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NOVALIS

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Novalis biography
During the mid-seventies, the Hamburg-based band NOVALIS established themselves as leaders in the field of German-language romantic rock. The quartet called itself NOVALIS after the most important German poet of early romanticism. They created a rock music of poetic, lyrical with german lyrics and instrumental beauty. Their music, a heavy organ rock, was compared to the sounds of bands such KING CRIMSON and PINK FLOYD. They released a few albums of lush, keyboard-dominant prog rock during the seventies. The keyboards created majestic layers on which the guitar builds airy melodies.

Starting with heavily organ-accentued art rock a-la KING CRIMSON (and on their debut, "Banished Bridge", including English lyrics), NOVALIS later developped their own unique style, a mixture of progressive, classic, folk and rock. "Banished Bridge" (1973) showed their KING CRIMSON influences... in a dreamy, laid back progressive rock. This 1975 self-titled album was their 2nd album and continues to show their own style take on these influences. "Novalis" (1975) and the classic "Sommerabend" (1976), both are actually much better than the comparatively disappointing fourth album, "Brandung" (1977). They did very well down musically and commercial in the second half of the 70's. "Flossenengel" (1979) was the last good one. "Rock on Brain" (1978) is an excellent document of the first 6 (and best) years of this great band.

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NovalisNovalis
Import
2004
Audio CD$6.23
$5.45 (used)
SommerabendSommerabend
Import
Universal Import 2001
Audio CD$5.49
$5.52 (used)
Banished BridgeBanished Bridge
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$49.94
$26.99 (used)
AugenblickeAugenblicke
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$10.98
$10.97 (used)
BrandungBrandung
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$86.95
$85.95 (used)
FlossenengelFlossenengel
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$31.45
$17.12 (used)
Vielleicht Bist De Ein ClownVielleicht Bist De Ein Clown
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$53.95
$52.95 (used)
BumerangBumerang
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$11.16
$8.68 (used)
KonzerteKonzerte
Brain / SPV 2009
Audio CD$98.99 (used)
Letztes Konzert 1984Letztes Konzert 1984
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$10.12
$7.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
TRIO NOVALIS - BRUCH 8 pieces for clarinet, alto & piano ADES LP NM USD $17.00 Buy It Now 3h 30m
FACTORY SEALED Stadler - Symphony No. 5 - Bennett - Novalis SWISS DIGITAL LP USD $13.99 Buy It Now 4h 44m
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2 LPs NOVALIS 1989 DIGITAL Switzerland Bach BRANDENBURG VIENNA ACADEMY 150035-1 USD $14.85 Buy It Now 10h 35m
EDITH MATHIS W.A MOZART Lieder Karl Engel Piano CD Novalis Import 1986 MINT USD $19.99 [0 bids]
12h 23m
Flossenengel, Novalis USD $16.01 Buy It Now 14h 21m
BACH Works For Organ II. Tom Koopman NOVALIS 150 020-1 DMM in Shrink NM! USD $7.95 Buy It Now 22h 12m
Novalis - 1.5 CD USD $1.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Telemann: Wind & Oboe Concertos (CD, May-2004, 2 Discs, Novalis) USD $2.00 [0 bids]
1 day
LP NOVALIS KONZERTE 1977 BRAIN GERMANY PRESSING VG++ / NM PROG ROCK USD $29.98 Buy It Now 1 day
NOVALIS-SOMMERABEND CD NEW USD $15.64 Buy It Now 2 days
33 RPM Vinyl Gustav Mahler Symphonie Nr. 1 Novalis Records Stereo 012615SM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Flossenengel NOVALIS Japan TELEFUNKEN K22P-157 W/Obi & Inserts EX USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2 days
MADISON DYKE ZEITMASCHINE RARE GERMAN KRAUT PRIVATE PROG LP NOVALIS EDEN USD $19.88 [1 bids]
2 days
BACH - TON KOOPMAN - ORGEL - ORGAN (NOVALIS 150 005-1) SWISS 1986 DIGITAL LP EX USD $10.47 Buy It Now 2 days
