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.