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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Something Getting Wrong
By Michael de Salem
Label: Michael de Salem Music
Released 7/12/2011
Something Getting Wrong tracks
1. Metropolitan
2. Sentimental Stops
3. Lost But Not Afraid
4. Emergency Talking
5. Tribal Interlude
6. Remind
7. Something Getting Wrong
8. Higher
9. Not an End
Awakening Consciousness through Music
It all has to do with direction. That is, the direction in which the planet is progressing, or should I say, man is progressing. Because according to Swiss multi-instrumentalist Michael de Salem, it is not progressing. It has gone off on a tangent that is out of sync with its natural course and he is here, via his music, to humbly help us find our way. That is what I have gleaned from his biography as well as his music; contemporary vignettes of contemporary life. I admit that I liked Something Getting Wrong after the first listen. It has a cinematic quality to it which enhances the vignettes of everyday occurrences, negative and positive. On the recording Dr. De Salem plays piano, keyboards, guitar and programs percussion and is aptly aided by cellist Ann Nina. One thing I liked right off about the album were de Salem's track titles. They all kept their promise.

Police sirens, rushing traffic, and an upbeat tempo recount life on the streets in the opening number Metropolitan. The squealing of brakes, the vibrato of industriousness, and the high energy of the city are all represented in the tune. Like a strong heartbeat, the thumping percussion reminds us that the city is a living thing.

I have been lost and I have been afraid and sometimes simultaneously. The song Lost But Not Afraid is more like a chance of hope than it is a state of fact. Sure there are pitfalls in life, but not all is lost. There is always some time left to change, correct or change course.

With an echoing piano, Remind is a highly orchestrated piece with a strong string background and an eerie melody. It is as if the touching music is saying it knows what is going on and, for better or worse, it will not let you forget. It is the pointing finger, the smoking gun and the tap on the shoulder from behind. This song is my favorite on the recording.

The title song, Something Getting Wrong, is a ballad that has an unidentifiable theme to it, almost as if it was anachronistic. It seems that a lot of songs are sounding like that these days. I was thinking the sixties when I first heard it, but then after several listens it changed into a song with a singular style. In the middle of the song was a bit of confusion, but it got settled in the end.

Higher suggest that perhaps there is more to life than meets the eye. Furthermore, there is the possibility that although mortals are responsible for the planet, there may be a higher life form or spirit or God or Gods responsible for us. De Salem really has a first rate composition with this one using what I thought was a Chinese erhu, haunting piano and soft inorganic drone.

Not an End was the jazziest tune on the album, and the song leaves an open door for any heart or mind to enter. It is the light at the end of the tunnel for some, the elusive thread by which many hang on to for others.

I played this album more than I had to because I liked the compositions as well as the theme of the entire album. There are things in the world that need to be given consideration and perhaps Michael de Salem and his music can make some noise and give it some well deserved attention. He seems to have succeeded on this debut venture.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/16/2011
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