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ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER

Crossover Prog • Switzerland


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Andreas Vollenweider biography
Andreas VOLLENWEIDER, son of an organist, is born in Zurich (Switzerland) in 1953. He started playing various instruments as autodidact until he discovered the harp, an instrument that he innovated by applying pick-ups and other transformations so to make possible the glissando. His first release is dated 1979 and currently the last official studio album has been released in 2009.

Even if he's known mostly for his new-age period in the early 80s his music has touched many genres, even inside the same album.

His music has been labeled as world, newage, progressive and jazz, but he has also shown classical influences.

The world label is likely because of the use of various ethnic instruments but more than a research oriented to esotic folk is mainly a research of sounds.

Starting from Dancing With The Lions his production becomes more progressive, in particular symphonic. In the 90s he becomes a bit more radio friendly. Eolian Minstrel includes a country-rock ballad sung by Carly Simon (Harvest), but the album is partially a concept and it's from this album that Vollenweider starts fitting better into the Crossover classification. Kryptos contains songs by Astor Piazzolla in the same period and in a similar way of Al DI MEOLA's Play Piazzolla. Since Eolian Minstrel he has started a number of collaborations having often famous jazzists as guests players.

Unfortunately a number of works have been performed only live for special events and haven't seen a proper release.

Out of the music world, VOLLENWEIDER is a declared pacifist inspired to Gandhi, has released a single for Greenpeace (Pace Verde is the Italian translation of green peace), has won Grammy awards, has received the World music award for a benefit show for the Chernobyl's children and has performed in unusual places like a volcanic cave, on the top of a mountain in the alps and in the Red Square in Moscow.

His website has a German and an English version http://www.vollenweider.net. In the home page you can read this sentence:

We must BE the change we whish to SEE! (Mahatma Gandhi)

::octopus-4::

Andreas Vollenweider official website

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Down to the MoonDown to the Moon
Remastered
Kin Kou 2005
Audio CD$6.66
$4.99 (used)
White WindsWhite Winds
Remastered
Kin Kou 2006
Audio CD$6.79
$6.00 (used)
Caverna MagicaCaverna Magica
Remastered
Kin Kou 2005
Audio CD$5.94
$2.66 (used)
Midnight ClearMidnight Clear
Denon Records 2006
Audio CD$7.20
$3.18 (used)
AirAir
Import
Absolute UK 2009
Audio CD$11.46
$16.05 (used)
Behind the GardensBehind the Gardens
Remastered
Kin Kou 2005
Audio CD$6.35
$5.76 (used)
VoxVox
Dual Disc
Kin Kou 2005
Audio CD$90.98
$4.19 (used)
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ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER discography


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

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

3.18 | 3 ratings
Eine Art Suite in XIII Teilen
1979
3.24 | 12 ratings
Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree ...
1981
3.20 | 13 ratings
Caverna Magica
1982
3.94 | 14 ratings
White Winds (Seeker's Journey)
1984
3.65 | 15 ratings
Down To The Moon
1986
4.00 | 8 ratings
Dancing With The Lion
1988
4.00 | 1 ratings
Traumgarten (With Hans Vollenweider 1918-1993)
1990
4.25 | 4 ratings
Book Of Roses
1991
3.00 | 4 ratings
Eolian Minstrel
1993
3.67 | 3 ratings
Kryptos
1997
2.75 | 4 ratings
Cosmopoly
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
Vox
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Midnight Clear
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Air
2009

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
Andreas Vollenweider & Friends - live 1982-94
1994

ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider
2006

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

4.05 | 3 ratings
The Trilogy
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Storyteller
2005

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Pace Verde
1983

ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree ... by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.24 | 12 ratings

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Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree ...
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

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

3 stars Considered the first of a kind of trilogy of works, the predominantly instrumental `Behind The Gardens - Behind The Well - Under The Tree' is a carefully arranged, lightly progressive example of a form of world music, the majority of which is based around Swiss artist Andreas Vollenweider's defining instrument, his modified electro-acoustic harp. This is one of his most mystical and mysterious albums, always pleasant and undemanding, but there's just a hint of daring, possibly due to several longer pieces at the start of the LP, a heavier use of synths than his later discs, as well as the artist performing accordian and sax throughout too.

