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Novalis - Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? CD (album) cover

VIELLEICHT BIST DU EIN CLOWN ?

Novalis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.34 | 64 ratings

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Lewian
4 stars It is true that with this album Novalis already turned their backs to Prog, or at least to long and epic "symphonic" works. As far as I can get from interviews with band members, even long after the band actually had ceased to exist, I believe that this move was not mainly motivated by commercial concerns, but rather by the influence of singer Muehlboeck and a general shift of taste to simpler and straighter song structures. This had already started with the single "Irgendwo Irgendwann" on "Brandung", and also Novalis continued their tradition of instrumentals on "Clown" and beyond, so this was rather a gradual change than something that suddenly happened on this album.

In any case, "Vielleicht bist du ein Clown" rather qualifies as sophisticated high quality rock than as prog ("symphonic" or otherwise). Still, I'd rate this as joint best Novalis album (together with Novalis and Flossenengel) - prog or not, the music is just so good.

"Vielleicht bin ich ein Clown" ("Perhaps I'm a clown" - the album title has "you're" instead of "I'm") is my favourite Novalis song. It is a powerful dramatic song with some effective twists and a very good flute, a perfect support for Muehlboeck's voice, which has exactly the theatralic qualities needed for the interesting but direct and down-to-earth self-reflective psychological lyrics. "Der Geigenspieler" is the longest piece, a nice romantic ode to a street musician, starting in a calm and dreamy way but becoming far more dynamic, with a good contrast between the voices of the calm Job and the more dramatic Muehlboeck. "Manchmal faellt der Regen eben lang" is a rather harmless but somewhat catchy and nicely optimistic pop song, "Die Welt wird alt und wieder jung" has Muehlboeck singing a beautiful rather sad tune in a more sensitive and vulnerable mood. This is a quite successful attempt to write a classical song with a piano and violin arrangement without using rock instruments.

Then there are two instrumentals, Zingaresca more guitar- and City Nord more keyboard oriented. The tunes on which these are based are rather simple and both tracks are somewhat repetitive, but they also have their qualities; Zingaresca has a very good interplay of the two guitars and some tasteful variations of the main tune (it reminds me of some of Camel's instrumentals), and City Nord is smooth and organic and perfect for driving through nice landscapes (opposed to what its title suggests - Hamburg's City Nord is a conglomerate of high rise business buildings) with its straight rhythm (another example of "Novalis goes postrock").

So all the six songs are very pleasant and also very different from each other, and still a characteristic sound of Novalis can be made out, carried by Muehlboeck's voice, Rahn's keyboards invoking his classical influences, Job's melodic somewhat Andy Latimer-like guitar, and the rather straight rhythm section in the background without any ego-trips. The only thing to criticise is the disappointing length of below 35 minutes; nobody would have complained about more of this stuff.

Lewian | 4/5 |

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