Serena Gabriel (featuring Steve Roach) — Inanna's Dream
(Soundquest SQ1, 2020, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-09-20
Serena Gabriel is a composer, musician, dancer, healing arts practitioner and medicine music maker with many years of experience sculpting sound and creating vibrational therapies that inform her vovals, mantras, chants and music. She is proficient on a number of instruments including synthesizers, flutes, percussion, harmonium, lyre and didgeridoo, along with loopers and effects, which she uses in her studio as well as her frequent live performances. Her goal is that her dedication to the potential of sound for positive transformation is experienced through her music. Steve Roach should be no stranger to readers of Exposé, a pioneer of contemporary electronic music, his career goes back to the early 1980s and includes nearly two hundred releases both solo and in collaboration with others. Their first collaboration together was the long-form piece Nectar Meditation, reviewed here earlier in 2020. Inanna’s Dream involves a greater variety of acoustic instrumentation along with the synths and electronics, six pieces of varying lengths that blend archaic and contemporary instrumentation along with Gabriel’s voice. The swirling deep drone intro into “Serpentine” is later joined by didgeridoo, flutess and percussion all woven together for a mystical experience, culminating with Gabriel’s gentle spoken words at the piece’s conclusion. The title track is second up, beginning with a deep stirring frame drum and other percussion supporting Gabriel’s multi-layered cyclical voice loops with a deep almost-Native American tone that is at once powerful and meditative, while synths take a back seat supporting role. “Dunes of Solace” is a beautiful sixteen minute harmonium meditation supported by droning synth loops, just long enough to get lost within, until “Song of Sending” takes the listener in a different direction with dreamy overlapping voice loops supported by harmonium and frame drums. Far shorter, but no less engaging is “The Gazing Pool” where voice atmospherics, lyre and synths intertwine throughout meditative swells and moments of near silence; beautiful! The final track “Changing Tides” is a long form synth and harmonium piece that breathes, shimmers and grows over its duration. It’s also where the CD and download versions of the album diverge: The CD version is nineteen and a half minute version, the download version is close to fifty minutes, either way the piece is contemplative, relaxing and majestic. Inanna’s Dream is a powerful statement that will transport the listener to new introspective horizons.
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