Whatzup Magazine (Heartland Art, Entertainment & Recreation) by
It seems there’s no stopping Nod Arvefel. Just last summer his debut album, Messenger, graced its way across my ears. A few months after that came Rescue Mission Man. Then, seemingly one month later, Joe Factory arrived, with Vassal hot in its heels. In the time it took me to work Vassal into my review cycle 4th Man in The Fire showed up. That’s five albums in a year, folks.
Nod is amazingly consistent, so if you like one of his albums there’s a good chance that you’ll be dipping into your savings on a regular basis to complete your collection. As with past albums, Nod writes, plays and arranges everything on the album, channeling his musical fervor through the wonders of MIDI. These well performed sonic delights are taken to Monastic Chambers, where he records vocals for the finishing touch.
For Vassal, however, Nod decided to forgo the vocals and release an instrumental album. In doing so he took over half the tracks from previous releases and stripped off the vocals. Yes indeed, this means that dedicated fans can now host their own Nod Arvefel karaoke party, singing favorites such as “Ask And You Shall Receive” with its peppy, memorable horn melody, “My Child, There’s No Goodbyes,” “Only,” “Blessed Art Thou, O Israel” and the disco beat of “March Around The City."
Instead of retreading songs on his vocal albums I’ll concentrate on the new songs, my favorite of which is “Rapture Rabbit.” Not only does this song open with a great programmed drum riff that quickly resorts to cowbell, but it has a playful rock edge with plenty of slap bass and a dazzling organ solo. “We Gotta Get Out Of Here” and “Left Behind” are two other rapture-themed songs, the former with a massive field of percussive rhythms, the latter a weepy, mournful melody with sweeping angelic strings and acoustic guitar that just screams for vocals. A clarinet-horn sound builds a somber melody upon a choir and string foundation in “Draw Me Into Your Presence” while “Kate” flips the mood in the opposite direction, joyfully constructing a sweeping melody played by 80s synth sounds over a pulsing, energetic bass beat. Two other songs, “Comfort One Another” and “Yoo Joo, Boo Hoo March” work in Hawaiian and reggae themes complete with steel drums and slide guitars.
While I admit that the lack of lyrics leaves a bit of a hole in the music, their absence also allows the melodies, arrangements and tones to come to the forefront, opening the way for greater appreciation of the many talents of their composer. Chalk up another “Hoo boy!” for Nod Arvefel and his amazingly prolific ability to fuse together rhythm and melody.
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