Friday, October 17, 2014

Novalis - 1978 - Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown

Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown

01. Der Geigenspieler (8:15)
02. Zingaresca (5:12)
03. Manchmal fällt der Regen eben (3:50)
04. Vielleicht bin Ich ein Clown? (6:22)
05. City-Nord (6:07)
06. Die Welt wird alt und wieder jung
   (Original text by Friedrich Schiller, adapted by F. Mühlböck) (4:30)

- Hartwig Biereichel / drums, kettle drum, percussion
- Detlef Job / acoustic, electric & slide guitars, vocals
- Fred Mühlböck / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, flute
- Lutz Rahn / Hammond H100 organ, acoustic & electric pianos, strings, Mellotron, PPG synth, clavinet
- Heino Schünzel / bass, vocals

The fifth Novalis studio album, Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown? (1978), gets off to a flying start with Detlef Job's wonderful composition Der Geigenspieler. Skilfully crafted around acoustic guitar, Mellotron and string-synth, this is easily the best Novalis song since Wunderschatze. It features Job and Fred Muhlbock singing alternate sections in turn, Job's quiet pensive verses contrasting beautifully with Muhlbock's upbeat resolute choruses. The final few minutes of Der Geigenspieler find the band getting a rare chance to rock, with Lutz Rahn deserving special praise for his superb Hammond work. The album also closes strongly with Die Welt Wird Alt Und Wieder Jung, an introspective ballad that features simply piano and Mellotron (cello and strings) accompaniment. However the rest of the material here is something of a mixed bag.

The instrumental Zingaresca sounds a bit like Camel; believe it or not I can even hear a little of Santana thanks to guest percussionist Tommy Goldschmidt's congas. Job plays slide guitar on Manchmal Fallt Der Regen Eben Lang, which otherwise is a catchy pop song in the mould of Irgendwo, Irgendwahn from Brandung. Vielleicht Bin Ich Ein Clown is a touch monotonous and it doesn't feature Muhlbock singing at his best, although he does play some mean flute on this song. Lutz Rahn's composition, City-Nord, is a synthesizer-led instrumental and in my opinion is the best of the rest here. So a few tracks are of dubious quality, and while this isn't one of their best efforts it's really not that bad overall. I don't think Novalis can be written off as a prog band with this album, because the opening song in particular shows they could still produce some beautiful, mellow progressive music.