Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Neuschwanstein — Alice in Wonderland (English)
(Belle Antique 223740, 1976/2022, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2023-01-06
Some readers might be familiar with the original version of Alice in Wonderland by Neuschwanstein. It was an instrumental symphonic rock album with German narration recorded in 1976 that was finally released in 2009 on Musea and Rock Symphony. The music fit comfortably in the Camel school of progressive rock, with memorable melodies arranged for keyboards, guitars, and flute in the lead and a solid rhythm section. The music has a generally light touch, rarely reaching into high-energy territory. It was a live-in-studio recording with some warts, and the fidelity is somewhat lacking compared to full studio productions — the bass in particular is over-saturated at times. Still, as a live recording of the time, it fares reasonably well. Guitarist Roger Weiler did the narration, telling the story of Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole. The majority of the keyboards are handled by Thomas Neuroth in a style heavily inflected with Classical music. His piano parts are full of Wakeman-like arpeggios, and there are also various synths, especially handling string sounds, and organ. Additional synthesizers are contributed by flutist Klaus Meyer. The group is filled out by Rainer Zimmer (bass) and Hans-Peter Schwarz (drums). The new version at hand features the same instrumental tracks, but the narration has been replaced by Sonja Kristina, with excerpts and paraphrases from Lewis Carroll’s work. This will likely make the recording more desirable for English speakers, and Kristina’s voice is warm and comforting even though she’s not singing. For those who already own the original German version, there will be a calculation about whether a new version is worth getting, but anyone who hasn’t heard it yet will find a lost rough gem of the 70s waiting.
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