The first side is the more exciting of the two, comprised of only two extended instrumental pieces. The opening seven and a half minute title track offers shimmering atmospheres that somewhat reminds me of several early laid-back Ozric Tentacles moments, with softly trilling synths bringing a gentle electronic element, unobtrusive drumming, hand percussion, and ethnic acoustic flavours full of tasteful and restrained positivity from Vollenweider's harp. Ancient knowledge permeates the almost 9 minute `Pyramid...' with some lovely sax drifting through the piece and a very brief vocal passage that reminds of the early spiritual Santana band albums, with the second half especially offering a superbly executed build.

`Micro Macro' is both strange and playful, some quirky synth moments and cool Moog pops almost recalling Rick Wakeman, with nice rolling drums as well. `Skin and Skin' effortlessly builds in urgency over glistening rising synth breezes and dark reflective sax. `Moonlight, Wrapped Around Us' is a brief accordian interlude opening to `Lion and Sheep', a brisk light jazz/fusion run under propulsive tribal beats and dancing synths. `Sunday/Afternoon' is a short romantic and joyful acoustic guitar theme that ends on a thunderstorm, while album closer `Hand and Clouds' is a very oriental sounding piece with placid washes of synths ending the disc in an uplifting and sweet manner.

I have a special place in my heart for Vollenweider's albums. I don't listen to them all the time, but when I do, they instill a sense of calm and peace while still offering superb musicianship from this most thoughtful of artists. Don't be put off by what may be simply the uncoolest cover ever, this and all of Vollenweider's releases exist purely out of time and reality, creating a soundscape of evocative mystery and hypnotic ambience. Prog fans wanting a nice background listen should look into this or any of his other discs.

Three stars.

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 Dancing With The Lion by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.00 | 8 ratings

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Dancing With The Lion
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Reviewing a Vollenweider's album is never an easy thing. It's instrumental music and not so dark or "storytelling" to give the possibility to build a story around it or even describe the concept behind. It's music. Good, with very skilled instrumentists a lot of guests and an excellent production, and this is true for almost all his albums.

In the vinyl age they were just a bit too short. Somebody was saying that it was a technical choice. Printing wider tracks on the vinyl so to increase the quality of the sound. Maybe it was true, who knows?

This "Dancing with the Lion" is not very different. What is evident is that there's more melancholy behind the tracks. More minor chords even though the feelings are mainly solar and positive like on "Dance Of The Masks", so that some magazines define Vollenweider as a new age artist, probably because he comes from a classical background and this appears clearly at the first listen, plus the fact that his music is effectively "positive and solar", it reminds more to a garden of fairies than to a dark forest full of evily creatures.

This is not ambient, anyway. Many tracks also on this album can be compared to Pat Metheny's works. What he does with a synth guitar, Vollenweider does with a transformed harp (more or less, not exactly).

As Metheny he's a borderline artist unique in his genre. His minor chords are sad, not dark.

On this album there are some recurring themes, a typical prog thing. Some themes are played on major chords, then arranged for a base of minor chords, sometimes with the addition of choirs, but even when he indulges to harp solos the music has its continuity and flows like a quiet river from the beginning to the end.

It's one of the many albums that can be taken as starting point by who is wishing to explore this artist even if the most prog albums released by him are Book Of Roses and Eolian Minstrel.

This is an excellent album anywaywhich can satisfy listeners varying from Neo to progressive electronic to JR/F. Metallists only can stay away.

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 Down To The Moon by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.65 | 15 ratings

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Down To The Moon
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Many years ago, I think it was around 1990, I went for a dinner to the house of some relatives I barely knew. There was people I have never heard of and I've never seen after that evening. They had a hi-fi with few LPs and I was surprised when I saw that one of those was "Down To The Moon", which was laying in the middle of mainstream pop stuff.

Of course it was the album which went on the turntable. I asked how they knew about Vollenweider and what convinced them to but that disc...I don't remember the answer but I have thanked my prog guardian angel for having avoided Michael Jackson or some Italian actual pop star.

