Review of “Continuation” from Progwereld

(free translated from Dutch language)

Once in a while I’ll find that I’ve been sleeping and a band / musician remained completely under the radar. That was the case with Shamall. Shamall is the project of the German musician Norbert Krueler which is active for about thirty years and already released fifteen different studio albums in that period. “Continuation” is their latest release and is also an integral part of the compilation “History Book” along with four other CDs which provide an overview of thirty years Shamall.

Krueler is a multi-instrumentalist and does a lot himself, including the production, but also works frequently with guest musicians like Matthias Mehrtens (guitar). This is the the case on “Continuation”. There is also a singer from the party (Anke Ulrich), but overall the emphasis is focussed on the instrumental level. “Continuation” takes 79 minutes and contains mostly compositions that no longer fit on the previous release “Turn Off”, because it had already reached its maximum playing time.

As well as “Turn Off” is “Continuation” an indictment of nuclear power with the Fukushima disaster as the main source of inspiration. “Oh dear”, I can hear you, dear reader prog, all the thinking: “This is a musical “atomic power – no thanks” – happening”…? Will depart the musicality of the message? I assure you that this is not the case. The message is of course justified, judging by the nuclear disasters, but nowhere the music is subordinated to the message. In fact, I rarely had owned a socially committed album that led to such great compositions.

According to Wiki the musical style of Shamall is best described as a mixture of Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd. The following names came to my mind when listening: (indeed) David Gilmour (Random Walker), Lee Abraham (Fragments P. IV) Enigma (Linolenic Acid), Peter Baumann’s early solo work and even Manfred Mann (Floating Subatomic Particles and Solitary Life). Multi-variant, merged into a style in which the listener can drift on a sonic trip that holds the attention without interruption for seventy-nine minutes and let the listener enjoy.

The whole is produced “German at it’s Best”: wonderful spaciousness, balance and definition in full harmony; the ears are spoiled. To make it short: this album is a must for electro prog fans in the corner of Tangerine Dream / Loom, Ashra and F. D. Project.

c/o Clemens Leunisse, Progwereld 2016

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Excerpt from Kinesis Progressive Rock page – “Turn Off” sounds like Eloy featuring special guest Edgar Froese…

The Shamall albums offered here are after the band’s transition to progressive rock and so are their highest-rated on Prog Archives: Turn Off (2CD, 2013, digipack), Is This Human Behavior (2CD, 2009, digipack), Questions of Life (2008, digipack), Ambiguous Points of View (2CD, 2006, digibook),Who Do They Think They Are (2CD, 2003, jewel box), and The Book Genesis (2CD, 2001, jewel box). Ambiguous Points of View counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.

We’re devoting most of this space to the latest album Turn Off, because that’s the one we’ve listened to. It seems that the major influence present on the Shamall albums has been Pink Floyd. But Turn Off sounds much closer to Eloy, themselves Pink Floyd influenced but quite distinct. Shamall doesn’t just sound a little like Eloy here — if you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was a new Eloy album. More specifically, it sounds like Eloy featuring special guest Edgar Froese.

That’s one of the remarkable qualities of this album, how well Tangerine Dream style sequencers and synths are integrated into progressive rock. There are male and female vocals (in English), though the music is heavily instrumental. It turns out that Shamall is primarily the work of one man, Norbert Krueler, but you’d probably never guess. This is one amazing album, perhaps with slightly too narrow a style given its 150-minute length, but you won’t feel shortchanged on this or any of the other Shamall albums. Most are double-CDs, and each disc is nearly full. There is a lot of music here.

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Re-release of 2nd Shamall 12″ single

The music label “new eye records” re-released Shamall’s 2nd album “feeling like a stranger” as a limited edition because of so many inquiries from the fans of this era.
This re-release has been completed with more than 50 minutes previously unreleased bonus material from the 80’s and 90’s era.
Feeling like a stranger - the whole trip
Feeling like a stranger – the whole trip.
Every band has it’s own story.Like many other bands Shamall starts his career with making music in the typical style of synth- and electro-pop of the eighties. At that time, Shamall would like to produce rather progressive music. But it should become a long way to Shamall’s most recent albums. Like many other artists, Shamall was torn between the punchy electro-pop-sound of the eighties. Then Shamall produces his first two 12″ singles “my dream” (1986) and “feeling like a stranger” (1988).

This re-release of the second 12″ single from 1988 with the titles “feeling like a stranger”, “running against the time” and “love don’t exist” closes another gap in Shamall’s musical history.

