Genre/Influences: Electro-pop, ambient-pop.
Background/Info: “Soul Searching” is the seventh official album for Belgian Yves Schelpe aka Psy’Aviah. The composer again invited an impressive list of ‘guest singers’ to put their voice on his compositions.
Content: Psy’Aviah is a project in constant move. “Soul Searching” features typical influences and arrangements, which are into the Psy’Aviah sound, but compared to the previous album –which was more into some dance-electronics, this work reflects maturity and impressive vocal performances. The opening cut featuring one of the most famous and ‘popular’ psychiatrists from the Flemish part of Belgium (aka Dirk De Wachter) you’ll also get songs with Roeland van der Velde, Mari Kattman, Mark Bebb, Alicia May, Kyoko Baertsoen, Saydi Driggers, Marieke Lightband, Addie Nicole, Lis van den Akker and Ellia Bisker.
Sound-wise Yves Schelpe has achieved a work, which sounds like a sonic bridge between electro-pop and ambient-electronics. It might appeal for lovers of Delerium, Conjure One, Lunascape and related bands.
The limited edition features an extra disc with remixes by SD-KRTR, Metroland, Rob Dust, 11 Grams, Mind.Divided, SNVFF, J. Wolf, The Gothsicles, Studio-X, Cosmic Armchair, Noire Antidote, Maarten Pels, Tom Bro, People Theatre, KGProject and French Skies.
+ + + : Psy’Aviah is back with great stuff and has probably accomplished his most achieved work to date. After a rather disappointing “Lightflare”-album on which Yves Schelpe fall in the trap of easy electro-dance music, this work reflects a more intelligent approach and still a challenge in the fusion between electro-pop and atmospheric passages. The songs have been accomplished by alluring, deep sounding bass lines, elevating leads, down-tempo rhythms and a few Eastern sound treatments on a couple of songs. Yves Schelpe also selected an impressive list of talented singers (featuring some familiar Psy’Aviah guests next to newcomers).
One of my favorite cuts is the more club-friendly “New Times” feat. Alicia May (who already sang on a song of Benjamin’s Plague) while the already familiar “Voodoo Love” feat. Roeland van der Velde is a dreamy, beautiful piece of music. Among the vocalists I also want to mention Kyoko Baertsoen, Saydi Driggers and Ellia Bisker (reminding me of Lana Del Rey).
Among the remixes I recommend the 80s driven “Hold On” remixed by Metroland, “New Times” remixed by SNVFF, the wafting “Dream Fever” remixed by Tom Bro and the trance-orientated “Searching” remixed by French Skies.
– – – : The main difficulty for Psy’Aviah remains the style, which is hard to define for mixing different influences; it remains often too ‘indie’-like for underground music and too ‘dark’ for the indie-stream. It’s not exactly an album for the clubs although it sounds danceable!
Conclusion: Psy’Aviah has accomplished its opus magnum, which however remains an album hard to label and a pure challenge when it comes to ‘sales’.
Best songs: “New Times”, “Voodoo Love”, “Dream Fever”, “Searching”, “City In Flames” + “Hold On – Metroland 7” Remix”, “News Times – SNVFF Remix”, “Dream Fever – Tom Bro After Club Remix”, “Searching – French Skies Club Remix”.