CelestiOwl’s new release Metanoia is his latest acoustic instrumental collection. The four song EP features a dollop of other instruments, but little more. Relying on his guitar-playing skills, however, is a safe bet as the gifted classical guitarist has yet to whiff with any of his releases. Four songs may seem like the soul of brevity, even too restrained, but even a single listen to these tracks shows a composer and musician with ambition and the artistry necessary to prevent it from veering off the road.
“Hamartia – The AErrows of AEros” begins the EP. Newcomers to CelestiOwl’s work will note the relaxed but unmistakable connection he shares with the acoustic guitar. Melody unreels from him as if is part of his breathing and the transitions from one passage to the next are fluid and seamless. He has a gift for construction and the unexpected touches of near dissonance, as if he is warping the song’s melody without disfiguring it are the song’s crowning achievement. “Coming hOMe” more than lives up to the opener’s lofty standards. I am particularly impressed by the clear development from the first into the second song.
It isn’t a quantum leap. Instead, the transition from the opener to the second song is Metanoia’s first step in its gradual movement toward the conclusion. These are four songs cut from a similar cloth. “Duende” continues this development. It’s with this track that the EP’s superstructure clears – Metanoia is a chamber piece of sorts with a thematic direction and “Duende” represents the piece’s climatic moment. The music bears this out.
He begins the song, as he has each one on the EP, with a meditative direction. He wreathes the song in shadow here, however, with an inward-looking direction. The song’s melody is memorable and well-paced. He transforms the song as it develops but, as before, it doesn’t take an out of character direction. It underlines the darkness we hear in its earliest moments. “Duende” has immense gravitas without ever sounding labored.
The closing track “Absence – I Fear and Long for You the Most” is the EP’s falling action as we would find in a story. Make no mistake that even instrumental music can tell a story and the aforementioned superstructure has a place for a musical work such as this. It fills its role well. Like the earlier tracks, CelestiOwl reins in whatever inclinations he may have for larger canvases and tailors the song to a manageable length.
The artistry clear during Metanoia sets it apart from the pack. I believe separating the positive effect his philosophical and spiritual concerns have on his music from its obvious appeal is impossible. It informs everything he does. It testifies to his artistry, as well, that he never allows it to weigh the work down. Many musicians and songwriters working from a similar place are often guilty of losing sight of their ultimate purpose – communicating beauty. CelestiOwl’s Metanoia more than succeeds on that score and he is certain to achieve that once again.
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