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Novalis Augenblicke album cover
3.20 | 53 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Danmark (3:30)
2. Ich hab' noch nicht gelernt zu Lieben (3:30)
3. Cassandra (3:26)
4. Herbstwind (4:46)
5. Mit den Zugvogeln (3:16)
6. Sphinx (3:25)
7. Als kleiner Junge (5:16)
8. Magie einer Nacht (3:55)
9. Begegnungen (4:47)

Total Time: 35:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Fred Mühlböck / vocals, guitars, concert flute, Variophon
- Detlef Job / guitars, vocals
- Lutz Rahn / keyboards, PPG Wave computer
- Heino Schünzel / bass
- Hartwig Biereichel / drums

- Achim Reichel / co-arranger, producer
- Ruth Rockenschaub / vocals

Releases information

The title translates as "Moments"

Artwork: Uwe Doms inspired on Felix Vallotton subject

LP Ahorn ‎- AHORN 1.015 (1980, Germany)

CD Castle Legends ‎- CLC 5054 (1991, Germany)
CD MIG ‎- MIG 00662 CD (2012, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NOVALIS Augenblicke ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NOVALIS Augenblicke reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progbear
3 stars Frankly, I wasn't expecting much from this late-period Novalis disc, but I was pleasantly surprised. As you can tell from the above track listing, they had pretty much entirely migrated to the short-song format by this time. What you can't tell, though, is that roughly half the songs are instrumentals.

The vocal highlights include Detlef Job's folky "Herbstwind" and two haunting Mühlböck-sung ballads: "Als kleiner Junge" and "Begegnungen". The latter is made striking by the use of harmonica, a first (and, I believe, last) for Novalis. The other vocal tunes ("Ich hab' noch nicht gelernt zu lieben" and "Magie einer Nacht") aren't worth much, and point to the band's rather dismaying future.

The balance of the album, however, is entirely instrumental, and spotlights Rahn's keyboard work in a delightful way. He's not quite as "on" as he was on FLOSSENENGEL, but his rich and textural style suits these little bagatelles well. File under: better than it has any right to be.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This review is of course very emotional.

As I have said, I will never be able to listen to a ''Novalis'' album (or ''Grobschnitt'', or ''Jane'' or ''Birth Control'' only to name of few) without thinking of my friend Febus who sadly passed away a few days ago.

Of course, this album is not as good as their great early days ones. Even Antoine (Febus) who was a huge fan decided to stop reviewing them after ''Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown''. Since I started my reviewing process with another philosophy, I will review some more of their works even if we all know that the best is of course behind.

I know therefore that my friend won't be upset while reading these lines in the prog Walhalla.

The best of this album is the good instrumental opener ''Danmark''. I have always appreciated their instrumental passages; I am rather reluctant in terms of German vocals and the ones from ''Ich Hab' Noch Nicht Gelernt Zu Lieben'' are just confirming this aversion.

The popish orientation that could be felt in some previous works is accentuated here. It is not because ''Cassandra'' is an instrumental piece of music, that it is per se a good one. Not bad, but the poignant moments of their debut for instance is totally alien to such a track.

The whole boredom of the band can be felt during ''Herbstwind'': a totally uninspired and unemotional song. The cherry on the cake is of course these painful German lyrics. Ouch! But the band quickly opted for these as soon as their second album, and they were quite successful in their home country, so.

The good news about ''Augenblicke'' (one moment), is that lots of tracks are instrumental ones, like the tranquil ''Mit Den Zugvögeln''. Somewhat repetitive but featuring fine keyboards. As a guitar counterpart, ''Sphinx'' is rather pleasant. A fine melody, a nice execution but again, I would have liked some more passion in here. Still, it is another pleasant song.

Actually, most of the songs featured here are OK. Even if ''Als Kleiner Junge'' has a weak start, it features a very catchy guitar solo during the middle part, which saves it dramatically. It is very emotional and only adds to my sadness tonight. When I listen to ''Begegnungen'' I am overwhelmed my emotion and a deep, deep sadness. I am speechless by now.

This album is average. Five out of ten. I will still upgrade it to three stars for the reasons you can imagine.

I closed my review for ''Sommerabend'' with these words: ''I dedicate this review to my friend Febus: hold on my friend. There is light after the tunnel''. I wrote it on November 29th. Antoine passed away three days later.

