Michael Alterberger — Elf Entdecker (Eleven Explorers)
((Not on label) no#, 2011, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2013-06-15
Michael Altenberger (aka Mike Oldhill) is a German progressive rock multi-instrumentalist. Eleven Explorers is his debut release and quite an ambitious project! It is a concept album chronicling Oldhill’s musical interpretations of eleven explorers spanning the past 800 years: Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Francisco de Orellana, James Cook, John Franklin, Richard Francis Burton, Ludwig Leichhardt, Robert Scott, and Thor Heyerdahl. Given this list of names I was expecting a listening experience akin to Vangelis’ 1492: Conquest of Paradise and the cinematic majesty of ships sailing through uncharted seas, conquistadors hacking their way through jungles, explorers braving attacks by native tribes, and the exotic scents and sounds of different cultures. Instead what you experience is a suite of 11 pleasant 80s influenced jazzy progressive rock instrumentals (keyboards, synths, guitar, and drums) in the six to seven minute range. There is nothing in the music that the listener can use to immediately identify the explorer, which is unfortunate. Perhaps a better approach to the album would have been to deemphasize the explorer theme. Regrettably, Eleven Explorers does not live up to expectations.
Related artist(s): Michael Altenberger (Mike Oldhill)
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