This unusual album is the fourth from Suereth, a musician who is also the creator/producer of the Spiritual Fizz podcast and e-zine. He’s dedicated to promoting different aspects of spirituality. This album falls into the ambient genre, although it does include bouncy attractive rhythms and the inclusion of natural instruments in the arrangements. There’s plenty of spacy synth sounds to keep it interesting.

“Spiritual Odyssey” takes the listener on a journey through sound, singing and lyrics. Lyrics for Track 3: Where Will I Go? relate that he goes through his days searching for the “password to my life.” Track 4: A Ride to Virgo is one of the most unusual songs. It harks back to Tangerine Dream and Thomas Dolby through a combination of sitar sounds, layered percussion and synth textures, odd digital twangs ornamenting the vocal breaks, and the singing/chanting vocal track.

Since this is Suereth’s first album to include his singing and lyrics, it has an experimental feel. The vocals are limited in range, but this actually enhances the lyrics by making them easy to understand and comprehend. His voice is pleasant and true, with no vocal gymnastics. The songs are intended to be a “beacon or pathway toward a solution [so a listener] might pause and reflect on their life in a mindful manner.”

When the album reaches Track 8: The Walls are Tumbling, the theme of personal awareness and development finally unfolds to grasping possibilities for the future. The textures and instrumental arrangements are likewise more developed and mature.

The progression of Suereth’s musical and lyrical thematic ideas from the first to the tenth songs is reminiscent of albums from Yes or Peter Gabriel. Coherent, integrated albums are becoming increasingly rare, but “Spiritual Odyssey” has a distinctive and unwavering purpose. The music is definitely space-age ambient genre, and this album will appeal to people who like that musical category, as well as those who enjoy music that encourages meaningful spiritual insights and development. The contents are thoughtful, upbeat and hopeful.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Russell Suereth
2017, Haven Tone Records
10 tracks, 40 minutes
CD $6.85 (AMZ), Mp3 $9.99 (CD Baby)

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