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Serena Gabriel feat. Steve Roach — Seeing Inside
(Projekt no#, 2021, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-12-02

Seeing Inside Cover art

There are a number of ways one could describe Serena Gabriel’s latest recording, Seeing Inside, but once all the labels and descriptors fall to the wayside, the importance of the music is the effect it has on the listener, and the six cuts at hand are at once evocative, introspective, and dare I say spiritual. If one isn’t approaching a revised state of being by the onset of the second track — which incidentally is the title track — then either one is not really absorbing what being presented, or perhaps listening too intently. A listener needs to be free of all the barriers, allowing the sound to open the spirit and expand into every part of the being. This is not your typical floating ambient release produced entirely with electronics and studio effects; Gabriel introduces some subtle field recordings, first on the opener “Dawn Sounds,” along with synthesizer, opening the way for the harmonium that comes in full strength on the title track. Seeing Inside features Steve Roach throughout, but his didgeridoo on “Within” is unmistakable, along with hand drums, harmonium, and synths. While Gabriel’s voice is present on those earlier cuts, it reaches a powerful apex on the fourth cut, “From the Sea,” taking on a seemingly wordless chant, multitracked alongside other instrumentation, both acoustic (primarily harmonium and subtle percussives) and electronic, and evident studio effects as the piece moves forward swirling into the spirit cloud. A stringed instrument, possibly a zither or string harp, heavily effected, is introduced near the beginning of “When You Speak,” amid the acoustic and electronic cloudwash of other instrumentation, it stands out like colored starlight on a pitch black sky, slowly fading into deeper introspection as the piece proceeds along its thirteen minute trajectory. Closing the set is “The Familiar,” where wordless voices, harmonium and deep, intense subsonics lead the way across a shimmering panorama of stellar beauty that is far beyond what words can describe. Seeing Inside as a whole is an intense but transcendental experience best taken in the order provided.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach, Serena Gabriel

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