Moments From the Life Stories of Strangers, Part 1 Steven Chesne with The Luminous World Orchestra 2013 / Brahmasong Records 48 minutes
After listening to "Moments From the Life Stories of Strangers, Part 1," it came as no surprise to learn that Steven Chesne has been composing music for television and films for more than twenty years. His fourth release with The Luminous World Orchestra is a fascinating mix of vibrant world music and more subdued ambient styles. Strings, flutes, voices, an assortment of ethnic instruments, and full orchestration offer the feeling of a soundtrack recording - diverse, but unified by a common theme. Most of the nine tracks are 5-7 minutes long, giving the music time to evolve and tell its story. Quite a bit of the music has a strong Eastern influence, both in instrumentation and in style. "Moments From the Life Stories of Strangers" takes the listener on a colorful journey of spiritually-inspired moments that include joy, contemplation, reflection, playfulness, and the transcendental.
"Moments From the Life Stories of Strangers" begins with “Invocation,” an ethereal and mysterious piece that features wordless vocals as well as strings, harp, and Eastern instruments that give much of this piece its exotic flavor. “For When the Love Will Rain Down Upon You” is much more ambient with a shimmering guitar providing an atmospheric background, percussion (gongs and drums), and a gorgeous cello combining to make musical magic. “Flicker of the Glistening” is perhaps the most cinematic of the pieces, beginning with a quiet theme with a smooth and graceful flow that gradually builds to a bigger and livelier second theme and then returns to the first. Strings, horns, and a soothing female voice give this piece a pleasurable sweep. “Glory Story #2” sends us soaring heavenward with flute, strings, and gentle wind chimes - a favorite. “Morning Hocket” is quite different. By definition, a hocket is a medieval practice where a single melody is shared between two (or occasionally more) voices such that alternately one voice sounds while the other rests. This piece includes an interesting assortment of instruments that sound individually and with one or more of the others to create a vibrant, colorful mix. “Change, Your Oldest Friend” is a bit more haunting and melancholy. My favorite piece on the album is “Lumiere du Soleil.” Light and breezy, this mostly guitar piece expresses playfulness, freedom, and joy, bringing the album to a warm and satisfying close.
"Moments From the Life Stories of Strangers, Part 1" is available from Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!