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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers - Part 1 by Steven Chesne, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/19/2014
  New Horizon by Minstrel Streams, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2014
  A Southern Sun by Joseph Akins, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2014
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Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers - Part 1
By Steven Chesne w/ The Luminous World Orchestra
Label: Brahmasong Records
Released 10/10/2013
Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers - Part 1 tracks
1. Invocation
2. For When the Love Will Rain Down Upon You
3. Yoekietown
4. Flicker of the Glistening
5. Glory Story #2
6. Coaxed to Grow
7. Morning Hocket
8. Change, Your Oldest Friend
9. Lumiere du Soleil
Above and Below
Steven Chesne composes music for television, film, and life experience. I knew he had an extensive resume in the soundtrack world, but he outdoes himself when it comes to neo-symphonic and world music. Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers, Part 1 is the fourth album he offers featuring the Luminous World Orchestra. He has the astonishing ability to combine music from heaven and earth, namely atmospherics and native instruments. On "Moments" I could hear church organs, erhu, celestial voices, and droning and that is just on the first cut. The nine-track album is a mixture of earthy, primordial sounds, symphonic pastiches, and old world instrumentation. Chesne has been permanently assigned to my dessert island list.

Invocation, the opening prayer, is like a wandering soul looking for grace. There is a voice, very otherworldly, that seems to beg for notice in a world of the vanished. The search goes through space, dimensions, and perhaps other planes as it reaches, vocally to the ether. Flicker of the Glistening offers a return of the disembodied voice and a long-playing symphonic interlude. It is the magical music of light. It is the radiance of stars, the glow from campfires, but particularly energy from the eyes that allow you to see into the soul.

A dramatic blend of strings and flute open the tune Glory Story #2. The tune is the culmination of a victorious adventure. It seems like this weary world we live in needs good news more than ever and Steven provides the soundtrack.

Coaxed to Grow has a sinuous, rising melody. In the middle of the song, according to the music, something miraculous happens. A blossom gives its gift of beauty or perhaps a fruit ripens and gives its gift of nourishment. Maybe both. Steven takes us through the complete process with filtered light, blessed rain, and growth, all encouraged to develop with a little prayer. Morning Hocket is a remarkable tune on the album and my absolute favorite. A "hocket" is an antique French musical term describing the blending of polyphonic vocals, but can also be used to describe mixed voices of instruments as well. That being said, the music of Morning Hocket is a gamelan driven amalgam of bells, bongs and sitar that opens up the senses like a cleansing. A cleansing of sound vibrations. Everything in the universe has vibrations. We know this. Chesne has given vibration to the early morning light. The rest of the day ought to be beautiful.

The sound of a brilliant guitar lead introduces the final cut, Lumiere Du Soleil (Light of the Sun). The guitar is wholly unexpected, but very welcomed as it blends with horns and synth. Steven has the remarkable sense of balance that works in every tune. After hearing Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers, Part 1 it was easy to want more. Whether intentional or not, Steven Chesne seems to infuse lightness into all of his music. If these be the stories of strangers, then I cannot wait to hear the tales of friends. Perhaps on Part 2?
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/19/2014
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