Andreas Vollenweider’s album from 1981 is just as colorful as the title implies; Behind the Gardens, Behind The Wall, Under the Tree. It became an instant success and made Vollenweider into an internationally acclaimed artist. Not only had he created a unique sound with his electroacoustic harp. He also managed to bridge the gap between New Age music and jazz.
Behind the Gardens is not Vollenweider’s first album. He had previously released an album in Germany called Eine Art Suite in XIII Teilen (1979). But it is Behind the Gardens became his international debut.
The harp is, interestingly enough, an underused instrument in New Age music. One should think that such a divine instrument would be a weapon of choice for many healing music artists, but no. When it comes to New Age music, the harp and Andreas Vollenweider are synonyms. There are other harp players of course, but Andreas has almost patented the sound of the electroacoustic harp.
Behind the Gardens starts with birdsong and laughter, before the harp gets faded slowly in and takes over. Its bright, happy sound is impossible not to like. To me, no other instrument reminds more of the carefree 1980s.The title song perfectly illustrate Andreas’ style. From jazz he borrows rapid changes in rhythm and an occasional blue note here and there. But the harmonies of New Age music are never far away. This is positive, uplifting music.
Pyramid, In the Wood, In the Bright Light is the next song out, and it is equally impressive. The effects, percussion instruments and vocals are amazing. There’s so many layers of sound to appreciate. Notice the great use of sounds of nature too.
Behind the Gardens contains many great songs; Skin and Sin, the live version of Vergletto and Hey you, yes, you. In short; is not just a breakthrough album, but it can serve as an introduction to Vollenweider’s music for new listeners.
On the cover of Behind the Gardens Andreas Vollenweider has a somewhat mischievous smile and blinking an eye. Perhaps he already knew before the album’s release that this would be his big breakthrough, his chance to show the world what he could do? Behind the Gardens is a magnificent release from start to finish. It marks the beginning of a very successful career, and it sounds just as fresh today as it did back in 1981.
100/100 – See how I rate music here
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