Listening to Shakyra K. Sanders new album “Ambient Beast” is like opening a magic box. The gentle but sharp sound of the electric guitar, combined with heartfelt and creative compositions, makes this into something truly unique – even divine. Today it takes a lot to stand out, to be different. Thousands of albums are released every day, and most of them sound just about the same. The reason is simple; 90 % is made with the same industry standard synths, instruments and studio gear. Shakyra K. Sanders, on the other hand, is armed with her electric guitar. Her style is both contemplative and sometimes harsh. It is an honest, no-nonsense sound. You can’t help being impressed by its ethereal beauty blended with raw aggression. Close your eyes, and you will experience how different the album, “Ambient Beast” really is.
Shakyra K. Sanders is a creative who was raised in both Memphis, TN and Milwaukee, WI. She resides in Northern Wisconsin, and loves expressing her emotions through her music and taking the audience along for the journey. The sudden death of her sister influenced has her music career. “I felt every emotion, when I received that phone call and it changed my perspective on life,” says Shakyra. “Music and painting has helped me in so many ways. Love has also inspired my music. I do appreciate the art world, I have embraced who I truly am. Love and the Arts is such a beautiful thing.
Influenced by the likes Buddy Guy, LSD Soundsystem, BB King, Simply Red, Sade, Jimi Hendrix, Future Islands, Albert King, Linkin Park, Metallica, Goo Goo Dolls, Ani Difranco, Melissa Ferrick, Melissa Etheridge, Tracy Chapman, Tracey Chatman, Prince, and several others, her musical palette is vast.
The album opens with “Om Love 3”. It is a positive and welcoming song, each note is like a ray of laser light cutting through the atmosphere. Even a grey and cold day will feel warm when listening to this piece. I love the ending; it is a bit abrupt, transporting us effortlessly to the title track; “Ambient Beast”. Shakyra’s guitar wails and weeps, as she plies the gritty overdrive while bending the strings into an emotional ache.
The reverb on “Intensity of Love” gives the guitar a rich and intense, never-ending sound. A contemplative yet positive piece, reflecting on emotions and sentiments. It could have been played on another instrument, but the guitar gives it a special kind of intensity. Shakyra explores expansive soundscapes, as her instrumental music moves from slow-burning post-rock motifs to dramatic overdriven guitar-dominated excursions with a cinematic grandeur.
“The Introspective” starts with gentle pads before the crunch and grind of Shakyra’s guitar breaks through the backdrop, inundating the foreground with shards of cutting steel. “Higher Frequency” is even more epically cacophonous, with ponderous stretches of scorching six-string bliss. Shakyra’s soloing is dirty, raw, uneven and distinct, as she play outside of the textbook.
Moving forward we embrace “Slow and Sensual”, which is slinky and rhythmic with plenty of keys and pads to fill a mellow background. This is followed by the crushing “Om Love” which delivers outstanding artistry – haunting, evocative, it is packed with out-of-the-box thinking. The album closes with a skit, aptly entitled, “Shan, Brionna, and Taylor’s (Skit)”.
The auditory tour throughout this album evokes powerful imagery and visceral sensations, which are usually inspiring, sometimes surprising, and generally very impacting. Accordingly, this music pushes you, and challenges you to think outside of the box, in its appreciation. The album “Ambient Beast” by Shakyra K. Sanders, is for those who desire music that can draw them out of their comfort zone and help them learn a little more about themselves.
*** All Photographs of Shakyra K. Sanders by courtesy of Renee ***