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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde

ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER

By Stacy Meyn
Published September 23, 2005

Vox
SLG/Kin Kou

Swiss electro-acoustic harpist Andreas Vollenweider has been plinking away to much appreciation for over a quarter century. He’s a touring madman, so it’s no surprise that a few years have passed since his last full-length release. Vox offers enough material to make up the difference. A DualDisc (CD and DVD) making its debut on the Savoy Jazz subsidiary Kin Kou, Vox features Vollenweider’s recent special projects packaged as bonus audio settings and mixes plus concert/interview/documentary footage. But before diehard Vollenweider fans dive in expecting a ton of signature harp strains, one little detail: he sings. That’s the deal with the title—Vollenweider’s urge to speak (and he does that too) out artistically, along with playing piano and Spanish guitar. It’s also a family affair, with niece, sons, and daughter contributing instrumental and (of course) vocal performances. Melodies are poppy, with sound effects and choruses. Vollenweider’s harp is still there, but not nearly as prevalent as in past recordings. Vollenweider might be aware of the potential resistance from long-timers to his increased schmaltz factor—the opening track is “Hey You! Yes you…” and the closer is “What If It Wasn’t A Dream."