Review „Questions of Life“ (8/10)

Shamall – Questions of Life (2008)
related: Pink Floyd, Maxxess, Alan Parsons, Krautrock
Review by Walter Sehrer
Questions of Life

The album ‚questions of life‘ is already the eleventh studio album from Norbert Krueler alias Shamall. The german musician and dj is exploring the cosmic sound universe, accompanied with rapid Floyd guitar and vibrant electronic sounds and inspired by thousands of unsolved mysteries of life (as you can read on the booklet). As a fan of spacerock, melodic guitars and worshipper of Pink Floyd you may happily flow on Shamall’s long, hypnotic tracks from galaxie to galaxie. In the song ‚what will happen‘ Shamall wonders, what might happen after the dissolution of the universe. The artwork of the album, which is evocative of the movie ‚2001 – space odyseey‘, illustrates Shamall’s cosmological philosophizing. This album contains numerous long guitar solos from ‚Gilmour’s textbook‘, but sometimes – as in ‚what will happen part III‘, synth melodies, which evokes wonderful memories of ’shine on you crazy diamond‘ in particular and to the blessed art of Richard Wright, in general. The whole album is like an unbridled frenzy of happiness. Either you fly with or you won’t take off.

Rating: 8/10. –c/o Eclipsed, Walter Sehrer, Nov. 2008

 

„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

Music circus magazine reviewed „Questions of Life“

Questions of Life
The musical style of Shamall alias Norbert Krueler has evolved from italo disco in the eighties across ambient electronic music in the nineties and changed once more to melodic progressive rock with lots of psychedelic elements according to Pink Floyd and the german progressive band Eloy. With the double release „ambiguous points of view“ Shamall produced a milestone in the band’s history yet. Besides the absolutely outstanding quality of music artwork and packaging were just excellent. Not easy to create a worthy successor for „ambiguous points of view“.
Almost two years passed since Shamall’s last double cd. The new album „questions of life“ came out as a very appealing digipak with a 12-page booklet. Musically, Norbert continues on the new album from where he stopped on „ambiguous points of view“. Just like Shamall’s recent work, the new album is composed as a concept album. The 18 tracks on this album are musically and thematic strongly affiliated with each other, so you should listening to this album as a whole.
It starts with the five-part track „what will happen“. In the first instance, part I is very psychedelic and reminds strongly of Pink Floyd. Superb melodies and intriguing sounds fill the atmosphere, as you know it from Shamall. That gives you the heebie-jeebies right from the start. Alongside to the soundscapes electric guitar enters the stage, which dominates thoroughly on this album. This creates a very fascinating progressive rock sound. Admittedly Norbert’s vocals and his german accent need getting used to, similar to those from Eloy’s singer Frank Bornemann, but if you let the music do its magic, the vocals will burn into your mind because they fit perfectly to the music. The sophisticated drum programming is amazing, just like on Shamall’s recent work. This is the proof, that he has a distinguished sense of rhythm next to his ability to create excellent compositions. Shamall combines new sounds with warm synth sounds from the 70’s and 80’s, which should appeal each fan of classic and melodic rock of that era.
Relaxing atmospheric soundscapes and pounding rhythmic parts afford an enthralling interplay. Melodies, surprising ones and variations of previous ones are smartly arranged to build a recurrent theme. Stilistically this album bears resemblance to Pink Floyds „Division Bell“. But tracks like „prospective waves“, „life part II“ or „running and falling“ are evocative of Pink Floyd’s „the wall“. „Exegesis“, which is redolent to Pink Floyd’s „on the run“ from the outstanding album „dark side of the moon“ with its moogsound at the end of the track. The synths in „resurge“ sound slightly like „the who“ in their „who are you“-phase. And in spite of everything Shamall is not another Floyd-Clone but he’s a musician and a very creative mind who brings a lot of own ideas to his music.
 „Questions of Life“ is an awesome, worthy successor for his killer album „ambiguous points of view“. Everyone who loves his work from his 2006′ release or every Pink Floyd fan will gorge „questions of life“ as well. I will recommend this album totally unlimited – in my collection it deserves a very special place (next to „ambiguous points of view“).

Absolutely brilliant work, which is definitely one of the best albums of the year by now!!!

Stephan Schelle, July 2008 — music-circus magazine

Here’s the complete tracklist:
1. what will happen part I 4:37
2. what will happen part II 4:06
3. what will happen part III 4:14
4. what will happen part IV 4:14
5. what will happen part V 4:09
6. prospective waves 1:53
7. life part I 6:26
8. life part II 6:13
9. exegesis 4:50
10. running and falling 5:47
11. resurge 2:05
12. about a totally freakin‘ out moment in life 3:21
13. adage part I 5:00
14. adage part II 5:36
15. the power of life part I 8:47
16. hall of 1000 strings 1:10
17. the terpsichorean frisk of creepy crawlies 3:46
18. the power of life part II 3:28

New album: Questions of Life

Local press: Shamall releases his eleventh album „Questions of Life“ / Norbert Krüler lives in Langwedel

„Questions of Life“ – this is the title of what has become the eleventh studio album of Shamall, the musical project of the resident DJ from the rock club „Aladin Music Hall“, Norbert Krueler. Norbert composed and produced the entire album independently and except for two guitar solos, which originate from his friend Matthias Mehrtens, he plays all the instrumental parts in his recording studio on his own. He arranged the tracks, wrote lyrics, vocalized and even designed the cover art. Since Shamall was founded in 1986, its musical direction changed several times. Shamall’s latest albums show a melodic blend of progressive and psychedelic rock. Although „Questions of Life“ is a pure studio album and – less or more a one-man show – it’s particularly surprising that a real band feeling arises – like on its predecessor „Ambiguous points of view“. This album features enthusiasm, vitality and creative ideas.

What about the motivation for Norbert to create „Questions of Life“? „I make music for music’s sake and I could say: „This album is innovative, brilliant and not to beat. But what should I say about my next cd? Every serious musician strives to do his best to give, so for me. This is a matter of course for each of my works. Naturally I try to avoid repetitions by bringing in new influences.“

Inspiration for this album are cognitions and worldly wisdoms. Musically the reflections on the meaning and purpose of being are presented impressively. „Questions of Life“ is also about sayings, which could be very helpful in spite of its ostensible simplicity. Norbert: „My attitude towards life is altering with every day, because of new experiences, new impressions. Meaningful lyrics in my music are just as important as the music itself.“

How could the musical change be explained? Norbert: „In the early days of Shamall I was about 25 and produced italo-disco. In the nineties I was inspired to produce solely electronic music. Today I am older, my music is grown up. Bands like Pink Floyd, Rush and Alan Parsons play an important role in my musical history. Alternative, cross-genre music has always been and will ever be a reflection of my life. My personal ambition is to create thought-provoking music, which doesn’t need any pictures.“

The album „questions of life“ is available in record stores and in the online-shop of Shamall’s record label „2L Productions“ (https://www.2lp.net).