Back in 2012 when I started this website, my first article was about Mad Mav. Mad Mav is a one man show and the guy does everything himself. It is 100% instrumental and even though I understand that this is not for everyone, many of you enjoyed the music I shared. I would not be able to listen to instrumental tracks non stop myself - the whole singing part is important for me! You should see me attending a concert... ! Nevertheless, here and there it is enjoyable as you have no distractions and can really focus on the instruments.
So today I will write a piece about Revald from Østerby in Denmark. Revald gets an extra point at an early stage as he actually lets the listener decide what his music sounds and feels like. Total freedom and no risk on my end to get it wrong!
There is only one album and as far as I can tell there won't be a second one because the work of Revald is called In Perpetuum which means that it is forever, to continue with no end in sight. A project rather than an album that consists of different chapters - a never ending story so to say. So far there are two chapters and Revald adds new stuff whenever he finds time between his full time job and family. Revald mentions on his own website that there are two reasons why he makes instrumental music. One being that he is not (yet) satisfied with his lyrics and the second reason is that he likes the idea that whoever listens to his music can assign their own mental image and thoughts. That's good enough for me!
Revald himselfs plays guitar, bass and keyboards. For the drumming he is using a sample-based drum software synthesizer. I would not have expected him to play everything himself and I am already impressed that he masters three out of four instruments. At the same time you will notice that the drums are definitely one of the weaker spots. Anyway, enough of the introduction, let's listen to the tracks he has released so far.
We will start with Chapter I and Dragon's Passion. As I listen to this song I wonder how Revald came up with the name for this track but at the end of the day I don't really care as the song itself - besides some of the weaknesses I will mention later on - is really good. I mean ignore the drums - which simply provide the pace - but listen to the guitar. It is quite impressive and really, there is some serious talent at work! I look at the above picture of Revald and I would not have expected such passion. So there we have it, the passion - whether it is related to a Dragon or to Revald is entirely up to you!
Decompression makes more sense as obviously, you listen and you forget about your boss, the current political situation in Uzbekistan, the fact that Italy won't participate in next years Football world cup - or whatever it is that gets you worked up! Having gone through all of the tracks several times there are elements that seem a bit repetitive but not to an extent that it would bother me - on the contrary. It seems that only the best bits and pieces find their place in some of the songs again - it contributes to the fact that you can really feel Revald's passion and the intensity he creates.
Cosmic Surfer seems like a title that could have been chosen by Jamiroquai but relax, it is still Revald. There are elements that give you a bit of an outer space feeling but there is a lot more than that. As in all songs, some really deep guitar solos and various elements of what I call traditional Heavy Metal - a few really fat riffs appear all of a sudden. This is probably my favorite track overall. I really love it - there are also parts where almost no drums can be heard and this makes a big difference.
Summit makes me think immediately of my 2007 climb of Mount Kilimanjaro and listening to the first few seconds brings back memories. I vision myself going up this amazing mountain, the worlds highest free standing mountain by the way. Yes, this is the music that brings out emotions and works very well when having achieved something you believe would not have been possible. The track is jam packed with little amazing details if you just listen carefully. The way these are embedded in Summit confirms Revald's songwriting skills.
The intro of Summit was already a bit soft but Flow is even more gentle and clearly, it brings out even more emotions. This is some beautiful stuff but it only lasts for around a minute or so. Therefore I consider this a perfect conclusion for Chapter I of In Perpetuum.
The first track of Chapter II is called Fiat Lux. This Latin phrase means Let There Be Light. It comes from the third verse of the Book Of Genesis (and God said: Let there be light - and there was light)! Anyhow, Fiat Lux was also a super weird sectarian organization led by crazy Uriella but that is a different story. The quality of the production respectively the recording does not meet my high expectations. It does not sound awful but a tad hollow and especially the drums stand out - in a rather negative way.
However, the song as such has a clear structure and whenever the focus is on the guitar, it makes you forget the not so fantastic elements. Revald clearly is on top of his game when he is playing the guitar. The different layers make Fiat Lux a very interesting piece of music. The keyboard - one can argue whether it is necessary or not - give this song a very special ambiance. I start to imagine what this piece would sound like if the keyboards were replaced by a female Chorale?
I know it is a bit of a stretch especially that you hardly find a lot of real Chorale music around. Let me explain for a second: A Chorale was a term for a specific form of choral music that is associated in particular with Johann Sebastian Bach. This is the reason why I insist on this detail. Did you know that it was and is considered useful for church congregational singing? Of course you did and this is where it gets interesting as it brings us right back to the initial meaning of Fiat Lux respectively the whole religious business. As Revald is kind enough to let us make up our own mind, I am going with that even though I know it is nuts and bat shit crazy! All in all an interesting track with its ups and downs. I for one had a great time listening and trying to figure things out.
The second track is called The Outpost and is quite fast. I wish the track - as several others - would sound a little less hollow. The song comes with a nice flow and the longer you listen, the more intense it gets. The drums are quite dominant in this track and despite the earlier comment about this being a weaker spot, it somehow works in this tune. Revald has a great rhythm going with the odd slowdown in-between. I find especially the transition from these breaks back into the faster parts quite enjoyable especially as the guitars grow in intensity.
VIII is the last track for now. A slower piece and again with the "fake" Chorale but clearly something I appreciate. The tune is quite aligned with the previous one - it comes at a different pace but seems to be a follow up to The Outpost. There is a lot of emphasis on guitar solos hence why I give this track a big fat like. The overall areas for improvement have already been mentioned previously so I won't repeat this over and over again.
To wrap things up: Revald is a great musician and has given us a few really great instrumental tracks. He has been working on this for quite some time and I hope he continues as I enjoy his work. Someone show the guy how to run a crowdfunding campaign so he can work on the overall production and get some decent drums into his tracks. I would personally participate with a few bucks as I am sure the result will be fantastic. He already has demonstrated his skills and if you just take the time to listen track by track, you won't be disappointed either.