A Day On Venus
2024 / Music As Metaphor
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Day On Venus is the latest album from award-winning guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/composer Michelle Qureshi and is a collection of eighteen original pieces drawn from celestial and mystical inspiration. The cover artwork for the album is a replica of the sacred geometric pattern created by the eight-year cycle of Venus orbiting Earth, forming a perfect five-petal rose. It is interesting to note that a day on Venus is the equivalent of 243 Earth days and that Venus has a sunrise every 117 Earth days. The overall tone of the music on the album is reflective of this leisurely pace, making it very relaxing and easy to get lost in for the better part of an hour - just enough to refresh the mind, body and spirit. Michelle Qureshi is best-known for her exceptional and soulful guitar work, but she also graces this album with flutes, keyboards, piano, ukulele and singing bowls. It's a beautiful project and I expect that it will add some more awards to Michelle's growing collection.
A Day On Venus begins with "Stars By the Pocketful," a wonderful image brought to life with acoustic guitars and ambient synth washes. Very peaceful yet dark and mysterious, it's an intriguing start! "American Prelude" is an acoustic guitar solo with a beautifully-soothing flow and is one of my favorite tracks. "Luminous Fields" was released as a single and has a haunting Native American feeling with flute, piano and synths. There are very interesting contrasts in the piece with the Native flute and piano being very grounding and "earthy" and the synth washes being very ethereal and atmospheric. Another very interesting pairing is the two tracks called "Within This Night" and "Without This Night." The first is soulful acoustic guitar solo, and the second is an arrangement that adds ambient beds and bass guitar to the first piece; both versions are very poignant and favorites. Electric guitar adds some sparkle to "Electric Blue," which also features bass and synths - very ambient and calming. "Dusty Springs" is expressed with an enchanting combination of flute, acoustic guitars, bass and synth washes - gently compelling musical magic! Combining piano and synths, the very ambient "Warm Waters" moves slowly, with waves of soothing sounds washing over the listener. "Slipped Away" and "Sliding Away" are different versions of the same piece with slightly different instrumentation. The first one is solo acoustic guitar and the second combines acoustic and slide guitars - both are refreshing and relaxing! "Wondrous" becomes somewhat more "otherworldly" with acoustic guitars, singing bowls and synths. The guitars have a "grounding" effect that contrasts beautifully with the more ethereal bowls and synths. The album comes to a quiet close with the solo guitar "Walk At Dusk," a blissful walk, indeed!
I had never thought about visiting Venus before, but Michelle Qureshi has convinced me that it would be a very good thing to do! Since that's not likely to happen, though, I'll be very content to put A Day On Venus on "repeat" and let the music take me away! The album is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and various streaming sites including Spotify. Highly recommended!
January 17, 2024