Over 50 minutes previously unreleased bonus material from the nineties complete this album.

 

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First review of the new album “Is this human behavior”

Shamall – Is this human behavior 2 cd (2009)
related: Pink Floyd, Eloy
Review by Walter Sehrer
Shamall - Is this human behavior 2 CD
Norbert Krueler alias Shamall has been hard-working again. Fans of longtracks will get one’s money’s worth entirely with this double-cd. The single tracks respectively parts flow smoothly into each other, that it may give the impression of a sole composition (of 78 minutes in case of CD 01).The first CD starts with mellow e-piano and heavy e-guitar sounds – Shamall creates slowly and with a lot of breathing space a kind of atmospheric space-prog, which reminds often at the seventies’ Pink Floyd era. Chanting synths like in “Wish you were here”- or “Animals”-days arise a – high-class – kind of futuristic “Picture Music”, where the listener evolves his own mind movie.Thematically this album deals with the ignorant behavior of the mankind towards their environment – similar to the current album of the german krautrock band eloy. Krueler knows to stage a thunder-storm of epic and space-sounds – even better than on his previous releases. So it’s worth to go for an expedition here and despite of a few single redundancies, it’s always a true pleasure to listen.

The second CD “Living incommunicado” is more rock-oriented with a lot of guitar parts and soli. Bonus-tracks perfect this album.

c/o “eclipsed rock magazine”, Walter Sehrer, issue 12/09-01/10

 

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Rock magazine Eclipsed, Issue 12/08 – 01/09: Special feature of Shamall !

The October issue of the rock magazine “Eclipsed” contains the track “what will happen” from the current Shamall album “questions of life” on it’s audio compilation – next to tracks from Marillion, Yes, IQ and Martin Orford. The November double issue presents a special feature of Shamall:
Rock Magazine Eclipsed
“The music idol”
Norbert Krueler is fan of progressive music and Krautrock, around Bremen he’s well known as a DJ and as an excellent expert on the alternative rock scene. As a musician he applies himself to his alter-ego Shamall. “Shamall is an arabic term for ‘hot desert wind’, Norbert reported. I was looking for a timeless expression, which makes curious, without to hint at something particular”.
Under that name, Norbert recorded all eleven studio albums so far. While he was guided by trance and electronic sounds on his earlier releases, he was driven by vocals, strong guitars and floydian sound spheres on his latest three releases (all concept works). “I am from the old school, where particularly in the seventies anyone aspired to be as much experimental and innovative as possible and that’s why I adore David Gilmour as the solely guitar hero. Nothing against Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, they are both awesome, but I personally prefer musicians, who hit the famous one note instead of projecting themselves in an egomaniac way”.
“music as a passion”
Norbert Krueler is fan of progressive music and Krautrock, around Bremen he’s well known as a DJ and as an excellent expert on the alternative rock scene. As a musician he applies himself to his alter-ego Shamall. “Shamall is an arabic term for ‘hot desert wind’, Norbert reported. I was looking for a timeless expression, which makes curious, without to point at something particular”.
Under that name, Norbert recorded all eleven studio albums so far. While he was guided by trance and electronic sounds on his earlier releases, he was driven by vocals, strong guitars and floydian sound spheres on his latest three releases (all concept works). “I am from the old school, where particularly in the seventies everyone aspired to be as much experimental and innovative as possible and that’s why I adore David Gilmour as the solely guitar hero. Nothing against Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, they are both awesome, but I personally prefer musicians, who hit the famous one note instead of projecting themselves in an egomanic way”.
Krueler’s latest trick “Questions of Life” continues this journey, measured again by suggestive, mantra-term rhythmic patterns, which settle Shamall between progressive and electronic music. Apart from some extended guitar solos, which he relinquishes to Matthias Mehrtens, Norbert plays everything himself.
How did it came on the unique concept to mix extended electronic sounds with floydian spacerock? “Referring to this ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ was my crucial experience”, said Krueler. “Since then I am a friend of long musical tracks, which I can lavishly embellish.” In that, he’s a master indeed.
Shamall’s vibrant longtracks develop hypnotic qualities. But either you address on Shamall’s mantra rock fully or you feel rather boredom in view of his similar song structures. The shadow of being a DJ, who hates nothing as much as unnecessary breaks, becomes a blessing or a curse of Shamall. Shorter tracks, interludes and more acoustic instruments could possibly force Krueler’s hermetic cosmos open and remove some of his ambivalence. But to bend himself to a certain flow or to bow to public taste, is contrary to Krueler’s creed: “I would never make music just because of making money. And I don’t work with musicians, who are ticking that way. Incidentally ‘Questions of Life’ raises this subject, because this album deals with the superficiality of the people. In my music there is no room for shallowness. For me is music like religion.”
— c/o Walter Sehrer, Eclipsed, December 2008

 

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Shamall’s album “questions of life” is in the TOP 50 charts 2008 of “eclipsed” rock magazine !

