Album Review of "Scattering Stars" by Michelle Qureshi

Composer and multi-instrumentalist, Michelle Qureshi, creates an enthralling blend of musical styles on her album “Scattering Stars”. A classically trained guitarist with an interest in Sufi mysticism, Michelle’s studio consists of acoustic, electric, classical, and 12-string guitars, as well an array of synthesizers, indigenous world and exotic percussive instruments. Her musical influences include the likes of Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Pat Metheny, Ennio Morricone, Michael Nyman and Philip Glass among others, as the compositions on “Scattering Stars” emit echoes of her many artistic inspirations throughout.

“Beyond the Field” opens the album with gentle acoustic guitar that eventually leads into dual guitar melodies against a warmly-lit atmospheric backdrop. The more minimalistic “Crystals” follows next, an especially lovely piece that begins with nebulous drones followed by an interval of electric guitar with acoustic guitar in the background. The nocturnal mood and soundtrack-like impressions of this composition is characteristic of much of the album. “Overheard” is another intriguing piece where muffled vocal distortion interacts with sparse piano notes, minimalist textures and slide guitar effects. Another notable highlight is “Chasing the Wind”, where the warmth and brightness of native-style flute contrasts and compliments more crepuscular tones like wind at dusk. “Given” is another favorite, in which gentle acoustic guitar notes and sliding effects are carried upon a bed of misty chords as the piece morphs and evolves throughout. Lastly “Stargazer”, one of the album’s most beautifully experimental compositions, opens with crystalline textures that are followed by outward-spiraling effects, bell-like timbres and interspersed electric guitar.

The fourteen compositions on “Scattering Stars” lend themselves to changing shapes and evolving landscapes of both earth and sky, at times slightly forbidding and at other times reassuringly peaceful. Drawing upon a diverse set of musical influences throughout, subtle elements of rock, folk, classical and soundtrack music are all woven into these atmospheric compositions. Michelle has delivered a refreshingly unique and creative album that offers an impressive configuration of subtly varied guitar-playing styles with ambient and minimalist soundscapes. ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby

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