Friday, 10 October 2014

Thilo von Westernhagen's gorgeous first album, Sunbeam, from 1979

First look at that gorgeous cover, which absolutely looks like an 18th century dutch painting.  I could look at that image all day.

A marvelous share from my friend, hugely enjoyable.  This Dutch pianist made quite a few records in this wonderful period in the late seventies-early eighties when fusion and ECM-style beauty were not yet dead and interred and full of worms, and we will be exploring some of his very little-known releases this October...  perfectly suitable for the mood of lowering temperatures in the temperate zones, colder winds a la Marx, Rootschilt, Tillermann, and falling leaves and hair and bank accounts.

From rateyourmusic:

"Thilo von Westernhagen was a composer and pianist. He worked as a jazz pianist (e.g. with Charlie Mariano, Joachim Kühn, and Jan Akkerman), but his main focus was on contemporary classical music. He was married to soprano vocalist Monika Borchfeldt."

This first album according to the discogs database is incredible with that typically european mix of classical with jazz.  It's not ECM though it definitely sounds like it.  Note that he composed all his music.  Just listen to that darkly beautiful opening to the first song, "Yamina" which also interestingly transitions from an initial Pink Floyd-like full-sounding organ E minor to E flat:

That dreamy, melancholy, Eberhard-Weber-ECMy mood pervades throughout.  A good close comparison would be the Gallery album I ripped earlier that I love so much.  The addition of vibes (played by Ellen Homilius) adds lightness to most songs.  Here you can check out the remainder of the artists on this record.

The other huge standout song for me is the title track with its space synthesizer, it recalls to me the best European fusion in its softer moments such as on Muck Grobian's album from 1979 or the early Toto Blanke Electric Circus, or occasional Goblin pieces:

Yes, floating in space, weightless, free of gravity and time, a galaxy on your right hand... a faraway green earth at your toes...  the reflection of the moonrise in your dark eyes...  trillions of stars have waited billions of years to come through your visor...  where are they now?  there is no time or space anymore for you, just infinity...  it's October now, soon it's going to be as cold as that floating black, so let Thilo warm your heart...


  1. Many thanks to my friend for this wonderful album...

    Thilo 1

  2. btw I reuploaded Dreamworld - Gates to Eternity:

  3. Not Dutch, German