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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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Buy NOVALIS Music


SommerabendSommerabend
Import
Universal Import 2001
Audio CD$5.68
$5.67 (used)
NovalisNovalis
Import
2004
Audio CD$5.89
$5.87 (used)
AugenblickeAugenblicke
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$10.98
$6.01 (used)
FlossenengelFlossenengel
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$17.67
$23.48 (used)
BrandungBrandung
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$86.95
$67.00 (used)
Banished BridgeBanished Bridge
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$27.85
$26.99 (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$11.23
$8.99 (used)
konzerte LPkonzerte LP
BRAIN
Vinyl$17.17 (used)
Letztes Konzert 1984Letztes Konzert 1984
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Audio CD$10.22
$10.56 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
NOVALIS-LETZTES KONZERT.. -DIGI- -2CD- NOVALIS-LETZTES KONZERT.. -DIGI- -2CD- USD $17.55 Buy It Now 13h 28m
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NOVALIS-BOOMERANG NOVALIS-BOOMERANG USD $17.37 Buy It Now 23h 27m
NOVALIS-FLOSSENENGEL NOVALIS-FLOSSENENGEL USD $13.85 Buy It Now 23h 27m
NOVALIS-AUGENBLICKE NOVALIS-AUGENBLICKE USD $18.97 Buy It Now 23h 27m
NOVALIS Self Titled LP JAPAN BRAIN UXP-730-EB W/ OBI GERMAN PROG USD $39.99 Buy It Now 23h 29m
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1 day
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Konzerte Novalis Vinyl Record USD $28.90 Buy It Now 2 days
Mozart [LP] by Camerata Bern (Vinyl, 1989 Novalis Swiss Import) USD $3.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Novalis - Agenblicke (2012) CD Prog Rock 1980 USD $12.15 Buy It Now 3 days
Novalis - Bumerang CD Prog Rock 1984 (2012) USD $12.15 Buy It Now 3 days
33 RPM Vinyl Antonin Dvorak Camerata Bern Novalis Records 150011 Stereo 030515SM USD $13.98 Buy It Now 3 days
NOVALIS 1988 DIGITAL SWITZERLAND Mozart COLIN DAVIS Symphony #32 150027-1 NM USD $8.95 Buy It Now 3 days
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NOVALIS / Augenblicke JAPAN SHM-CD Mini LP w/OBI BELLE-121992 USD $34.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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NOVALIS-Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown? Japan 1st.Press w/OBI PROMO Camel Genesis USD $39.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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NOVALIS - FLOSSENENGEL NEW CD USD $18.96 Buy It Now 4 days
Novalis Brandung Germany LP FOC Brain USD $13.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Novalis-Novalis 1975 German (Black Label) Brain 1070 Choice M-/Perfect Stone M! USD $36.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Novalis-Sommerabend 1976 Green Brain 1087 PERFECT ARCHIVE SIS M/PERFECT STONE M USD $69.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Liebesfreud Thomas Furi Novalis Switzerland CD Kreisler Sarasate Elgar Faure USD $9.99 [0 bids]
4 days
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NOVALIS - FLOSSENENGEL / Japan LP / OBI / 1979 / Record USD $27.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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Bumerang by Novalis (CD, Sep-2012, 2 Discs, MIG) USD $15.95 Buy It Now 5 days
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NOVALIS BRANDUNG - GERMAN PRESSING - 1977 BRAIN 0060.094 A2 B EXCELLENT COND USD $23.16 Buy It Now 5 days
NOVALIS SOMMERABEND RARE 1976 KRAUT PSYCH COSMIC prog orange lbl BRAIN LP NM WOW USD $79.00 Buy It Now 5 days
Sommerabend by Novalis (CD, Dec-2001, Universal/Brain) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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NOVALIS-FLOSSENENGEL-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD Hi25 USD $31.99 Buy It Now 6 days
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NOVALIS Self Titled 1975 VINYL LP Brain 1070 Green Label Germany IMPORT Gatefold USD $40.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Novalis Flossenengel Japan Vinyl LP w/OBI USD $27.99 Buy It Now 7 days
