Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Album Review: Auriga to Orion by Majestica

Majestica is an Arizona-based, collaborative duo of multi-instrumentalist Cass Anawaty and flutist Sherry Finzer. Following up their fantastic debut album, In the Midst of Stars, the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore release, Auriga to Orion, is a seven-track album that further expounds on their innovative blend of spacey electronics and earthy acoustics. Decidedly groove-centric throughout, the music is often imbued with sexy ‘chill-rock’ motifs, which makes it equally conducive to both dancing and stargazing.

“Alpha Orionis” beautifully opens the album with a shimmery ‘Tangerine Dream meets Steve Roach’ kind of keyboard pattern. Sherry’s sultry flute-playing enters along with a gentle rhythm pattern, until Cass’ cleanly strummed electric guitar follows as a seeming answer to the call of the flute. The second track, “Kesil’s Light”, starts off as a mysterious and slightly dark space-music piece with Sherry’s flute emitting light among the vastness. Pulsating sequencer and rhythm figures come forward along with more of Cass’ excellent guitar-playing, as the piece aptly conveys a notion of observing celestial movements in the Arizona sky. “Monte Alban” features intriguing old-school analog synth that eventually introduces guitar and flute – injecting an uplifting vibe into the song. The gorgeous title piece, “Auriga to Orion”, employs classic synth textures and percussion tracks, as Sherry’s flute mesmerizingly soars above like the wind while Cass’ cascading guitar riff encircles it. The piece eventually concludes with a fantastic guitar solo before returning to its original analog synth motif. “Dark Years Away” opens with synthesized rhythmic bells before giving way to Sherry’s melodic flute and Cass’ strummed guitar chords. “Chasing the Leonids” ensues with a sensual tempo, as flute notes majestically soar for awhile before diving into a provocative electric guitar solo that’s heavily rock-influenced. The closing track, “Flaming Star”, starts off somewhat solemn and reverent-sounding with spacious chords enshrouding the listening space. This stunningly beautiful piece is all about atmosphere, with ethereal flute notes mysteriously weaving in and out of the encompassing synth-fog.

An outstanding follow-up to Majestica’s debut release, Auriga to Orion is destined to be among my favorite albums this year. Naturally influenced by the surrounding, magnificent Arizona environment – which is known to be especially conducive to creative inspiration – it’s easy to envision the many magical landmarks amid night constellations while listening. Furthermore, I highly recommend playing both Majestica albums back-to-back for a doubly rewarding listening experience! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available on Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.