Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
RPWL - The Gentle Art of Music CD (album) cover




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So here I am, giving you review on request of this album. It's basically comprised of two parts, one is full of songs from albums and second part are alternate takes on different songs (but from albums nevertheless).

I'll be brief with first one, "Best of" type collection, these 74 minutes of better songs. Because I have reviewed most of them (and those I haven't reviewed yet I will review soon), let's head to proper studio albums for detailed info. But I have to say that they are mostly good. Yeah, it's chillout listening, maybe sometimes not so Prog (as this site likes Prog, I feel needed to mention this), but because it flows easily, I like RPWL's music in general and also because this is well balanced compilation, I'm satisfied. But the important thing here is second "half" (more like second 3/7 which makes strange paradox because it makes the rest, these 4/7 "first" and as such it doesn't makes much sense).

I found myself few times being so caught in the music flow that I was just listening and imagining landscapes and sceneries (sceneries are OK, but beware of landscapes, they can be sinister and deadly), including song Wasted Land

58 minutes long second "side" is more interesting (at least for me). These songs are often lengthened and radically different. This helps to create unique "from band" package that offers basically the same, but in general very different. For example the transition of Trying to Kiss the Sun is so big that it makes Rock songs into string harmony experience. However, not all songs are so good, some parts that forms World Through My Eyes could have been shorter as this and some other songs simply aren't my cup of tea. Or aren't good, but who knows, even I'm not sure here.

The important thing is that if you're a fan of RPWL, you will probably like these alternative mixes. If you are someone new to this music, you will find average music. Mostly.

4(-), ten years are ten years, that's something.

Report this review (#280178)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars This is an excellent band retrospective (and even just a little more). RPWL are looking back to a successful history of 10 years in the meanwhile. In the beginning they were often underestimated as a Pink Floyd cover band. But when seeking into their discography sooner or later you will notice the uniqueness of the music in total. RPWL have just founded their own label and are extensively touring Europe, where I took the chance to see them in Hannover some days ago. The term 'Gentle Art of Music' is derived from the song 'Gentle Art Of Swimming' which belongs to my favourites by the way due to the very spacey character.

CD1 comprises a best-of collection while the second disc holds other band classics which are reworked though with the help of several guest musicians. And you will even find two previously unreleased songs here ... which expresses the band's approach to carry on I would say. The band saw some line-up changes during the recent years, however the PWL core is still aboard, enhanced by drummer Marc Tauriaux and keyboarder Markus Jehle. The cover picture shows them quasi updating the inner sleeve image from the 'God Has Failed' debut.

As mentioned before, this is not a simple compilation. Which means the second disc is surely more interesting for those who are already familiar with RPWL ... however surprisingly provided with a courageous turn away concerning the stylistical approach. You will find several songs leaving the prog fields, less rocking, nearly presented like an acoustic or unplugged set with string arrangements, charming backing vocals and several ethno impressions. Definitely sophisticated though, I only emphasize this because it's a new facet. Maybe you can say they take the album title quite literally .. or the other way round, they found an appropriate title for the new arrangements.

Let's start with the smooth Moonflower, the hidden track from 'Stock', probably the most controversial one where they mutate to a calypso crew. The new songs Watching The World and Cake are nothing to get excited about to be honest. Other well-known RPWL classics like Sleep, Start The Fire and World Through My Eyes appear in a new outfit due to an Eastern flavour and Tom Norris' violin string additions, truly beneficial. The final ballad Bound To Reach The End should be named in the same breath, the keyboards are provided with Pink Floyd reminiscences.

Now coming to CD1, first of all I should mention that the songs appear in chronological order. Basically a psychedelic tinged collection, however less experimental, rather with the emphasis on melody and atmosphere. Where the early Hole In The Sky, taken from the debut album, still shows a distinctive Pink Floyd influence the following songs lead you to the typical RPWL sound more and more. Yogi Lang's voice is as charming as the instrumentation. Just take the impressing ballad Home Again - here we have a slight bombast feeling with great guitar work by Kalle Wallner.

The Gentle Art Of Swimming is something special to me due to the spacey flow, especially live, tricky, mesmerizing, partially jamming, an oustanding exemplar! Absolutely RPWL unique 3 Lights is another highlight which gradually evolves from a soft pop ballad to an intriguing prog sample. Roses is the result of a collaboration with Ray Wilson recorded for 'World Through My Eyes' - just another example for some mainstream leanings you will find here and there.

All in all 'Gentle Art of Music' is an anniversary album worth to be checked out. A pleasant snapshot which makes fans eager for more. Absolutely recommended though if you are a starter and keen on exploring the RPWL realm.

Report this review (#280255)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A delightful 2-CD compilation album!!

Nowadays is not that easy to reach 10 successful years making good music, it is also more difficult within the progressive rock realm; this German band RPWL have achieved that goal this year, as some of you may know they started as a Pink Floyd cover band but later they managed to produce their own sound, Neo Prog oriented but with some symphonic and psychedelic influences in their music. And as a result of their tenth anniversary they decided to release this excellent album entitled "The Gentle Art of Music", and wisely decided to make it a two-CD album, now I'll tell you why I said wisely.

