The thought-provoking title of Matthew Shell’s reflective, deeply soulful and emotionally and spiritually immersive new album Towards New Beginnings can be interpreted in a multitude of interesting ways.
For the multi-talented veteran composer, engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, the 10-track collection - which he co-produced with Grammy nominated artist Arun Shenoy - strips down from his past sonically expansive works and marks the launch of a reflective and intimate flow showcasing his lush, inviting melodies, melodic acoustic guitar and atmospheric production in an intimate setting also spotlighting pianist Vahagn Stepanyan and guitarist Sami Turunen.
The concept of heading towards new beginnings can also be seen universally, as a way to encourage us cast our thoughts optimistically to a place of peace and love beyond this year of trials and anxieties.
The dreamy, sweeping title track makes a powerful and hopeful closing statement by adding flutist Douglas Lira, Yoed Nir’s haunting cello and Turunen’s free-flowing electric guitar. Another standout song is the perfectly named “Passion in Her Soul,” a dreamy and reflective, deeply soulful and easy grooving piece which steadily builds rhythmic momentum to capture a rise in the passion two people can share. The track artfully and seamlessly blends melodic, spirited and improvisational acoustic guitar with lush rolling piano harmonies and the ethereal wordless vocals of Marisa Frantz to create a sense of transcendence and deep connection.
The collection began innocently enough, when Narked Records reached out to Matthew to make a relaxing instrumental guitar and piano album. Although it was arranged before the onset of the pandemic, its themes of perseverance in the face of adversity and the need to take a moment to breathe and reflect, meet our moment like few other recordings this year. As Matthew says, “My inspiration comes from how the world has completely changed in these crazy times of the coronavirus, and how the world needs calming peaceful music as we head Towards New Beginnings. But the beauty of creating instrumental music is that it can mean something unique to every listener.”
Listen to Towards New Beginnings here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1CQYJhFaX1FAABzTRTLkXR