Music Review by Luchae Williams
South African contemporary Gospel star, CJay Jansen, released his dynamic new offering, Atmospheres, in September 2017. The award-winning singer-songwriter, well-known for his success in the Christian hip-hop circles, dubs the new album as “a journey of the last five years”.
Better known for the mark he has made on the local Christian rap scene, Jansen explains that he did not expect to be singing on his new album.
“I remember sitting in a meeting where the man of God came to me and said: “The Lord has not just called you to rap, He has called you to sing. When I heard that I thought this man is crazy because you would never hear me singing!”
“So many times we get into a place where God is doing big things and everything is going so well and we forget to realise that with this God we move from glory to glory because God has more in store.”
Atmospheres serves as a testimony of this, comprising 10 original songs, all featuring a crooning Jansen.
“This new music is so different to what I’ve done before, but it shows the journey and the growth as an artist and as a believer in our faith.”
Title track, Atmospheres, shares the worship leader’s heart — to see the glory of God move among His people.
“Throughout my music career, my desire has always been for the presence of God to be felt, not just in my quiet time but in my music and when we perform it live.” He explained.
The overall sound of the album is evident from the get go. Opening track, Fall Afresh, is an easy listen, with uncomplicated musical compositions and CJay’s pure vocal making it easy for the listener to sing along.
Fans of Rhema worship leader, Janine Price, will be pleased to know that the songbird is featured on the album. Worship song, Higher Deeper, was penned by both Price and Jansen and speaks about wanting to go deeper in the presence of God.
Price explains: “It really is a song that changes the atmosphere and creates a space for God’s glory to be manifested in your life.”
I appreciated the addition of mid -tempo track, Shake The Earth. The song has a likeable melody, some cool music experimentation (which is welcomed after the heaviness of the first few tracks) and features a contemporary-sounding Jansen.
The rest of the album carries the same feel and theme as the first few songs — mellow, atmosphere-stirring worship with simple instrument arrangements and Jansen’s unobtrusive vocal.
Hip hop fans hoping for the rap-driven repertoire that CJay is better known for will be surprised to find not one rap song on this album. Those who prefer deep worship will find the change to be a pleasant one. Atmospheres clearly marks a turning point in CJay’s ministry and I’m excited to see what else God has in store.