Seventh Wave is the latest album from guitarist and composer Michelle Qureshi and follow-up to her excellent 2016 release, Scattering Stars. Known for creating uniquely characteristic soundscapes that incorporate an eclectic blend of contemporary and global instrumentation, Michelle further perfects her sound and style on what is arguably her most accomplished work to date. Comprised of thirteen compositions which span a little over sixty-seven minutes, Seventh Wave relies on the sounds of stringed instruments (both plucked and bowed), flutes, didgeridoos, idiophones, membranophones, occasional vocals and synthesized textures. Difficult to pigeon-hole, the album’s overall style could be equally classified as ambient, minimalist or avant-garde.

“Shift” is a mesmerizingly languid opener comprised of warm synthesizer washes and drifty piano notes, which soon introduce a caravan of suspended strings and beautiful electric guitar in a subtly cinematic fashion. Many of the album’s compositions follow in this gently understated mode, while other pieces, such as “Each Good Rain” and “Angels”, are distinguished by more pronounced acoustic guitar melodies. Michelle also employs experimental rhythmic elements on some of the compositions, such as “Reason”, which is characterized by percussive pulses that underscore minimal glitches and a kaleidoscope of sound textures. Acoustic and electric guitars alternately emerge to the forefront of many pieces, although essentially all instruments – and thereby the melodies that they collectively express – mostly retain a somewhat inconspicuous and perfectly understated quality. In what could perhaps be described as an intermediate detour off the beaten path, Michelle lends Indian flavors to “Radiant Ones”, a subtly rhythmic piece that weaves sitar, tabla drums and mantra-style vocals among electronic programming and synthesized effects. Another notable highlight, as well as my personal favorite, is the nocturnally mysterious, “Of the Night”. Deeply introspective, the composition beautifully weaves minimal ambient with classical textures into a nocturnal soundscape, which seemingly evokes that of observing city night life in black-and-white slow motion. Additionally noteworthy is the closer, “Dreaming in Color”, a softly undulating and atmospheric piece with psychedelic touches, which features didgeridoo, processed vocal sounds, guitar loops and slide effects.

Always intriguing and thoroughly rewarding, the experience of listening to Seventh Wave could be likened to being immersed in the many fluid colors and freeform textures of a beautifully abstract work of art. Essentially having created a musical sub-style of her own, Michelle Qureshi’s latest sound collage is mostly free of clearly defined boundaries, rendering these lovely compositions open to many welcome interpretations! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Michelle Qureshi, Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

 

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