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

BEHIND THE GARDENS - BEHIND THE WALL - UNDER THE TREE ...

Andreas Vollenweider

 

Crossover Prog

3.23 | 19 ratings

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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.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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