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Andreas Vollenweider - Down To The Moon CD (album) cover


Andreas Vollenweider


Crossover Prog

3.77 | 33 ratings

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4 stars By the mid 1980s New Age music was accorded its own section in record stores, and artists who were never really part of that "movement", like TANGERINE DREAM and MIKE OLDFIELD were filed uncomfortably in those shelves, much to the cringing chagrin of those who knew better. On the other hand, ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER began his career just prior to these marketing developments that seemed customized for him. He quickly embodied the best aspects of the new age personally and musically. Even when the proverbial 15 minutes were over for the bulk of related artists, he was able to retain his base and continue recording well into the next century. "Down to the Moon" was the pivotal release, garnering a Grammy in the new age category. Listening to it now, it's easy to see why.

The unique harp that he created and plays remains in the foreground throughout, and the production is absolutely crystalline. The acoustic guitars, played by Max Laesser, are far more predominant than before, and eclectic influences from the Americas, and near and far East are more discernible. "Moon Dance" marks further maturation that began with "White Winds" - a central jaunty theme with distinct offshoots and a modicum of voice as is his wont. I wouldn't doubt that Japanese band ASTURIAS listened closely to this album before embarking on their career shortly thereafter, adopting the lucidity and elegance of such numbers as "Silver Wheel" and "Three Silver Ladies Dance". A few tracks are much more reflective, such as "Water Moon" and "Quiet Observer".

It's probably been decades since I listened to Vollenweider in this detail, and I'm surprised how much better "Down to the Moon" sounds than it did 30 years ago. If you want one representative from his comprehensive discography, nay, from the whole new age genre, you could do far worse than land right here.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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