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

DOWN TO THE MOON

Andreas Vollenweider

 

Crossover Prog

3.66 | 16 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Andreas Vollenweider's albums exist in a musical world of peace, tranquility and spiritual escape. With his trusty modified amplified harp, his music always has a very unique and identifiable style that sets him apart from other new age artists. Although often being associated with that genre, his music crosses over into progressive rock, electronic and even classical elements. He surrounds his music with nature themes and effects, creating a gentle ambience full of vivid detail.

On his fifth album, Vollenweider creates a haunting shimmering musical journey, usually surrounded by subtle background sounds of nature and lost worlds. His magical melodies are arranged with an easy-listening but subtle complexity. Mostly instrumental, except for some wordless chants, it makes for perfect background listening. Despite the contributions of other talented musicians, usually with low-key effective synths and light drumming/percussion, Andreas is always front and center, playing with great energy and delicate passion.

Although the album is broken into separate tracks, each section segues into the next, creating a wonderfully paced continuous piece. Both the vinyl and CD version split the album into two halves, `The Near Side' and `The Far Side'.

`The Near Side' starts the album with the very haunting and mysterious title track, quite grand and atmospheric. It then drifts beautifully into a very catchy and quite upbeat `Moon Dance', with a hugely memorable theme - If you're ever feeling a little down, this piece will instantly pick you up, make you smile and think that maybe things aren't quite so bad! Nice use of synths and drums on this one too. The ambient `Steam Forest' has an interesting programmed raindrop loop that repeats throughout the entire piece, creating a very hypnotic effect. It has a wonderful plucked acoustic sound from Andreas, with a very warm melody, and a touch of drama in the second half. The short interlude `Water Moon' has a very Oriental sound, with a brief dramatic theme that rises twice. `Night Fire Dance' is let down a little by a slightly cheesy and very dated programmed electronic vocal loop, but the music has a very majestic and uplifting repeated theme that is intoxicating.

`The Far Side's `Quiet Observer' is a slightly darker classical theme, with lots of mystery and tension. `Silver Wheel' has a nice electronic melody buried away, especially effective in the second half of a piece that is slightly more romantic. `Drown In Pale Light' is a short thoughtful and reflective piece, really sounds like a warm acoustic guitar on this one. Likely it's Andreas up to his old tricks with that modified harp! Another gentle piece, `The Secret...' is extraordinarily pretty, perhaps a little soft. It has a very soothing quality, and is probably the most romantic theme the band performed on this album. `Hush/Three Silver Ladies...' has a very hypnotic ethnic/world music loop, with a tasteful and melodic electric guitar solo throughout, which breaks up the album nicely. Oriental music themes show up in this one too. The album ends on what sounds like an acoustic instrumental lullaby, `La Lune....', a drifting, spacey and dream like finale.

For some strange reason, I find some occasional elements of Vollenweider's music might have been a (VERY!) slight influence on the more sedate and earthy Ozric Tentacles material! Shhhh, keep that observation a secret, not sure if it's only me that's thought that!

I came across this CD in an Op shop for $1, I nearly fell over when I found it! I've since picked it up on vinyl, because I love the beautifully simplistic and evocative front cover. Very subtle, it creates the perfect visual imagery to accompany the music.

`Down To The Moon' has plenty of substance and integrity to offer, is timeless and always inspiring, and gets even better with every listen. Precise and elegant, it also proves that Andreas Vollenweider's music is much more than insipid new-age muzak dross to be instantly dismissed.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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