Down to the Moon is positive and melodic, things that have made this artist often classified into NewAge, but it has prog qualities, too. In my opinion this is the definitive Vollenweider's album, the one to start with as it contains the principal elements of his music. If you like the sound of his "electric harp" and in general, clean sounds, optimal production and you are looking for relaxing music able to make your mind travel, that's the album.

You will not be carried to the moon or to elven lands. The landscapes described by the music speak of Far East, nature, listening to Drown In Pale Light, just as example, I can imagine a sunny spring day below the mount Fuji, but the soundscape is various, including African like percussion, some spacey ambient moments and a great sense of melody, all permeated by a jazz sensibility which often makes me consider Vollenweider and Pat Metheny as similar artists.

Spin this album and dream on it, the closing track sounds like a lullaby with the harp's highest notes smoothly fading out. Let it adjust the frequency of your brainwaves, as many of Vollenweider's albums can do.

The only negative thing is that as many newage albums of the 80s, it's very short. Sometimes it was a technical choice intended to give more physical space to the tracks on the vinyl, the equivalent of ripping at a higher bitrate. A very good album if you are in the right mood, excellently composed, arranged, played and produced.

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 Caverna Magica by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Caverna Magica
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

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

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.

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 Down To The Moon by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.65 | 15 ratings

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Down To The Moon
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

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

3 stars Andreas Vollenweider's albums exist in a musical world of peace, tranquility and spiritual escape. With his trusty modified amplified harp, his music always has a very unique and identifiable style that sets him apart from other new age artists. Although often being associated with that genre, his music crosses over into progressive rock, electronic and even classical elements. He surrounds his music with nature themes and effects, creating a gentle ambience full of vivid detail.

On his fifth album, Vollenweider creates a haunting shimmering musical journey, usually surrounded by subtle background sounds of nature and lost worlds. His magical melodies are arranged with an easy-listening but subtle complexity. Mostly instrumental, except for some wordless chants, it makes for perfect background listening. Despite the contributions of other talented musicians, usually with low-key effective synths and light drumming/percussion, Andreas is always front and center, playing with great energy and delicate passion.

Although the album is broken into separate tracks, each section segues into the next, creating a wonderfully paced continuous piece. Both the vinyl and CD version split the album into two halves, `The Near Side' and `The Far Side'.

`The Near Side' starts the album with the very haunting and mysterious title track, quite grand and atmospheric. It then drifts beautifully into a very catchy and quite upbeat `Moon Dance', with a hugely memorable theme - If you're ever feeling a little down, this piece will instantly pick you up, make you smile and think that maybe things aren't quite so bad! Nice use of synths and drums on this one too. The ambient `Steam Forest' has an interesting programmed raindrop loop that repeats throughout the entire piece, creating a very hypnotic effect. It has a wonderful plucked acoustic sound from Andreas, with a very warm melody, and a touch of drama in the second half. The short interlude `Water Moon' has a very Oriental sound, with a brief dramatic theme that rises twice. `Night Fire Dance' is let down a little by a slightly cheesy and very dated programmed electronic vocal loop, but the music has a very majestic and uplifting repeated theme that is intoxicating.

`The Far Side's `Quiet Observer' is a slightly darker classical theme, with lots of mystery and tension. `Silver Wheel' has a nice electronic melody buried away, especially effective in the second half of a piece that is slightly more romantic. `Drown In Pale Light' is a short thoughtful and reflective piece, really sounds like a warm acoustic guitar on this one. Likely it's Andreas up to his old tricks with that modified harp! Another gentle piece, `The Secret...' is extraordinarily pretty, perhaps a little soft. It has a very soothing quality, and is probably the most romantic theme the band performed on this album. `Hush/Three Silver Ladies...' has a very hypnotic ethnic/world music loop, with a tasteful and melodic electric guitar solo throughout, which breaks up the album nicely. Oriental music themes show up in this one too. The album ends on what sounds like an acoustic instrumental lullaby, `La Lune....', a drifting, spacey and dream like finale.

For some strange reason, I find some occasional elements of Vollenweider's music might have been a (VERY!) slight influence on the more sedate and earthy Ozric Tentacles material! Shhhh, keep that observation a secret, not sure if it's only me that's thought that!

I came across this CD in an Op shop for $1, I nearly fell over when I found it! I've since picked it up on vinyl, because I love the beautifully simplistic and evocative front cover. Very subtle, it creates the perfect visual imagery to accompany the music.

