Release Date: February 7, 2020
The eye-catching cover of Cheryl B. Engelhardt’s album Luminary gives a potential audience an idea of what they may be in for. It is placid, beautiful, and very inviting. What I was to learn rather quickly is that the tracks that encompass this collection are reflective of that spiritual image on the cover artwork.
two primary instruments used on this ambient new age journey are the
piano and Cheryl’s vocals. The music is quite different, in a way that I
am not used to hearing in the genre. It is all in a good way though.
The tracks have a fade out and fade in aspect to them and they are interspersed at times with Cheryl’s angelic vocalizations. Most of her vocals are not actual words but an exercise of sounds that are pleasing and as alluring as the music behind them. I hear a classical influence which is what is common throughout presentations in the genre, particularly with instrumentals. While you do get some stretched out instrumentals like “Earthshine,” which are soothing and meditative, they last over six minutes. There is not one track under six minutes on the recording. It all works very well for this type of music due to the changing tides of the movements, sounds, colors, and overall atmospheres that are created.
The time is well spent for those who enjoy this type of music for general relaxation or deep meditation. If you are looking for deep meditation you can start right at the beginning and listen all the way through for one fantastic session of beauty, peace, and realignment of your soul (or chakras dependent on your philosophy and beliefs). I think the soul and chakras are interchangeable, if you take all the chakras you have in one human being with all the elements that make up that individual, they are the very soul within.
Luminary is referred to as “gentle exciting” on the artist Bandcamp page. While I did not relate to the album that way, I did find great value in the essence of the complete presentation of voice, sounds, and music. There are a lot of different things going on and some effects that give it that mystical and spiritual feel through each track. “Mortal Tides” (I added it to my New Age Music Reviews Spotify Playlist) has some interesting effects on Cheryl’s voice and breathing. This can be considered as a release within the song. Breathing certain ways can give the body a chance to completely relax then other things can happen like opening the mind and spirit to the offerings your hearing. I believe that is the true intent of this music.
Luminary is one of the more unique recordings I have heard this year from the new age genre. I do not like to use that word very often, unique. It says that music is a standalone accomplishment without trying to emulate or take something that works from another artist. I would have to say in all honesty that this is very original work, unlike anything I have heard before. Everyone has their influences and favorite artists but you may be hard-pressed to understand what this lady’s influences are.
The phase music approach is very different, the way it moves in an out of the song and the way Cheryl uses it with the instrumentation, voice, and breath. I can promise you this, you will not hear anything else like Luminary.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 3, 2020
01. Sister of Eos 06:14
02. Deliquesce 06:04
03. Earthshine 06:05
04. M. aurora 06:17
05. Mortal Tides 06:10
06. Galileo's Rings 06:11
07. Moon Harvest 06:17
08. Ataraxy 06:13
09. Glisten Up 06:14
10. Bioluminescence 06:08