Retailing Insight June/July 2014 Trade Show Issue : Page 94

Bill Binkelman Forest Spirits Conni St. Pierre Smasheasy www.connistpierre.com Sojourn Jim Gabriel Self-released www.jim-gabriel.com Residing in rural Maine does wonders for Conni St. Pierre’s muse, as she continues to evolve her unique mixture of ambient and New Age music on Forest Spirits , the second in her Nature Spirits series. St. Pierre (fl utes, harp, piano, sitar, keyboards, bells, and percussion) takes the listener deep into the forest, where the leafy canopy only allows brief interruptions of light and the mood is mysterious and haunting yet occasionally beautifully serene. Some tracks feature subtle psychedelic infl uences while others caress the air with gentle, lilting melodies. Some even cross over into darker, ambient textures with a perceptible sense of foreboding, including some slight dissonance on the closing track, “Roots Breathing Down.” Sojourn is the debut from a new piano talent in contemporary music, Jim Gabriel. Produced by Gabriel, Will Ackerman, and Tom Eaton and featuring the talents of several guest artists, such as cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Charlie Bisharat, and bassist Tony Levin, among others, Sojourn weaves an intimate, sepia-toned tapestry of captured moments, thoughtful refl ec-tions, and meditative musings. By turns sparse and minimal, dramatic and forceful, and spirited and cheery (mostly the former, though), Gabriel’s fi rst recording reveals his special penchant for quiet, introspective melodies and signals him as a startlingly new addition to the genre. 94 June /July 2014 | retailinginsight.com

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