Michael de Salem’s first CD is a brooding masterpiece that has a dark, ominous sense of foreboding, with musical rays of hope peering through.
The multi-instrumentalist fuses piano, keyboards, bass, guitar, and drum programming, along with beautiful, searing cello from Ann Nina, to sculpt edgy, shadowy music that reflects de Salem’s perceptions of the disharmony that exists between Earth and its inhabitants.
The set opens with “Metropolitan,” a solemn soundtrack to life in the city, with police sirens wailing quietly in the background. Reflective pieces like “Sentimental Steps” and “Remind” are sentimental without being sappy.
The three most solid tracks on the album, “Emergency Talking,” “Tribal Interlude,” and “Something Getting Wrong,” are representative of de Salem’s overall sound, which is industrial and progressive yet lush and melodic, with a beat that is infectious but not bouncy.
“Emergency Talking” starts with a pensive theme that increases in intensity, and “Something Getting Wrong” fleshes de Salem’s jazz-rock fusion sound to its fullest. “Tribal Interlude” is the most gripping of the three and as a result the album’s most formidable and probing track, propelled primarily by pulsating, rhythmic percussion in lockstep with equally pulsating, rhythmic bass notes, resulting in an entrancing, ritualistic, cinematic sound.
De Salem has created a compelling musical vista, both grand and subtle, that is riveting from beginning to end.