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Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver by Gandalf

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Dreamweaver - Gandalf

Dreamweaver is pure enchantment, another top-notch release from Gandalf!” — Music Design

Threads of guitar, flutes, Irish whistles, cello, piano, percussion and atmospheric wizardry seemlessly blend into an enchanting harmony that is unmistakably Gandalfian.

Featured on The Echoes Top 25 for Feburary 2013 by John Dilberto

Nominated for a 2013 ZMR Music Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

Watch the video for “Reaching for the Sky” from Dreamweaver on YouTube.

Tracks

1. Into The Rising Sun Part 1 3:13
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
2. Into The Rising Sun Part 2 7:47
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
3. Reaching for the Sky 8:56
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
4. Between Ebb And Flow 7:13
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
5. Dreamweaver 6:23
5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
6. Shining Like A Jewel 6:24
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
7. Life's Blossoms 5:45
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
8. Written In The Stars Part 1 5:36
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
9. Written In The Stars Part 2 8:19
5
Average: 5 (2 votes)

More Music By This Artist

Earthsong and Stardance by Gandalf
Sanctuary by Gandalf
Lotus Land by Gandalf
Sacred River by Gandalf
Colors of a New Dawn by Gandalf
Between Earth and Sky by Gandalf

Press Acclaim

RJ Lannan

Like his previous recording, Earthsong and Star Dance, Gandalf’s latest album, Dreamweaver, features lush orchestration and enchanting storylines. His sonic landscapes encompass several genres of music such as Celtic, electronic, atmospheric, many types of fusion, and it often crossovers to contemporary music. Luckily, he is a genius at combing these styles and results in an album of relaxing music for a wide ranging audience. Dreamweaver contains 9 tracks of music created with guitar, flute cello, orchestra, and a lot of imagination.

Austrian born composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gandalf began his New Age career with the successful release of his first album Journey to an Imaginary Land back in 1981. Yes, 1981. He releases a new album just about every year and, in 1995 he offered his six-volume Magical Voyage Collection. He has created musical magic ever since.

Dreamweaver's nine tracks have two 2-part suites and 5 individual tracks woven into a story that elevates the beauty and wonder of the natural world. The music begins with the suite ”Into the Rising Sun”. From birth to death we seek the light, and it is only natural to continue the journey during our lives. Part 1 is the story of the sun and how it warms us and everything on the planet. However, we seek not only warmth for our bodies, but light for our spirits. Part 2 deals with the spirituality of the sun. With the first fiery glow of the Daystar we are invited to begin our adventure. Gandalf uses some beautiful cello and flute on this one.

Sweet guitar in an almost Renaissance setting, perhaps the essence of Spanish guitar and flute dominates the melody of Dreamweaver. The music is the invisible touch of a spirit that allows us to fulfill our fantasies. Like a guide, it weaves a path of musical notes that once followed, leads us to adventure.

The musical wizard combines echoing piano and melodic guitar in one of my favorites on Dreamweaver called “Shining Like A Jewel.” I have to admit I found it a bit melancholy, but that is why I liked it so much. The music said to me - you can keep your diamonds and pearls, but I just want to remember your smile.

Gandalf incorporates sparkling guitar harmonics on the wistful tune “Life's Blossoms.” As I listened to this pastoral ballad I could picture the bright, yellow Mexican shell flowers along my border. After an impressive sun salute, they smiled for a time giving me untold pleasure and then, the petals fell to the earth. The circle was complete.

I believe in fate, kismet or destiny and, like Gandalf, I believe it is “Written in the Stars.” Such is the name of his finale on the recording. The two-part fantasia is a Celtic-fused journey for the soul, full of wanderlust and exotic destinations. The music carried me aloft way past the clouds and into a world of my own creation. It does what music is supposed to do in a perfect way.

Of the many albums I have heard this year, Gandalf's Dreamweaver has the most natural, organic feel that is rare in the wake of electronic instruments pervading the industry. If you are looking for a natural orchestral album with music that is both pastoral and pensive, then look no further. Highly recommended.

