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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:
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  Mosaic by David Wahler, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/20/2018
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By Steven C
Label: Steven C. Music
Released 11/14/2017
Emotive tracks
1. Something Beyond
2. Communion
3. Missing You
4. I See You
5. Love & to Be Loved
6. b minor
7. Yearning
8. Kaleidoscope
9. Who Does That?
10. Masqueray's Melody
11. Begin Again
12. Restored
Shaking the Rafters
Right from the start I have to say that Emotive, the newest work from Steven C was the wrong title for the album. In my humble opinion it should have read Emotive: The Symphony. This body of breathtaking work is monumental as a testament to anyone's faith. It reminded me of the old masters who wrote everything for the church. However, Steven C's music has melodic joy and harmonically-rich vocals as the base for a modern world. There is a cloak of reverence, certainly, but it is not stifling. It is light and lyrical, invigorating and hopeful. I have listened to this music more than fifty times. I have found it inspirational and conducive to meditation. It is the first symphonic work that embodies "soaking music", a concept that suggests that particular music guides you or better still, allows you to get closer to God.

Celestial voices swell in a musical ascension as the opening track Something Beyond begins. There is physical force to the music, a positive thrust that reassures the listener. The tune becomes expansive as if we have just passed through a door into a room of endless dimension.

Communion is delicate, poignant, and uplifting. The chorus lifts their voices in reverence, but Steven's music sustains a more earthly tone. It is like the title suggest, a coming together, a beginning of a relationship that is beyond words. It is a place deep in the heart and soul where faith meets purpose.

With a beautiful string intro, the tune I See You is one of my favorites. There is such a feeling of happiness and of bliss that it becomes sort of a celebration. The piano lead is strong and fulfilling. The tune is memorable for its softness, its gentleness. Once an individual gets into your heart, you know them. You see them.

There is a tune on Emotive that is haunting yet passionate, weightless, yet substantial in ambience. b Minor has a wondrous mix of voice, violin, and piano. It is the sound you hear when angels are busy dancing on the head of a pin. There are true classical overtones to this chanson, but the mood is of quiet beauty intermingled with veneration.

Kaleidoscope is an otherworldly tune, the voices seraphic, the phrasing serious as the music revolves around you. Of course, every turn makes a unique and different picture in your mind. Imagine how a thousand pieces come together to form your life. At first, they are disjointed, unrelated, but then the image forms and it is fractal. That is how this music feels to me.

In the old cathedral in which this music was recorded, Steven offers the tune Masqueray's Melody, a tribute to the architect of this sacred space. The use of the church's pipe organ in the intro not only adds some boominess, but also adds a sense of solidity to it, reinforcing the strength of purpose. Then the song transforms into a gentle piano paean with a comforting sense.

Begin Again has Steven's strong, thematic tone that offers a great deal of promise. Starting over is one of the hardest things to do, but we do it many times during our lives, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not. The music is warmly complex, but somehow the tune gets deep in your soul, roots around, and recognizes that hope is just a prayer away.

The journey’s destination is in sight as the last song on Emotive plays on. Restored is not a finale, but a feeling of fulfillment. This tune also is favored on the piano as a voice, but the strings and vocals add a reverential threefold balance. It is eloquently passionate and the best tack on Emotive.

Steven C has more than 350 recordings to his credit, and lush orchestrina is no stranger to him. Along with more than a dozen performers, he recorded the live album in the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have enjoyed every cut on Emotive and it will become part of my personal collection. If I had to distill my thoughts on Steven C's symphonic work, I would describe it thusly. If literature is sustenance for mind, the certainly music is sustenance for the soul. Steven C's work has satiated me in every way possible.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/30/2018
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