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Andreas Vollenweider - The Trilogy CD (album) cover

THE TRILOGY

Andreas Vollenweider

Crossover Prog


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Matti
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Report this review (#778758)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
TCat
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Team
3 stars Andreas Vollenweider is a composer/multi-instrumentalist whose main instrument is the harp, but not just any harp, but a modified electro-acoustic harp that he has designed on his own. His harp has a very distinctive and unique sound which gives it a much more percussive sound, almost like a tool striking the strings instead of his hands, sort of like the 'hammer' that strikes piano strings. This makes his music very recognizable because of the uniqueness of his sound. Most of his music is instrumental, but vocals are used sparingly and they are usually in different languages and more for atmosphere than anything else. His music is also based on fantasy themes or loosely connected themes or ideas. It is best when it takes on it's dreamy aspects, but at times can also be quite upbeat, with his later compositions taking on a more 'World' style.

This 2 CD album is actually a collection which, when put together in this context, is known as 'The Trilogy'. The first CD combines his 2nd and 3rd full-length albums; 'Behind the Gardens ' Behind the Wall ' Under the Tree' and 'Caverna Magica (Under the Tree ' In the Cave)'. The tracks are in the same order as they appeared on the original albums. 'Behind the Gardens, etc.' is a good introduction to his music, but it focuses mainly on his modified harp, and tends to sound a little too much like new age music for my taste, and by the time it reaches it's conclusion, the music has started to sound too much the same. Fortunately, the album is only just over 30 minutes. 'Caverna Magica' is much more interesting and varied, sounding more atmospheric and slightly more progressive and inventive. The music on this one leans more towards an oriental vibe, but is not entirely devoted to that. Other instruments are afforded the spotlight from time to time which helps with the dynamic factor keeping things more interesting and fresh, but you still know that the most important instrument is still the modified harp.

The 2nd disc contains the 4th full length album 'White Winds (Seeker's Journey)', some selections from his first album 'Eine Art Suite' and his single written for Greenpeace, a 5 minute track called 'Pace Verde'. The 'White Winds' album is the best part of this collection since this was also his most inventive album with a combination of great melodies and atmospheric sections. There is a much better usage of instruments to add atmosphere and the music tends toward the use of traditional cultural and/or tribal instruments with an obvious World vibe. There is also a more varied style among the tracks. The other section of this collection contains 8 tracks from his debut album 'Eine Art Suite' which feature a more basic sound than the more inventive later albums, and the track 'Pace Verde' which was a single recorded for Greenpeace.

If you are interested in a mellow, lush and lite progressive, mostly instrumental artist, who does occasionally explore sounds and textures, and one who is a talented artist, but keeps things mellow, and who also veers into new age, world music and is very accessible, then this is the music for you. It works fine for background music, but is also okay to listen to for its own sake, but not always in big doses because it can get to sound too similar after a while. The albums on this collection were short, usually around the 30 minute mark, so collecting them on a single release is actually the best way to go providing a good all- around preview of the artist and the more important and popular albums in his discography.

Report this review (#2112914)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2018 | Review Permalink

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