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Would you help me?
Walking on Clouds coverWALKING ON CLOUDS
Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, June 2003

Sweden's In The Labyrinth are multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl (flutes, mellotron, guitars, mandolin, viola da gamba, zither, saz, shehnai, bass, percussion, vocals, samplers and "fx") with a variety of guests including fellow multi-instrumentalist Håkan Almkvist (sitar, tablas, electric guitar, bass, tapes, radio and fx). Walking On Clouds is the second CD by the group, whose members have changed over the years aside from the one constant, Lindahl.

In 1997, Lindahl and his wife had traveled to India; the music on the album reflects that trip as the arrangements and instruments used clearly indicate. It is a mix of instrumental and vocal pieces, where each of the album's 11 tracks has a descriptive introduction from Lindahl. The inclination is to refer to the rhythms and arrangements as Middle Eastern, but that isn't true, since India is, in fact, part of Asia and not the Middle East. But, influences being what they are, it is not surprising that there are similarities – and from which way across the border, I can't say. The Northwestern portion of India borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, countries that are considered part of the Middle East. But, short of spending time writing lecture on history and geography, let's just talk about the music.

Musically the pieces range from the upbeat, swirling darkness of "Kali" (the black, three-eyed goddess "who rules seemingly ruthlessly over the wild, bustling city of Calcutta" writes Lindahl) to the mostly mid-tempo, danceable rhythm of "Mahatma" (dedicated to Mohandas Gandhi) and "Gates On Oneiron" (meaning "gates to the dream-world," roughly, says Lindhal) to the calm, peaceful and gentle "Over The Wall" (about the Himalayas) to the austere "The Caravan From Sheeba," which sounds as if it could be part of a movie score, as it has the feel of an overture. In between we travel to the dark "Lop Nor (The Wandering Lake)" for some sharp guitar soloing and the sweet, dramatic sound of violins, and travel through the even darker "Dervish Dreams." Oddly enough, "Golgonda" (an Indian wine) has a bit of a Scottish Celtic sound to it, where their seems to be bagpipes, but, of course, there aren't. Otherwise, this piece is atmospheric, where the rhythmic percussion that has dominated the release so far is absent. Sounds of, perhaps, a street market can be heard in the background. The title track, "Walking On Clouds" falls somewhere in between being both atmospheric (as clouds might suggest) with soft but firm (if that makes sense) percussion (as walking might suggest).

Anyone who appreciates the mid-to-late period work by Tangerine Dream will find much to enjoy here. What might also come to mind, as it did for me every once in a while, was George Harrison's "Within You, Without You" (Sgt. Peppers) though in the first track, I thought a little bit of Pink Floyd's "Eclipse" (Dark Side Of The Moon) in the soft vocals and phrasing of Lindahl -- of course, with an Indian motif. The vocal pieces do hark back, a bit, to a more psychedelic late 60s, especially given Lindahl's singing voice, but then many artists were dabbling in "eastern mysticism," The Beatles at the feet of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi being one example.

Helping Lindahl create this rich suite of music that is both smooth and textured, and extremely inviting are Kirk Chilton and Micke Lövroth on violin, Ismet Demirhan on woodwinds, Sven Lindahl on cornett, Fereidoun Nadimi on darbouka and recitation, Miriam Oldenburg on accordion, Stefan Ottman providing additional recitation, Helena Selander and Anders Victorssen on background vocals -- all combining to transport you to a different world.

Rating: 4.5/5

Please smile

Walking on Clouds coverProgressive-Newsletter.de
Review von Kristian Selm

Bereits mit ihrem Erstling "The garden of mysteries" gingen In The Labyrinth auf die Reise in ferne Länder, vor allem die Welt zwischen Orient und Indien hatte es den zwei Schweden musikalisch angetan. Während Håkan Almqvist (Ensemble Nimbus) bei seinem später in diesem Heft noch folgenden Projekt Orient Squeezers völlig in den indischen Subkontinent versunken ist, reist er zusammen mit Peter Lindahl nicht immer ganz so weit, es darf auch mal nur in Orient bzw. mittlerer Osten sein. "Walking on clouds" verbindet Elemente aus dem Mittelalter mit Musik aus dem mittleren Osten, skandinavischen Folk mit sinfonischen Rock, Psychedelic mit Ambient, Indische Raga mit durchkomponierten Arrangements. Neben einer Vielfalt von Instrumenten (z.B. Sitar, Mandoline, Zither, Violine, diverse Flöten, aber auch Mellotron, E-Gitarre) lebt das Album vor allem von seiner vielschichtigen Atmosphäre der einfließenden Stile. Daneben mach die federleichten Melodien die Reise in eine fremde Welt zu einem Genuss: einfach träumen, die Augen schließen und sich davon tragen lassen. Vielleicht wurde an manchen Stellen der Schmalz doch etwas zu arg übertreiben bzw. die Musiker erwecken den Eindruck, als dass sie zu sehr in ihren Klangkosmos versunken sind. Ein überaus interessantes Hörbeispiel für fremde Kulturen, Rhythmen und Instrumentierungen ist dem schwedischen Duo allemal gelungen.


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