Uma Silbey is a musician, author, jewelry artist, healer and spiritual teacher. This new album follows in the trail of several others. The inspiration for the music is the ten raga scales from India, which offers unexpected and dynamic variations on traditional Western melodies. The songs feature Uma playing a grand piano. Some include synth and additional sound FX from nature like bird song.
The album begins with track 1: Invitation. This gentle but haunting piece opens the door to listeners. The music is unusual and intriguing, as the composer-performer combines open fourths, open fifths, tritones, and unusual chords like Neopolitan sevenths, to establish the intent of the title – an altered state of awareness. The first four tracks leverage these unusual sound combinations to take the listener away from daily concerns and into a heightened meditative state.
Track 5: Streaming features a more traditional major modality that is restful and positive. The impact of major chords and tonalities is more powerful because of the contrast it offers to the ambiguous tonality of the preceding songs. Track 7: Levitation returns to the more haunting tonal idiom with vocal FX and ambient background sounds.
This album is exceptionally well-suited for meditation, evocation, relaxation, healing work, yoga and related practices. It offers a musical accompaniment for embarking on any kind of mystical journey. Listeners who enjoy piano music will be especially enchanted with Uma’s compositions.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Uma Sibley
Uma Silbey, March 2016
13 tracks, 59 minutes. $12.99