So last night as I was checking the New Prog Rock releases for November one of the band names that caught my attention was Shamall (Shamal, which loosely translates as “hot desert wind”) and their new album Turn Off Parts One and Two. Along with the name the two things that made the band more interesting is that they are from Germany and their sub-genre is listed as Neo-Prog. Based on past listens I usually like bands that fit into this sub-genre!! Tonight when I visited the band Facebook page I read that they classify their music as “Rock with psychedelic and progressive elements” While Wikipedia says that the band’s “features music which is a fusion of progressive rock, electronic, rock, pop, and classical.”
In the opening paragraph, I have used plural pronouns when writing about the band when I probably should have used singular pronouns because according to the ProgArchives:
SHAMALL is the moniker used by German composer and multi-instrumentalist Norbert Krueler, a highly influential DJ in Germany by trade and a passionate part-time musician to boot.
His first artistic creations came to be in 1986, at that time heavily tinged by various forms of mainstream electronic music. His first ventures were rather successful from a commercial point of view, but Krueler’s artistic aspirations weren’t totally satisfied by these first creations. As a long time fan of bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion as well as the Krautrock of his native Germany, his works slowly but steadily started incorporating more and more of these influences in his musical endeavours – with a particular emphasis on Pink Floyd. Continue Reading
Anyway I downloaded Turn Off, Pt 1 onto the iPhone this morning and it became the soundtrack for the ride home this afternoon. and I must say I was impressed by the album! though there were times that the music had too much of an electric dance music feel to it for my taste. Turn Off is the 16th Shamall album to be released in the band 28 years of existence and the band appears to be going strong and maybe even getting better!! When I reviewed the ratings of the albums at the ProgArchives tonight I saw that most of the album released prior to the band’s 2003 release Who Do They Think They Are are below 4 while the post 2003 releases having ratings over 4.0! While the overall feel of the music on Turn Off is thought to be consistent with past work by Krueler. Turn Off uses a female vocalist Anke Ullrich either as a soloist, or with a second voice or sometimes even a choir and each time the vocals are pleasing.
Some more about the album: from the Shamall website:
The recent opus “Turn Off” is another proof of Shamall’s reputation as “German Pink Floyd with own influences” because of his energetic, dynamic synthesizers and keyboards. This style of playing convinces with great power and clarity and shouldn’t be listened to in the background. However the whole album does not turn into another Pink Floyd Clone because of the interplay of keyboards with the guitar of Matthias Mehrtens, who has grown up in the era of Steve Vai, but mutated into an independent musical development with many variants and impressive compositions…..
….Sometimes dreamy lifted, sometimes playful and funky, guitars and synthesizers provide always an exciting battle. Like its predecessors, “Turn Off ” is composed of two musical main themes, where vocal passages either finalize or dissolve the arc of suspense. Atmospheric soundscapes, passionately played, arouse curiosity of what comes next.
This album is dramatic and melancholic. Goosebumps guaranteed. Continue Reading
Along with the vocals of Anke Ullrich, Norhert Kueler is also supported on the album by:Matthias Mehrtens on guitar and Mike Bach on drums.
Here’s Shamall with “What will happen part IV” from the album Question of Life – sounds like this album needs to be checked out, too!!