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Gandalf - The Universal Play CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.80 | 20 ratings

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Symphonic Team
1 stars A giant leap for Gandalf - an insignificant step for mankind

With The Universal Play, Gandalf left (Middle-)Earth and ventured into deep space. This is an almost completely electronic affair in a style not dissimilar to those of Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. The sound is dominated by electronic sounds throughout, and though there is lots of grand piano, guitars can barely be heard at all. As such, this was a radical departure from Gandalf's earlier efforts. Together with Anthony Phillips, Gandalf is a rare example of an artist who can create both (nearly completely) acoustic works and (nearly completely) electronic works.

For me, the main problem here though is not the radical change of style, or indeed primarily the particular style chosen - even though I have to admit that electronic music is far from my favourite type of music. The problem lies elsewhere: it is the almost complete lack of melody. (I have a similar problem with much of Jarre's and Vangelis's works, though I do like some of it).

So, even though I can hear this music (in the background) without taking offence, I fail to find any listening value in it. It is not unpleasant on the ear, indeed it is sonically of high quality, but it is just unexciting and dull. This album will most probably appeal to fans of the likes of Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, and (Larry Fast's) Synergy, but it fails to leave any lasting impressions on me.

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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