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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Gabrielle Angelique Echo
Image © 1998 \r\n\r\nLantern Productions  

(13 May 2000) Gabrielle Angelique's stunning and richlyarranged song "Ancient Souls" is featured in the Celtic Mystique compilation (review). Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Gabrielle's debut album, Echo (Lantern Productions (USA), 1998), includes thirteen vocally- or instrumentally-oriented tracks with a variety of keyboard-based instrumentation. With the exception of lyrics on two of the album's tracks ("Star Seeds" and "Where I Run To" by Anna Klein), the entire project was written andperformed by the artist herself; the recording was completed when she was only 17 and was digitally mastered on her Yamaha MX-3. The title of the album is based on a poemby Christina Rosetti (1830-1894); Renaissance fans willrecall that Rosetti wrote the hymn "In The Bleak Midwinter" recorded by Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford as Nevada in 1980.

Gabrielle's debut album drew attention from Tandem Music's Graham Way who arranged for Gabrielle to train with Canada's Jan Cooper, one of North America's top pop vocal and talent development coaches. The resulting three-way collaboration produced "Ancient Souls" for Celtic Mystique when Gabrielle was 18—the song illustrates significant artistic development from her debut and the tremendous potential of this singer / songwriter / harpist. Gabrielle has just finished her first solo harp album. Entitled Light, it will be released in June 2000.

Echo's tracks are primarily soft ballads or instrumentals alternating between classical derivations, new age sounds and soft rock. Many of the tracks feature complex orchestral arrangementswhile soaring vocal excursions are most reminscent of progressive rock artist Sally French especially in the incredible epic "The Third Insight." Moody and evocative soprano vocals carry many of the songs and are supported by lovely and highly impressive classically-derived and expansive instrumental arrangements. "Creation," "Monsoon" and "Where I Run To" both contain a stunning piano solos.

Masterful of her keyboard both in songwriting and arrangingas well as instrumental sample selections, Gabrielle's songs are equally written to demonstrate the breadth of her vocal talent. Multi-tracking is used in various places within the album to add texture and additional dimension to the songs. Vocal passagesare evocative, sensual and sensitive, soaring to effectivelyillustrate emotional content.

Ocean effects compliment instrumental arrangements in "Ancient Travelers," an upbeat instrumental piece that effectively combines new age sounds with contemporary themes.A similar sound emerges from the lovely instrumental "Awakening"while "Star Seeds" is a folk rock ballad with a rich orchestralarrangement and a stunning lead vocal part. The album concludeswith "Where I Run To," a lovely ballad sung over light pianoaccompaniment.

Gabrielle's debut album is available from the artist's website. Echo is a lovely album in all respects. With expressive vocals and imaginative songwriting, it is a fantastic introduction to this talentedyoung woman and certainly worth a long-distance journey; we think it is a must listen!

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