NOVALIS original CD "Sommerabend" 1976 pressed 1992 on Brain USD $19.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Novalis ?- Banished Bridge CD USD $9.95 Buy It Now 8 days
EX- !! Novalis/Konzerte/1977 Brain LP USD $39.83 Buy It Now 8 days
EX- !! Novalis/Neumond/1982 Vertigo LP USD $39.83 Buy It Now 8 days
LUTZ RAHN / Solo Trip JAPAN SHM-CD Mini LP w/OBI BELLE-121993?NOVALIS USD $34.50 Buy It Now 8 days
Various: Les Etoiles De Neige / Le Secret Du Luthier LP VG++ Canada Novalis USD $14.99 Buy It Now 9 days
NOVALIS ?- BANISHED BRIDGE LP Brain Records / Krautrock USD $23.10 Buy It Now 9 days
SECOND MOVEMENT FOOLS DANCE GERMAN PROG MEGA RARE 7" SINGLE EDEN NOVALIS USD $41.55 Buy It Now 9 days
Novalis '78 lp vielleicht bist du ein clown orig brain germany prog synth lyric! USD $34.00 Buy It Now 9 days
MARTIN HASELBOCK - CPE BACH sonatina, concertos NOVALIS CD NM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 10 days
SEALED NOVALIS 1990 DIGITAL Tchaikovsky JUDD Serenade for Strings 150057-1 USD $11.85 Buy It Now 10 days
ROBERT LEBEL Tape Cassette JE T'AI CHERCHE LONGTEMPS AR-33-085 Novalis Quebec USD $7.22 Buy It Now 10 days
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Augenblicke - Novalis (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.51 Buy It Now 10 days
NOVALIS konzerte LP Mint- 60.065 Vinyl 1977 German Prog Rock Original Brain USD $31.50 Buy It Now 10 days
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Sommerabend by Novalis (CD, Dec-2001, Universal/Brain) USD $5.88 Buy It Now 10 days
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Sommerabend - Novalis (CD Used Very Good) USD $6.74 Buy It Now 10 days
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Novalis - Bumerang [CD New] USD $15.27 Buy It Now 11 days
Mozart: Haffner-Serenade; Symphony No. 32 (CD, Novalis) 1988 Factory Sealed New USD $18.39 Buy It Now 11 days
NOVALIS - Flossenengel CD JAPAN BELLE 121991 NEW 2012 USD $80.60 Buy It Now 11 days
Sommerabend Novalis Audio CD USD $13.51 Buy It Now 11 days
Carl Maria von Weber - Klocker: The Wind Concertos, Vol. 2 (Novalis) Like New USD $15.50 Buy It Now 11 days
NOVALIS Sommerabend 1989 KOREA Vinyl LP Brain Worldwide Safe & Free Shipping ! USD $33.95 Buy It Now 11 days
Novalis - Self Titled CD USD $14.16 Buy It Now 12 days
Novalis - Sommerabend CD USD $14.16 Buy It Now 12 days
NOVALIS: Novalis LP (Germany, 2nd pressing orange label few light sleevemarks o USD $35.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Brahms Violin Sonatas Novalis Cassette Dmitry Sitkovetsky Bella Davidovich USD $12.60 Buy It Now 12 days
NOVALIS / Flossenengel JAPAN SHM-CD Mini-LP w/OBI BELLE-121991?NEW!! USD $34.50 Buy It Now 12 days
LUTZ RHAN (NOVALIS) SOLO TRIPS German electronic space KRAUT prog progressive USD $40.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Brain Metronome Sampler Japan Promo Vinyl LP Novalis Birth Control Grobschnitt USD $79.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Ton Koopman Sebastian Bach vinyl LP Novalis Records EX [DMM Christian Muller] USD $15.00 Buy It Now 13 days
CAMERATA BERN vivaldi concerti LP EX-NM- 150 016 1 Vinyl 1987 Record NOVALIS USD $13.49 Buy It Now 13 days
NOVALIS, KONZERTE - GERMAN LP 60.065 PROG ROCK USD $10.00 Buy It Now 13 days
Bumerang Novalis Audio CD USD $28.03 Buy It Now 13 days
NOVALIS Novalis - 2004 German CD Digipack - Prog Rock - NEW! RARE! USD $8.69 Buy It Now 13 days
Spohr: Concertante Nr. 2; W.A. Mozart: Konzert C-dur, KV 299 (CD, Novalis) USD $20.50 Buy It Now 13 days
Haydn - Nicolet, Filippini, Canino: "London" and other Trios (Novalis) Like New USD $12.50 Buy It Now 13 days
Michele Bernard 10 ans de chansons 1987 Novalis 8507 made in France Inner USD $10.00 Buy It Now 14 days
PSYCHEDELIC ROCK BANDS LP: GROBSCHNITT NOVALIS NEU GATE HARMONIA... USD $100.00 Buy It Now 14 days
Flossenengel, Novalis USD $17.73 Buy It Now 14 days
Young Novalis - Head & The Heart [CD New] USD $14.52 Buy It Now 14 days


