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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Scattering Stars
By Michelle Qureshi
Label: Heart Dance Records
Released 4/15/2016
Scattering Stars tracks
1. Beyond the Field
2. Crystals
3. Bridge to Where I Do Not Know
4. New World
5. Dust
6. Overheard
7. Chasing the Wind
8. Given
9. Stargazer
10. Forgetting Tomorrow
11. Soon
12. What We Heard
13. Solstice
14. Philosophy
Nothing is the Same, But
I have learned to temper my expectations when I hear a new song. However, when I heard Beyond the Field by Micelle Qureshi from her album Scattering Stars, I did not think the recording would be mere homogenous soundings. I was right. Even though there is a common thread of reflected light running through the fabric of this music, there are no two songs alike. Bravo Michelle. The light becomes refracted, magnified and dispersed and it is all done with music. Michelle Qureshi is a classically trained guitarist from Indiana. She has a belief in Rumi and Hafiz that influences her root compositions, but the rest of the physical world holds just as much sway. Scattering Stars is fourteen tracks of contemporary/ambient guitar for the most part with medium accompaniment of other instruments. The guitar is generally the star, but the other instruments, mainly keyboards and sampling, find themselves as willing companions in each piece.

One of my favorites that transforms this album into an ambient experience is called New World. It is a slow, gentle creation that, by its very nature, seems to unwind as it plays. It is rare that we find a new world to bring us peace, but many times it is found within and that makes the discovery that much more significant.

Overheard is a singular tune with exotic voices. I believe that the angels speak not in words, but in music. Perhaps this is their conversation perceived across the boundless distances of the firmament. Through the performance of Michelle's electric guitar it might be a prayer, or it might be a poem, but it is certainly an exchange on a higher plane than the physical. It quickly became one of my favorites on the album. "All that you think is rain, is not. Behind the veil, sometimes angels weep." - Rumi

Chasing the Wind had an unexpected Native American flute lead, but that is what made it so exceptional. It changes into an electronic incursion, but it still manages to bridge the old world with the new. The wind is unseen, but it is surely felt in this remarkable tune.

An insubstantial orchestra opens the track Forgetting Tomorrow. The ironic title is memorialized in deep piano tones, flowing synthetic strings, and a haunting melody. There is something otherworldly about the music that suggests time shifting or multi-dimensional universes yet undiscovered.

The music of Solstice is a dividing point where electronic features comingle with Old World elements until a balance is struck, and the balance is Michelle's guitar along with inorganic chorus. There is a sometimes clockwork sound to the piece, but it meshes well with the basic components to define change on an intuitive level.

The final cut is called Philosophy. It is a multi-faceted, animated tune that uses just about all the essentials found in the previous thirteen tracks. It is a dizzying movement, one full of the energy of life. Perhaps that is the whole philosophy. Hafiz said, "People say that the soul, on hearing the song of creation, entered the body, but in reality the soul itself was the song."

Michelle Qureshi's music emanates from her soul, there's no doubt about that. She captures an exciting equilibrium between electronic instruments and organic thinking or should I say, composing. Every track was vital, sometimes, exuberant and I liked the energy.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/5/2016
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