Gandalf’s Kingdom of Fantasy:
|Those who love fantasy and imaginary electronic music will certainly know the Austrian multi-instrumentalist Gandalf, aka Heinz Strobl.
He calls himself a “painter of musical landscapes”, drawing inspiration from the numerous aspects of nature which he experienced during his extensive travels throughout Asia, Europe, North and South America.
Just after Heinz Strobl had completed his debut-album “Journey to an Imaginary Land” he saw the cartoon-movie “The Lord of the Rings” by director Ralph Bakshi, based on the same state-of-the art work of writer J.R.R. Tolkien.
In this regard, Strobl states some inspiration may also have come from Modest Mussorgsky´s classic composition “Pictures at an Exhibitition”, as this also features the “promenade”-theme which connects the various pictures.
The songtitles on the Visions-album relate more or less to scenes from “Lord of the Rings”, but each listener may associate his own pictures with the music.
For the recording, Heinz Strobl experimented with electronic sounds produced with a vocoder and with various synthesizers. Next to an the old Minimoog h used a Korg MS-20 with analogue-sequencer, a Crumar-Performer string-machine played through a flanger and a moog-filterpedal and the legendary Korg-Organ. For the acoustic sounds he used 6- and 12-string guitars, mandolin and sitar and a Les Paul for the distorted solo-sounds. As guest-musicians he invited Robert Julian Horky playing flutes and Jatinder Thakur from India playing tablas.
After this album Gandalf released other fairytale like albums such as “To Another Horizon”, “More than just a Seagull” (released on his private Seagull-label), “Magic Theatre” and “Tale from a long forgotten country”.
Many years later, in the year 2000, when Heinz was looking back on 20 years as a recording artist, he decided to record a special album to celebrate his 20th Anniversary. He wanted it to be a kind of a hommage to J.R.R Tolkien, who had inspired him so much in the beginning of his career, and so the idea came up to record the album “Visions 2001”.
For the recording he invited some of his old and new musician-friends to contribute: Robert Julian Horky (flutes), Peter Aschenbrenner (flutes, soprano sax), Toni Burger (Violin), Wolfgang Wograndl (bass), his son Christian Strobl (drums & percussion) and Julia Martins.
This time Gandalf recorded 70 minutes of brand new music on 24-track analogue-tape combined with ADATs. The beautiful music features Gandalf’s characteristic guitar playing in multi-dimensional sound-pictures, leading listeners into a kingdom of fantasy for a second time.
“Visions 2001” also contains a second cd which tries to give a representative view of the wide range of Gandalf’s music composed between 1980 and 2000. It features a selection of highlights of his former albums plus some rare and formerly unreleased live-recordings. For the record launch and celebration of the 20th anniversary, Gandalf and co played a show in an old established theatre in Vienna called “The Ronacher”. Altogether, 17 musicians were involved on stage, including very special guest Steve Hackett. With the latter, Gandalf had recorded the album “Gallery of Dreams” in 1991.