NOVALIS-AUGENBLICKE-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD Hi25 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NOVALIS-FLOSSENENGEL-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD Hi25 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 2 days
(CD) Flossenengel [Germany Import]/ Novalis / ProgRock; German Krautrock/SEALED USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
NOVALIS Flossenengel RARE 1991 GERMANY Castle Legends CD issue USD $41.25 Buy It Now 2 days
JAPAN LP LUTZ RAHN K22P-159 KING RECORDS OBI INSERT NOVALIS SYNTH NEAR MINT USD $39.99 Buy It Now 2 days
rare NOVALIS german pressed mint vinyl lp BUMERANG USD $58.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Novalis - Bumerang JEWEL CASE CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Novalis - Augenblicke JEWEL CASE CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $16.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas op 53 & op 57 - Nikolayeva Last Recording NOVALIS NEW USD $31.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Rock On Brain 0040.119 German LP 1979 Novalis Jane SFF Guru Guru RMO USD $7.84 Buy It Now 3 days
NOVALIS:BUMERANG/PROG USD $9.15 Buy It Now 3 days
Camerata Bern SUK/ELGAR/FUCHS Serenades - Novalis 150022-1 SEALED USD $15.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Mozart: Haffner-Serenade; Symphony No. 32 (CD, Novalis) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3 days
NOVALIS - Self-Titled Orig GERMAN 1970's GREEN BRAIN LP - Krautrock / PROG PSYCH USD $44.67 Buy It Now 3 days
Camerata Bern - Serenaden Der Romantik (LP Novalis 150022-1) NM/NEW USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MOZART - SYMPHONIES 38 & 40 - ZURCHER KAMMERORCHESTER - GRIFFITHS - NOVALIS USD $2.60 Buy It Now 4 days
NOVALIS SOMMERABEND 1989 LP PICTURE W/INSERT NM ~ MINT- Promo Kraut rock USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Bach Brandenburgische konzerte 1-6 Akademie Haselbock (CD, 1989, Novalis) USD $11.24 Buy It Now 4 days
Augenblicke Novalis Audio CD USD $26.14 Buy It Now 4 days
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Sitkovetsky. Bach (Violin concertos). Novalis 150017 dig. Mint (Sealed) USD $40.00 Buy It Now 4 days
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LUTZ RHAN (NOVALIS) SOLO TRIPS German electronic space KRAUT prog progressive USD $40.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Novalis-Letztes Konzert '84 CD NEW USD $15.19 Buy It Now 5 days
NOVALIS KONZERTE, 1977 BRAIN RECORDS(GERMANY, 60 065) USD $14.99 [0 bids]
5 days
Dvorak: Serenade Op22, Sextet Op48-Camerata Bern-Novalis Switzerland Full Silver USD $2.59 [0 bids]
USD $3.49 Buy It Now
5 days
NOVALIS Konzerte German Brain prog lp Kraut rock Nektar USD $10.99 [0 bids]
5 days
ROMANTISCHE CHORMUSIK MONTEVERDI CHOR HAMBURG NOVALIS USD $24.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Novalis - Flossenengel NEW CD USD $12.19 Buy It Now 6 days
TSCHAIKOWSKY ENGLISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA/JAMES JUDD LP (Novalis) 1990 New/Sealed USD $99.95 Buy It Now 6 days
ROCK ON BRAIN accept/epitaph/novalis/rmo/sff/birth control 0040.119 LP PS VG+/VG USD $11.75 Buy It Now 6 days
NOVALIS**FLOSSENENGEL**CD USD $11.95 Buy It Now 6 days
Mahler Symphonie Nr. 1 CD Novalis Der Titan Sir Colin Davis 1988 Music Disc USD $4.75 Buy It Now 6 days
MARTIN HASELBOCK / MOZART the freemason musics / NOVALIS USD $19.99 [0 bids]
6 days
Novalis-Bumerang CD NEW USD $15.91 Buy It Now 6 days
Novalis-Flossenengel CD NEW USD $14.52 Buy It Now 6 days
RARE OFFER LOT OF THREE GERMAN NOVALIS BRAIN KRAUTROCK PSYCH ALBUMS USD $99.99 Buy It Now 6 days
NOVALIS:AUGENBLICKIE/PROG USD $9.15 Buy It Now 6 days
JANE-TOGETHER-2010 180g VINYL LP-GROBSCHNITT/NOVALIS/BIRTH CONTROL-NEW USD $32.70 Buy It Now 7 days
CAMERATA BERN vivaldi concerti LP EX-NM- 150 016 1 Vinyl 1987 Record NOVALIS USD $13.19 Buy It Now 9 days
NOVALIS - FLOSSENENGEL CD (2015) NEW+ USD $19.16 Buy It Now 9 days
Novalis ?- Bumerang cd USD $6.95 Buy It Now 9 days
Novalis ?- Augenblicke cd USD $9.99 Buy It Now 9 days
