Before you press play on this album, plug in your headphones, dis-attach from everyone around and make sure to keep an open mind. The music you’re about to listen to is not a common encounter and no expectations could be accurate enough. Steven Clarkson, the musician behind ‘when mountains speak’ project invites us into his mind, beliefs, and spirituality through this album. He plays his own instruments in his tracks and has a wide range of skills and repertoire of instruments, like, acoustic and electric mandolin family instruments, electric guitar, soprano, and tenor saxophone, among others. Our artist is very varied and cultural in his music, you’ll find yourself traveling through different cities, continents, and cultures, you’ll dive into an ocean of emotions with the different genres you’ll come across from; jazz, chill, Latin, oriental, metal, chill, rock, you name it. Steven’s main focus is his improvisational style, which takes him on these adventurous journeys of mood shifts and genres entwining.
‘Synthesis of style’ has a total of 9 tracks, they’re long and elaborate, one goes for as long as 11 minutes. It’s not the kind of album where you will dissect its tracks, mention the key to the song and the instruments playing in it, it’s the overall mood of the song, the expressions used and the story, the conversation going on within it. The overall mood of the album is hypnotic, a transformational yet floating state of mind. An element that I found fascinating and couldn’t ignore, is how the percussive lines seem to have a significant factor in setting the mood for the tracks, like in ‘Electric Trane’ where you could hear the percussion upfront, ongoing throughout the entire track, setting the mood for an oriental vibe, as if you’re somewhere in an Arabian desert, yet if you pay closer attention to the improvisational melody which has the metal mood elements and edge, a very interesting combination of sounds. Moving to ‘Tread Softly’ where the percussion takes you to a different continent and sets the mood for the Cuban, Latino music vibe with a soft female vocal line. ‘Mantra’ is the one I found
most interesting in its percussive context, the song starts off with a saxophone playing a sweet, uplifting melody, tricking you into thinking that’s how it’ll continue then a sudden shift of mood to intensity and intimidation, percussion is dimmed down after it was upfront and some improvisational melodic lines with electric and bass-like sound effects take over, distorted and noisy. The song shifts between both themes back and forth but what is noticeable is how you hear a bell ding, like an Ehome/energy chime is played every time before the saxophone makes a comeback, as if it’s a moment of awakening and distraction, a pinch that brings you back to reality from darkness.
I could easily go on, on each track and its individuality but it won’t do it justice. The artist is leaving room for interpretation and discussion, each track is different in its nature and mood, each one will listen to the same song might have different interpretations and perspectives, which I believe Is what true art is all about.
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