This is the 12th ( I think) release by Austrian keyboardist Gerald Krampl. He has had a long and interesting journey so far. Some proggers might know him as key man for both 70's and 80's prog rock bands Kyrie Eleison and Indigo. Gerald wrote all the songs as well. He then did a series of meditative ( mostly Reiki ) recordings with his wife doing words. After she passed away, he then did further solos in soundtrack and then combinations of classical, minimalist, and ambient as this new one is classified as.
To say “Lighthouse” is beautiful is just not enough. It takes on a Tim Story approach, but with a much deeper and musically, a much more classical and pristine approach. The skill level is also miles above. His reference to Erik Satie is very accurate. It envelopes you as it moves. You might say it sounds like the more somber parts of Phillip Glass on piano and strings, with Erik Satie writing it, and Tim Story playing the synthesizer lines. This is composed and performed with such clarity. I cannot believe how good it is. Each of the twelve songs tell a story and just have the listener spellbound. As I sat and listened to this 3 different days I was still just made calm the minute the music played. It reminds me of another favorite composer/keyboardist named Wim Mertens (of Soft Verdict) at some places. Although not at all repetitive like Glass or any of those contemporaries it still has a trance like quality. And it’s the listener that enjoys the trance.
No doubt Krampl’s long experiences in the music world and the thing called life have given him deep understanding of both. The best part of it is we get to hear his recordings from it all. For anyone who feels this is just pretty piano, some strings and relaxation, I urge you to listen closely. There are subtle effects thrown in on many of the songs and it makes the atmosphere of the music very different than those typical of this genre. Some of the melodies are reminiscent of Anthony Phillips keyboard solos. That touch of sadness and reflection with the beauty right there on his sleeve.
So this is not driving music or party music. And it is certainly not wallpaper music or music to do housework by. It demands you sit down be quiet and let the music tell you things. In fact you will hear voices on song 7 “Voices Unheard” which I feel is quite ghostly. It’s stunningly magnetic. After an incredibly chaotic and stressful couple of months to end the 2010 year, this CD came into my lap at just the perfect time. This is without a doubt, the best deep listening recording I have heard for the whole entire year. Non stop gorgeous compositions and not a dead spot anywhere to be heard.
THANK YOU Gerald Krampl for making and releasing ‘Lighthouse’ because it sure did shine some light on my month of December!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on January 8th, 2011