Following the formula for simple and easy, RPWL calls themselves a "...German progressive, rock, art-rock band." Fair enough; I respect those who cut directly to the chase with no need of flowery descriptors and excess adjectives. Reciprocating the simplicity I move straight to the music buffet for the first course, a song called "Crazy Lane." The song opens like a beautiful morning rose; soft, subtle, and bursting with unexpected energy...you can almost see the dew dripping off the petals. The vocals are soft as honey on a warm biscuit. An emotional song that moves right through you...everything is understated so as to allow you to take it all in slowly and deliberately. RPWL seems to channel Wishbone Ash with a touch of Be Bop Deluxe on acoustic night.
Selection number two is a tune called "Hole In The Sky." The guitar work that opens the song is strong and well crafted. The pieces start to fall in place as drums, bass, and vocals come together to put the finishing touch on what truly is a piece of prog beauty. Notice the aromas of Beardfish and the delicate top note of Under The Psycamore...RPWL may spend the balance of their time in the ambient section of the prog garden--but they are not afraid to leap across every fertile acre of the landscape.
Liner Notes...RPWL formed in 1997, reside in Munich, Germany, and have twelve albums on their resume. The name of the band is actually an acronym for the surnames of the four original members; Risettio, Postl, Wallner, Lang. The line-up has changed some since those early days; founding members Yogi Lang on vocals and keyboards and Kalle Wallner on guitar, have joined forces with Markus Jehle on keyboards, Werner Taus on bass, and Marc Turiaux on drums. Originally formed as a Pink Floyd cover band, RPWL soon realized a strong passion for progressive writing and performing. Their debut album hit the streets in 2000 and RPWL has been tending a far out corner of the prog garden ever since.
Not withstanding the obvious overtones of Pink Floyd, I also detect strong top notes of Spock's Beard, early Genesis, and aromas of Transatlantic wafting through the headphones. RPWL has a sound reminiscent of classic prog while at the same time being unique unto itself--precisely what makes prog confounding to the untrained ear and fascinating to the skilled listener.
Making my way back to the buffet for my final serving, I find a hidden gem called "New Stars are Born." The opening vocals pierce the ear ever so delicately, like a knife through Jell-O. The guitar and keyboards wrap themselves around the midsection of the song and never let go, while the drums lead you down a psychedelic path right through the center of Syd Barrett's imagination...twelve-plus minutes of prog utopia.
The piece posted below is a wonderful introduction to progressive rock in general and RPWL specifically. Imagine Yes and Pink Floyd performing on one stage; the guitars wrap around your brain as the drums systematically split your head in two. The keyboards simply tie the pieces together and help you keep your balance. Listen, enjoy, and learn more about RPWL at
http://www.rpwl-wanted.de/cm/index.php. You can also find and follow them on Twitter at @RPWL_official.
Moving closer to the end of 2014, I am humbled by the incredible prog music I have uncovered via the Concert Closet. Traveling the world has been an amazing experience--and the journey has just begun. RPWL is but one example of the prog bands out there with the creative genius to offer astonishing music album after album. My search for all things prog has led me to places I could not have imagined--and the journey is still in its infancy. So let us take December head-on...until next week...