The Switzerland based composer Nashaat Salman is primarily involved in film and radio, to him, music is a side project. Until now, his contributions to music have been through radio or television projects but with the release of his debut album, Universal Melodies Vol. 1. Salman gives something to music entirely. The album dropped June 11, 2015, and can be found on both Spotify and Bandcamp, but the question stands: does this album hold universal appeal or is it Middle Eastern dance?
Universal Melodies Vol. 1 has a total of four tracks, the last of which is a radio edit of “Dancing Star.” The album opener is “Summer Night Joy” which is the only track from the album to have a music video (below). The song itself dances back and forth between piano and horns until they give the spotlight to a Spanish guitar. Strings and light percussion create the backbone of the track as the guitar leads and guides the melody. The song feels as though it is controlled casually, using some creativity but relying heavily on musical tradition.
The video for “Summer Night Joy” very slightly follows the story of a girl being pursued by men through her journey of walking through woods, looking at the ocean, and dancing. The focus here is meant to be the music so try to ignore the awkward glances of the extras that feel out-of-place. Oddly enough, no instruments are actually shown being played in the video except for the piano, which fades in and out as the scenes play out.
The radio edit of Dancing Star feels more natural than the original due to the ending which does a small build up, repeats it, then eliminates all the instruments but one which quickly disappears leaving blank space where movement and energy used to be; it almost sounds disappointed to be ending. For this reason (and slightly less repetition throughout) the radio edit of Dancing Star is stronger than the original.
One interesting way that the album tries to speak to the dancer (target audience) is through only instrumentation. Every track is void of vocals, which eliminates the exclusivity of language. Although certain styles are more prominent than others the tracks can be easily understood by many.As the album progresses it tends to lose some of the ordinary instrumentation for more electronic devices, these in turn add a different energy into the beat and change the overall texture. It is as though the album starts off the party and ramps up the excitement until it ends quickly.
Excluding the radio edit the EP has three tracks, luckily Universal Melodies Vol. 1 is only one part of the series, what other styles Salman decides to incorporate should be interesting. As far as the musical structure the instruments play off the same tunes but make use of their differences to spice up each section in their own way. The overall sound is not something new, which is the idea, people are meant to feel comfortable with these musical inspirings even though there are no lyrics or specifically well-known melody to follow.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.