Progressive soul music of a certain type frequently refrains from exploring emotional complications or angst. Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be,” might connect with one’s inner turmoil if heard on the radio or at a concert–but how often is it blasted on an iPod or CD player versus, say, the screaming, angst-ridden gasoline of Nirvana?. India.Arie is perhaps the exception–music I may sing in my bathroom in the shower or sobbing silently to myself on the beach, music I might sing to my partner or newborn child–but certainly not at a sake-fueled night of karaoke. This is in no way to dis the genre but more to place this style of music in the appropriate setting for intimate communication, whether it’s sonic atmosphere at a cocktail party as a quiet night at home with the mate.
Selan’s Space Flight however, bridges this gap. There are points of departure in the music that seem burtsing with frustration and others that border quite honestly on the cusp of hippy/new age fodder. The aspects of the album that do work remarkably well are the duets and ballads; soft, tense musical compositions that reflect well on the vocals, writing and minimal instrumentation. “You Will Never Know” featuring Melissa Jimenez is a simple ballad with xylophone, drum and minute electronic sounds, with a feel that recalls Michael Jackson’s duets with Siedah Garrett; a magical pairing that just feels intrinsically correct, melodically proper and mutually fulfilling. The album’s title track, by contrast, is a dance standard easily integratable into just about any other upbeat groove and filled with a cresting sound that provides the pace and rhythm.
While not as poetically developed as some of the other tunes “Into the Light” is also dance-oriented and in the same thread as Michael Jackson–if you’re missing aspects of his sound quality and musical vocals this is really the kind of song that will entertain and delight. The first two tracks on the album should be bumped altogether and then an extended version of “Inception,” the first track on Space Flight, should be placed at the end to round the whole album out–the instrumental is that well-composed, that you want it to stay with you. Really a sort of all-purpose album Space Flight has some songs for office, some songs for the iPod, one song for the gym and some for a long night at home with the mate. There’s still a song on there for the cocktail party but definitely–most defiantly not–for a night of karaoke.
- Kenka Hunter