2018 / 601698 Records DK
Review by Kathy Parsons
Scott Lawlor’s Soul Journey was inspired by the story of Nancy Rynes and her near-death experience after being hit by an SUV while riding her bicycle. Quoting from her site, Rynes explains: “I should have died, but while surgeons worked to repair my traumatized spine, my spirit was in Heaven. Instead of dying, I was overcome by a powerful beauty, love and joy - and allowed to return to Earth to share what I learned.” Profoundly moved by listening to Rynes’ radio interviews, Lawlor found himself longing for a divine presence that he had connected with earlier in his life, but walked away from long ago. Still reeling from the deaths of his brother and a dear friend, Lawlor found that a need to “reach out beyond myself and try to connect with the spirit world was rekindled along with a profound desire to be open to signs that those who I love are doing okay in the afterlife.” Feeling a call to express some of these internalized emotions and reactions, Lawlor did what he does best and went to his synthesizers and keyboards to create the music for this album. His hope is that it is “a journey to the interior where you will also encounter your own divine presence by way of a profound soul journey.”
Soul Journey consists of four ambient, ethereal tracks that are soothing, but truly feel like a journey. This is the fifth of Lawlor’s many albums that I have reviewed, and his music always seems more “musical” than that of many ambient artists. I’m not sure what that special something is, but Lawlor’s albums go far beyond the categories of “space music” or “healing music” to a realm of deep emotional expression coupled with a bit of magic.
The title track begins the Soul Journey. Dark and mysterious at the beginning, strings, voices and orchestral and atmospheric sounds surround the listener, beckoning him or her to follow, effortlessly soaring heavenward. The darkness lightens and the pace slows to a graceful feeling of floating through an endless calm and gentle warmth. I’m fascinated with Lawlor’s ability to convey power and a soothing peacefulness at the same time.
“Divine Presence” is the second track. Ethereal voices, strings, pipe organ and chimes create an atmosphere of beautiful light that surrounds the listener/traveler with warmth and a profound comforting of the spirit.
“Structure of Love” is somewhat more mysterious, adding flute sounds to the gently flowing instrumentation. It’s 14 1/2 minutes of heavenly bliss!
“Celestial Guide” is by far the longest of the tracks at almost 32 1/2 minutes, but what a wonderfully uplifting guided tour through the stars and heavens. and what a gift to be able to escape to a place where all is well, and there are no conflicts, diseases or unhappiness.
Soul Journey is an exceptional ambient musical experience by one of the genre’s most exceptional artists! The album is available for download from Amazon and iTunes, and is also available on several streaming sites including Bandcamp.
November 27, 2018