I have long been a fan of the music of Gandalf, with memories of Dreamweaver and the ever beautiful Between Earth and Sky being my personal favorites. Now here he is back with a tremendous new release called All is One - One is All.
The essence of oneness kicks us off on our journey; the dolphins sing in a prelude called “The Secret Inside” that features the vocals of Agnes Milewsky and guides us gently into the empowering and meaningful “From the Depth of the Earth.” This is a composition that has simply got it all. With a stunningly emotive arrangement and delightful sensual rhythm, the percussion and intensity of this track is simply outstanding. At around the five minute mark listen for the Gandalf’s guitar and then marvel at the incredibly flowing piano segment shortly thereafter.
The delightfully entitled “Starshine of Ever” walks majestically into our lives with a flourish of sheer genius. Its soft and gentle beginnings are so delicate and attractive and Gandalf’s piano plays an ageless melody. Then he is joined in a rapturous musical moment of utter class by the inclusion of Merike Hilmar on cello.
For a moment we take an interlude into a short form composition called “One Thought,” a moment for acoustic guitar and piano to dance. Then we find ourselves in a whole new realm as if musically we have roamed into an entirely new dimension. The dramatic quality of this arrangement is breath-taking and worthy of any film score. Hilmar’s cello is once again a wonderful thing to just bathe in, and all orchestrated by the master Gandalf, who’s piano is the narrator on the descriptive and colorful piece we now know as “Where Longings Are Born.”
Sometimes you come across a song or two that really resonate with you, and on “Paint You a Song” we have just that. The subtle mastery on piano from Gandalf builds the piece with an almost mournful repose. The performance of the artist on this track is quite picturesque. Through the narration one can feel the sense of a longing, a desire to create something so very special for someone.
I noted Gandalf’s comments about the Canary Islands being the land of never ending spring. I understand that, I live in Cyprus, the land of never ending sun, and this composition called “The Fragrance of Eden” is quite idyllic as at the moment of writing it is indeed spring here, and the tones of the music float along on the wings of the many butterflies that flutter past my studio window. A special note of appreciation must be paid to Karin Leitner for her charming Irish whistle on this piece.
And now for the title track “All is One.” There is a certain mysterious element to this track, but one that contains a real vista of wide eyed wonder. Agnes Milewsky’s vocals are spot on, just the right power and sensitivity combined to bring us a really heart felt song. Gandalf’s piano must be listened to carefully; he creates such a haunting harmonic melody. Add the cello of Hilmar and you have a world class composition.
The longest composition on the album is the insightful “The Tree of Life.” I would urge one to carefully take in all the little nuances on this piece. It is quite complex and is a really good example of how to create a track with multi instrumentation and harmonic vocals. Gandalf’s performances on piano and guitar are simply remarkable. A special shout out has to also be given to Peter Aschenbrenner for the amazing bass flute on this piece.
The second to last door, leading to what is known as the penultimate room of the journey, is now upon us. As we walk through that door we come across the musician in a thoughtful mood on the track “Where Wishes Come True.” Gandalf’s hands manifest an almost outer worldly theme on this piece, but the melody is so charming that it creates an abundance of energy and warmth, the more deeply we listen.
Our last port of call is a piece called “And Music Filled the Spheres.” To me this track has an almost universal appeal. We can hear the sounds of nature as our dolphins return to converse with us. The artist has really fashioned a superb ending piece for all to simply float along with and enjoy. Through this final opus we are gifted one of the most amazing organ segments I have heard for years. At around four minutes this will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck in this completely unexpected moment of musical inspiration.
All is One - One is All has all the hallmarks of an album that will be remembered through the eons of time. It has been masterfully performed and produced, and will satisfy all of your musical needs and desires. Here is an album that will totally engage you, and will not let you go until the very last note is played … a truly supreme album indeed.