In the Western world of progressive rock the name of Robert Jürjendal doesn't ring any bells. However in his own country Estonian he is a rather well known musician. In 2013 he released his solo debut Source Of Joy. Two years later his second solo output Balm Of Light was welcomed. October 2016 his third solo album Simple Past saw the light of day. An album which he made together with his fellow country man Andrus Lillepea. It seems he is one of the most outstanding Estonian drummers.
On this third solo album he devoted himself entirely to the touch guitars. Besides that he used an E-bow, percussion and a few keyboards. On the ten compositions they recorded for this album he has demonstrated a wide landscape of sound colours. The soundscapes which have been created in this way, sounded sometimes ambient, sometimes jazzy and sometimes move into progressive rock territories. It has to be said that the first part of the album was for me the most interesting. During this part it is most of all Lillepea who makes sure enough variety is brought to the table. Most of all, the tracks No Or Yes and Kettle have strong drum parts that make the songs worth the listen. Over the soundscapes he manages to come up with some descent sounding rhythms. However as soon as his drums are silenced the music just moves on very calmly. Most of all after the track Old Stories you get into a certain trance. While listening to the music, from that moment on, with your eyes closed it is as if you are looking out on an ocean or sea on which hardly a ship can be seen. The songs Substance, Above and the title track are good examples of pieces of music which are most of all based on minimal music.
For somebody, like myself, who likes the music more upbeat, the kind of music you hear on this release has very little to offer. Therefore I have mixed feeling while listening to Simple Past. Jürjendal can certainly be regarded as a fine musician and composer. But he is not really innovative and I did not feel that Robert had the pretension to be innovative. The music is therefore not adventurous enough and just sounds too average to keep you entertained all the way throughout the entire album. Hopefully it will on his next release!
** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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