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Andreas Vollenweider - Dancing With The Lion CD (album) cover


Andreas Vollenweider

Crossover Prog

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Reviewing a Vollenweider's album is never an easy thing. It's instrumental music and not so dark or "storytelling" to give the possibility to build a story around it or even describe the concept behind. It's music. Good, with very skilled instrumentists a lot of guests and an excellent production, and this is true for almost all his albums.

In the vinyl age they were just a bit too short. Somebody was saying that it was a technical choice. Printing wider tracks on the vinyl so to increase the quality of the sound. Maybe it was true, who knows?

This "Dancing with the Lion" is not very different. What is evident is that there's more melancholy behind the tracks. More minor chords even though the feelings are mainly solar and positive like on "Dance Of The Masks", so that some magazines define Vollenweider as a new age artist, probably because he comes from a classical background and this appears clearly at the first listen, plus the fact that his music is effectively "positive and solar", it reminds more to a garden of fairies than to a dark forest full of evily creatures.

This is not ambient, anyway. Many tracks also on this album can be compared to Pat Metheny's works. What he does with a synth guitar, Vollenweider does with a transformed harp (more or less, not exactly).

As Metheny he's a borderline artist unique in his genre. His minor chords are sad, not dark.

On this album there are some recurring themes, a typical prog thing. Some themes are played on major chords, then arranged for a base of minor chords, sometimes with the addition of choirs, but even when he indulges to harp solos the music has its continuity and flows like a quiet river from the beginning to the end.

It's one of the many albums that can be taken as starting point by who is wishing to explore this artist even if the most prog albums released by him are Book Of Roses and Eolian Minstrel.

This is an excellent album anywaywhich can satisfy listeners varying from Neo to progressive electronic to JR/F. Metallists only can stay away.

Report this review (#1051752)
Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars As the difficult follow up to Grammy award winning "Down to the Moon", "Dancing with the Lion" enlisted a veritable army of guest musicians for the first time, many on wind instruments. It didn't exactly turn Vollenweider into a jazz artist, though the effects are felt in some of the arrangements and in the downbeat moods, especially on the rather lackluster pieces that safely hide out in the midsection of the beast. Luckily, a few of his more engaging compositions are also found here, particular the opener "Unto the Burning Circle", the instantly recognizable title cut and the celebratory "Still Life", which succeeds at least in part because of the way it breaches the kitsch boundary while smoothly shifting pace. The magnificently brooding closer "Ascent from the Circle" represents a refinement of the more pan cultural moments on "Down to the Moon".

"Dancing with the Lion" courted risk by diluting the signature Vollenweider sound that only just been fully realized a couple of years earlier. It is to the credit of the man's honed instincts that, in the mane, the step was worth taking.

Report this review (#2278179)
Posted Monday, November 4, 2019 | Review Permalink

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