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Andreas Vollenweider - White Winds (Seeker's Journey) CD (album) cover


Andreas Vollenweider


Crossover Prog

3.73 | 37 ratings

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3 stars On his first few releases, Swiss composer and electroacoustic pedal harp inventor/multi-instrumentalist was essentially an artist in search of a genre. Not intricate or improvised enough for jazz, not disciplined enough for classical, not ethnic enough for world music, and lacking in rock aspect, he persevered until the nascent "new age" genre found him and anointed him. The relatively short window for this style was long enough for Vollenweider to emerge popular even when the yuppies all got too busy with diapers to seek out recordings that never rose to the level of automatic purchases. Yet Vollenweider himself, while not re-inventing his sound by any measure on "White Winds", the final installment of his Trilogy, must be credited for helping his own cause by dispensing with much of the aimless clutter that plagued his prior efforts.

While the man himself exuded gravitas even at a younger age, this is the first release where he manages to infuse his music with that earnest sense and deliberateness which might resonate more with prog fans. He didn't turn into MIKE OLDFIELD or JEAN LUC PONTY to be sure, but "Hall of the Stairs" and "The Glass Hall" play much more like epics while warmly showcasing his harp throughout, such that even the occasional chanting complements rather than detracts. These pieces are propelled forward by the naturally rhythmic nature of the harp, unencumbered by excess baggage. When he does include guests, such as Joerg-Peter Siebert on winds, the effect is more memorable still. Even his more docile arrangements like on "Phases of the Three Moons" and "Flight Feet and Root Hands" retain a simple charm and elegance.

I'm not saying that fans of complex progressive rock should visit every Unitarian Church sale looking for "White Winds", but at least here the gentle breeze of new age seems to buffet the good ship prog while assuredly not rocking the boat.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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