(5 / 5)
A pretty rare and hard to get hold of album for collectors; Austrian multi-instrumentalist and composer Gandalf, aka Heinz Strobl’s ambient masterpiece, “Journey To An Imaginary Land.” If you are a fan of the music of Vangelis and Mike Oldfield, the chances are this cool and classy offering, first released in 1981, will appeal.
Gandalf enjoyed major European success with his unique style of instrumental progressive and ambient music, and this was his first album, a record made all the more remarkable as it was recorded entirely at his home studio, between August and October 1980, prior to him becoming a full-time musician. All of the music was composed, arranged, played and performed, recorded, mixed and produced by Gandalf.
Issued in Europe to acclaim which kicked off a long career. He is now 64-years-old, and has released 39 albums between 1980 and 2016. He plays a wide variety of instruments including guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and sitars. His music includes influences from music around the world
Unavailable for some years, “Journey to an Imaginary Land” has been re-mastered for the first time from the original source masters. The booklet of this new edition features an exclusive new interview with Gandalf, previously unseen photographs and fully restores the original album artwork.
If we think about the so-called “chill-out” genre of today, this cat was doing it almost four decades ago, but they called it “new age” back then. No matter the labels and genre; it all sounds pretty timeless; only six tracks but cuts three, four and six are really two tracks in one so it feels like nine songs altogether.
The perfect soundtrack to a relaxing evening or weekend at home, with a glass of something alcoholic and the lights down low. A real find if this kind of music and vibe is your thing, but Gandalf is a new name to you – unless you are a Hobbit fan! (I doubt this guy wears the same clobber somehow!) Note to all you smart hip hoppers and clever rappers; go grab this fast and get sampling, legally of course!
2. FOREIGN LANDSCAPE
3. THE PEACEFUL VILLAGE (INCLUDING “THE DANCE OF JOY”)
4. MARCH ACROSS ENDLESS PLAIN (INCLUDING “THE MIRAGE”)
5. THE FRUITFUL GARDENS
6. SUNSET AT THE CRYSTAL LAKE (INCLUDING “REFLECTIONS”)
By Simon Redley
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’