mind the variety of musical flavors.

-Bill Binkelman

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