The first CD can be named "The Compilation CD" because it gathers songs from all their previous albums, those songs are some of their best and most recognized ones and that would be an excellent starting point for anyone who is new to RPWL's music. A thing that I would like to mention, because I liked a lot, is that they decided to put the songs in chronological order, so as the tracks are passing, you will appreciate the band in their different eras, like a great retrospective. This can be noticed when you see that tracks 1 and 2 belong to their debut "God Has Failed" album, tracks 3 and 4 out of their "Trying to Kiss the Sun", tracks 5 and 6 from "Stock", tracks 7 and 8 belong to "World Through My Eyes", track 9 comes from their limited edition album called "9", so I believe they chose in purpose that track number, and the last two tracks of this first CD are from "The RPWL Experience". So what more can you ask here, it is a (maybe brief) but excellent taste of all their albums. Highlights from this first disc are "Home Again", "Roses", "3 Lights" and "Silenced"

And the second CD, which is called "The Revisited Album", is not that classic compilation album; I mean it is not a "The Best of", but a curious and very interesting selection of classic RPWL tracks with new arrangements and guest musicians, these are different versions, to be clearer. Some examples are "Sleep" where you can listen to a kind of eastern or Indian touch; "Moonflower" as a delicious Brazilian ballad, an outstanding version of "World Through My Eyes", with again some Indian instruments that add a very special flavor to the sound; or "Bound to Reach the End", with some violins over there creating a nice mood.

This second disc also features two new RPWL tracks, "Watching the World", which is just a nice and catchy song that follows the same verse-chorus-verse structure, with some nice guitar over there but without being an innovative piece of music. The other track is "Cake" which has a kind of alternative rock flavor, it is also a catchy song but much more enjoyable than the previously analyzed, it has a great keyboard sound and a happy feeling.

So "The Gentle Art of Music" is an excellent 10 anniversary album from RPWL, an album that I have really enjoyed since the very first listen, a very good album from those who already know (and like) the band, and also good for those who barely know their music.

My final grade, 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#281265)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'The Gentle Art Of Music' - RPWL (Compilation)

Generally, when I come into contact with a song compilation, I'm either very familiar with the group already, or they are world-famous and the compilation simply lists off tracks that everyone has heard on the radio many times before. With that in mind, this 'best-of' collection of tracks and renditions from German progressive rock band RPWL comes as a refreshing exception, and the band has easily gained themselves another fan with this release.

'The Gentle Art Of Music' (the name being an homage to one of their grander tracks) is essentially divided into two portions. The first is a simple trip through the band's career, going through some of their more noteworthy and fan-favourite songs. While the first disc may sound like a run-of-the-mill 'best of,' the second disc gives the release a bit of a unique flair; taking some of their songs and remixing them into new, interesting versions. While the first disc is obviously meant for people like me who have never heard of this talented act before and the latter disc is to give something for the fans to dig into, both discs have alot to offer, although it is certainly the second disc that goes the extra mile in making this compilation so interesting.

Despite one of the least-catchy band names in the scene, RPWL quickly proves to be a very strong and emotionally resonant act. From the first track 'Hole In The Sky' onwards, there is a more or less consistent string of good music flowing for a whopping two hours of disc time. While the music itself is very good however, their influences are clear from the start. The band skirts the rift between Pink Floyd and Hogarth-era Marillion, taking spacey passages and melding them with memorable melodies and beautiful harmonies.

While the first disc feels somewhat derivative from larger acts, it still has some incredible sections that all stand out, as well as a grand sense of songwriting and performance. Still, amidst the strong tracks, there are still a few that fall below the radar. The arguable highlight of the entire compilation is the de facto 'title track,' 'The Gentle Art Of Swimming;' an epic, spacy masterpiece that could rival Porcupine Tree's 'Arriving Somewhere, But Not Here' any day. However, following that is 'Sun In The Sky' which while being a competent track by all accounts, has a chorus that feels a bit too anthemic and borders on being irritating after a few listens. In any case, the weaker moments are few and far between here.

The second disc takes a while longer to grow, but it is indeed the noteworthy section of 'The Gentle Art Of Music.' Here, both existing fans and newcomers to RPWL can enjoy some fresh mixes, as well as some new material altogether. Although I have not heard the material from which these tracks derive, I can tell there have been some adjustments. RPWL douses their songs with a dose of classical and raga influence to give them an exotic, almost otherworldly feel. While tracks such as 'Cake' do very little for me, there is a fair amount of really fantastic tracks here, specifically the amazing conclusion to the compilation; 'Bound To Reach The End.'

RPWL is certainly a band to look out for in the progressive rock scene. While I may have not enjoyed this compilation so much had I heard the band's music before, I can safely say that the music of this German prog group has left an impression on me. As is the objective for most compilations; 'The Gentle Art Of Music' has gained RPWL a new fan in me.

Report this review (#293635)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

RPWL The Gentle Art of Music ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RPWL The Gentle Art of Music

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.