Andreas Vollenweider II «Down to the Moon»

Andreas Vollenweider’s Grammy-winning 1987 effort is dominated by the Swiss musician’s electrically modified harp. Its distinctive sound runs throughout the album, supported by the usual tinkering synthesizer effects and light percussion. After an extended introductory interlude, the title track zips into a vaguely Caribbean-styled rhythm. «Water Moon» features a different, more organic harp sound; it’s mixed with the windy tones of a flute, suggesting ghostly moonshafts lancing through falling rain. Vollenweider plays the harp strings off of guitar strings on the surprisingly twangy (for new age, anyway) «Drown in Pale Light.» The composer weaves the instrumentals together with a goody bag of pan-ethnic influences, while the album’s margins are full of these little touches that nevertheless make a big difference.

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