Reviews 12-09-2016

Music Reviews 

 

   

Dancing on the Wind

by Shoshana Michel

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Dancing on the Wind is an album of solo piano works from pianist Shoshana Michel that was released a few months ago in September of this year. Dancing is the second album to be released by this artist but it is the first in which she composed and performed the music that she played. The fact that this was her first effort at composing her own music makes this quite an extraordinary album because the quality of what you will find on this album speaks more of a seasoned composer's efforts than someone who is making their first foray into composing and recording their own music. Dancing on the Wind is filled with 11 of these slices of life and runs a total time of 53:05 which gives Shoshanna ample time to dazzle you with her vivid musical portraits that will leave you wondering where the last 53 minutes went before you hit repeat and do it all over again.

The title track Dancing on the Wind is just one of those emotional and honest piano solos that will stick in your mind long after you have listened to it because it's simplicity and beauty captivate the listener with an outstanding melody and an uplifting theme that carries you along on the currents of the wind. Shoshana demonstrates with this song alone that she is talent to be reckoned with and one that will continue to grow as she moves forward with new music in the years to come. I only chose Dancing on the Wind as an example of the wonderful music you will find on this album not because it was unique among the tracks that you will explore on this project but because it was one of many that will evoke similar responses in the listener. I would be hard pressed to pick favorite tracks off of an album that is filled with music of this caliber.  

Shoshana Michel's music is a  breath of fresh air that belies the environment in which it was created. According to Shoshana's Bandcamp page she lives in Brooklyn, NY which is like the exact opposite of the music that lives on this new album. She offers quiet, delicate music that speaks to the listener's heart while having been created in the hustle and bustle of the big city. It just goes to show that even amidst the backdrop of a constant flow of people and events a composer can center on their own breathing and their own inner muse and still create inspired works of solitude that reach beyond their present surroundings and touch that peaceful island that lives within each of us.

What impresses me the most about Shoshana's album is the simplicity of the compositions and the "feelings" that they seem to generate as you listen to them. It would be very easy for a solo piano album to become rather monotonous because of the fact that there are no other supporting players to occasionally shift the focus off of the piano to offer the over all recording a sense of variety. In the case of Dancing on the Wind that is wholly unnecessary as Shoshana's playing is riveting and does not need any other instruments to help her out or to offer the listener a distraction from her playing. Her music is instantly engaging and filled with subtle shadings and nuances as she weaves a tapestry of intimate and inviting songs that embrace the listener giving them a warm hug in a world that has grown too cold.

The music that comprises Dancing on the Wind overflows with warmth and tenderness and was masterfully played by a skillful pianist who knows how to compose songs that convey the sweet innocence of being in the moment and taking the time to feel the playful breezes that blow on our faces as we go about our days. Dancing on the Wind is filled with many vignettes of life captured in her music and playable anytime you feel the need to take a few minutes out of your day to stir up the positive emotions that will give you energy to face whatever kind of day that you are having. Shoshana's playing is heartfelt and confident throughout all of the tracks on this album. The compositions seem to bubble up from her soul and then through her playing flow out into the world for all to hear. You would do well to get your own copy of this album and begin to discover just what her music says to you. Definitely recommended by Ambient Visions.

Reviewed by Michael Foster editor of Ambient Visions