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  • Jonathan Widran

MATTHEW SHELL, Contemplation

A versatile, intuitive and deeply empathetic artist, composer, engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Shell has met our collective moment brilliantly and compassionately during this difficult, anxiety ridden pandemic era, teaming with pianist, co-composer and musical soul mate Vahagn Stepanyan and a host of guest musicians to create the extraordinary two album series Towards New Beginnings and now its extraordinary follow-up - a piano centric collections whose title, Contemplations, perfectly captures its simple and stark but emotional impactful intentions.

The encouragement, hope and healing that infused Shell’s previous collections extend gracefully to the new project’s final two tracks, the cheerful, whimsical flute-piano dance “Light on the Horizon” (featuring Douglas Lira) and the artist’s most streamed and playlisted track to date, the lyrical, elegant and sparkling “Morning Bliss.”

On the few true ensemble pieces, Shell and Stepanyan team with acoustic guitarist Sami Turinen, cellist Yoed Nir and Gabrielle Pisani (on “In Time”) and violinist Ian Cameron (“You’re The One For Me”) to explore romance, longing, overcoming doubt and the importance of declaring our intention to love no matter the obstacles. The rest of the lovely and inviting 14 tracks offer gentle piano meditations – penned by Shell and Stepanyan (who plays them magnificently) - to soothe our restless souls, unsettled lives and anxieties about the days to come.

With titles like “…Starlight,” “Peace from Within,” “Healing Touch,” “Immortality,” “Devotion,” “Enlightenment,” “Acceptance” and “Tender Loving Kindness,” the duo focuses on a range of emotions that subtly suggest how we feel when we’re alone with our thoughts when it’s nighttime and all is and quiet. For some it may just be a pleasant laid back listen. For others, its soothing calm make it an essential healing experience.

Gabrielle Pisani will soon be releasing a version of “In Time” featuring her uniquely soulful vocals.

Matthew Shell webstie: MTS Music


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