NOVALIS - AUGENBLICKE CD NEW+ USD $29.12 Buy It Now 9 days
NOVALIS - BUMERANG CD NEW+ USD $25.76 Buy It Now 9 days
Novalis Novalis MUSIC CD USD $43.98 Buy It Now 9 days
MARTIN HASELBOCK - BIBER SCHMELZER POGLIETTI - NOVALIS CD STILL SEALED USD $14.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Spohr: Concertante Nr. 2; W.A. Mozart: Konzert C-dur, KV 299 (CD, Novalis) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Spohr: Concertante Nr. 2; W.A. Mozart: Konzert C-dur, KV 299 (CD, Novalis) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 10 days
JAPAN NOVALIS FLOSSENENGEL K22P-157 KING OBI INSERT GERMAN PROG SYNTH NEAR MINT USD $39.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Mozart: Haffner-Serenade; Symphony No. 32 (CD, Novalis) (cd1407) USD $19.85 Buy It Now 10 days
TRIO VERACINI - CORELLI 12 sonatas NOVALIS CD STILL SEALED USD $14.99 Buy It Now 11 days
Antonin Dvorak, Serenades in E Major and A Major, Camerata Bern, Novalis CD 1986 USD $2.95 Buy It Now 11 days
Bumerang - Novalis (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.73 Buy It Now 11 days
Oppitz+Sitkovetsky+Geringas. Schubert (Trio op. 100). Novalis 150 003 dig. NM USD $12.80 Buy It Now 11 days
Peter Schreier & Konrad Ragossnig Mozart Haydn Weber cassette NM Novalis USD $5.99 Buy It Now 12 days
Vivaldi Concerti - Camerata Bern (LP 1987 Novalis) NM/NEW Switzerland USD $29.99 Buy It Now 12 days
NOVALIS Konzerte BRAIN RECORDS 1977 Near Mint GERMAN IMPORT Progressive Rock USD $49.99 Buy It Now 13 days
NOVALIS Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown? BRAIN RECORDS 1978 Near Mint USD $33.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Letztes Konzert '84 Novalis Audio CD USD $24.98 Buy It Now 13 days
Camerata Bern DIE LODRONISCHEN NACHTMUSIKEN Mozart Novalis 150 040-1 1989 NM USD $16.95 Buy It Now 13 days
Novalis ?- Sommerabend CD USD $7.95 Buy It Now 13 days
NOVALIS-NOVALIS-CD UNIVERSAL NEW USD $10.29 Buy It Now 13 days
Konzerte Novalis Vinyl Record USD $26.10 Buy It Now 14 days
Novalis 150 035-1 (2LPs) digital Nm BACH Brandenburg Concertos, HASELBOCK/VIENNA USD $6.00 Buy It Now 14 days
PROMO ONLY JPN NOVALIS BIRTH CONTROL GROBSCHNITT BRAIN USD $129.99 Buy It Now 14 days
33 RPM Vinyl Antonin Dvorak Camerata Bern Novalis Records 150011 Stereo 030515SM USD $13.98 Buy It Now 15 days
Novalis - Novalis CD S/T self titled USD $12.99 Buy It Now 15 days
ENSEMBLE ET CHOEUR DE RADIO VILLE-MARIE - NOEL EN NOUVELLE-France - CD CHRISTMAS USD $6.83 Buy It Now 15 days
Novalis Brandung LP Sealed 0060.094 1977 Germany USD $69.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Novalis-Novalis 1975 German (Black Label) Brain 1070 Choice M-/Perfect Stone M! USD $31.00 Buy It Now 15 days
Novalis-Sommerabend 1976 Green Brain 1087 PERFECT ARCHIVE SIS M/PERFECT STONE M USD $63.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Mozart: Haffner-Serenade; Symphony No. 32 (CD, Novalis) 1988 Factory Sealed New USD $22.99 Buy It Now 16 days
Flossenengel 0885513006509 by Novalis, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $16.43 Buy It Now 16 days
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 Sir Colin Davis Novalis Import USD $29.69 Buy It Now 16 days
Young Novalis - Head & The Heart [CD New] USD $12.71 Buy It Now 16 days
Novalis - Flossenengel [CD New] USD $12.99 Buy It Now 17 days
NOVALIS BRANDUNG - GERMAN PRESSING - 1977 BRAIN 0060.094 A2 B EXCELLENT COND USD $20.92 Buy It Now 17 days
NOVALIS SOMMERABEND RARE 1976 KRAUT PSYCH COSMIC prog orange lbl BRAIN LP NM WOW USD $69.00 Buy It Now 17 days
NOVALIS - FLOSSENENGEL / Japan LP / OBI / 1979 / K22P-157 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 17 days
Novalis Brandung Rare German Prog Lp gatefold brain '77 kraut vinyl import WOW!! USD $45.00 Buy It Now 17 days
Anton Bruckner Organ Works Erwin Horn Novalis 1990 CD MINT USD $24.99 Buy It Now 17 days
Novalis Bach Orgelwerke II Ton Koopman CD MINT USD $9.99 Buy It Now 17 days
NOVALIS Self Titled LP JAPAN BRAIN UXP-730-EB W/ OBI GERMAN PROG USD $39.99 Buy It Now 17 days

