It never fails; When talented artists work on an inspired project, the result is always amazing. Elise Lebec’s One World Turning Project is a musical journey in space and time, connecting both cultures and history. It has a message of hope and understanding. It makes «Origin» into one of 2017’s finest New Age music releases.
Elise Lebec is a pianist and vocalist. She debuted in 2004 with «Back to Innocence» Her follow-up, «Possible Dreams: Impressions for Solo Piano», reached #6 on the Zone Music Reporter Global Airplay while her 2014 ensemble recording «Heart Song» hit #5 on that chart. Elise Lebec is truly one of the most versatile and talented artists in New Age music today. She also makes music for TV and movies.
Taaly Maaya: Come with me
On the cover Elise writes that «Origin» is: «Dedicated to all humanity. May we find the balance and beauty in our diversity and honour the life that we share together here on this planet.» It is apparent that this has been both an inspiration and a guiding light for all the contributing artists.
«Origin» features many Egyptian influences and real instruments. The Arabic music on this album was produced and recorded in Cairo at Inspiration Studios. It gives it a level of authenticity. Listening to the first song, «Taaly Maaya: Come with me», is like stepping into a time capsule. It is easy to hear that Lebec has a background in TV and movie music; The song is highly visual. You just have to follow, obey. There’s movement and a narrative. You can almost sense the warm, dry desert wind and the unfolding drama among the pyramids. The pluck style synth lead is wonderfully mixed, backed by flutes and violin. Lebec’s vocal is beautiful as ever.
«Queen of Light» is the kind of song all artists dream to make, but few are able to. Isolated I would score this song a perfect 100/100. That does not happen every year. It has a fast rhythm and a simply marvellous melody. The violins sound amazing, and the audio design is outstanding. Notice how the song builds up, then almost stops, then continues. The world music influences make this into something truly inspired. It makes you appreciate the beauty of the sun, the queen of light. Without the sun, there would be no life. The Egyptians understood that 3000 years ago, and so should we.
A Genuine Album
On «Origin» a total of 39 musicians participate. There’s so much talent here, and Elise deserves credit for bringing them together. The sun continues to rise on «Cairo Morning». Here we get a cool Arabic rap performance by Mahmoud Abu Zaed. Mornings are busy everywhere, but perhaps even more so in Cairo. At least it seems that way for a tourist, and the song «Cairo Morning» communicates that impression splendidly.
Elise Lebec is a highly versatile artist, and «Bolero» is a proof of that. Here we have a love song with a classical bolero rhythm and violin, backed by hyper modern synths and arrangements, ending with singing in Arabic and several ethnic instruments. Although bolero is a Spanish genre, the song can be interpreted as a declaration of love to today’s Egypt.
In New Age music there’s no shortage of albums with ethnic inspirations. Anyone can buy a sample pack and make Deep Forest/Enigma sounding music. The problem is that it is all fake. When the artist doesn’t have the «ethnic singers» (to use that expression) in her/his studio, there’s a huge distance between the singer and the composer. Elise Lebec has done the opposite. She has gone to Egypt, fell in love with the culture and history, and recorded an album with her artist friends while being abroad. If all artists had followed her example, New Age music would have no problem with credibility.
«Rumi song» is like an album within an album. There are several parts, with both traditional singing by Mai Mostafa and rapping by Mahmoud Abu Zead, perfectly joined together. It is a very colourful presentation. You don’t have to understand the words to get the message; we are one world, and people should start to get along.
«Sekhmet: The Goddess Awakens» is raw feminie power from start to finish. It like the singers are connected to creation itself, the very origin. They are communicating the ultimate truth; men and women are equal. All the singers are doing a marvellous job, and the vocal mixing is spotless. «The Jam: Luxor, Egypt» takes us on a guided tour around the mentioned city. There’s a very nice saxophone part here, backed by traditional instruments.
«Sufi Dance» is a feel-good song, including both rapping (in English and Arabic) and even Gospel. «Sufi Dance» celebrates the diversity of modern life. It contains the most important message of all; Love is Holy. It is impossible to feel down while listening to it. Again I’m impressed by the mix of genres, cultures and artistic expressions. The album closer «Hob Elahy: God is within» has a positive and chilled vibe, almost like a prayer. To find God we have to look within. That is also an important message.
In conclusion: «Origin» is an album filled with hope, love and a curiosity for foreign cultures. At 43 minutes and 43 seconds the album might seem a bit short, but there’s a Volume 1 after the «One World Turning Project» name. Hopefully more albums will be made in the same spirit. It is what the world needs right now, in high doses.
Score: 95/100 – See how I rate music here.
Visit EliseLebec.com to pre-order the album. It will be released on Friday, June 21 2017.