Nashaat Salman – Universal Melodies Vol. 1
Switzerland isn’t known for its big music as of yet. Not a lot of artists from the country have been able to get their songs out there on an international level in hopes of attracting a larger fan-base. Doing his diligence to break from the mold, Nashaat Salman just released an EP of meditation tunes that bring a few interesting angles to the table. Instead of relying on the basic new age manifesto, the keyboardist/arranger fills his cup with catchy, deftly ingrained melodies that are sure to catch on if the right folks hear it.
Universal Melodies Vol 1. begins on the right melodic foot, working up a sweat of multiple keyboards and an astute dedication to the glory of rhythm in motion on the suave “Joy of Night.” He engages the listener through shading and coloration, while never speeding or rushing the music too much or letting the tempo run off the rails. Salman marries modern, easy listening keyboard melodies and crystalline stringed instrumentation with a maestro’s touch of piano and dancefloor smarts. To coin him with one genre and leaving it at that is a disservice to his talents; he’s a man of many teeming, life-affirming sounds that never rests on his laurels and falls into boredom. The song borrows influences from several countries with vast cultural variation, making for a collage that has enough going to please all sorts of listeners.
While not abandoning his style one iota, Nashaat totally tweaks his recipe on the slower, softer radio edit of “Dancing Star.” One can imagine themselves staring up at the night sky while the music plays out; pondering the human role of existing as a small particle in a vast, untold galaxy. As the song proceeds along it continues to stack up in terms of the intricate layering. The keys’ lovely melodies have several things happening in the foreground and background all at once without repeating anything too much besides the base arrangement and computerized percussion (for effect). Salman allows this piece to flow like a stream into the closing number, “Chasing.” This tune retains much of the tempo restraint of its counterpart but milks even more complexity and layering out of the various electronic instruments. The percussion is the closest Nashaat comes to a rock beat, although the remaining articles of music are marked by the artist’s trademark vision.
This is a stupendous release. It is a sight of beauty to behold how Nashaat Salman adds and subtracts to each track; his approach oftentimes relying on minimalism and sparsity, while other times he goes for a full sound where each note seems to create its own climactic moment. The results are memorable. The only complaint is that there just isn’t enough material here. He leaves the listener hoping and wanting for more tracks to how he will develop and interpret his ideas through the musical magic. As it is, this is a great start for this young Swiss visionary that will give him plenty of momentum for a follow-up.
8 out of 10 stars.