SOUL JOURNEY
  • Released: June 1, 2006
  • 9 track(s)

Recorded live “in the moment” from a spontaneous outpouring of the soul. Nine inspired piano expressions reveal a rich spectrum of musical styles and moods, illuminating the spirit. Flow with the music as you experience your personal Soul Journey.

Reviews

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  • SHOSHANNAH

    SHOSHANNAH May 24, 2010

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    BILL BINKELMAN, New Age Reporter
                     

    An example of not judging a book by its cover, Shoshannah’s piano album Soul Journey is not what one might expect given the CD’s title and cover art. Anticipating a “typical” serene new age piano recording, I was blown away by the CD’s diversity, complexity and depth, as it explored assorted nooks and crannies of mood and tone via the artist’s approach to improvisational piano. If you only buy one solo piano CD this year, and you are hungry for something unconventional yet wholly accessible, I highly recommend you consider this album.

    Soul Journey is not experimental or disorienting, but it is refreshingly different, especially given the presentation of the album. Of course, some tracks follow the formula of this music, such as “Eternal Love” which is a gentle, soothing number with a slowly flowing melody and only a brief speed up of tempo and elevation of energy during the last third of the seven-plus minute track. Cuts like the opening “Emunah” and the next one, the near-epic length “Aliyah” (clocking in at a whopping thirteen minutes!) are the ones that made me sit up and take notice. The former is a moody introspective piece yet is also dramatic and fast-paced at times with plenty of minor key notes and chords. Shoshannah displays mastery of both the piano keys and the pedals. Her use of subtlety and nuance is a highlight, especially as she shifts gears loud to soft or fast to slow. In lesser hands, these changes of direction could be distractingly obvious and forced, but she manages to make the numerous transitions as natural as rain. “Aliyah” is simply stunning, opening with a burst of neo-Celtic melody and morphing into a jump boogie, but so quiet and restrained that it sneaks up on you, rather than shakes you. When she employs the lower register later, the cut takes on a subdued hint of the blues. Switching into a livelier mode, arpeggios of upper register notes sprinkle down like a sunshower. At the end, rolling chords cascade down on the listener one after the other in a celebratory fashion.

    Other songs include the title track, a lovely number that may not be adventurous but its quietness and serenity allows the listener to catch her/his breath, “Into the Light” a cheery uptempo affair (over nine minutes long) on which the artist plays around with refrains and recurring motifs but maintains an overall laughter-filled mood, “Immersion” which echoes the classical Romanticists interrupted by a brief flurry of darker dissonance before winding down with gentility and grace, and the warm and friendly closing song, “Sweet Return” reminiscent of Robin Spielberg’s music. Also of note is the eleven-minute long “Gathering Sparks,” a challenging examination of shadow and mystery, colored at times by Middle Eastern/North African melodic motifs. The song is undeniably lively and spirited but minor key notes dominate the track and keep the mood from being warm until the last third of the track when things gradually lighten (still at a fast tempo, though).

    I’ve refrained from drawing comparisons to any other piano artist (except for the brief mention of Spielberg) but that doesn’t mean I don’t hear echoes of some others on this CD. It’s just that Shoshannah’s approach is so unique that even if I am occasionally reminded of, e.g. Wayne Gratz, David Lanz, it’s a fleeting association. Soul Journey is an imaginative and original recording and while not wholly “relaxing” per se (and I worry about people who buy it and are put off by its more energetic pieces and the complexity of some cuts) it’s always engaging and inviting. Recording quality is excellent and Shoshannah never gets so flashy that the music’s “spirit” is betrayed by an over-reliance on fireworks. I highly recommend this CD, especially if frequent solo piano offerings in the genre leave you strangely unsatisfied.

    Bill Binkelman
    New Age Reporter 9/26/06

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