The website of Background Magazine already contains two reviews of albums recorded by the Austrian musician Gerald Krampl: Timediver (2008, review) and Innocent Wasteland (2009, review). However, our reviewers didn't like Krampl's music at all. Gerald Krampl, born in Vienna in 1954, started his musical career in his early youth by taking classical piano lessons. In the seventies and eighties he formed two progressive rock bands: Kyrie Eleison and Indigo. The music made by these bands gained a high reputation in the prog rock community all around the world. In both bands Krampl played keyboards and wrote most of the songs.
Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the music of these bands and that also applies for the Agnus Dei-project he started in 1999 together with his wife Hilde. For them, this project was the perfect combination of spiritual music and poetry. In 2006, he came across a new, very emotional and intense musical challenge. He had to work on a soundtrack for a multi-media project for the internet and for a TV-documentary which was released as 31Projects. This documentary gave authentic information about the Holocaust in World War II. I listened to the music of this project and I must confess that it certainly has some fine moments, although the music is rather dark and sad.
As a solo artist Gerald Krampl released the two above-mentioned albums. Timediver is strongly influenced by the early Mike Oldfield and several releases from Vangelis and Kitaro. On Innocent Wasteland we only hear the piano and synthetic strings. On this release Krampl tried to blend electronic music and nature sound effects that potentially could be used for a film soundtrack. He seemed to be influenced by artists like Preisner, Max Richter, Ludovico Einaudi and Erik Satie. He called this release a somehow dark and melancholic conceptual work about the endless cycle of destruction and reawakening around us.
His new album Lighthouse can be seen as a follow-up to Innocent Wasteland. The music on this release is again a crossover between classical music, minimal music, new age and ambient. However, this time he had no overall concept that would keep the songs together as a whole. Krampl regards every song as a musical expression of various personal impressions that were collected throughout the year. While listening to the music from his third solo release I could easily understand why our reviewers didn't enjoy his previous solo albums. For many people it's difficult to listen to an album that only contains piano music accompanied by some string synthesizer sounds. Almost fifty minutes of music that doesn't contain any rhythm at all tends to get annoying after a while. If you listen to the first track Lighthouse you get the idea that Gerald Krample is a rather good piano player. The string synthesizer plays a nice melody accompanied by the sound of waves, but Mr. Krampl seems to have too little fantasy in his compositions to keep a real prog head focused on the music. All tracks sound almost identical. I think his music would be more suitable for supermarkets, elevators, call centers and for the waiting rooms of shrinks.
I hope Gerald Krample doesn't record more albums in this musical style. Otherwise I think he will be unemployed very soon. He would rather pick up the musical style of the seventies or eighties in order to become more interested for the readers of Background Magazine!
* Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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