Tuesday, February 7, 2012

RPWL: "Beyond Man And Time"

Rating: 8/10

Label: GentleArtOfMusic 2012

Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

I believe their full transition from a dead-on Pink Floyd-ish act to a more poppier one is almost complete somehow. RPWL no longer compose music merely based around the same formula and structure of arrangements which gave us marvelous albums such as "World Through My Eyes" in 2005. They've gone for the grande picture where art-rock meet complex pop/prog and it's actually their first shot at a concept album (believe it or not).

"Beyond Man And Time" - a Nietzsche quote from his opus magnum (or if you prefer: magnum opus), "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", and the story's protagonist is indeed on a journey towards a new way of thinking and thus a brand new insight. They've even managed to create musical themes for each and every single character here and oriental percussion, expanded Moog-soli and an Indian sitar are all resposible for a well placed atmospheric and colourful adaptation. Our traveler meet creatures of higher knowledge along his way such as the The Keeper, The Blind, The Scientist, The Ugly, The Creator, etc. and the journey culminates in a 16 minute-opus, "The Fisherman", while the CD ends with a more mediatative note, "The Noon".

It's not exactly 'easy listening' and you'll need to spin this many-many times to get the hang of their vivid ideas and dreams. At times extremely arty-farty and almost like some kind of unrestrained repercussion of modern art-rock obviously aimed at the average top twenty listener? Even though I completely understand their desire to progress and travel further away from their Pink Floyd influences, I can't help to wonder if they've gone a bit too far down the road of confusion? Not that Floyd ever kept things easy though.

Don't get me wrong, it's an ambitious and very strong effort and I do enjoy most of the tracks. However, a couple of moments are perhaps a tad too 'hippie' and 'out there' for my personal taste. Nontheless, classy Art/Prog Rock and the stage is set as soon as you've heard the opening vocal track, "We Are What We Are", since you'll basically receive the same high standard throughout the CD. The limited edition includes as additional audio book that connect the music with the philosophical approach, plus a topographic map of the new world that is to be explored. Ambitious indeed. Release date: March 9.


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