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NOVALIS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NOVALIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 79 ratings
Banished Bridge
1973
3.77 | 142 ratings
Novalis
1975
3.74 | 157 ratings
Sommerabend
1976
3.29 | 73 ratings
Brandung
1977
3.24 | 52 ratings
Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown?
1978
3.42 | 49 ratings
Flossenengel
1979
3.27 | 38 ratings
Augenblicke
1980
2.29 | 20 ratings
Neumond
1982
2.28 | 20 ratings
Sterntaucher
1983
2.09 | 21 ratings
Bumerang
1984
1.55 | 14 ratings
Nach uns die Flut
1985

NOVALIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 37 ratings
Konzerte
1977
3.50 | 6 ratings
Novalis Lebt !
1993
3.33 | 6 ratings
Letztes Konzert 1984
2009

NOVALIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NOVALIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 4 ratings
Wer Schmetterlinge Lachen Hört
1978
3.00 | 3 ratings
Sonnenwende
1978
4.00 | 2 ratings
Rock On Brain
1978
4.00 | 2 ratings
Visionen
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Castle Masters Collection
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Atlanto
2000

NOVALIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Oft Sagt Man Mehr, Wenn Man Schweigt
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nach Uns Die Flut (Single)
1985

NOVALIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sommerabend by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 157 ratings

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Sommerabend
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I quite enjoyed Novalis' debut album (Banished Bridge), but they lost me a little on their second album, which felt a little generic and directionless. On Sommerabend, they recalibrate and find a distinctive sound for themselves - a blissful, mellow style of symphonic prog that is much more peaceful and tranquil than prog tends to be. Influences from the likes of early Genesis can still be heard here and there, but if you are looking to rock out you're in the wrong place - follow the example of the lady on the front cover and take in the album on a sunny day, perhaps whilst on a walk through the forest.
 Brandung by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.29 | 73 ratings

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Brandung
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars In the early to mid-Seventies, symphonic prog band Novalis released a decent debut, a far superior self-titled follow-up and an absolute classic of German symphonic prog with the dreamy and wasted `Sommerabend' on their third attempt, in addition to a great live album `Konzerte' in 1977. Moving quite a trip away from the hazy and unhurried drifting moods of that above mentioned third studio album, `Brandung', also from 1977, adopted a more streamlined approach of predominantly vocal-based melodic compositions, with great emphasis placed on the lead vocals of newly instated frontman Fred Mühlböck (who debuted on the live `Konzerte' release), who carries a large chunk of the more accessible approachable melodies and focused tunes of the album with strength and dignity. Most of the pieces were still fairly lengthy, with the second side of the LP culminating yet again with an extended side-long suite like the previous album, but the group were moving towards a strong balance of interesting instrumental qualities with a mainstream rock/pop crossover appeal without sacrificing musical intelligence.

