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Gandalf - Gallery Of Dreams (featuring Steve Hackett) CD (album) cover



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4 stars Full of epic grandeur and romanticism, GANDALF's "Gallery Of Dreams" is a masterpiece. From the first few bars of music, you will be moved in ways that can only be described by simply listening. What clearly makes this a special album is the joint collaboration with Steve HACKETT. "Gallery of Dreams" contains lots of "HACKETT'isms" and works unbelievably well with the symphonic touches that typifies GANDALF's work. With accents of flutes, woodwinds and wind chimes, GANDALF creates a very medieval/Renaissance era'ish atmospheres and emotions. This album has been on my desert island list for some time now. Although almost entirely instrumental, a young Tracy Hitchings also is featured on the title track which tastefully accents the album.
Report this review (#26421)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars nice wallpaper music... not high tech wallpaper music like Massive Attack do just plain decontracting music, nothing agressive and... nothing new too ! the good thing about this GANDALF album is the precesence of STEVE HACKETT and, honestly, it's the only reason why i don't put this album in the KENNY G/Elevator music area... Steve plays very well here and enlightens the classic new age intrusmental of Gandalf with his smooth yet inventive touch... so you have two choices while listening to this album : 1) do something else, just hear the music it's what it's made for 2) listen to Steve HACKETT but don't ask too much about the rest... not bad but not essential at all
Report this review (#26422)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gone are the days,when Gandalf (multi musician from Austria)played everything himself. Well almost...he does play an incredible lot of instruments..on this outing also. But here, he is joined by the ever magical fingers of mr.Hackett. Yes, Steve hackett turns out quite a few eminent moments on this record. As allways Gandalf are in his world of dreams...his dreamscapes, one might say. For he is a composer with a romatic soul.And this as many of his other albums are pure romantic,landscapepainting tones to fill your mind with joy. Now i know, that some might say ...listen to this while bathing or reading...whatever.. but doesnt that make it MUSAK?? And this is certainly NOT musak. Its music, to lift your thoughts....enlighten your mind..and fill your heart. So if you are in need of the abowe mentioned. Go and buy this beautiful record,just dont expect any power chords. the way..the wonderfull voice of Tracy Hitchings ,can be heard on the title track. As i am a Hackett freak, my favorite track are: " Face in the mirror". ENJOY!!
Report this review (#26423)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A peaceful music .

The music offered by this album is to me more on classical music with progressive touch, rather than progressive rock per se. All tracks contained herein are mellow in style, using long sustain keyboard work, piano as main rhythm section while guitar (acoustic and electric) serves as lead melodies. If your mood is into this kind of music, I am very sure that you would enjoy this album in its entirety. The music flows nicely right from the beginning of the track to the end, presents you a stream of notes and chords in slow tempo that gives you ( I can imagine!) a peace of mind. This is best listened to after 10:00 PM to get full comprehension of the music subtleties, play it loud with a dim of light (better to turn the light off!). You would then find a joy of peaceful music that accompanies you explore your mind, capitalize your brain power. In a nutshell, what I am telling you is that this music is suitable for meditating your life either in retrospective of digging the lessons of the past days and crafting better future for your life. Oh.. what am I saying here? Why am I connecting the music with "crafting" your life? Is it my business to give a word or two about your life? Of course not! - you might say so! But . you might miss my point that actually I am sharing what I experienced with listening to this beautiful stream of music this album offers. And this is not about something about life philosophy. Rather, it's confirming my belief, my proposition, my opinion that ."music is emotion". That is to say, the music this album offers has helped me uplift my emotion, increase my motivation towards life. And I am not offering joke here, this is true, my friends.! I have never treated music as a "commodity". Rather it's a contemplating vehicle to help me move forward with ever increasing life challenges and obstacles. With music, especially prog rock, I can move forward bravely, confidently. That's why I treat music so special. What about you, my friends? How do you treat music?

Let's back to business! This album opens the music beautifully with "Face In The Mirror" in ambient nuance through the sound of keyboard / guitar with classical style, stunning howling guitar work by Steve Hackett. You might associate this kind of music with Kitaro even though it's not totally similar, especially the excellent guitar work by Hackett. It's so compelling and peaceful. When I rode my bicycle for going to work last week while playing this album at my MP3 player, I truly found joy with the music amidst crowded traffic. It helped me wipe out all the uncomfortable feeling with traffic jam and strengthened my motivation. The continuing track "Willoman-Watcher Of The Waters" (4:46) opens peacefully with nice piano work with great string section at background using long sustain keyboard sound. Piano is the main thing with this track while acoustic guitar provides a rhythm section and fills. The music moves gradually into uplifting parts especially when the piano solo is combined with stunning electric guitar work by Hackett. It's really cool ..

