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RPWL - The Gentle Art of Music CD (album) cover





4.12 | 62 ratings

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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.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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