`Down To The Moon' has plenty of substance and integrity to offer, is timeless and always inspiring, and gets even better with every listen. Precise and elegant, it also proves that Andreas Vollenweider's music is much more than insipid new-age muzak dross to be instantly dismissed.

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 White Winds (Seeker's Journey) by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.94 | 14 ratings

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White Winds (Seeker's Journey)
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars I was in a record shop while somebody was buying this LP. The guy asked the shop's boss to give it a spin (it was still usual in these times) and this was my first time with the music of Andreas Vollenweider.

I remember that day very clearly. The winds opening the first track and the orchestral chord which follows made me think immediately to the PINK FLOYD of Meddle, then a friend who was with me said: "Hey, that's a harp!".

It was enough for me. I asked for another copy and this is how it began.

This is the first true progressive album of Andreas Vollenweider. Even containing some newage elements and featuring the German guru Buedi Siebert, also known for an album totally made of the Tibetan mantra "Om Mani Padme Um", has a symphonic flavor and the cleanness of the sound makes me think to progressive electronic even though the instruments are almost all acoustic.

As usual the harp acquires a bluesy taste in the solos, but what matters is that all the tracks flow like a symphony where all the single notes are carefully dosed. Going ahead with listening the first floydian impression disappears. The soprano who closes "Hall of the Stairs" takes the distances. The oriental bells, the winds which introduce "The Glass Hall" move from Asia to the Ands and back in few passages. If I should compare this album to something else Kitaro's "Dream" comes to my mind. There are similarities betwenn those two borderline artists sometimes considered newage, even thoug Kitaro is one of the minds of the psych Japanese band Far East Family Band.

I tend to consider "The Glass Hall" the main theme of the album, so "The Woman and The Stone" is like a different chapter of the story. Very melodic and relaxing with the oriental flavor still present in the winds.

A little bit of darkness is brought in by "The Stone". A sort of interlude based on a single minor chord with strings and soprano vocals making variations on it. Another artist I can compare this track to is LUCIA HWONG.

The sudden end of the track, similar to Soft Machine's "Palace of Glass" gives the start to "Phases of the Three Moons". This title let's intend that the Seeker of the album's subtitle is not seeking on this Earth. As track is a typical Vollenweider's track which fades into the kind of fusion tempo of "Flight Feet And Root Hands" which is my favorite album's track, moving from a light-jazz mood to a very melodic chorus.

The far east is back with the Gamelan bells of "Brothership" joint with nauture sounds. A dream in an Indonesian wood, this is what this music brings to my mind. "Sisterseed" is only formally a different track. Darker than the previous is still performed by oriental instruments but now are strings instead of bells, so it's strange when a concertina sends us back to the Alps with "Trilogy". The tracks fades out with a reprise of the main them transposed into minor chords, then only winds and a thin bell. The Seeker's journey is finished.

I suggest you to take this journey if you are looking for relaxing ambient music. The dreamy album's cover represents well the spirit of the music inside.

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 The Trilogy by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
4.05 | 3 ratings

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The Trilogy
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The first three proper albums of Vollenweider form a trilogy: Behind The Gardens..., Caverna Magica and White Winds (1980 - 1985). Since they also have a relatively short running time, it's very suitable to collect them together in this 2-CD set. In addition it includes a selection of Eine Art Suite, originally dating before these albums, plus 'Pace Verde', a 5-minute track made in honour of Greenpeace.

These albums are among his finest. Accompanied by some musicians mainly on percussion and keyboards, Andreas plays the harp and several other instruments. Especially the arrangements of Eine Art Suite are very varied, and there you hear some of his most "rocking" tracks too, such as the magnificent 'Gate Within a Gate'. The trilogy itself works well as a unity. All have an adventurous, journey-like spirit, evoking images of unknown places. They have their highlights and some less satisfying moments, but the conceptual nature of them works nicely, even without any lyrics (except some mumbling of invented words on one or two tracks). White Winds may be my favourite, but probably I'll review it separately. Right now it's been a long time since I've been listening to the trilogy.

