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Gandalf - Journey To An Imaginary Land CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.44 | 37 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This wizard has created nice atmospheres!

It is predictable to know that this musician from Austria took the name of Gandalf from Tolkien's writings, and also, what he creates could get on well with the same books, or actually in some of the film's moments.

Though I don't really know anything more about this artist, I can mention that he has released a lot of albums since 1980, he is a prolific musician well recognized in his country. His debut album is entitled "Journey to an Imaginary Land", featuring six compositions and a total time of 45 minutes. Heinz Strobl (Gandalf) is a multi-instrumentalist, or if you prefer, a one-man- band.

This album kicks off with "Departure"; some kind of explosion introduces you to the music, but secons later the atmosphere becomes gentler due to the acoustic guitar and the synthesizer effects. Then, keyboards appear as foreground and produce a friendly sound that is always accompanied by that nice acoustic guitar and bass sound. This track has some interesting passages, especially where the short keyboard solo appears, giving it a symphonic sound.

I wanted to put that word "symphonic" because most of the album might be considered as a "new age" or "ambient music", though those symphonic parts make it fit under the progressive realm. The second song is "Foreign Landscape" which has an electric guitar that along with those synth effects, remind me in moments of both, Vangelis or Mike Oldfield. This longer track could work as a movie soundtrack, or also work while you are reading a nice book. The music is soft and gently, so you can relax and enjoy it.

"The Peaceful Village", I think the name speaks for itself, what you will find here is music in the same tenor, peace and calm in all their extension. The delicate acoustic guitar always helps creating an ambient of harmony and tranquility. The song begins slowly until minute two and a half, where a new and pastoral structure appears, giving again a gentle sound that may put a smile on you. I like very much his keyboard sound.

The longest track is "March across the Endless Plain" with a ten-minute length; however it does not necessarily means that this would be neither the best track, nor the most complex or elaborated. It is good, it has good elements and a pretty nice structure, the fact is that after a few minutes one may feel bored, actually some of the moments here are pretty similar to previous song, so that repetition does not really help. What I can point out, is that he knew how to combine the percussion with the atmospheres.

"The Fruitful Gardens" shares several atmospheres, though the music could sound pretty repetitive with the acoustic guitar and keyboards, the second part of the song becomes better after a short stop, where the guitar and synth slowly begin to progress and gradually becomes a new piece. The album finishes with "Sunset at the Crystal Lane", whose sound reminds me to some Popol Vuh moments: atmospheres, colors, textures, etc. Though the music begins slowly (again), the volume is increasing with the seconds and it creates some tension that will lead you to keep listening until it finishes.

Journey to an Imaginary Land is a pretty good effort by Gandalf, a progressive rock fan may enjoy it, though it is not the best example of what progressive rock is, actually it is strange to see him under the crossover genre, but well, if you like some ambient, soft electronic music with symphonic hints, you may try it, if not, you will not like it. My final grade is three stars, nice music to sit comfortable and relax.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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