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Album Review: Transcendence
Sean Christopher
Cover image of the album Transcendence by Sean Christopher
Sean Christopher
2013 / Sean Christopher Dockery
49 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Transcendence is the second release from Sean Christopher, following his 2008 debut, Sojourns. Featuring Andrew Sords on violin, this album is a fascinating and very effective mix of synthesizers and keyboards with live strings and voices. The music tells the story of a soul’s transition from earth across the universe to paradise by way of the milky way, the andromeda galaxy, nebulas, and quasars. A journey of galactic sound and spiritual illumination, the music is strong, visual, and very beautiful. A lot of music that depicts traveling through space and time makes ample use of minimalism and atmospheric sound to create the illusion of vastness, but this music is very full and rich with the feelings of openness and movement coming directly from the music itself rather than what is left out. Andrew Sords and his violin were recorded at The Cathedral of The Rockies in Boise, Idaho, so the acoustics of that space may have also influenced the sound quality of the recording in a very positive way. Sometimes very classical and sometimes very contemporary, this music is an evocative and satisfying listening experience that is immediately accessible but complex enough to make you want to experience it again and again.

The journey begins with “Gloria,” a poignant and somewhat mysterious piece that serves as an invocation. The violin is the lead instrument, but choirs, harps, bells, and other instruments help the piece to soar. “Kyrie Eleison” is a prayer for safe travels with the violin backed by sweet voices and other simple instrumentation. We are on our way. The first stop is the moon, and “Luna’s Song” is a breathtaking arrangement of the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” Instead of piano, the violin carries the melody with a very effective synth backdrop that again includes choral voices. I have loved this piece my whole life, and I usually don’t like the original messed with too much, but this arrangement is spectacular! “Riding on Halley’s Comet” is more ambient and floating with the haunting violin guiding us as we soar through the heavens. “For Andromeda” becomes more intense and even a little bit scary, yet is always beautiful - one of my favorites. “Into the Black Hole” represents all of the evil that mankind is capable of and despite the innocence of the children’s voices, this piece is ominous, tragic, and very powerful - another favorite. “Playing In the Nebula” is much lighter and more joyful as we near our final destination. “Heaven’s Twilight” finds the soul giving thanks for safe transport, resistance to temptation on earth, and for life itself. Transcendence is now complete.

Transcendence is a very soul-stirring musical experience and one that I very highly recommend. It is available from www.seanchristopher.net, Amazon, and iTunes.
August 13, 2013