||The creativity of composer, songwriter, and music business success facilitator, Cheryl B. Engelhardt never ceases to amaze me. Her album, “The Passenger,” is just the latest example of ingenuity from this brilliant musical artist.
“The Passenger” is brief – 32 minutes, 9 electronic ambient tracks – but is amazing for a multitude of reasons. One of the things that makes it so is that this is the first album that we know of that was composed and produced entirely on a cross-country train trip.
A little background on this beautiful little album: Cheryl was scheduled to attend the recent Grammy® Awards. They were, however, postponed and rescheduled to a later date. Meanwhile, on the day the event got postponed, she received news that her dearest friend and collaborator, Kevin Archambault had died. However, Cheryl decided not to cancel the trip altogether, but rather than fly, as originally planned, she chose to travel by train from New York to Los Angeles.
From the train, as the “passenger,” Cheryl sent music files to collaborators, including Gammy®-winning artists Lili Haydn, Sangeeta Kaur, and Danaë Xanthe Vlasse, world-renowned flutist Sherry Finzer, and the Dallas String Quartet.
Nine days later, and 216 hours spent in a train “roomette,” “The Passenger” came to be birthed. The whole process from composition to masters took less than 3 months. That’s astonishing. As well, the album is one of few ambient recordings that is composed, mixed, and mastered, entirely by women.
Now, let’s delve a bit into the music on “The Passenger.” The album opens with “The Beautiful Bridge.” Seems to me as if this represents not only physical scenery, but the “bridge” from this life to the next. If that is so, it’s a poignant tribute to Cheryl’s friend, Kevin. Slow, with beautiful violin and very ethereal vocals from Lili Haydn, make this one to truly love. Great opening.
Following is the softly scintillating, “The Light That’s Left.” There’s a reverence here and an appreciable quietude that makes this very calming. Gorgeous strings from the Dallas String Quartet make,
“The Chariot” cinematic, flowing, and special. I wish it were a bit longer than just over 3 minutes. Again, super calming and very relaxing.
I like the mixture of light and dark in “The Misty Cosmos.” This is mysterious and interesting. Sherry Finzer’s distinctive flute artistry on, “The Two Feathers,” is outstanding as always. This is definitely one for the relaxation playlist. Gorgeous. Twinkling keyboard, perfect pacing, and a wonderful lightness, make “The Angels’ Lullaby” gorgeous. As well, we are treated once again to strings from the Dallas String Quartet. Love it.
The beautiful vocal of songbird, Sangeeta Kaur, is quite memorable on, “The Zephyr Remembers.” I love the underlying “train track” sounds as well. Great movement, build, and a repeating melody make this another wonderful composition. “The Message” features a wonderful, emotionally evocative piano performance from Danaë Xanthe Vlasse. The piece is beautifully haunting.
The journey here closes out perfectly with, “The Ambient Love.” Piano, ethereal synth, and atmospheric sounds make this mesmerizingly “out of this world.” Lovely, all, and reminds us that no matter where we are or where we travel, we are all part of something bigger.
Not to be missed, be sure to watch the video of the making of “The Passenger:” https://youtu.be/xdoH86NvFMk
Get the music here: https://www.cbemusic.com/
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