Chill Out Island

From New Age to downtempo electronica to acoustic folk, Chill Out Island surveys the finest in relaxing music.

Bryan Rowe’s ‘Songs of the Soul’ paints ‘landscapes of personal memories’

Reviewed by Carson James

Artist: Bryan Rowe

Title: Songs of the Soul

This meditative, mood-spanning collection of piano instrumentals from Bryan Rowe opens quietly, but it’s a stillness you won’t forget. If these compositions are supposed to reflect human emotions and personal experiences, then the first cut, “Redeemed,” seems to open with the initial silence of life forming in the womb; it takes a few minutes before the melodies become apparent, as if they are gradually crawling towards the light of existence. When the music increases volume and tempo, it is the equivalent of gazing at the sun as it breaks through the morning haze. Rowe isn’t simply expressing himself with notes here; he is painting landscapes of personal memories.

For the most part, the music elaborates on the song titles; given that none of these pieces have words, that is a pretty remarkable achievement. “Broken Bond” has an overall feeling of sadness and loss; there is almost unbearable melancholy in its tones. “Embraced” is appropriately affectionate while “Dance of Light” seems like an extension of the introductory song, its giddiness suggesting a flower in bloom. “Abandoned” is appropriately stressed, even agitated.

Listening to Songs of the Soul is almost an uncomfortable experience because it is so naked and revealing. It takes courage and talent to produce an album as compellingly honest as this. Treasure it always.

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