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Album Review: Seeking the Light
Eric McCarl
Cover image of the album Seeking the Light by Eric McCarl
Seeking the Light
Eric McCarl
2003 / Weaving Libra Records
64 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Seeking the Light is the first in a series of solo piano albums titled “The Trilogy of Light.” To quote composer Eric McCarl from his website, “Seeking the Light is about the realization that each of us has a unique gift which is meant to be used toward the greater good. Each of us are part of a master plan. We are all of one, and one of all. There are great and bountiful blessings to be found by focusing our attention from the external to the internal. There has never been a time in the life of our Universe that this realization has been more essential. This is a message to the few and to the many: It is not too late to look for the answers that that can only be found within. May this music be the perfect vehicle for that internal journey...” Quiet and contemplative, this is indeed, wonderful music for soul-searching, relaxing, daydreaming, or simply a calming and uplifting musical experience. With themes like childlike innocence and wonder, family, close friends, and looking within, the music tends to be spare and open, allowing listeners to kind of fall into the music. There are no fireworks, but the music is passionate and deeply emotional.

“All This Wonder” was the first piece McCarl played on his new (after many used) grand piano. The song is very minimalist, and represents the infinite possibilities at the beginning of our lives. It is quiet, inquisitive, and full of hope. “Mind of a Child” is also very open and free, and McCarl uses the sustain pedal to “allow the rich, complex ‘bouquet’ of the grand piano to come through. This sound, to me, is the mind of a child.” The sound is simple and direct, but McCarl’s harmonies and rubato rhythm make this a satisfying musical experience. I had to chuckle at his inclusion of “the knuckle song” (I don’t know any other title for it!) at the end - the mind of a child, indeed! “Little Star” is a charming theme and variations on the children’s song. “Ballet” is a darkly beautiful piece - slow and graceful, but deeply emotional. It’s easy to imagine a young dancer alone in a large space, moving to the music of her soul. “Colours” is very fluid and peaceful - a daydream set to music. “Take Me Home” is my favorite in this collection. It is about that moment of clarity when we realize we are responsible for our own destinies and taking responsibility for that. There are feelings of questioning and searching, and also of hope and resolve. A journey in itself, this is a deeply personal and revealing piece, as well as a very beautiful one. “Beyond the Sea” conveys the perfect peace I feel at the ocean, and dreams of “a place of peace, community, and where everyone was free and life was easy.”

Seeking the Light is a wonderful debut, and I’m really looking forward to parts two and three of the trilogy. It is available from ericmccarl.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. It’s a soothing musical journey for the mind and the soul.
June 1, 2004
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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