James McQuiston

The second part of “Into the Rising Sun” provides listeners with a considerably different set of instrumental elements than the initial one: Gandalf is able to link together the two through sheer ability, setting up listeners for “Reaching for the Sky.” “Reaching for the Sky” weighs in at 9 minutes (the disc’s longest), providing fans with an epic composition. The different movements in this track allow Gandalf ample opportunity to weave in disparate styles and influences. What results in “Reaching for the Sky” is an effort that stays fresh minute after minute, with a complexity present that affords listeners multiple spins. Dreamweaver is the titular track, and represents the bridge between the first and second parts of the album. The track is relatively short (6:23), but Gandalf’s arrangements during the track provide the song with an authority that lasts long after the last note has ceased.

Dreamweaver’s second half acts nearly as a mirror for the initial offerings; “Written in the Stars (Parts 1 and 2)” end the disc, while “Life’s Blossoms” touches upon some of the same fertile ground which washed over listeners during “Reaching for the Sky.” “Life’s Blossoms” approximates those years of life when everything is going well — one may get their dream job, build a family, and may even go on a vacation. During “Life’s Blossoms,” Gandalf’s compositions possess rich enough narrative to establish a story that needs no words. Top Tracks: “Into the Rising Sun (Parts 1 + 2),” “Shining Like A Jewel”; Rating: 8.0/10

Kathy Parsons

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. Exceptional and recommended!     

Michael Foster

Gandalf has been making great music for quite a number of years now and with this latest release brings his total creative output to right around 35 albums. He was born in Austria but has left an indelible mark on the international new age music community through his many releases. Most of his music has been released primarily in Europe but through his association with Real Music it has been finding its way into the U.S. as well and into the hands of reviewers such as myself who in turn share it with the readers of Ambient Visions.
 
The first thing that strikes me about Gandalf's newest release called Dreamweaver is its simplicity in execution. There is a tendency sometimes to reach for the sky with large orchestral effects and larger than life arrangements which to me can be effectively done but oftentimes they tend to overshadow the music itself. With Dreamweaver Gandalf has created a simple aural canvas to apply his musical paints to and allows the music to speak for itself through the instruments and artists that accompany Gandalf on this release. Besides Gandalf himself you will primarily hear Merike Hilmar on cello, Karin Leitner on flutes and Irish whistles and Christian Strobl on percussion. With Gandalf being able to play so many other instruments himself I would assume that anything else you might hear on this recording was done by Gandalf.
 
I for one am very happy about the approach that Gandalf took toward bringing this music to life. Each instrument is allowed to shine forth and bring a richness and depth to the music that might have been missing without taking this approach to the production. The music is quite emotional and on some of the songs transports the listeners to a serene landscape where they can simply drift with the music as the cello and the penny whistle along with the piano create a relaxing environment where the worries and stress of day to day life can be forgotten for a short while. A wonderful example of this is the song “Written In the Stars Parts 1 and 2.” Each instrument is allowed to step into the spotlight for a bit to bring its voice to the overall composition and then fade into the background as another instrument steps up to take its place. All the while the piano is holding the composition on course by supplying the foundation upon which everything rests. Gandalf was able to pull this off superbly by keeping things simple as far as the production goes and allowing each performer to be an integral part of the performance and not just an accompanying musician who didn't matter to the overall direction of the music that they were playing.
 
I think that “Reaching for the Sky” is my favorite song off of Gandalf's latest effort called Dreamweaver. This song is an eight minute tour-de-force that moves effortlessly back and forth between a soft thought provoking acoustic guitar and cello and the more dramatic arrangement featuring the penny whistle and the drums. It is a marvelous composition that highlights just how well this group of musicians has learned to express emotions and feelings together as if coming from a single mind through each of their individual instruments. This is one of those songs that you could play over and over again and the song would never get old or fail to deeply stir your emotions with each playing. To me this is a wonderfully positive piece of music that raises your spirits and lets you believe in a future that is beckoning us forward to a place that will be better for everyone.
 
