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Andreas Vollenweider - Behind The Gardens - Behind The Wall - Under The Tree CD (album) cover


Andreas Vollenweider


Crossover Prog

2.99 | 29 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Known through most of the 1980s as the consummate (!) new age performer with the over-earnestness that exponents espouse, ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER is not a name that has commonly been tossed about on over-earnest prog rock fora. Yet whatever algorithms are employed by Spotify are more than eager to juxtapose this Swiss harp inventor and virtuoso with the likes of YES, so at the very least some whirring supercomputer somewhere has assessed that Vollenweider is A and Yes is B, if you see what I mean.

Over the decades I have listened to a good deal from this Swiss professional, often in random sequences, sometimes disunited by decades. Sure, he was a refuge during Serious Music's dark ages, but do we need him now? I can state categorically that I have yet to discern any edge whatsoever in his works; they are splendid, even luxuriant, but rarely moving. This debut of sorts (he did produce a "Suite" earlier but that was released later) establishes the blueprint for at least a decade's worth of successors in a mere half hour, with its blend of folk, classical, nascent "world music" and even jazz fusion. The harp may not sound a whole lot like its cousins, but, consistently leaned on, it becomes just as monotonous. At the same time, I acknowledge that new age artists that followed him in the 1980s were certainly influenced by and given to emulating the ambiance he cultivated.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be "Pyramid" which seems a prototype for his more hypnotic numbers on the next few releases. But I can't help feeling it would all sound better on Spanish guitar, no? The vocal segment is brief but spirited. "Micro Macro" is also noteworthy for its JEAN LUC PONTY on second generation anti depressants vibe. But overall, I'd say the most likely outcome of a search "Behind the gardens-Behind the Wall-Under the Tree" is a few happily sleeping souls.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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