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NOVALIS shows & tickets


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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)

3.59 | 77 ratings
Banished Bridge
1973
3.77 | 136 ratings
Novalis
1975
3.73 | 154 ratings
Sommerabend
1976
3.31 | 71 ratings
Brandung
1977
3.24 | 51 ratings
Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown?
1978
3.39 | 47 ratings
Flossenengel
1979
3.26 | 36 ratings
Augenblicke
1980
2.29 | 20 ratings
Neumond
1982
2.28 | 20 ratings
Sterntaucher
1983
2.08 | 20 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
 Flossenengel by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 47 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!).

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 Brandung by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.31 | 71 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.

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 Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown? by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.24 | 51 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.

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 Novalis by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 136 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.

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 Bumerang by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.08 | 20 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.

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 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.

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 Augenblicke by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.26 | 36 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.

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 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.

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 Sommerabend by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.73 | 154 ratings

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Sommerabend
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sometime last year a prog reviewer posted a few reviews of Novalis albums, and as I had never heard of them before I decided to check them out. I picked one album on Amazon which seemed to be the best one to get but "Sommerabend" was a fair bit cheaper and so I ordered this one.

Going for the "Close to the Edge"/"Pawnhearts" style of one side-long track and two other tracks, this album from the beginning is one that you know will take a few listens to really understand what's going on. However, the digesting process is shortened by the fact that most of the music is not overly complex, nor are there any complicated twists and turns. This is an album of rather mellow and easy listening synthesizer prog with a frequent appearance of electric and acoustic guitars. In a way, the similarities between Novalis on this album and their compatriots, Eloy are easily recognizable.

For my taste, I enjoy the opening track "Aufbruch" the most because it is the most lively and adventurous of the three. This instrumental track alone makes me glad that I purchased the album. There's a good mix of synthesizer-led musical themes and electric guitar-led ones as well. The pace is not fast but still the music feels like it's going somewhere.

"Wunderschatze" is a song with German lyrics and keeps with the musical theme established in the first track. However, I find it is not as easy to keep paying attention here. I have no qualms with the German lyrics but as I understand about five words and three phrases in German, I can't say the lyrics arrest my attention. As I listen to this track while walking to or from the train station, my thoughts wander and I have to concentrate to bring them back to the music. A pleasant composition to be sure but nothing to keep me focused.

Side two is devoted entirely to the multi-part title track. For most of the duration, the song is very relaxing with either synthesizer or acoustic guitar leading the way and more soft and meditation-inducing German vocals. At one point, I'm not sure which part, there's a clanging guitar sound and the song suddenly becomes very lively and sung with a chorus of voices (well, perhaps a trio at least). The synthesizer solo steps up to the front and it seems the song has progressed. But soon we return to the softer themes and the song closes like this. Very nice to hear when I have other things to occupy my mind. I did try to listen carefully to the entire track one night as I walked home. It's good enough but not so thrilling for me.

I like this album and I love the colours of the cover. But there is little here to get e excited about Novalis. It's just an album that's nice to have in my collection and may get played from time to time when I happen to notice the soothing and trace-inducing aquatic colours of the cover. I may yet get around to buying the album that came before this one, the one with the butterflies. I have a strong feeling that the two will make a nice pair.

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 Sommerabend by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.73 | 154 ratings

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Sommerabend
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Thai Divone

4 stars Novalis are a magnificent band. Some even call this band legendary. So when I first came to this album, the one regarded as their best, I came to it with high anticipations. I hoped for something unique, revolutionizing. As it turns out, they're not revolutionary, but rather very much symphonic, especially Romantic-period style symphonic.

