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Andreas Vollenweider

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Andreas Vollenweider Caverna Magica album cover
3.23 | 33 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Caverna Magica (3:53)
2. Mandragora (3:12)
3. Lunar Pond (2:10)
4. Schajah Saretosh (3:27)
5. Sena Stanjéna? (2:28)
6. Belladonna (5:21)
7. Angoh! (2:44)
8. Huiziopochtli - Con Chiglia (5:07)
9. Geastrum Coronatum (4:35)

Total time 32:57

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
10. Pace Verde (Green Peace, Single 1983) (5:23)
11. Rilaex (Live At The Carré, Amsterdam 1982) (3:14)
12. Hey You! Yes, You... (Special Edit From The New Album Vox, 2004) (3:12)

Bonus videos on 2005 remaster:
13. Pace Verde (Music Video, 1982)
14. Andreas Vollenweider & Friends "Live" (Excerpts From Live Performances 1982-83)
15. Introducing "Vox" (Interviews, Studio Work, Live, Background Information)

Line-up / Musicians

- Andreas Vollenweider / electroacoustic pedal harp, gu-cheng , composer, arranger & producer

- Corin Curschellas / vocals
- Walter Keiser / drums
- Jon Otis / percussion
- Pedro Haldemann / percussion
- Joerg-Peter Siebert / percussion & keyboards (11)
- Erdal Kızılcay / keyboards & oud (12)
- Andi Pupato / percussion (12)

Releases information

Sub-titled "...Under the Tree - In the Cave..."

Artwork: Düde Dürst

LP Colomba ‎- LP 82-01 (1982, Switzerland)
LP Edel Germany ‎- 0209630CTT (2014, Germany)

CD Colomba ‎- CD 882-01 (1983, Switzerland)
CD Kinkou Music ‎- KIN 17529 (2005, US) Remastered by Andreas with 3 bonus tracks plus 3 videos

Thanks to octopus-4 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER Caverna Magica ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER Caverna Magica reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Caverna Magica(Magical Cave) is an ideal follow-up to the previous "Behind The Gardens, Behind The Walls, Under The Tree...) as is made evident by the words between brackets on the album's cover. This is effectively the second part of an instrumental trilogy.

Apparently this album is made of short tracks, but they fade one into the other with continuity, so we may speak of two side-long instrumental suites, interrupted only by the fact that it was a vinyl recording.

It starts with some noises like a sort of "Alan's Psychedelic Picnic in a Cave" with a drop of water that after a couple of minutes is transformed into Vollenweider's harp. "Caverna Magica", the title track, fades into "Mandragora" that's almost the same track. It's with "Lunar Pond" and its oriental (Chinese) flavor that the suite starts to develop differently. This track, a little darker, fades into "Sharjah Saretosh" that is a typical Vollenweider's track even if it's based on just two chords. It fades into "Sena Stanjena" that's just the prosecution of the previous track with a modified main theme. Then the A side is gone.

The B-side is opened by "Belladonna". Together with "Mandragora"(Mandrake) it's the second reference to a plant with hallucinogen power (Belladonna is the source of Atropine). However the music is everything but lisergic. This track has vocals and a samba flavor even if the female vocalist reminds me a bit to Sally Oldfield. The samba fades out leaving just the guzhang, a mandoline and the vocalist which lead smoothly to "Angoh!" that's a quite unusual track. Proceeding, "Huiziopochtli" is a mixture of a lot of things: there's sitar and tablas but it's not indian or even oriental it's the only track which fades out breaking the continuity.

"Con Chiglia" is a strange title. Literally it means "With keel", but read as a single word with no space in the middle it means "Shell". It's one of the most melodic tracks, but we can't pretend that music based on harp is less than melodic. I can understand why Vollenweider is sometimes considered a newage artist, but again, even in tracks of this kind there's more than just "good feelings from the Aquarius". As I have written reviewing the previous Vollenweider's album, I think that his as newage as Pat Metheny. "Gaestrum Coronatum" that I think is a shell makes me think that "Con Chiglia" is just a mistyping as we seem to be in a biological environment. This track is the reprise of the initial theme (as usually happens in a concept album) and finishes into some natural sounds of which "La Paix Verde"(Green Peace) consists.

This is an excellent album if you look for relaxing instrumental music, prog enough to deserve to be listened with more attention than just background ambient.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With his unique pedal driven modified harp, Andreas Vollenweider has carved his own unique niche in the new age genre, while managing to avoid the bland and plastic soulless dreck usually associated with that tag. By also beautifully fusing elements of progressive rock, classical, ambient, electronic and even jazz, he creates a highly original and very dramatic vision all his own.

On their second album `Caverna Magica', Vollenweider and his band present a collection of understated shorter pieces that form two continuous pieces of music. In amongst the predominantly instrumental and infrequent (wordless) vocal sections, he merges his tasteful blend of ethnic and worldly elements with some distinct Santana band styled moments -Think along the lines of the quieter and spiritual parts of their albums like `Caravanserai'.

