SACRED RIVERReal Music 3160
SACRED RIVER – a visionary journey
Flowing water has been inspiring for me since I was a child, my favourite
playground was at a small creek behind my parents´ house. The sound
of the rippling water somehow stimulated my fantasy and made my mind go
wandering to imaginary places.
Water is one of the most essential things for all forms of life on Earth,
maybe even in the whole wide universe. The circle of the water from the
source to the ocean, ascending into the sky and falling down as rain again,
appears like a symbol for life itself. The river, permanently flowing, permanently
changing and yet ever remaining the same, embodies both movement and constancy.
When I started writing the music for this album, Herman Hesse´s novel
"Siddharta" came to my mind, especially the part when Siddharta joins Vasudeva,
the old and wise ferryman.
He learns to listen carefully to the multiple voices of the river, until
one day he perceives the sound as the universal "aum" , an eternal song
of oneness and harmony.
Years ago one of my journeys lead me to one of India´s holy rivers,
the Yamuna, an experience that had a deep impact on my life ever after.
People would come from near and far to bathe in the sacred water to get
washed from their sins and find release from the wheel of reincarnation.
Night and day the air is filled with the chanting of holy mantras, a scenery
of humility, love and joy.
|MORNING AT THE RIVER-BENCH
BLOSSOMS FALLING LIKE SNOW
The FERRYMAN´S TALE
TAKE ME GENTLY ACROSS THE WATER
CONFIDENTLY FLOATING SEAWARDS
A VISIONARY PASAGE
FLOW, WATER, FLOW
WHERE THE RIVER JOINS THE OCEAN
|Acoustic nylon- and steel string-guitars,
electric pedal-guitar, bouzuki, piano, keyboards & soundsamplers, various
bells and percussion.
All music composed, arranged, performed & produced by Gandalf.
Recorded and mixed at Seagull Music Studio, Austria.
GANDALF - Sacred River
A pioneer of the New Age movement, Gandalf has brought to the musical table
experience, insight and wisdom. Though Gandalf has been in a creative existence
for what appears to be an eternity, Sacred River only represents his third
installment with his new label Real Music. While the other projects were
inventive and successful, there is no meandering around the fact that this
is his most commercial and endearing recording with his new found musical
Consisting of ten tracks that are intertwined by natures soft and pleasant
nuances, the compositions of The Sacred River are in complete unity with
its interludes, making for a musical escape that is as refreshing as a naked
dip in an deserted unpolluted mountain stream. The theme of the album is
also made clear in the title of the songs with eight of the ten tracks referring
to water themes.
The album opens with soft birds chirping that sing their way into the opening
track “Morning At The River Bench”. Gandalf’s soft nylon guitar strings along
with his supple keyboards sets the entire tone of The Sacred River. The second
interlude includes the sound of small pebbles dropping into a body of water
which continues to draw the listener into Gandalf’s visionary album of restoration.
The title track includes light percussion that does not distract from the
pastoral theme that Gandalf has in mind.
The majority of the tracks clock in at five to seven minutes which allow
the artist to draw the listeners into the structure and theme of the songs
and, for that matter, the entire water theme of the album. This is most obvious
courtesy of the song “Blossoms Falling Like Snow”. It is not until well into
the third minute that Gandalf brings the song into focus courtesy of the
melody, yet without boring his listeners and at the same without overburdening
the ears, keeping close to the refined and elegant theme.
Also, of interest, is Gandalf’s total comfort level and execution on both
the guitar and keyboard that are seamlessly interwoven in utter harmony.
That does not prevent Gandalf from featuring one over the other. His guitar
work is best heard on “The Ferryman’s Tale” or on the brief and simplistic
“Confidently Floating Seawards”. In contrast, there is the haunting melancholy
piano melody found on “A Visionary Passage”. The keyboards are more dominant
but the guitar strings still sneak their way into the structure of the song.
Gandalf concludes the disc with an overture appropriately titled “Where The
River Joins The Ocean” ending the life of the river in its current form,
only to be reborn in Mother Earth’s eternal water cycle. That said, the musical
gratification from this essentially perfect disc will only prompt a similar
cycle courtesy of the recurrent repeat button.
~ Michael Debbage, Solo Piano Publication