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Versal: Versal

Paul Naser By

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Houston-based composer, computer graphics (CG) artist and programmer Versal, whose given name is Javier Velez, has a unique backstory in addition to his unique set of creative skills. These blend together to create a one-of-a-kind, very specific, style which he showcases in his eponymous EP, Versal (Self Produced, 2019).

As one might expect from a CG artist and computer programmer, Versal's music has a definite cinematic element to it. Having showed an unusual amount of musical talent from the time he was a toddler, Versal was competently playing several instruments by the time he was 17, and has since gone on to work in film in various capacities, ranging from director to composer. With Versal, we find a life-long dream of the young composer coming true.

The EP begins with the sweeping "Eternal," which could very well have been lifted from one of the film projects on which Versal has worked. There are blends of synth and voice that create a consonant wash over which his lyrical piano melody floats.

Highlights of Versal include "Flamenco en Culebra"—a Latin-influenced composition which uses guitar and castanet sounds, and is one of the few tracks on the album to include a backbeat—as well as "Carousel," first conceived when he was six-years-old. The latter features some of the most interesting timbres on the EP as well as some of the most adventurous harmonies.

Overall, the EP is very cinematic and would be well-served by an accompanying visual, but stands reasonably well on its own. The crafting of textures and timbres, the vast majority of which are electronic, is well done and thorough, but lacks the expression of acoustic versions of the same timbres. Fans of New-Age and cinematic music will enjoy this release.

Track Listing: Eternal; Flamenco en Culebra; Dawn; Carousel; All Together; El Camino a Montserrat

Personnel: Javier Velez: piano, keyboards, production

Title: Versal | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

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