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Scattering Stars

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Customer Reviews

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

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.

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

“Scattering Stars,“ on the Heart Dance Records label, is the seventh album by composer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Michelle Qureshi, but the first one primarily focused on guitars set within ambient soundscapes. The moods are varied but still carry a thread of familiar style. Acoustic and electric sounds blend harmoniously on “Beyond the Field,” which opens the album on track 1. Michelle’s gently plucked acoustic guitar notes and chiming harmonics drift sweetly over a subtle synthesizer soundscape. There is a relaxed pastoral ambiance that draws the listener in and makes for a lovely portal into Michelle’s musical universe.

On a track entitled “New World,” a variety of synthesizer sounds that range from purely electronic textures and effects, to strings, choir, tinkling bell sounds, and more, lend a cinematic air to the composition that is punctuated by acoustic guitar, classical guitar, and dobro. It’s hard to hear the sound of slide guitar and not think of blues, or perhaps country music. However, Michelle’s melodic use of it on a track named “Dust,” brings it into more of a Windham Hill-type acoustic guitar context and adds a quiet emotional expressiveness to the song that is subtle yet tasteful.

While some of Michelle’s music is more structured, other pieces have a free-flowing improvisational feel. The appropriately titled “Chasing The Wind,” introduces new multi-cultural elements, that of wind instruments. Here Michelle plays Native American flutes and the Australian didgeridoo along with layers of keyboards, although no guitar. It is another unstructured sound tapestry that is undefined by melody, rhythm, etc. but evokes a particular ambiance nonetheless. On a track called “Given,” its mellow dreamy vibe at times reminded me of the quieter spacey moments of Pink Floyd. The final track, “Philosophy,” however, is the most groove-driven song on the album, with contemporary electronica sequences animating a good deal of the piece.

Michelle certainly brings some unique perspectives to her music in the blending of acoustic and electronic tonalities. I don’t know that I’ve heard anything quite like it. One of the most fascinating aspects is that you never know what is going to happen next around each musical corner, both from song to song, and also within any given track. My initial impression before hearing the whole album was that Michelle was primarily a guitarist. However after experiencing all of the tracks she seems more of a sonic sorceress using a wide range of instruments and technology in her artistic alchemy. “Scattering Stars” is an experience in the unexpected and a window into the seemingly unlimited imagination of Michelle Qureshi.

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Scattering Stars, Michelle Qureshi
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: New Age, Music, Rock
  • Released: Apr 15, 2016

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