New York’s Cheryl B. Engelhardt pursues excellence in her new album, A Seeker’s Slumber. The New Age singer/songwriter, who brings a wealth of classical and pop experience into her work, shines with intricate piano arrangements, flickering rhythms and bouncy movements. Where some might close their eyes and be ready for rest, these are songs to listen to once a good night’s rest has been achieved. Engelhardt continues to create music that livens the mind, rouses the soul and shakes the trees – arise, arise, arise – A Seeker’s Slumber is one of this year’s best New Age albums.
If you were to just listen to the music – in the songs that aren’t instrumentals on A Seeker’s Slumber – the storylines might play out like a Charlotte Brontë novel or a Claude Monet painting. The drama, flying into the air like a kite and hovering over a steady bead of water and fragile piano arrangements, Engelhardt’s instrumentation is beautiful poetry. When lyrics are put into the songs, it opens up an even prettier, bountiful sonic garden. The flowery moments are grand, bursting with energy and a cross match of fun, and ambient grooves.
Anyway you choose…is moving on, the words are sung in the head-turning “Anyway You Choose”. It’s track seven, so nearer towards the end, but this song stood out to me because it reinforces that the inner voice, whatever we decide to do after a situation, is right. Don’t question what our gut is telling us, this song seems to suggest. I indulged myself in that same feeling of enlightenment in the songs “Unwind”, “Temperance” and “Sopor”. “Awaecnian”, a hearty song with nature-like pauses and burts, is just as empowering, but in a different way. “Awaecnian” felt more inspiring in terms of a new day, a new chance to make memories. Not move on from heartache or loss – a white board to make mistakes and take chances.
“Mother Gaia”, which features Joanie Leeds and Chava Mirel, is a commanding force. It’s still light-hearted and pastel-like, but something about this track, perhaps the humming and chanting, made me feel like I was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and in awe of the world around me. We are but a sliver in the universe, but our importance is immeasurable. The plucky guitar riffs hit like raindrops, furthering that idea that together we all create something bigger than ourselves. Engelhardt fashions a sacred moment in these songs. I’d also like to highlight “Ithaca” and the comforting instrumental “Emerald Dreams”.
A Seeker’s Slumber leaves it all out there for the listener to be entertained and fulfilled. We need more music like what Engelhardt is creating because the world is rapidly changing. Especially after the year we’ve had, it’s nice to slow things down just a bit, and listen, breathe cleaner, maybe skip a little higher. Her work inspires and entertains because she gives her listeners a wonderful canvas to further paint their own story lines. A Seeker’s Slumber has gorgeous moments, eclectic moments and quirky moments. Never dull moments.
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