What is true inspiration? That’s a hard question to answer, but listening to Kerani’s new album Equilibrium I know one thing; Kerani had it in abundance while working on this release.
Her theme is «feminine energy, important women in history, and female traits and talents.» Each track is a personal tribute to women who against all odds have found their way and made a lasting impact on history. With such a powerful inspiration, I guess Kerani had to create something truly unique.
This is a great time to become a Kerani fan! This Belgian-born artist just won Zone Music Reporter’s Best Neo-Classical of the year award for her third album, Arctic Sunrise. In 2011 she debuted with Wings of Comfort. The Journey followed in 2012. Her melodic approach is easy to like, and is perfect both for active listening and as background music.
Equilibrium starts slowly with the title track. The song’s build-up is masterfully done; From the very first pad chords there’s a certain nerve. You just have to keep listening to hear how the song develops.
Next track out is Fragrant Mountain, which is based on the Legend of Miao Shan. It follows the same lay-out as the first track; a slow build-up, before a massive and quite dramatic conclusion. I guess the same can be said about the life of Miao Shan. The Eastern influences makes this into a very rewarding listen.
Even though the music business is struggling these days, there’s no shortage of new releases. The quality is generally high too. But there’s one thing that’s often missing, and that is attention to the production itself (all fans of classical Windham Hill Records I know what I’m talking about). The modern music economy does not allow high end productions with dedicated studio technicians and in-house musicians. Kerani’s music is different. Equilibrium is extremely well made from a studio perspective. There are so many layers and details to appreciate. The sound design, mixing and mastering are almost flawless. We get to hear some very talented guest musicians; Wilfred Sassen (Violin), Joanne Wigmans (Viola) and Joep Willems (Cello) – and several others.
Kerani’s Neo-Classical approach makes Anchores into a highly enjoyable track. Kerani tells us that in medieval Christianity, an anchoress was a deeply religious woman who chose to withdraw from the world to live a solitary life of prayer and mortification. The song’s thoughtful and contemplative atmosphere paints a fascinating portrait of the anchoress.
A highpoint on the album is Boudicca, Heart on Fire. The orchestral arrangements are simply amazing. This is the story of Boudicca, queen of the British Iceni tribe. In 60 or 61 AD she led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Other great songs here are Lady’s Grace and The Wyse Wytch.
Food for thought
This album is more than pretty music; it is an album with a message. The balance between men and women has to be restored. Looking at the world, it is safe to say that there is a lot of work that has to be done before we reach this conclusion. In this way Equilibrium gives food for thought.
The album is very close to a perfect release. The only thing I’m missing is one or two songs that could have «hit potential» (this is the radio man in me speaking). On Arctic Sunrise we had Drfting Ice, which instantly catches the listeners interest. But that said, the material here is breathtakingly beautiful. To demand more seems a bit out of bounds. I must also not forget to mention the beautiful CD cover designed by Arno op den Camp (who also did superbly on the mixing).
I’ll end where I started; Equilibrium is a highly inspired album. It is for sure of this year’s finest releases – from one of our favorite new artists. With a few more releases like this, Kerani might very well become our next New Age music superstar.
95/100 – See how I rate music here.