Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Psy'Aviah: Soul Searching

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Artist: Psy'Aviah (@)
Title: Soul Searching
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Alfa-Matrix (@)
Rated: *****
First, I should mention that the subtitle of this album is 'Musings and Notes Taken from a Soul Searcher's Mind'. 'Soul Searching' is Psy'Aviah's ninth album, masterminded by Belgian music producer Yves Schlepe. Once again a cool cadre of vocalists is employed to breathe life into the songs, and the line-up this time includes Dirk De Wachter, Roeland van der Velde, Alicia May, Kyoko Baertsoen, Saydi Driggers, Marieke Lightband, Addie Nicole, Lis van den Akker, Mari Kattman, Mark Bebb and Ellia Bisker. I wonder how Yves finds these people; does he scour the internet for talent, or do they send him demos? I do know that a good number of them are vocalists that have participated in past Psy'Aviah albums. On 'Soul Searching' every single one of them is just right for the song they sing. The format is somewhat along the lines of modern Delerium/Conjure One- sophisticated, orchestrated synth-pop, with a tinge of New Age, positive vibrations, and a more adult, radio-friendly commerciality in mind. Schlepe's arrangements and orchestrations are gorgeous, lyrics are intelligent yet uncomplicated, and there's plenty of hooks. Not a bad, or even mediocre track on this album.

I should mention that there are actually two albums in this deluxe set - the first titled 'Soul Searching' which contains 12 tracks and clocks in at 50 minutes, and that 50 minutes goes pretty fast. There is a aura of spirituality running through the songs that is innate to Psy'Aviah's conceptual theme. While simple song titles such as "Train of Thought," "Voodoo Love," "Hold On," "Dream Fever," and "Lucid Bliss" may not convey this fully, the lyrics and music certainly capture the feeling. There is plenty of variety in mood and temperament as well, although nothing so far afield that could be called experimental.

Moving on, the second part is titled 'Kindred Spirits' and is a remix album of 8 of the songs off of 'Soul Searching,' but 16 tracks total as some of the songs are given multiple remixes. Normally I'm not a big fan of remixes but in this case I think it works pretty well as the remixes are more beat-oriented and conducive to club play. This really give the songs a whole different vibe making it a worthy addition to the main album. Even in the more rhythmic mode the conceptual loftiness is not lost. Remixers include SD-KRTR, Metroland, Rob Dust, 11grams, Mind.Divided, SNVFF, J.Wolf, The Gothsicles, Studio-X, Cosmic Armchair, Noire Antidote, Maerten Pels, Tom Bro, People Theatre, KGproject, and French Skies. There were some remixes I preferred more than others, but really, it's all good, and that's a rarity to be sure. Both album have a lot of replayability, and come highly recommended. I believe 'Soul Searching is Psy'Aviah's best effort yet.

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