2013 / Real Music
"Dreamweaver," Gandalf’s latest release on the Real Music label, is essentially a return to his musical roots. When he began his career in the 1980’s, Gandalf’s music was performed with a small number of guitars, a keyboard and sometimes percussion. Over the years, his productions have become bigger and more elaborate and his tours have included many keyboards and synths as well as a full band. After the symphonic celebration of his 30th anniversary as a performing artist, "Earthsong & Stardance," Gandalf felt more and more drawn to performing his music in its most essential form, with compositions based primarily on acoustic guitar and piano. The result is the shimmeringly beautiful "Dreamweaver," my favorite Gandalf album to date. Gandalf performs on acoustic guitars, piano, percussion, and “atmospheres.” He is joined by Merike Hilmar on cello, Karin Leitner on flutes and Irish whistles, and Christian Strobl on percussion.
"Dreamweaver" begins with “Into the Rising Sun, Part 1,” a peaceful and dreamy piece that is more ambient than melodic and that sets the warm and gentle tone of the album. It segues into “Into the Rising Sun, Part 2,” a continuation and development of the musical ideas in “Part 1” - pure musical tranquility. “Reaching For the Sky” was composed for Gandalf’s son’s 30th birthday. One of my favorite tracks, this one has a livelier melody and some really catchy rhythms that send it soaring. Flute, guitar, cello, and percussion are such a lovely combination! “Between Ebb and Flow” was composed for cellist Merike Hilmar, and is mostly a soulful cello solo. About 4 1/2 minutes into the piece, light percussion enters and gives it a more energetic spirit. The title track has a strong Celtic flavor with acoustic guitar, Irish whistle and a gentle sense of mystery. As it evolves, flute and hand percussion enter, adding their unique colors to the mix. “Shining Like A Jewel” is a tender love song performed mostly on piano with guitar and cello embellishments - another favorite. “Life’s Blossoms” was composed for Gandalf’s mother for her 80th birthday. A duet for acoustic guitar and cello - there’s a combination you don’t hear every day! - it has pleasing blend of quiet and more energetic moments. “Written in the Stars, Part 1” and “Part 2” utilize all of the musicians for fourteen minutes of musical bliss. Although they are listed as two individual parts, they flow together continuously on the CD. Its leisurely pace is sometimes wistful and dreamy and sometimes a bit darker - a wonderful close to a lovely musical journey.
"Dreamweaver" is available wherever Real Music releases are sold, including RealMusic.com, Amazon and iTunes. Recommended!
What did you think of this review?