Sanctuaries of the Mind
By Steve Sheppard
I must say Sanctuaries of the Mind, the latest release from Steve Sheppard is something to really enjoy, a collection of 6 different stories told musically, so allow him to take you on a voyage of discovery with him, to different locations in his mind, places of sanctuary.
This seven track album opens with his single St. Georges Island (Birth Place of Apollo) a piece I previously wrote about that features the added talents of Andy Rogers, composed about a location not too far from our home, a little island surrounded in history that is still a mystery to most people, a place that is according to legend, the birthplace of Apollo. The build and progression within along with the natural sounds make this an idyllic starting place for our excursion.
We move on to Brading Station 1987, now this is a very small railway station on the Isle of Wight, England. This is a fascinating composition that will take you back in time, from 1987 to the Second World War and back again, just imagine those ghostly figures standing on the station, waiting to depart off to war.
Our third piece is Pedoulas Village (Winter 2022), now this is a place we travelled through recently, a small village in the Troodos Mountains here in Cyprus. The mountain range is the only place on the island of Cyprus that gets snow. This village can often get shut off for weeks following the snowfall; you can feel the isolation and cold of the snow and wind, as you listen, captivating indeed and skilfully constructed.
As we continue our journey, we arrive at the longest arrangement on the album at just over 11 minutes in duration. The Healing Pool opens with the sounds of nature, the hooded crow and other birds singing, insects such as bees and cicadas join in the chorus, before we hear the first musical chords and the sound of someone swimming in the pool. This is a clever arrangement that will allow you to float on the tones as you listen, and maybe even feel the healing energy of the water as you do so.
My favourite piece from the album is up now, and our fifth story to enjoy, it is called The Moon and the Trees, this is a really fascinating composition where for the first time Steve Sheppard has included Gregorian Chants along with the natural sounds and keyboard, creating something that is so enjoyable to listen to. Steve was inspired to compose this after floating in the pool one day during the summer, when he watched the moon in a perfectly clear blue sky in between two tall trees.
Our final story is entitled Seasalter Marsh, a small coastal village in Kent where he spent time as a young boy fishing in the dykes and listening to the planes flying overhead. I love the use of the old radio clip at the start, and that old plane flying overhead, taking us back in time to those carefree childhood days and to sharing those memories with him. This is a truly ambient arrangement, and one that I am sure you too will enjoy.
The album closes with a radio edit of The Healing Pool, allowing you to float out on its healing tones, and leave the album feeling refreshed and ready to continue your day.
Sanctuaries of the Mind by Steve Sheppard is a spectacular album telling stories through the music, and one that I am sure you will love too, an album that I am sure will do really well in the charts with music that will take you on a fascinating journey of discovery through the memories and times within the sanctuaries of his mind.
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