But it doesn't mean that I was disappointed, as this album is another one of my favorites. It combines much emotion with much elegance, and just like the poetry of Novalis himself, or the poetry of Coleridge and Byron, beauty and virtuosi join forces to create something that is so old and primitive, yet so fresh and new.

The album opens with the magnificent Aufbruch. Some watery sound effects lead to an amazing keyboards riff, with added sparkles of an amazing yet simple electric guitar. Drums and bass join around the 35 seconds mark. Hammond joins not much later, and it all centers around the keyboards' riff, that still grows and changes, even though it does that a little bit slowly.1:48 and we're presented with our guitar motive, an amazing, elegant and beautiful line, and then the piece's pace grows, all to lead to a certain spacey feel. Neo-Prog and Kraut-Rock join forces with some Beethoven? Perhaps. The motive comes back, leading this time to a different segment, at around 4:00. Slow, with much use of drums and bass.at around 4:26 it changes yet again, going the keyboards-rock route. Quick and precise, virtuosic and suspenseful. Then it changes again, around 5:15. Then layers are taken off, leaving us with only bass, Hammond and drums, only to inject them again. Then we're presented with the keyboards riff from the beginning, this time on a different instrument and with a much rock-ish feel. 6:53 and the motive is presented again, feeling much fuller and much more worthwhile and hard-won.7:32 leads to a beautiful guitar solo, simple yet beautiful. Two guitars harmonize each other, solo on each other's backs. Then a rock-ish bridge to bring us near the ending segment, or should I say to another keyboards riff? And then the closing segment, which is a little bit just like the way we begun, with the same "keyboards-with-some-electric-guitar-sparkles", and then another SFX as an ending. What a great way to open the album.

Wunderschätze opens much more quickly, and around the 34 seconds mark stops a little to let the fingerstyle guitar-riff take its place. Vocals join around 1:10. I wished that I knew some German, to understand them, but they do sound beautiful, and so full of sorrow. It does feel, though, like a verse-chorus-verse-chorus kind of song during those early minutes. Before the harmonies of 3:12, but the pace is built during those moments, all to lead to a certain come-back to the early riff-like beginning. The bass here is no less than amazing. 4:08 is where the song starts to really shine with some amazing instrumentals building on each other. Keyboards solo, then electric guitar, then an almost drum-solo and back to the guitars. And around 5:24 we're back to the beginning riff-like motive. 5:48 and we're back to the fingerstyle guitar. This time it is different, and it is allowed to linger a little bit, before coming back to the vocals and to the earlier sound of it. 8:06 and we're back to the instrumentals, more suspenseful and a little bit less melodic. And it all feels like building to a certain crescendo, with layers added and pace rising slowly but surely. And when it comes? It doesn't disappoint.

Sommerabend is the side-long track, and it opens slowly, taking the time to build itself. It sounds spacy, known but unknown, English yet so-not-English. Drums and keyboards on them, doing no less than magic. The bass is slow and simple, yet adds so much. Then a keyboards motive enters around 2:10, giving us an ethereal feel. Nylon-string guitars enter around 3:10. 3:51 and a fingerstyle guitar riff is presented to us. 4:30 and some lone and long keyboard's notes are added, and sometimes it is just Hammond chords. It takes its time, giving us the atmosphere it deserves, building it for us. 6:19 and vocals join in. they feel like the words of a man who saw too much for his own good. 8:14 and we're back to instrumentals, changing the song completely but not too much, guitars giving us a beautiful harmony around 9:03, and then we're back to vocals around 9:20. It feels a bit conservative, during those moments, like they hold themselves in purpose. 10:00 and we get the vocalic melody, on Moog. 10:40 and we're back to vocals. 11:24 and we're back to keyboards' melody. And then it builds to? 12:06 is a mark than one just has to listen to for himself/herself. There's no way to describe the change of pace, the genius of this transition. It is just mind-blowingly brilliant. The change backwards, at 14:28 is no less amazing. 15:07 and the vocals come back again, a little bit happier, and the voices are harmonizing each other. 16:32 and we're back to the sound of the piece's beginning, even though it is a bit more spacy, more ethereal, more airy. This circular ending, though, feels so right for this piece, so part of its genius.

And so the album ends. Which brings me to its rating question, because as much as I like it, essential? I don't think so. So 4 stars: excellent (and even more than just excellent) addition to any Prog-Rock collection, but not essential.

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