By Dusty Ray
Rarely is an artist’s full vision and talent captured successfully on a live cut, but Ariana Saraha’s Live at Immersive Studios does so with unabashed ease.
The album opens up with “Phoenix”; an undulating Saraha weaves her voice amongst the twangs of a heavy-handed Oud. Saraha at once makes her presence known, and guides the listener on a journey ripe in mysticism and contemplation.
“Slow Burn” fits its name perfectly, conjuring up images of smoldering incense sticks and glowing clove cigarettes. Saraha’s singing guides the song through refrains resembling Charming Hostess; she seems to be dueling her voice against itself, and a call-and-response of New Age influences saturate the song.
Closing out with “Shadowdances” (featuring Meagan Chandler), Saraha delves into a deeper, creepier territory. The swirling voices carefully tiptoe over ephemeral guitar, and the whole track oozes with a primordial distance at once familiar and strange. “Shadowdances” combines the percussive bumps of Celtic music with the fleeting nuance of Middle Eastern vocals in a wholly satisfying way.
Live at Immersive Studios is a platform for Saraha’s talent, and reveals a prosperous combination of musical styles whose inherent differences give rise to a satisfying and impressive listening experience. Taken as a whole, the album can drag on at points, with not a single song being less than six minutes long, but its charm and splendor will keep you engrossed.