Some will likely be instantly (and unwisely!) put off by the up-tempo poppy opening seconds of lead track `Irgendwo, Irgendwahn', which actually became something of a surprise minor radio hit in Germany for the band at the time. Although it has a rather delirious and energetic repeated synth/guitar theme leaping in here and there, the bulk of the tune settles into a decent rock tune with slight hints of a darker symphonic theme in a few spots that hold a little more weight than the perkier moments. A beautiful short ballad interlude with the first little traces of melancholy seeping in that will show up further on the latter parts of the album, `Wenn Nicht Mehr Zahlen und Figuren', follows, and Fred and the group deliver sublime and exquisite sighing harmonies over gentle acoustic guitars and Lutz Rahn's shimmering subdued synths. The first side closes with a grooving and energetic nine minute rocker `Astralis' that houses Detlef Job's jangling guitars, trickles of Hammond organ and a welcome longer instrumental run in the middle with Heino Schünzel's slowly funky bass and a stomping beat from drummer Hartwig Biereichel, and the frequently reprising soaring theme and boisterous chorus vocal calls to mind the debut 1975 album from Swedish band Kaipa.

The entire second side of the album is comprised of a varied four part suite `Sonnenwende', opening with a cool instrumental introduction driven by thick silken bass gliding behind careful Mellotron veils and chilled-out guitar licks, with a touch of classical piano bombast in the final moments. The piece moves into a slinking dark groover with an intensely maddening repeated chorus and electric guitar bite, followed by a short melancholic piano ballad with restrained power that holds reaching falsetto vocal moments and a stirring and regal extended instrumental outro with gorgeous humming Hammond organ and scratchy Mellotron. The final section and album finale holds a creeping gothic atmosphere, home to gloomy piano and eerie wavering synths, a plodding moribund drum beat, Fred's voice moving between a sorrowful croon and soaring with wounded controlled power, the piece finally culminating in a grandiose storm of organ. Perhaps this `suite' is more a collection of four separate pieces than a genuine extended epic, but it maintains a good flow throughout and doesn't hold a single wasted second of music.

This barely 33 minute album isn't long enough for any filler to creep in, and repeated listens reveal a very addictive and mature collection. Novalis delivered a compact and purposeful rock album brimming with energy and sophistication with `Brandung', and while it's not their best progressive music statement or quite on the same level as the two albums prior for prog rock fans, it still remains a fine adventurous rock album all the same.

Three and a half stars.

 Flossenengel by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.42 | 49 ratings

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Flossenengel
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars After two months listening up and down through Novalis's work, "Flossenengel" emerges as their strongest album, at least for me. Earlier, when reviewing "Clown" I still felt that I should split the price. Now, however, Flossenengel has several tunes spinning around in my head for weeks.

As a concept album, telling the story of some kind of cross between whale and fish being captured, held in a zoo, suffering, and freed by the fisher who initially caught it, it provides Novalis with a great opportunity to combine their tendency toward smaller and more transparent songs that begun with "Brandung" with a bigger overarching structure. Thinking bigger is a winner for the band here, because despite the fact that the different songs are written in a stand-alone fashion without recurring themes over the whole album (apart from some whale sounds in the beginning and end), the concept gives the album flow and cohesion. Throughout their career, the biggest strength of the band has always been the musicality and taste in their arrangements and the careful balance between slower and faster, calmer and louder, more cheerful and sadder parts, and this quality here stretches through the whole album, with a convincing mix of contrasts and changes on one hand and taking time to build up moods and atmospheres on the other hand. Further, the compositions are clearly inspired by how the story goes on, with nice musical interpretations of the limitless freedom in the water, the fight of the fisher with his catch, the beauty of the animal, the melancholy of being captured, a rather aggressive comment on how human beings treat animals in the zoo and so on. A more fitting way of telling this story in music is hard to imagine (which is another strength on many Novalis albums, albeit elsewhere on a lower scale).

