Kalle Vilpuu is a very experienced musician from Estonia who plays the guitar as primary instrument, but basically can be seen as a multi-instrumentalist. Being in bands since 1989 made sure Kalle embedded various influences in his music, making sure the listener never gets bored, when you listen to the album. Throughout the album, Kalle gets help from Andrus Lillepea on drums, Henno Kelp on bass guitar, Mari Pokinen takes care of smooth vocals, Tarvi Jaago plays flute and Tiit Kikas and Martti Mägi play violin, while Imre Eenma plays bass and viola da gamba, Eduard Akulin plays trombone and finally, Indrek Kruusimaa adds a nice flamenco guitar.
The album Silver Lining can be seen as an instrumental album, the vocals are basically wordless background voices to create a mysterious atmosphere where needed. The album starts with a sort of experimental post rock, with the focus on the rhythm section; both drummer as well as the bass player can really let themselves go during Anomalies, creating a powerful base for Kalle's distorted guitars and atmospheric keyboards. Continuing on Unforgiven, the power increases, extended and inspired guitar solos are played over heavy rhythms. A contrasting flute adds the finishing touch. I don't know if it is the female wordless vocals that give Inferno a Pink Floyd touch, but perhaps you could see the song as Pink Floyd on steroids, with a metal orientated guitarist. Pure power is Industrial No.4; a cool repeating riff that sticks and is used as a base for melodic keyboard passages and inventive guitar. Slowing down a bit with a more melodic composition is In The Back Of My Head. Although the sound itself is pretty powerful, the nice melodies and guitar solos are lyrical, but also there is plenty of room for keyboards and orchestration. As the title might indicate, The Aliens (Have Landed) has cool futuristic sounds, which are blended with middle eastern sounding melodies. The result is an inventive, mind-blowing composition that pushes you into the direction of heavy spacerock, with the addition of an immense grooving bass. Into a totally different direction goes Trappings; electronics and piano are the main course, the guitar perfectly blended in, never taking the spotlight. The following Touch Of An Angel is also based on electronics, but here the “vocals” play a major part. For me, the least interesting composition on the album is Rosie which is a sort of semi acoustic composition where guitars and electronics meet in the middle; intriguing and a sort of Terje Rypdal influenced composition. During Forgiven, the guest flamenco guitar is added to an almost gothic composition. When you listen to the flute in this song, you could exchange this instrument with a female voice, nicely done. The final composition on the album is the title track; Silver Lining, filled with electronic percussion, nice guitar sounds and an end you don't expect.
KalleVilpuu has impressed me with his solo album. A solid start that has lots of variation, but during the last couple of compositions it seems to get less interesting, perhaps because of the electronics getting a bigger role in the music-I don't know. Fact is, I really like the majority of the album and I appreciate the way Kalle handles his guitar and I am looking forward to hearing what the next step will be in the musical journey of Kalle Kilpuu.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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