Album Review: Moira Smiley’s “Unzip the Horizon”

It is only the “raw” experience that carves a journey to perfection.

Moira Smiley knew that if she has to discover her true sound, she will have to experiment.

Her album “Unzip the Horizon” then, is a beautiful consequence of her efforts to break the boundaries and create something fresh.

By “fresh”, we don’t mean new sound but a “harmony” that brings both new and old traditions together. The songs have effortlessly been able to create a space of their own and would please both the lovers of folk music and American music. Combining Ukrainian and American musical traditions with the conversational tone, Smiley has successfully created tracks that seem to “converse” with the listeners.

Released on 7th April, “Unzip the Horizon” offers a myriad of sonic experiences to the listeners as it explores different subject matters while binding it together to the “human existence”.

The album comprises of 14 tracks. The singer celebrated the release of the album with a Songbook and vinyl release. The Songbook is geared toward her broad base of choral music fans across the world – fully realized vocal arrangements, with and without accompaniment.

With songs like “Bellow” and “One Step Dance”, the singer attempts to search “connection” in human embrace. The former track carries celebratory tone while the latter is a romantic single. Throughout the album, we encounter binaries in terms of music and tonality but it is the “larger theme” of the album that unites all the singles and is something to be kept in mind while exploring Smiley’s work.

The album also offers songs like “Refugee” that aims to bring forth the beauty in difference. Talking about white supremacy that try to dominate one’s experience, Smiley brings forth the aspects of survival that exist beyond dominance. While talking about the single, she said,

“I woke to culture and language completely beyond my understanding, and also the simple power of humans making beauty together – from nothing,” she recalls. She distills this experience and finds its universal resonance on “Refugee,” a song that inspires compassion with an urgency reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s brightest moments.”

“Unzip the Horizon” initiates a a discourse on what it means to be a human being. It requires attention of the listener. So, if you are exploring good music, Smiley’s album should definitely be on your list.

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Written by ayushi

Hello! I am Ayushi from India. I love writing poetry, listening to K-POP and spending time alone. Writing is what defines me and I am on the journey to make the definition as good as possible.

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