Agnus Dei


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In many cases, new age music is totally electronic. Albums are programmed rather than played, and the weapons in the artist/producer's arsenal include synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, and samplers. There are also acoustic-oriented new age artists who reject the programmed approach and make their statements on anything from a guitar to a harp. Meanwhile, pianist/keyboardist Gerald Krampl's Agnus Dei project is neither 100 percent high-tech nor totally acoustic; instead, Angelos combines a pianistic sound with high-tech programming. In other words, Angelos comes across as both played and programmed. Krampl's pianism is the focal point, and it is surrounded by an imaginary string orchestra. The Vienna, Austria, resident isn't really joined by an orchestra; rather, Krampl uses electronic programming to simulate an orchestral, symphonic sound. In Greek, the word angelos means angels, and Krampl's gentle, lilting pieces -- like a lot of new age music -- have a spiritual outlook. But for those who aren't into the new age culture, Angelos might sound like background music for a film -- not Martin Scorsese's neo-film noir or anything with a dark edge, but a romantic, lighthearted sort of movie. Angelos doesn't offer a lot of variety; after the first few selections, the listener has pretty much heard it all. But then, Angelos isn't meant to be terribly challenging. Krampl is going for ambience, and unlike some of the more adventurous, world music-minded artists in the new age field, he isn't trying to push the envelope -- maintaining a sweetly optimistic ambience is enough. And for those who are interested in that type of approach, Angelos is a pleasant, if limited and predictable listen.

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