Unfortunately for Antoine, the light was turned off but he will always be a light for me. Repose en paix mon ami.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Whereas early NOVALIS albums contained longer tracks of which few were entirely instrumental, in the 1980s they streamlined their approach to almost exclusively shorter tracks, of which approximately half were lyric free. The sound was still loosely progressive but many prog fans might find it a bit too accessible. Fred Mühlböck remains front row center on the vocal tracks and shows remarkable versatility. Here he instigates fewer heavy handed moments than on "Flossenengel", but also doesn't hit the mellow peaks of the predecessor.

Nothing from any part of the band's prolific past prepares one for the opener, the fluid instrumental "Danmark", simply the most breathtaking and spine-tingling tune in their entire discography. It appears to include a German synthesized wind instrument called a variophone played by Mühlböck. The timbre is like a cross between a synth and a sax. But the ecstatic crescendos of the melody overwhelm me. I could have wished for more than the three and a half minutes proffered, but perhaps short and sweet perfection is highest art.

Of course, little else can measure up, except for "Herbstwind", a magnificent folk-influenced song with more delicate instrumentation. It reminds me of British Isles groups like LOUDEST WHISPER or PERERIN, it's that good, but I suppose fellow Germans OUGENWEIDE or HOELDERLIN may have planted the seed.

The remainder is a melange of good and average in approximately equal proportion. Instrumentally, "Mit Den Zugvögeln" is a romantic piano and string laden piece that builds itself up quite well, even if it sounds a bit pre-YANNI ish. It leads into the languid CAMEL and BJH -inspired "Sphinx". Mühlböck excels in two further ballads, "Als kleiner Junge" and the epilog "Begegnungen" (with more lovely variophone I believe).

NOVALIS in 1980 can still deliver on their original romantic vision, but, whereas their early work seemed disappointing for its style, this album sets the bar high for early 1980s pop prog, in a way also achieved by ANYONE'S DAUGHTER's work of the same period. It's a rounding up augenblicke.

Review by Lewian
3 stars After I wrote my review for this I got somewhat more into Novalis mood and have in the meantime listened to their music much more, including this one and its successor Neumond. This leads me to something of a re-assessment. Particularly I now think that the instrumental Danmark, which I didn't really mention before, is a delight with its dreamy Camel-like melody, and the folky, lyrical Herbstwind has caught up somewhat more in my appreciation. So now we have 3 1/2 really good songs ("Mit den Zugvoegeln" and "Ich hab noch nicht gelernt..." being the other ones) out of 9, and the remaining ones are rather unremarkable than really bad. I think I'd rate both this one and Neumond now as 2 1/2 stars with this one slightly better (as opposed to what I initially wrote), and round it to three here.

Here's what I originally wrote, with some edits: I'm a bit surprised by the fact that the ratings for this one are clearly higher than for the following Neumond and Sterntaucher, of which at least the second one is better in my view. Augenblicke has its moments ("Augenblicke" means moments) and a tasteful cover, but I don't find much of a spark in most of these songs. The best ones for me are the calm instrumental "Mit den Zugvoegeln" that creates a really nice romantic atmosphere, and "Ich hab noch nicht gelernt zu lieben", which continues a sequence of songs with almost painfully authentic, self-critical lyrics by Muehlboeck, started by "Vielleicht bin ich ein Clown". It is a fairly straight and catchy rock song about difficulties and troubles in a relationship. I think I came across this album at the age of 16 or 17 and a man reflecting on his behaviour in a relationship like this was certainly a good influence. Several songs with such down to earth, emotional and direct lyrics can be found on Novalis albums of that era, and I learned to prefer these to lyrics on spaceships, esoteric or historical eruptions of Vesuvius. At the time, when my relationship broke down, I could also connect very well to the romantic and sad "Herbstwind", but this one hasn't aged so well. Detlev Job's voice sounds somewhat tedious here; he had done better on earlier albums voice-wise, although he contributes some good melodic guitar once more to Augenblicke.

There are three further instrumentals that don't hurt much, but aren't any special either (I revise this view regarding Danmark, see above). Three further songs have vocals, "Als kleiner Junge" and "Begegnungen" are rather romantic and tender, and "Magie einer Nacht" is a bit more on the rock-side, but ultimately none of these stuck in my ears and made me want to listen to it more often. None of the songs is particularly complex either; it's all quite straight and not all too surprising.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Novalis' seventh record "Augenblicke" from 1980 gives the listener some nice tunes and musical landscapes but it marks an obvious decline in the group's music that was still extravagant and symphonic on the record before. The musicians are the same as before: Hartwig Biereichel on drums, Detle ... (read more)

Report this review (#1042116) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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