The short track "Alone Again" (1:53) which contains catchy piano notes serves as bridge to next track. I am impressed with the power of melody this short track has through the sounds of piano coupled with excellent acoustic guitar work. This is a short track that kills! Do you remember "Hairless Heart" by Genesis? How do you feel when you listen to this short track comprising mostly keyboard work by Tony Banks? If you feel good and consider the melody is catchy, I bet you like this "Alone Again". "Between Different Worlds" (5:54) showcases how Hackett's guitar exploration and string section opens this track wonderfully. While in "Another Dream" (3:16) you would find nice oboe work by Andrea Krauk which brings the music in peaceful way. It somewhat reminds me to the nuance of King Crimson "Three of a Perfect Pair" album. Yeah, I do remember how Robert Fripp played his guitar that sounds like a keyboard; it's like Alan Holdsworth's synthaxe.

"Song Of The Unicorn" (4:23) starts with catchy piano work in ambient nuance followed by stunning acoustic guitar work by Steve Hackett. Oh man .. you must listen this album because until track 6 I have not found something which does not sound nice to me and I assure you that the rest of the tracks are all excellent because I have listened to this album (in its entirety) more than 5 times. And I do not want to review at track b track level, I just want you to trust my words that all tracks are good especially if you have passion in classical music. But I just want to add another track that worth mentioning, i.e. the album title track "Gallery of Dreams". It's because of due to the fact that this track has vocal line by Tracy Hitchings whereby the music provides similar nuance with Steve Hackett "Voyage To The Acolyte" album especially the parts with female voice.

Overall, this is for sure an excellent addition to any prog music collection. This album serves very well to those of you who love (or who can appreciate) classical music. But it might work fine with those of you who can appreciate the light side of progressive music. This album is highly recommended.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#165747)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars well I must admit that the only reason I buy this cd is that its include Steve Hackett ,Mr. Hackett is one of my favorite guitarist and any album that Mr. Hackett is play in I should get so finally I find it ,it was quit expensive but it worth the price ,it is a beautiful piece of music ,I didn't know for what to expect from this album because I didn't hear any gandalf album before and the most new age album I know I didn't like ,so this album surprise me how beautiful it is ,there is some tracks that I find a little boring especially the acoustic tracks but most of the album is beautiful and the including of Mr. Hackett with his electric guitar make this album a superb album that any music lover should get,so if you like good music and if you love electric Hackett like me don't think twice,you don't disappoint,
Report this review (#230222)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Steve Hackett goes Mike Oldfield by Gandalf's magic power

It is fair to say that had it not been for the presence of one of my all time favourite guitar heroes--Mr. Steve Hackett--on this album, it is unlikely that I ever would have come into contact with Gandalf, an Austrian New-Age composer and multi-instrumentalist that has been releasing albums since 1980. Gallery Of Dreams was also the first Gandalf album I heard and for a long time the only one. After having heard some other Gandalf albums as well, I have gone back and updated this review, but my rating of two stars still stands.

Hackett adds both some of his very distinctive electric guitar sounds and some tasteful Classical guitar playing, but the music is mostly dominated by soothing, keyboard-generated soundscapes with some occasional piano and some more exotic instruments. The album is almost wholly instrumental, but Tracy Hitchings (Quasar, Landmarq, Strangers On A Train) does add vocals to the title track. Hitchings would a couple of years later record another album with Gandalf called To Our Children's Children. In my opinion, To Our Children's Children is a better showcase of Hitchings and Gandalfs combined powers. Even though I absolutely love Hitchings voice, her presence on only a single track on this otherwise wholly instrumental album is a bit out of place.

The value in this music lies, for me, not surprisingly, mostly in Hackett's guitars; particularly, when he is allowed to shine on his electric guitar. When he is allowed to contribute some nice acoustic playing, the mood is not that dissimilar to Hackett's Classical albums, but Gandalf's music is not really Classical. Needless to say, there are much better places to look if you want to witness Hackett's amazing guitar talents. Those looking for anything similar to Hackett's Rock albums or anything musically related to Genesis, are obviously looking in the wrong place here. But for those who enjoy relaxing, New-Age type music, Gallery Of Dreams is probably a nice addition. The music of Mike Oldfield is probably a very good reference point, but we are not talking about Tubular Bells here, but rather some of Oldfield's more recent and more New-Age oriented albums. This is overall a very relaxing and much understated type of music and it is very hard, not to say impossible, to relate this in any way to progressive Rock.

Recently (May 2014) I have heard and reviewed two live albums that were recorded on tour in support of Gallery Of Dreams. Recorded in the early 90's, these live albums feature Gandalf and his band with Hackett guesting and these live albums impressed me much more than did this studio album. Comparing the live versions with the studio versions, the live versions win hands down. (Also, a three disc set is available which holds the Gallery Of Dreams studio album plus the two live albums).

This is recommended to fans of Gandalf and to major fans of everything Hackett, though the aforementioned live albums is the better place to start!

Report this review (#267618)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink

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