Most of the album is on the melodic, soft side of prog, with occasional outbursts of singer Fred Muehlboeck, particularly in the more rocking "Sklavenzoo" and in the finale. Regarding emotions, the album is very versatile, as already pointed out; nice examples are the folk ballad "Flossenengel", "Alle wollen leben" in the style of the optimistic "Irgendwo Irgendwann" of "Brandung", the depressive "Im Netz" and the uplifting "Rueckkehr". The two instrumentals, Atlanto and Walzer fuer einen verlorenen Traum, are among the strongest of the band, combining catchy melodies with dynamic arrangements.

Again, as elsewhere in the band's catalog, there are good guitar and keyboard parts (particularly keyboarder Lutz Rahn is in very good form here; guitarist Job shows the melodic qualities well known from him), and singer Muehlboeck is at his most dynamic (although he somewhat exaggerates it at times). The rhythm section, to be honest, isn't the most exciting, though.

All in all I'd call this the quintessential Novalis album, showing all the strengths of the band embedded in a convincing concept. I give it a very strong 4 stars (some issues with the vocals, and the rather bland rhythm section keep it below 5 but still, listen to this!).

 Brandung by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.29 | 73 ratings

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Brandung
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars Brandung is the first Novalis studio album with the new singer Fred Muehlboeck. It marks a transition from Novalis' more symphonic and epic period to shorter straighter songs. The opener "Irgendwo Irgendwann" shows where Novalis would go after this album. They tried it out as a single with moderate success. It's a very optimistic up-beat rock song with earworm qualities that ended up as a celebrated standard on their concerts until the end of the band. It plays very well to Muehlboeck's show qualities as the band's front man, which was something they didn't have before he entered the band. Given that the rest of the album is of a different mood and style, I'm fine with this song. "Wenn nicht mehr Zahlen und Figuren" is a beautiful, delicate and poetic song inspired by classical music. "Astralis" is powerful prog rock showing off the band's musicality and good hand for melodies and arrangements, although it becomes somewhat repetitive toward the intense end. The second side has the 17-minutes opus "Sonnenwende". This starts with "Brandung", one of their very straight instrumentals with a very nice flute melody. The remainder of Sonnenwende shows the qualities mentioned before again, with pleasant melodies and tasteful arragements. "Sonnenwende" can be seen as four songs; there is not much in terms of recurring or overarching themes that glue the parts together, apart from the lyrics and the fact that the beginning of each part works well at the end of the previous one. What can be criticised about the album and particularly about "Sonnenwende" is that the musical substance is limited. The album is very short, less than 34 minutes, and on top of that there is quite a bit of repetition and some time is spent on predictable variations of the same theme.

Brandung definitely has its moments, but despite it being good to listen to, "Sonnenwende" signifies that such a 17 minutes work doesn't really play to the strengths of the band anymore; the tendency to to go to more transparent and direct songs is already apparent, be it because of Muehlboeck, be it because of a changing taste of other band members, too. The next two albums will see the band elaborating this new approach with Muehlboeck's voice becoming more confident (he is OK here but seems more restricted to a certain range than later, although "Zahlen und Figuren" is sung differently from the others, much more calm and sensitive, and very nice) and more down-to-earth real-life lyrics.

3 1/2 stars.

 Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown? by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.24 | 52 ratings

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Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown?
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars It is true that with this album Novalis already turned their backs to Prog, or at least to long and epic "symphonic" works. As far as I can get from interviews with band members, even long after the band actually had ceased to exist, I believe that this move was not mainly motivated by commercial concerns, but rather by the influence of singer Muehlboeck and a general shift of taste to simpler and straighter song structures. This had already started with the single "Irgendwo Irgendwann" on "Brandung", and also Novalis continued their tradition of instrumentals on "Clown" and beyond, so this was rather a gradual change than something that suddenly happened on this album.

In any case, "Vielleicht bist du ein Clown" rather qualifies as sophisticated high quality rock than as prog ("symphonic" or otherwise). Still, I'd rate this as joint best Novalis album (together with Novalis and Flossenengel) - prog or not, the music is just so good.

