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(56:13, Gentle Art of Music Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Can't Reach You 2:20 2. Sacrifice 9:30 3. Our World Has Changed 5:26 4. Sail Away 5:16 5. Our Modern World 2:58 6. No Decoder 5:30 7. Alison 3:48 8. A Million Miles Away 8:08 9. Say Goodbye 4:40 10. Sensvalue 4:57 11. A Better Place for Me 3:40 LINEUP: Yogi Lang vocals; guitars; keyboards Torsten Weber guitars Guy Pratt bass Manni Muller drums Carmen Maier percussion With: Dominique Leonetti vocals Hubert Trenkwalder accordion Ferdinand Settele saxophone Anne de Wolff violin Kalle Wallner guitar Ian Salmon voice
Prolusion. German composer and multi-instrumentalist Yogi LANG is a person most likely best known for his lengthy tenure in the German band RPWL, where he has been the front man since its inception. "No Decoder" is his first solo production, and was released in November 2010.
Analysis. When long-time band members decide to kick off a solo career, one will often speculate as to the reasons why. Sometimes it is the need to release material that doesn't quite fit into the repertoire of their band unit, in some cases vastly different reasons exists. Other cases are a result of the band's activities grinding to a halt, be it because of inner turmoil or just because some or all the members just need to take a break and do something different for a while. To seek new impulses by cooperating with a different cast of musicians might be another rationale behind the kicking off of a solo career. Be it as it may be, the music is the essential part of any production, and in cases like these many will be eager to know if the solo artist correlates to the band unit in that regard. And in the case of Yogi Lang I guess that the best answer to that question is yes. The lengthier creations on this disc are of a kind I estimate will have a strong appeal among the fans of RPWL. Slow-moving, fluctuating warm synth soloing a-plenty, blues-tinged fragmented guitar soloing and a general atmosphere rather similar to Lang's band are presented in a delightful manner on these excursions, as well as the brief opening introduction Can't Reach You and the later instrumental escapade Sensvalue. Pink Floyd-ian music of the late 70's variety, with the usual space-inspired sounds, warm and organic-sounding arrangements that are easy on the ears and the mind, where subtle contrasts and instrumental details see to it that the compositions by and large avoid becoming sweet and fluffy affairs, in particular by utilizing darker, slightly brooding motifs as undercurrents. The shorter items are another kettle of fish entirely. Apart from the exceptions previously described, the songs clocking in at below the 6 minute mark can best be described as ballads: gentle, laidback efforts dominated by acoustic guitar and vocals, with dampened keyboards and organ being the main providers of variation and slightly richer arrangements. Such creations tend to become ever so slightly anonymous; the art of making ballads memorable and impressive has always been a hard task to master. Lang does occasionally succeed in this, however, the primary example as I regard it being the title track No Decoder unchallenging, melodic and gentle, but also a stunningly beautiful piece of music. Not brilliantly so, but a composition that will make an impact.
Conclusion. Yogi Lang doesn't stray too far off the path of his band RPWL with his solo debut, and the longer items might as well have been planned for a future release by them. When he ventures forth into new territories it is to ones more frequently explored by artists with a mainstream orientation, by way of pleasant, gentle and unobtrusive ballads, in some cases with a sheer sense of beauty that does make an impact, while others come across as closer to the bread and butter variety of such creations. Overall, this is a disc worth looking into if you enjoy RPWL, and in particular the gentler parts of the bands output.
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