Johannes Schmoelling: Songs No Words - Lieder ohne Worte, 1995. 7/10

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:35
Blog Image

Johannes presses play on his answering machine. A little shy children’s voice appear. It’s his son, and I guess he’s around 8 or 9 years of age:
"Hallo, Papa. Kannst du...bin doch darann denken, daß du die...ööhh...Schallplatte von Phil Collins mitbringt? Bis dann, tschüs!"
The father jumps, and apparently he misses his son.

The opening cut, Nursery Rhyme, use a very Phil Collin-esque programmed drum beat. The melody is played on a piano, and in front of me, I can almost see Richard Claydermann, sitting at his Steinway, smiling, never to yield his glimpse from me. On top that, there’s room made for terrible fake-strings.
All of a sudden, the sound of a Hammond organ crescents. A sound that now haunts Procol Harum, in their panic-aging reunion days.
It all ends up in a syrupy trinity, and for that purpose, the track is appropriate for cosiness in front of the stove, while you’re swept in a cashmere plaid, sipping to your Earl Grey with honey.
Nursery Rhyme is so thorough in its sweet naivety, and one can almost only surrender, as the music speaks to you in a trashy way, and to your most sentimental sides.

Gondola Song has about the same danger as a newly washed puppy, but has its distinct attraction in the airy piano, which reminds me of Mike Oldfield’s album from the year before, The Songs Of Distant Earth.
The track is visited by some drummer named Jan Seliger, who delivers about only what’s required, and nothing more.

Spinning Wheel is a synthetic resemblance of nylon strings woven into a repetitive embroidery, in where, I also hear a cembalo?
A cello makes a short stop of that, after which aforementioned structure reappears. Some of the peculiarities which marked Wuivend Riet, surfaces, in the shape of cheerful wind instruments and synths. Then the track ebbs out. A lovely, whimsy one, actually.

Jester’s Nightwatch is strangely funky, in a bland and fatigued way, and deserves no further attention.

Autumn Song is rain forest sounds in the intro, followed by claves and an update of the choir preset from the mellotron, of which Schmoelling was so fascinated of, when he entered TD. After this, fretless bass guitar is added, airy piano, and maybe even some synth.
We’re talking highly accomplished easy listening, even verging towards kitsch. The central melody line, as I hear it, is a phrase of a profound Camel track. Weird!

Huntsman’s Song is somewhat more ”serious”, although the charisma is maintained. The atmosphere is cinematic, rocking, and mediterraneanously sensual. But from being a schizophrenic Angelo Badalamenti influenced piece, the hasty conclusion is fetched from a Latin-American dancing school.

Hymnus is recorded in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The intro is a sound montage, recorded with Johannes’ stereo mike. We hear chirping birds, religious poems, and a couple of boy childs, playing soccer with a tin can.
Slowly, synthetic strings are plucked, on a subdued string instrument, which encourages to an enhancement of the mood. That happens by the entrance of the first sequencer. A symphonic technique, that looks like archetypical, uplifting new age, is build up, and I will spare you from the “obscene” details.

In the meantime, I do not feel up telling and drawing about the remaining tracks, Maypole Song and Funeral March, as they do not shake the impression, I have tried to describe throughout my review.
Songs No Words - Lieder ohne Worte is a playful, capricious disc, in a bigger extend compared to Tangerine Dream, as it draws on the humorous side, but remarkable big art, it unfortunately ain’t.