RPWL | The RPWL Experience
It seems to be in the nature of things that every musician strives for the ultimate song, the perfect album. A high proportion of creativity, motivation and inspiration originates from that desire for perfection. But what happens if a band really comes close to its ideal? “Our last studio album was so colourful that it would have been impossible to top that aspect. This made us feel very content, but of course there was a danger that we’d end up copying ourselves,” says Yogi Lang, vocalist and keyboardist of the prog rock act RPWL from Southern Germany. “The question was: Will we stay on this island, relax and leave things the way they are? Or will we embark on another journey to new horizons?” The result of this internal stock-taking has now been completed and is called The RPWL Experience, an album that ventures into new musical and lyrical dimensions, while sounding extremely homogenous and of a piece. “We simply made into music what we ourselves enjoy. We didn’t want to hold back or apply the RPWL filter, but let our ideas run riot with musical lightness.”
This standard refers not only to the band’s music with its diverse pace, but also to the songs’ contents. Because for RPWL, the significance of their tracks is based on a tight interplay between words and music. “We use music as our second language”, Lang explains. “Music makes language perceptibly more diverse, you can add an emotional depth to the words that they wouldn’t have without the music. This helps us to make language not one-dimensional but spherical or even brusque, depending on what you want.” Particularly since the themes that RPWL concentrate on on their new studio recording are definitely worth taking a closer look at.
Such as ‘Choose What You Want To Look At’ with its outspoken lyrics against the uncritical consumption of TV programmes and manipulation through the media, which is often subtle, but frequently very obvious. Only very ignorant people believe that they are not manipulated by today’s media world. Vocalist Yogi Lang puts his finger on the problem, purposely confronting and provoking his listeners. “I was slightly irritated that a lot of people took no notice of the lyrics on our last studio album, World Through My Eyes, although they were very concise.“ This is the reason why the messages on The RPWL Experience, such as the unvarnished statement on war on ‘Stranger’, are extremely direct and uncompromising.
The musical direction of the album complements this concept: Never before have the poles of RPWL’s stylistic direction been so far apart. Some tracks sound raw, unpolished, with lots of rough edges. It’s amazing to hear how the band deal ironically with bad press reviews on ‘This Is Not A Prog Song’, letting the song culminate in an abrasive finale. On other tracks, the musicians take apart their ideas, reducing them to their basic elements, presenting their music pure and unadulterated, like on ‘Watch Myself’, which would also work with an acoustic guitar and tambourine, but has been arranged with psychedelic Mellotrone sounds and a driving groove.
Then there are those wonderful quotes from the annals of music history which the band treat themselves and their fans to. You find yourself grinning when guitarist Karlheinz Wallner comes up with an lascivious David Gilmour solo on the Bob Dylan cover song ‘Masters Of War’, or Yogi Lang refines ‘Stranger’ with a synthesizer part which brings to mind Manfred Mann’s Earthband during their Solar Fire and Nightingales And Bombers era.
There really is a lot to be discovered on The RPWL Experience, in musical as well as in lyrical terms. You can simply enjoy the album, or use it as food for thought, as an intellectual challenge. Never mind for which occasion, in which frame of mind or at what time you listen to these wonderful songs, they have compositional and technical class and great entertainment value. Could you pay an album any greater compliment?
||Special Edition GAOM018SE
||Gentle Art Of Music
02. Breathe In, Breathe Out
03. Where Can I Go?
04. Masters of War
05. This Is Not A Progsong
06. I Watch Myself Sleeping
08. Talk To The River
09. Choose What You Want To Look At
10. Turn Back The Clock
11. Reach For The Sun (Bonus Track on Special Edition and Digital-/Download Edition)