As the album title track begins, we hear a gentle water-drop dripping throughout a cave, and before long it forms into a looped beat, backed by marching drums to add some drama. Vollenweider's harp and gentle synths enter, creating a haunting and mysterious, yet upbeat ambience. Wordless and restrained tribal vocals dance through the music, joined by warm Latin style percussion. There's that slight Santana band influence here, with a restrained and clean electric guitar solo. A darker Oriental flavour comes in, with a very catchy harp melody enhanced by the low-key presence of a female singer and live drums, backed to gentle winds and eventually lovely synth and melodic guitar solos before a fade out. `Caverna Magica's side A is a truly wonderful piece of music. Side B `Belladonna' opens with the album's softest and most romantic theme, the sort that has become a trademark on every album by Vollenweider. It soon kicks into a samba influenced wordless male/female piece, with some almost groovy playing by the artist! After a mandolin driven ambient section, we get a very bizarre yet strangely effective steel drum percussion piece, backed by the harp and synths. It's almost psychedelic, sounding like nothing else on the rest of the album, taking it in an off-beat and oddly darker direction! This drama continues into the sitar, tabla and chant driven `Con Chiglia', with an oppressive classical theme showing up near the end. It's thankfully relieved by the uplifting harp and synth piece `Geastrum Coronatum', perhaps the most melodic and tasteful moment on the album. There's an incredible energy and passion to this piece, that finishes the album in a suitably grand manner.

Take notice of deceptively simple album cover, which is actually rich with hidden secrets and striking details. Check out a vinyl copy to truly appreciate how clever and effective it is!

If you've enjoyed any of Vollenwieder's other albums, you'll be more than comfortable with the music on this one. His music seems to exist completely out of time, and he truly has created an intricate and spiritual musical world all his own that we're privileged enough to be able to visit. Relaxing and vibrant, with some appreciated drama in the second half, `Caverna Magica' will likely work it's magic on you if you take the time to listen and appreciate.

Review by Matti
4 stars Albums of the Swiss musician Andreas Vollenweider haven't been seen too often here. That's not surprising, since he's very thinly connected to the traditional progressive rock field; more likely he's considered as a New Age / World Music artist, a modified harp being his main instrument. I found his instrumental (-oriented) music in my early adulthood some 26 years ago. After being charmed by a library loan Down to the Moon (1986), I bought the 2-CD box The Trilogy that features the album trilogy of Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree (1980), Caverna Magica and White Winds (1985), plus Eine Art Suite. Hopefully I'll some day find inspiration to write also about the two last mentioned, but here's my view on the middle part of that trilogy.

The opening track 'Caverna Magica' starts in a misleadingly psychedelic manner with mumbled voices and footsteps, and a sound of water dripping that becomes rhythmic and is gradually replaced by harp, soon joined by the band. Vollenweider and his co-musicians (mainly on percussion) weave a light, World Music flavoured jazz groove. More or less wordless chant-like vocals by Corina Curschellas lightly colour some tracks such as 'Mandragora', and they underline the World Music atmosphere. The tracks are pretty short, but they follow each other seamlessly and form a coherent continuity, a carefully planned suite. Side One of the original vinyl ends with charming 'Sena Stanjéna?' which adds electric guitar to the relaxed soundscape.

'Belladonna' is a good example of the soft romanticism in Vollenweider's music. The thing that may put off especially prog rock oriented listeners is the way the repeated melodic riffs often form the basic structure of individual pieces. The playing often has a jam-like, easy-going, lighthearted groove. But the music is "progressive", in its own way. First, the whole suite forms a pretty cinematic musical journey, and second, the instrumentation is highly rich in exotic details, offering many delightful surprise moments along the way, some of them Oriental. The bright-sounding harp however stays on focus throughout the album. After several rather lazy tracks, the relatively catchy 'Geastrum Coronatum' slightly raises the intensity, leading to the brief outro 'La paix verde' in which the sound effects suggest that the protagonists who have been wandering in a cave fall into the sea.

A minus comes for the short total length (33 ½ min), but in Vollenweider's discography Caverna Magica is among the most recommended works. This is for listeners who can find enjoyment in New Age and World Music, and who appreciate relaxed jazziness and exotic sonic details.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars "Caverna Magica" begins under the tree where ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER's previous album ended, and indeed this is the second entry from his early 1980s trilogy. As before, the Swiss electro-acoustic pedal harp inventor and multi instrumentalist offers up a sweet if not always captivating blend of jazz, classical, and world music, which can justifiably be called progressive or "new age" on that basis alone. It's another truncated affair that still somehow seems longer than it needs to be. Admittedly, that which appeared on side 1 of the original vinyl is the more adventurous and worthwhile, particularly the free flow of "Lunar Pond" through "Sena Stanjena", which play more like a developing suite, and even include laid back west coast electric guitar along with the shuffling harp. Unfortunately the second half delves into arrangements that, while not overdone at the time, became so enshrined in free festivals of the mid 1980s to mid 1990s that I still can't hear them as originally intended. I'm referring to chanted vocalizations and steel drums in particular, which help sink "Belladonna" and "Angoh", neither of which are very alluring to begin with, and do some damage to the otherwise promising "Green Peace".

Fragments of a successful synthesis notwithstanding, "Caverna Magica" touches down uncomfortably between ambient and animated, somehow failing on both counts, and is hence not worthy of your spelunking time.

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