“After all, the true seeing is within,” George Eliot said. Listening to Michelle Qureshi’s new album “Within”, I see how true this quote is. “Within” contains nothing less than 24 pieces that capture the atmosphere of an emotion, ambition, or intention. “Within” is filled to the brim with déjà vu moments, so clear and telling that you don’t even have to look at the names of the pieces to understand what they are all about. Michelle Qureshi has delivered a timeless and ambitious release that finds its way to the listener’s heart surprisingly fast. That is the power of “Within”.
Michelle Qureshi is a composer, multi‐instrumentalist, and classically-trained guitarist. She debuted in 2012 with the album “Of Light”. Her most recent albums are “Sage” (2019), “Guitar Sojourner” (2019), and “Silver Chord” (2018). “Within” is released on the myndstream music label. About the album, Michelle says: “My process evolved from one of painting different timbres on a sound canvas to being more of a sculptor, shaping music with only my guitar. Carving some from marble, some from the ethers, the shape of each piece revealed something special I found from within. This was my journey for “Within.”
Note that the album contains beautiful and fitting Spotify canvas videos – as seen below! They add a new dimension to the listening experience on mobile devices.
Just like opening a thick and heavy book, starting to listen to an album of 24 pieces might seem like an undertaking. But don’t let the volume of music scare you; “Within” has an easy-listening quality from the very first note. The album opener is called “Above Us”. Its welcoming and warm sound instantly strikes a chord in us. I believe it is a comment on the forces that make the world go around – and not just in a religious sense. “Above Us” sets the mood for the whole album.
Next out is “With Joy”, one of the finest pieces on the album. It shows what a magnificent guitarist Qureshi is. It also displays her talents as a composer; It is impossible not to be amazed by the many joyful twists and turns. Bravo!
I very much enjoy the many contrasts on the album. “With Courage” takes us somewhere totally different, into a setting that requires bravery and boldness. Yet it is not to last, the piece is only a little more than a minute long – fading effortlessly into (quite surprisingly) “Sweet Child”. I think it is a comment on how fast emotions can swing; one minute you are typing on an angry email (“With Courage”), and then your three-year-old come running in, all smiling (“Sweet Child”). There is a lot of life wisdom in “Within”.
The signature piece on the album is “With Anticipation”. It quick and delightful, perfectly capturing how it feels being full of anticipation and unable to stand still. “With Hesitation” is the complete opposite. Each note seems to hang in the air, almost unwilling to go on. “With Knowing” is determined, taking us to directly guitar heaven.
The next part of the album is reflective and thoughtful, in a good and positive way. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Aurora Glass”, “Shores of Atlantis” or “Afternoon in May” turn into fan-favorites.
“Within” is, in my opinion, perfect for creative work. There is something about Qureshi’s music that makes the mind wander in a focused kind of way, a stream of consciousness not unlike the one Qureshi described above: “Carving some from marble, some from the ethers”. Pieces like “With Resolve” and “Storyboard” are terrific!
This is, in every way, a very well-balanced album. Nearer the end, we get a touch of “With Doubt”, before “At Twilight” – and then, “With Hope” and “With Thoughtfulness”. One of the finest (and longest) pieces has been saved for this late on the album: “Waiting for a Friend”. When “With Tenderness” comes on, it appears that the friend has finally arrived. It is a moment of affection and happiness, a time when everything is just right.
In conclusion: We tend to think that our lives are almost totally controlled by outside forces, by society and its expectations. “Within” by Michelle Qureshi shows the other side, the world within. It shows the psychological “with (insert emotion here)” factor that is just as crucial for how our lives evolve. Like a well-written collection of short stories, each of the 24 pieces has something essential to tell about everyday inner experiences. The short format also means that the listening is very effective. You don’t have to listen to it back-to-back each time.
Michelle Qureshi’s new album is, in short, too good to miss. It is that kind of album you want to have within reach.
For more information and music samples, visit myndstream.com
Find the album on your favorite music service: https://myndstream.fanlink.to/Within
See our complete Michelle Qureshi here.