Wallner, Kalle - Voices

Kev Rowland

Here we have solo album from RPWL/Blind Ego guitarist Kalle Wallner, recorded like so many, during lockdown when live work was not possible. He turned to bandmate Yogi Lang to assist with the programming and keyboards, providing guitars, bass, keyboards and programming himself, then getting in-demand drummer Marco Minnemann to add his parts. Having already worked with Arno Menses (Subsignal) on his last solo album he was an obvious choice for the one song with lyrics, while Carmen Tannich (whose solo album Kalle co-produced) was brought in on another. This is somewhat unusual in terms of a guitar instrumental album in that these feel more like songs as opposed to guitar workouts. One could never confuse this with an album by the likes of Malmsteen, Vai or Satriani for example, as it is contained and controlled with little in the way of shredding.

Consequently, it is a very musical album which can be listened to and enjoyed on first hearing as Kalle is not trying to blow our senses out with complexity but instead is doing his best to show restraint and control. For example, for the most part “Six” could have vocals layered on top, but when he does cone out with strong lead lines the notes are sustained and it is more about feel and passion (some nice slide) as opposed to being overwhelmed. It is a guitar album, no doubt, but the keyboards play an important part while Minnemann always adds class and finesses to every project he is involved with. A drummer who is as home in jazz as he is in prog, fusion or metal, he always seems to know when to be bombastic and when to add his bit by not playing at all. It is no surprise that Kalle worked closely with Yogi on this as they have been musical partners for many years, the W and L of RPWL, and the bring out the best in each other.

It is an interesting release, with some nice touches here and there, and worth investigating for those who enjoy a more songs-based approach to instrumental guitars.

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