The leaflet does not have colour pictures, specific essays or artist introduction, just the album credits. Also the cover design is rather poor, must say. But the set is a good way to get over two hours worth of Vollenweider's best music.

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 Caverna Magica by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Caverna Magica
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

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.

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 Down To The Moon by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.65 | 15 ratings

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Down To The Moon
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Nice to see this Swiss musician with his amplified harp here at last. I've been his (non- frequent) listener for two decades now. He's not exactly a prog artist, but easily original and "cross-over" enought for inclusion. This album was probably my introduction to his music in 1992 or so, and it made a good impression. At that time I was quite a lot into New Agey music - which surely helped me to come across Vollenweider in the library. He's not exactly a New Age artist either, nor jazz, nor World Music, but a bit of them all. In the prog context of PA, I'd say you better enjoy these mentioned genres to possibly enjoy Vollenweider. Otherwise his music is likely to bore you.

This Grammy-winning album is among his finest works. His harp, played with rhythm, groove and catchy melodies, is in the main role. It's accompanied mainly by synths and light percussion. The airy opener 'Down to the Moon' sets the nocturnal and romantic atmosphere and is seamlessly followed by the energetic sounds of 'Moon Dance'. The instrumental chorus or refrain or whatever (yes, the whole album is instrumental) gets repeated heavily, which may turn some listeners off, but the track does have a charming mid-section. The album benefits from the conceptual feel and continuity. At times it gets very romantic and soft. (Be warned!) But not syrupy sentimental though.

The production is excellent, timeless instead of sounding eighties. Recommended to be enjoyed with cosiness and a glass of wine perhaps. And a very good starting point to his music. World music elements are quite absent on this one.

01 - Down To The Moon - 2:26 02 - Moon Dance - 4:11 03 - Steam Forest - 4:56 04 - Water Moon - 2:15 05 - Night Fire Dance - 4:57 06 - Quiet Observer - 2:43 07 - Silver Wheel - 3:57 08 - Drown in Pale Light - 2:13 09 - The Secret, The Candle and Love - 3:44 10 - Hush - Patience at Bamboo Forest - 0:12 11 - Three Silver Ladies Dance - 2:40 12 - La Lune et L'enfant - 2:00

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 Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree ... by VOLLENWEIDER, ANDREAS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.24 | 12 ratings

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Behind the Gardens - Behind the Wall - Under the Tree ...
Andreas Vollenweider Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars I have listened to this album so many times that I find difficult speaking about it. Vollenweider's music is usually relaxing and so well arranged and played that I usually consider it as a single thing without looking at specific instruments or musical passages.

Of course the leading instrument is the electro-acoustic harp invented by this eclectic multi- instrumentist. The birds and the natural sounds on the first seconds of the opener may remind to the newage, but I think to "Epsilon in Malaysian Pale" instead.

Yes, it's melodic and based on major chords, but specially on the opening track there's a subtle background of darkness that makes it take the distance from the newage music. The sound of the modified harp adds tones of blues while the other instruments sound "separated". I mean that the production is so clean and the instruments so detailed that the jazz influences appear clearly.

The music is dreamy. The percussion are always present but never invasive.

There are very melodic moments like on the harp solo intro of "Pyramid" that's a track on minor chords and this makes it sound more intriguing.

This album flows seamlessly and the music is evocative. I think it would be good for a fantasy soundtrack, made of mountains and castles, that's more or less the normal landscape of Vollenweider's land as he's from Switzerland.

Other tracks are less evocative. "Micro-Macro" could be called fusion, the whole B-side that's made of shorter tracks can be intended as a suite. It doesn't really follow a concept but there's a sort of continuity in this sequence of short and very short tracks.

The album is only 30 minutes long. This was quite normal in an era when if you wanted to fix the best possible sound on the vinyl you needed more separation between the "microgrooves". Al least this is what we owner of turntables were told.

I want to mention the last track "Hands and Clouds" because it has a folk influence and I see contacts with the early music of Angelo Branduardi (the two had some collabs later, specially live).

It's a very good album on the light side of prog which I suggest to lovers of prog-folk and even JR/F for the similarities with the most poppy things of Pat Metheny,

This is the first true Vollenweider's album, first part of an unoffical trilogy with its two follow- ups.

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