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Gandalf - To Another Horizon/Magic Theatre album reviews

Album Review

Enigmatic 80s instrumentals Gandalf still cast a spell.

Gandalf is Austrian multi-instrumentalist wizard Heinz Strobl, who, after spending the 70s playing in progressive rock bands, retreated to his studio. After his second album Visions became a success, he had an inspired and prolific 80s. Generally labelled (or dismissed) as a ‘new age’ composer, he’s been compared to Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Bo Hansson and Mike Oldfield, essentially on the basis that he creates flowing, shimmering instrumental soundscapes. Yet his work has a very individual charm, and if you’ve never taken the plunge – perhaps erroneously assuming that he’d be going on about Tolkienesque fairies and goblins – these two remasters offer a realm of riches. Relaxing yet spirited and nimble, his music is a thing of beauty and a well-kept secret that reveals a treasure-trove of little epiphanies.

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