 

Rock Magazine Eclipsed
This album does not answer the nagging questions about the cosmos and life itself. But it easily establish the connection of electronic long tracks, Floyd-Guitars and keyboards. Rating: “extremely trippin!”. Top Track: “What will happen”.

 

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Eclipsed reviewed “Ambiguous points of view” (8/10)

Shamall – Ambiguous points of view 2 cd (2006)
related: Pink Floyd, Eloy, Planet P, Orbital
Review by Walter Sehrer

Ambiguous Points of View
The music project of the german musician and dj Norbert Krueler has developped continuously from pure italo-disco on electronic ambient to a progressive space-rock act.
With this concept album Krueler delivers a longtrack on each cd, subdivided in 14 respectively 15 parts, each one affected by Shamall’s very hypnotic handwriting.
Friends of extended spacey improvisations will find a lot of addictive drugs here. A competently psychedelic and ‘gilmouresque’ played guitar invites you to take off. In ‘everything has two sides’ the musician takes his time to let his sounds drifting along. And always there are clear Floyd-reminiscences, such as when the oscillating rhythm of ‘another brick in the wall’ appears or when the ‘sheep-intro’ is taken up. The extremely dynamic blend of electric guitars, electronic sounds and vocals is always compact and coherent.The only drawback: sometimes the constant overlapping songs get too homogeneous. On the second disc Shamall’s weaves more acoustic guitars and synth solos in the meandering sound snake of ‘far away from reality’.
Rating: 8/10 –c/o Eclipsed, Walter Sehrer, Sept. 2008
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“Music with lyrics about the meaning of life”

Norbert Kruelers project “Shamall” releases his eleventh album “music is not a cheap non-durable good, but something sacred” believes Norbert Krueler, who just released the eleventh album with his music project “Shamall” (hot desert wind). The musician and music producer entitles his latest work “questions of life”. “The lyrics are about the meaning and purpose of life,” says Krueler, “because I realized how many people are wasting their time while occupying themselves with lambencies.”

Krueler achieves his ideas not only in his lyrics. When working on a new album, he tries to avoid copying himself. “I try to avoid repetitions”, Norbert says “and I take it for granted to bring out the best in my music.” Influences of famous bands from the alternative rock scene of the eighties and seventies are apparent in Shamall’s current work. Their pleasure to create musical experiments and their audibly LOVE to play were trademarks of those bands in their era. These remarkable signs are abound on ‘questions of life’.

“But my fans need not to fear too experimental debaucheries,” laughs Krueler, because he remains with the Best: “The melody itself is still in the foreground and may not disappear behind too much technology or extensive technical skills of single musicians, who ends in themselves. Heart, culture and brainpower shall always be consistent with each other. Shamall is just a child of the colourful flower-power-hippie-era…” smiles Norbert.

Norbert, who was born in Emsdetten (near the Dutch border) plays guitar and piano since his childhood. After his three-year apprenticeship as a dairy expert Norbert jobbed in a discotheque, before he filled in the diseased resident dj. “My boss was thrilled about my first appearance as a DJ so that I kept the job,” recalls Krueler. About 30 years ago the same boss established the big rock club “Aladin Music Hall” in Bremen and took Krueler with him, who is still working there until today. 1986 Krueler founded the project “Shamall” with two friends. “We started with Italo-Disco quite successfully,” he says. After a year both friends quit Shamall for family reasons. Krueler, who doesn’t relate to disco music, reconsidered his musical ambition and was looking for an intellectual challenge. Influenced by musical heroes of his childhood like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Alan Parsons and Tangerine Dream he created the first Shamall longplayer, which gave direction to Shamall’s musical future. His electronic music with rhythm and vocals made him popular internationally, Shamall received two golden records, which dazzle on the wall of the recording studio. Shamall brought new elements in the following works and various musicians accompanied him over the years. The recent album “Questions of Life” is available in every well-stocked record store. — Inka Sommerfeld, July 2008

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