Kerani reaches for a universal sound on her Stardust album. The inspiration for the songs includes the discovery on new space technologies and our growing knowledge of the universe. The songs were recorded with a symphonic orchestra and a mixed vocal ensemble. Kerani plays the piano and other keyboards. The CD package includes a booklet that details the musicians and describes the production.

The song titles reflect the sources of inspiration. Track 1 is the title track, Stardust. The symphony accompanies Kerani’s epic-sounding melody line. Track 2: Cosmic Sunrise edges more toward an ambient sound with ethereal keyboards joining the piano. Track 3: Rosetta fuses the neo-classic with a gentle jazz sound that’s helped along with an upbeat bass line. Track 4: Perpetuum Mobile begins with some sampling loops and mid-range bell tones. It opens up into a strong symphonic choral piece.

In Track 5: Beyond, a flute leads the melodic material. This is a welcome change. The piece is carefully paced and thoughtful. Track 6: The Next Step bounces into a more energetic song with percussive drive.

The music shifts back toward the ambient genre in Track 8: Gravity. Kerani captures the sense of the weightless void of outer space in this distinctly atmospheric composition.  Track 10: Stars returns to the upbeat jazzy textures of Track 6.

The production values, sound engineering, and the symphonic scoring are all top notch on this album. Listening to it as a whole, however, tends to get a little monotonous. The piano – with a single key or unison octaves – dominates as the lead instrument. A few other instruments contribute leads, but hey, if you’ve got an entire orchestra at your disposal, it would be helpful to pass out more leads to other instruments to give a greater melodic and textural variety to the entire production.

Kerani  has earned well-deserved popularity, and there aren’t all that many recognized female composers out there yet. The compositions on this album are quite good. The only thing that detracts from it is an over-emphasis on the same kinds of melodic piano lines. Other listeners might not be bothered by it. I found myself wanting a bit of a shift to other types of melodies and instruments. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and judging music is utterly subjective. On all the technical aspects, this is a well-produced and well-composed set of songs.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Kerani
Kerani, 2017
10 tracks, 1:04 minutes
CD $9.90, MP3 $8.99.