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The 10 Desert Island Albums

Ian Anderson: Devinities - Twelwe Dances with God (EMI Classics, 1995)

This is a long way from Tull's Aqualung, but if such a thing as musical perfection exists, this album exemplifies it. Divinities is a transcendental musical journey which transcends space, time and categorisation. The sound is largely high spirited classical with a natural and meditative nuance of new age. Andreson uses his musical creative genius to take us to a magical, mystical and multicultural instrumental celebration. A fantastic journey around the musical world with a symphonic orchestra and flute and this shows only, that Ian Anderson is like a good wine, he seems to get better and better with the time.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonatas - Volume 5 (Hungartoton Classics, 1997)

Annie Fischer was one of the few pianists whose Beethoven did not suffer in comparison with Solomon's. This great Hungarian pianist played with clarity, intelligence, spontaneity, temperament, and force. Although she was never a Beethoven specialist in the Schnabel sense, she did give two complete cycles in Budapest in the 1976-1977 concert season. Those concerts were taped, and the Qualiton label was able to compile a complete Fischer Beethoven cycle on nine discs. They make for fascinating listening. She depended always on the inspiration of the moment, never playing a piece the same way twice, and she disliked the emotional sterility of the recording studio. Her way of dealing with this problem was typically idiosyncratic: she recorded only in short takes, repeating them many times in a search for expressive precision (rather than technical perfection), and reluctantly allowing them to be spliced together - though you’d never know it from the seamless flow of the music on these discs.

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones: Greatest Hits of the 20th Century (Warner Bros. Records, 1999)

This compilation is as good as the title suggests. A spin through the eleven tunes on this album will remind the listener that the buzz was never so much about Bela Fleck playing jazz on a banjo as it was Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, and percussionist Future Man playing their funkified "blu-bop" fusion with such virtuosity and creative fire. Every bit of music on this album, from The Sinister Minister to Sex In A Pan to Big Country, is the product of a unique collective vision that has re-defined more than just what might be done with a banjo. Victor Lemonte Wooten plays on his bass guitar like on a solo instrument , so this sound is on the same high level as his partners banjo. The album also reminds us that Howard Levy made an important contribution to the Flecktone sound. We hear his diatonic harmonica, synth, and piano on five tracks, including Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo and Sunset Road. This is unpredictable, genre-crunching music, which is part of its charm. Fleck and his partners combine some odd influences - and often it doesn't feel like jazz - but it's always easy to appreciate their groove.

Pater Gabriel: So (Virgin Music Records, 1986)

Peter Gabriel lightens up somewhat here over his previous work, but relax - it isn't exactly a party album. A good way for me to judge how good an album is is by finding the worst or weakest track, which is close to impossible here. The only people who probably wouldn't enjoy this album are those who still persist in believing that rock is the devil's music. All others are strongly urged to buy this.

Jan Garbarek: Visible World (ECM Records, 1996)

Jan Garbarek has again blessed us with a thing of exquisite beauty. As you start the first track, Red Wind, you are overcome by an instant, ethereal atmosphere. It's like aromatherapy, on a CD. The album then takes you on a journey, through powerful, poignant pieces like The Survivor, through detatched, lightweight pieces like the Desolate Mountains, Haunting, weird pieces like Visible World (Chiaro -) and leaves you with the stirring, cool Evening Land. If you only buy one album this year, make it this one.

Steve Hackett: Darktown (Camino Records, 1999)

Twenty-nine years [sic!] of growth in Hackett composition, technique and arrangements has brought me endless hours of bliss. This artist is much more than a musician yet his musicianship is the best there is. His guitar is connected to his soul and he produces the most soulful music with the instrument. Steve's work has carried me away as music is meant to do. It is impossible to say Darktown is his best work, because his work is all good. But it is his newest, and certainly his most mature. It is his best. Thank you, Steve. Don't worry... Be happy...

The Dave Matthews Band: Busted Stuff (RCA Records, 2002)

Dave Matthews Band is one of the best bands in the world, for some reason they are not popular at all in Europe and I can't see why not, Busted Stuff is such a good album, its back to there very best after Everyday, it's very raw, lots of acoustic ... When I listened to this album for the first time, I was blown away. And I continue to be blown away every time I listen to it. This album is like nothing DMB has done before, the mood is a bit darker than any of the other albums. Still, every song on this album is excellent ...

Pink Floyd: The dark Side of the Moon (EMI, 1973)

Pink Floyd's finest is a sublime mix of signature Richard Wright synth programs, David Gilmour's subtlest noodling on the guitar and Roger Waters's soft, melodic voice and intellectually stimulating lyrics. Evenly paced and moderated, this exquisite composition is the original concept album. Progressive "space-rock" aside, this album will stand the test of time as a classic. I would have to say that "Dark Side of the Moon" is probably one of the top 5 albums of all-time. Period.

Various Artists: Liebesgrüsse aus Hollywood (Polydor Records, 1999)

Das hat schon was, wenn Arnold Schwarzenegger mal nicht "hasta la vista, baby" sagt, sondern: "Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern. Einsam ist jeder Busch und Stein..." Die deutsche Synchronstimme von Arnie rezitiert souverän das Hesse-Gedicht, unterlegt mit Drum 'n' Base Musik. Die musikalische Untermalung ist bei einigen Stücken gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber die größtenteils hervorragenden Sprecher (unter anderem die deutschen Stimmen von Robert de Niro und Bruce Willis) machen die 16 Liebesgedichte von Goethe über Rilke bis Ringelnatz zu einem echten Hörgenuss.

Rick Wakeman: Return to the center of the earth (EMI Classics, 1999)

Rick Wakeman combines the best aspects of both Rock and Classical Music styles and in the process has given the term 'Symphonic Rock' a new meaning with this album. On top of that, the narrator is no other than Patrick Stewart himself. His voice talent adds a new dimension to this already wonderful masterpiece with all kinds of subtleties and nuances, as well as perfect tempo and intonation that lead you straight into the story, as if you were there. The arrangements, the orchestra, the chorus, even the incidental music which serves as background to the narrative, all are of the outmost quality, which you can appreciate in every minor detail. Briefly, this is an absolute masterpiece which will let you wondering in awe as you go discovering layer after layer of complex harmonies.

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