"Vielleicht bin ich ein Clown" ("Perhaps I'm a clown" - the album title has "you're" instead of "I'm") is my favourite Novalis song. It is a powerful dramatic song with some effective twists and a very good flute, a perfect support for Muehlboeck's voice, which has exactly the theatralic qualities needed for the interesting but direct and down-to-earth self-reflective psychological lyrics. "Der Geigenspieler" is the longest piece, a nice romantic ode to a street musician, starting in a calm and dreamy way but becoming far more dynamic, with a good contrast between the voices of the calm Job and the more dramatic Muehlboeck. "Manchmal faellt der Regen eben lang" is a rather harmless but somewhat catchy and nicely optimistic pop song, "Die Welt wird alt und wieder jung" has Muehlboeck singing a beautiful rather sad tune in a more sensitive and vulnerable mood. This is a quite successful attempt to write a classical song with a piano and violin arrangement without using rock instruments.

Then there are two instrumentals, Zingaresca more guitar- and City Nord more keyboard oriented. The tunes on which these are based are rather simple and both tracks are somewhat repetitive, but they also have their qualities; Zingaresca has a very good interplay of the two guitars and some tasteful variations of the main tune (it reminds me of some of Camel's instrumentals), and City Nord is smooth and organic and perfect for driving through nice landscapes (opposed to what its title suggests - Hamburg's City Nord is a conglomerate of high rise business buildings) with its straight rhythm (another example of "Novalis goes postrock").

So all the six songs are very pleasant and also very different from each other, and still a characteristic sound of Novalis can be made out, carried by Muehlboeck's voice, Rahn's keyboards invoking his classical influences, Job's melodic somewhat Andy Latimer-like guitar, and the rather straight rhythm section in the background without any ego-trips. The only thing to criticise is the disappointing length of below 35 minutes; nobody would have complained about more of this stuff.

 Novalis by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 142 ratings

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Novalis
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars Novalis come from my home town and my father, who was otherwise pretty ignorant about music, owned this probably due to their local hero status, so this was one of the first albums I discovered when I started to become interested in (prog) music at the age of 13 or so. I loved it at the time and still love it. The musicians may not be top notch (keyboard and guitars are fine, but the drummer struggles at times and the bass is solid but unremarkable and the voice is quite amateurish, although it fits the songs pretty well), the compositions may not be the most complex and innovative you can imagine. The big quality of this is the musicality, the inner logic of the compositions. There are quite some contrasts and tempo changes in the longer tracks, but all sounds organic; every turn makes intuitive sense, the melodies and harmonies work very well, the arrangements are tasteful, the soli have the right length and fit nicely with the remainders of the song. It's simply beautiful how the elements work together. Most of the time the music is instrumental. The two songs with lyrics (Es faerbte sich die Wiese gruen, Wer Schmetterlinge lachen hoert) are driven by beautiful romantic melodies, but also enriched by at times quite powerful rock instrumental parts. Impressionen is inspired by classical music and the most symphonic and keyboard oriented track.

The other two instrumentals, Sonnengeflecht and Dronsz, start a tradition of fairly short and straight but pleasant and atmospheric instrumentals of various moods that would run through all further recordings of Novalis until the very end. Actually, listening to these 40 years later, they have a quite timeless quality, and I think it's a pity that nobody tried to release a Novalis instrumental sampler when postrock was big - the energetic Sonnengeflecht could easily have appeared (with somewhat revised sounds) on a Tortoise album and the smooth, slowly intensifying Dronsz sounds now like Salarymen to me, except that Novalis was 20 years earlier. These songs are so friendly and unpretentious that I'd guess nobody would have considered them cutting edge but just good to listen to - still they are ahead of their time in a certain way.

Overall a very creative, fresh and pleasant album with just the right degree of complexity.

 Bumerang by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.09 | 21 ratings

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Bumerang
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

1 stars I read somewhere that Novalis were forced to do this album quickly because they lost a lawsuit against the record company and had to deliver one more album than they had thought. I saw the band live at the time before I actually got the album and they still could deliver a great gig, but it was clear that the new songs couldn't keep up with the older ones. The band continued what they had started, slowly, already on Brandung and Clown, namely a conscious movement away from longer more epic songs to shorter pop songs. The new German "Neue Deutsche Welle" music at the time, which had started off inspired by punk and British new wave, had become dangerously close to the very cheesy old German "Schlager" pop with superficial lyrics mostly about love. On the previous records between Augenblicke and Sterntaucher, Novalis had already flirted with direct emotional but "soft" lyrics and corresponding sounds and melodies, which came over as authentic and mostly sympathetic, but with Bumerang they definitely landed on the wrong side, sounding rather cliched and cheesy. There is nothing of interest to a prog listener here, and even letting proggy expectations aside, I don't find anything special on this album. Some of the pop melodies and lyrics are even rather embarrassing. As usually, there is a handful of instrumentals on this album, which don't hurt much. "Ueber Stock und Stein" is the best and is at least closest to earn the description "rock", but even this one has some rather annoying disco influences. This is an album I can do without.
 Neumond by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.29 | 20 ratings

