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Rousseau Flower in Asphalt album cover
3.46 | 57 ratings | 8 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Skylight (4:20)
2. Glockenrock (4:35)
3. Flower in asphalt (4:23)
4. Le grand rêveur (5:07)
5, Entrée (5:15)
6. Fool's fantasy (4:11)
7. Dancing leaves (8:38)

Total Time: 36:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Rainer Hoffmann / keyboards, synths, Mellotron, strings
- Christoph Huster / flute, guitar, percussion
- Georg Huthmacher / bass, bass pedals, Grand piano
- Ali Pfeffer / drums, percussion
- Jörg Schwarz / acoustic & electric guitars

Releases information

Lp. Streyer-Disco 18003 / Cd. Musea FGBG 4023.AR (1990)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to juan56 for the last updates
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Buy ROUSSEAU Flower in Asphalt Music

ROUSSEAU Flower in Asphalt ratings distribution

(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ROUSSEAU Flower in Asphalt reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Well this album is inferior than the small jewel "Retreat", but anyway you find some interesting and captivating passages, sometimes replaced by strange "jokes", within a sort of instrumental "Carnival". Moreover you don't find any vocals here and this fact brings about a certain indifference among their new listeners. Recommended but not essential!!
Review by Heptade
3 stars A pleasant, if slight instrumental album that often gets compared to Camel...if so, it's B-grade Camel at best. The band lacks Andy Latimer's impeccable sense of melody, and the lead guitar player lacks the skill and fire of players like Latimer and Gilmour. That said, this album does have some pleasant aspects to recommend it. Sting synth and mellotron sounds are used to good effect, and there is indeed an air of defiant romanticism about the whole thing, not surprising considering the year it was recorded. I'd compare it to Novalis, another German synth and guitar symphonic band that never quite gets up to the melodic heights that would make their work classic.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "If there is only one who's dreaming, it will stay a dream forever. All of us dreaming will be the beginning of reality." [Brazilian folk song]

That quote is displayed first in the CD booklet and it nicely sums up the positive vibes emitted from this fantastic album by Rousseau. This album is often described as a lesser version of Camel and in my opinion it is just as good as Camel. While it came after the best Camel work it is one of the most beautiful Symphonic albums you will ever hear. Lush keyboards, delicate acoustic guitar, soaring passionate electric leads, solid bass and drum work. Oh, and the flutes. If you're a flute junkie you'll be quite pleased. And this is an all-instrumental work so we are blissfully free of vocals which gives the players complete control of the space. "Skylight" opens in rather dramatic fashion before the flute enters announcing that hope lives! The other standout tracks for me are "Le Grand Reveur" with its majestic themes, and the long closer "Dancing Leaves." But the whole album is one gorgeous symph prog treat to the senses. While some prefer their second album which introduced vocals (and not good vocals) it is the passion of their debut which makes it their best work. You can tell these guys were driven by a love of music, idealism and if not naivety then at least a lack of music business cynicism.

Flower in Asphalt is one of those perfect 70s rock moments where it all comes together thanks to the people and the time/place that allowed the approach. This German band greatly admired the work of 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and named their group after him. Rousseau wrote about subjects like man's relation to nature and society, as well as about the "social contract." The conceptual beauty of the material is furthered by the feelings evoked from the album artwork. This passage from the liner notes sums up quite well the music within: "the celebration of a very harmonious music but also refined, impressionist, suggestive; a music inducing bucolic or vaguely nostalgic pictures, quiet atmospheres, melancholic climates and evoking romanticism."

If you love Camel, Willowglass, Celeste, Locanda Della Fate, or Novalis you simply need to hear Rousseau. This is another title currently out of print but hopefully that will be remedied someday. Until then it's worth hunting for a used copy.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars If, like me, you are a bit orphan of Camel's wonderful instrumental songs featuring lush keyboards, sweet and emotional guitar parts and some melodic flute interludes; then yes : Rousseau is for you.

This all-instrumental album is a collection of extremely symphonic songs. Relatively short (only one song over eight minutes) but that's OK. The one flows so nicely into the other one that the whole "Flower In Asphalt" journey is very pleasant. Peaceful and tranquil but not boring. OK, "Glockenrock" and its percussion solo is probably the weakest link.

If you like "The Snow Goose", there is no reason for you to wait and discover this abum. I would even say that this a better one (don't lay into my tooth and nail for this; I really feel so). Rousseau is able to keep the listener's attention for the whole of this (short) album. At times, I felt a bit disappointed with "Snow" (for the details about it, you can read my specific review, if you feel like). Nothing as such here.

This must be one of the most symphonic album I have ever heard. Of course, you'll need to be in the mood. To accept almost forty minutes of the utter tranquility is maybe a difficult exercise but it is really rewarding in this case. Rousseau is of course not very well- known. But so are the majority of the bands featured on this site. So, do an effort, please ! Grab this album and have a listen.

At least, this is true prog (as it ought to be listed on PA) and this album is a gem that is worth investigating. It is typically the album that needs to be listened to as a whole although "Entrée" is my fave. I guess due to the gorgeous flute (yes I lke this instrument an awful lot). "Dancing Leaves" is the most (and only) Genesis-oriented song ("Watcher". Would you believe ?). A highlight as well.

Four stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars If the commercial market for symphonic progressive rock had all but vanished by 1980, and most of the British dinosaurs had tried to modernize, at least on the continent, and in Germany in particular, the genre was still humming along. Even long running bands like ELOY continued to carry the torch, but younger groups like ANYONE'S DAUGHTER and ROUSSEAU arose around the turn of the decade and paid tribute to their influences, among them GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, and in the case of ROUSSEAU in particular, CAMEL. This homage is especially apparent in the lead guitars, flutes and sprightly melodies, making for a generally easy listening debut album.

My general complaint is that it's all a bit too mellow and inoffensive, without enough genuine variety to compensate for the generally short tracks and the total absence of vocals. Also, the keyboards are in general less interesting than the aforementioned instruments - witness the first 2:30 of the album closer for proof. While most everything here is pleasant and enjoyable, little of it is excellent. An exception is "Entree", buoyed by woodwinds and a moving change of pace around the midpoint, followed by some melodic lead guitar licks. It offers just the right mix.

While Rousseau's first album won't have you beating a retreat for the exits, it might not be the first one you reach for when you want innovation or excitement. The very essence of a three star effort.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I entirely agree with the PA biography from this German band which says "Their music can be described like an hybrid between CAMEL and NOVALIS. Music is very rich, with melodic guitar, flutes ... ) , however , I think which this isn't a balanced album. Because, between the 7 tracks that composed ... (read more)

Report this review (#1559747) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, May 7, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I find it hard to sit through entire all-instrumental albums, even one as good as this. Without vocals, the songs suffer from sounding too similar.... and the band's playing is so subtle and reserved that nothing ever jumps out at you, and even the best bits can struggle to hold your attention fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#206745) | Posted by AdamHearst | Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a fantastic record. Not a classic, of course, but take a look at the year it was released: 1980! Was there anything in the world of prog worth listening to at that time? Well,to be honest not much. We had to stick to our 70s records. "Flowers in Asphalt" recovers the 70s spirit of prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#45976) | Posted by DACE | Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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