The album opens and ends pretty much the same way with Gandalf's piano playing starting us off on this musical journey and then saying goodbye to us on the last track of this album as his keyboard is the last thing we hear as it drifts away into silence bringing the voyage to a peaceful close.
 
Dreamweaver demonstrates that Gandalf has learned a great deal about making music over his lengthy career but the most important lesson he has learned is that sometimes less is more when it comes to music. Dreamweaver is an enchanting work of art that is both intimate and inviting to the attentive listener who wants to spend some quality time exploring what lies within them instead of focusing so much on the outward world that they have to deal with day in and day out. Gandalf has let the music on Dreamweaver reveal his heart along with the truths of his life that have been discovered on his own musical journey. Gandalf is a consummate artist and has forged the perfect musical partnership with his fellow musicians on this release to present his music to the world.

Dan Cowan

Much like the fictional wizard that shares his namesake, Gandalf (Austrian composer/musician Heinz Strobl) is an artist capable of weaving magic. Though in Strobl’s case, it is through his beautiful, whimsical melodies. Dreamweaver, Gandalf's new 2013 endeavor, immerses the listener in a set of lovely compositions that are rich in diverse instrumentation and flowing moods, creating the perfect space for relaxation. From the get go, the album takes flight on the wings of tranquility, with the cascading piano tones and pleasant flute wanderings of “Into the Rising Sun - Part 1” providing a taste of what's to come. On “Part 2,” we get our first introduction to the cello, which later shines brightly on the concerto-like “Between Ebb and Flow.” Sentimental piano and the bright tones of the Irish whistle make the closing two-part "Written in the Stars" another highlight. Dreamweaver is pure enchantment, another top-notch release from Gandalf!

Bette Timm

Dramatic keyboard, exquisite cello, delightful flute and breezy wind instruments combine with just the right amount of percussion and atmospheric alchemy for Dreamweaver, to cast its magical spell on you. The instrumentation is masterful, the melodies lovely and the harmonies enchanting. Hints of Celtic sounds blend with sweeping orchestral beauty. In all, this creates a musical experience that encourages dreaming, whether it’s day or night.

John P. Olsen

If you have been an enthusiast of electronic and instrumental new age music for the past 30 years, then you know there are a limited number of orchestral musicians who convey the picturesque imagery of their compositions better than the legendary, Austrian born artist Gandalf. The imagery he creates with his orchestral music is an important characteristic of the artist that is apparent to those familiar with his work, and yet this one aspect soon becomes obvious to those listening to the great composer of symphonic music for the first time. After all, there is a pretty good reason Gandalf is called “The Painter of Musical Landscapes.”

Dreamweaver is a new acoustic album from Gandalf on the Real Music Label. This hour long recording of nine (9) songs is performed by a select ensemble of four instrumental artists.

While sampling Dreamweaver it became clear Gandalf artistically works his magic on his newest project in superior fashion. This is what I had anticipated, however the musical brushstrokes in this composition are chosen from a lighter palette of colors that ultimately prove to be a representation of peaceful serenity.

Gandalf has regularly used electric and bass guitars in rock opera style fashion to represent deep illustrations, but Dreamweaver is elegantly portrayed by lighter instrumentation, which presents a whole new tone and atmosphere for the artist, as for the listener. The four person ensemble convey a more natural sound with importance given to lighter touches of acoustic guitar, cello, flute, piano and drums.

Gandalf is admired for instrumental creations born of brilliant imagination, and this is unchanged. The beauty of Dreamweaver is surreal music qualities crafted in a more personal, naturalistic style. The four person ensemble include Gandalf performing acoustic guitars, piano, and percussion, Merike Hilmar on cello, Karin Leitner on flutes and woodwinds, and percussionist Christian Strobl.

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