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Neumond
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

2 stars When "Neumond" came out I was quite a fan of this band and I actually liked it a lot. Despite the music becoming less and less progressive and complex, I was happy that the band showed some fresh development and was willing to try out something new. My favourites were the catchy anti-war/military hymn "Kein Frieden" and the energetic and fast "Fruehsport im Sachsenwald". There are three other songs with lyrics on "Neumond". "Nachttraum" follows up on "Der Geigenspieler" and "Herbstwind" from "Clown" and "Augenblicke" as longer calm poetic song with some development, sung by Detlef Job's thinner and less dramatic folky voice, compared to Muehlboeck. Unfortunately it doesn't work that well. It feels less organic than "Herbstwind", and like a second rate imitation of "Geigenspieler". "Du bist schoen" und "Oft sagt man mehr wenn man schweigt" are melodic and somewhat sentimental pop songs the music of which I find rather uninteresting. On the positive side, all five songs with vocals combine the music very suitably with the lyrics, which offer a nice range of real life topics, if you're interested in German lyrics, that is. Then there are four instrumentals, which are all nice to listen to and which show some variety in mood and speed (and somewhat outdated 80s sound), although none of them stands out for me and I wouldn't put any of these on to listen to it outside the context of the whole album (as I'd do with Zugvoegel, Danmark, Sinus or City Nord from surrounding Novalis albums).

Overall I have to say that after all the years I don't find too much anymore in this album that really draws me in. It is not bad, nice to listen to from beginning to end, I can appreciate that the band avoided standing still and the taste in combining lyrics and music, but highlights are scarce and can't compete with what the band delivered elsewhere. 2 1/2 stars, this time rounded down so that Augenblicke and Neumond have 5 stars combined, which seems about right.

 Augenblicke by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.27 | 38 ratings

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Augenblicke
Novalis Symphonic Prog

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.

 Sterntaucher by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.28 | 20 ratings

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Sterntaucher
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars Sterntaucher is by far not as bad as some would make you believe. I was a Novalis fan when it came out and I was young and interested in the music of the time as well as in 70s prog, so I didn't mind prog bands trying out shorter and more easily accessible songs, and I liked this album quite a lot. The first two songs are quite straight. "Faehrmann" has a good chorus and "Ich will hier raus" (actually both of them) are very well fitted to the lyrics (which are about the will to escape bad situations). I didn't like "Abschied" a lot in the beginning, but it is a haunting, very emotional song about the death of a friend, and I turn back to it regularly since then. "Grenzen" and "Keiner kann gewinnen" are the longest songs, both rather slow. "Keiner kann gewinnen" is a rather intense melody that works well for me, there is no complexity here but at least some development and some good guitar. "Grenzen" is about tearing down borders, after "Kein Frieden" on the previous album and "Flossenengel" another example of their somewhat naive but certainly authentic political engagement of the band. Again this is not really complex but intense. "Sinus" is the only instrumental, also rather slow in the beginning but taking off later, of usual Novalis instrumental quality and even rather above average. The title track has a surprising reggae-like chorus and while it is not anywhere near prog, it's a fun thing to try out. The only song I really don't like is "Ein klein wenig mehr", which sounds like a rather ill-advised shot at a "Schlager" (traditional German hit single). It is the shortest track and therefore doesn't hurt much, but unfortunately this of all songs is closest to the vast majority of their next, rather dreadful, Bumerang album.

I can still listen well to much of this more than 30 years later; I think that although I'm not normally very interested in lyrics, a major strength of this record is that the songs support the emotional, authentic and direct lyrics very well, qualities not often found in prog (and unfortunately hard to appreciate for those who don't understand German). On the other hand, Muehlboeck's voice is not at its best here and sounds somewhat tired at times.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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