To keep our sanity intact in the age of Covid19, escaping to a peaceful and quiet place once in a while is essential. Andreas Vollenweider comes to our rescue with “Quiet Places”, making it easy to unwind and de-stress. It is Vollenweider’s first album since “Air” (2009), and is inspired by the theme of his upcoming novel “Reflections of Venus”. “Quiet Places” is a tremendous and delightful return of one of the finest New Age music artists of all time.
Andreas Vollenweider has released 18 albums from 1980 to the present day and has sold more than 15 million physical records. Grammy Award, Latin Grammy and World Music Award as well as other Grammy nominations, most recently in 2007, stand for his remarkable success.
After almost 10 years of silence, Vollenweider is back with “Quiet Places”. Here we also get to hear cello player Isabel Gehweiler and Walter Keiser on drums. As indicated on the cover, there is a level of improvisation on “Quiet Places”. But with artists as skilled as this, improvisation means that the music flows more freely and naturally. Vollenweider had planned to do an extensive album launch tour, but Covid19 made that impossible. Instead, he has done a series of very successful online concerts called LIVE@HOME – which you may check out here.
The album opener is called “Pygmalion”. It doesn’t take long before we realize that Andreas Vollenweider is back in his right element and is still composing and performing at his very best. “Pygmalion” is a slow and thoughtful piece that lays the foundation of everything that is to come. “Polyhymnia” continues in the same atmosphere, before we are introduced to “The Pyramidians” – which has the same vibe that made his 1981 album “Behind the Gardens, Behind The Wall, Under the Tree” into an international phenomenon almost 40 years ago. Gehweiler’s cello sounds terrific. Vollenweider is also a gifted piano player, which “Entangled” is an excellent example of. The feeling of improvisation is terrific and gives us time to breathe and reflect. Vollenweider’s harp is (thankfully!) back on “Come to the Quiet Place”. The finale, with drums, various percussion and a nice touch of the East, is inspired.
I guess “Venus in the Mirror” is in some way associated with the upcoming novel, so I’m not going to say more than it is a fine and a bit dreamy piece. There are, as you have understood by now, many references to Eastern music and cultures on the album (starting with the cover artwork, of course). Play “Sculpture”, and you’ll understand what I mean. “Fields of Blue” rounds of the album in a thoughtful way. It is a bit open-ended, which makes you want to play it all over again.
In conclusion: “Quiet Places” is a great and very welcome return by Andreas Vollenweider! As a music reviewer, I rarely say it, but “Quiet Places” is a must. It is easily one of the finest New Age music releases in 2020. It also an excellent addition to Vollenweider’s discography. It will be interesting to see how the music fits to the novel “Reflections of Venus”. Judging by the music, it is going to be a fascinating read.
For more information and music samples, visit vollenweider.com
The Novel “Reflections of Venus” is a story about the creative interrelation of consciousness, imagination and reality. The novel is currently being translated to English. You can learn more about the book here (you can already download a sample in German).
See our complete Andreas Vollenweider coverage here.