Official Release: 04.03.2016
Peter Wangel and Kasper Ejlerskov Leonhardt are the guys behind, and the foundation of Wangel. They have been on everyone’s lips since their EP breakthrough ’Eternal History’ in 2015.
And now, on this exact Friday the 4th of march, Wangel have dropped their first full album ’Freedom’, collecting 11 different tracks ranging from calm and melancholic to upbeat, electronic and danceable tunes.
I want to start this by describing something it evokes inside my head. When listening to the ‘Freedom’ album, I get a vision of a totally black room, completely silent and empty. I feel like I am alone in the room and just waiting for something to happen – almost as if I’m standing in front of the stage at Radar here in Aarhus, only smaller. As soon as the bass sounds, images of vibrating light beams pop up and flash in each corner of the room.
This illustrates the intro of the title single ’Freedom’ as it starts with long and intense keyboard- and bass strokes that get your ears and chest pulsating to the rhythm of the purple light beams going on and off in that black room. Its low-pitched vocals really set the mood for the entire album: A vibrating and slightly mysterious start that makes you feel glued to your headphones or speakers to get the rest of the album story.
Moving from ‘Freedom’ to ‘You Got To Say It Loud’, I know straight away that this is the song I would put on repeat for the rest of the day. It’s catchy and has a cheerful feel to it. Peter Wangel’s varying vocals really shine through here, as he smoothly shifts to his very characteristically high falsetto. The melody is appealing and clear, so you quickly get the hang of the essential tones in this song, which makes is very likable.
’Foreigner’ gets your feet rocking a bit faster to quick beats and very crisp polyphonic vocals in the chorus. This track makes a white spotlight flash to the low-pitched rhythms and the tunes of the vocalist. I only see the artist’s face when the bright light flashes, but with the fast rhythms, the flashes allow me a more detailed vision of the artist in the room than before. Many of the following tracks are slow and calm in their expression. This seems to be the theme of this album – slow tunes that make you think of walking in the dark watching the headlights of the cars go by in slow motion.I’ll especially emphasise ‘Sorrowdrift’ as one of the most interesting slow songs on ‘Freedom’. Its melody and rhythm are formed by a constantly flowing, electronic background tune that waves through the entire song. I imagine this as a slowly bouncing blue colour that spreads from the centre to the entire room, and then fades into the centre again, following the wavy rhythms of this song.
The piano play is also sporadically included in a couple of songs, which gives a clearer sound and causes the black room to be brighter and more open in my mind. It opens up the potential of the respective songs, not only excluding melodies to electronic keyboard strokes. This mix between acoustic and electro really suits ’Time To Eat’, ’Falling’ and the beautiful ’Another World’ that ties the whole track list together.
The album has a slightly melancholic feel to it, but it also includes hidden gems in the form of playful upbeat surprises.
All songs are clearly produced in a way that emphasises both tiny details in the vocals but also underlying tones and bass sounds. However, apart from ‘You Got To Say It Loud’, I do miss some catchy tunes that just get stuck in my head the same way their previous singles ‘Seoul’ and ‘Eternal History’ did; maybe this just concludes that there is a lot to love on this album for the soft electronic music lovers, but not so much for the hit-cravers. That said, music is not about hits; it’s about feelings, and this record evokes feelings. Therefore, it receives 4.5 big stars out of 6 from SoundOfAarhus.
Wangel's debut album ‘Freedom’ is a nice and thoroughly prepared electronic pop album that makes your head vibrate and fills your mind with the feeling of standing in a dark room and being pleasantly exposed to flashing lights, varying vocals and a perfect vibrating bass going straight to your bones. It is not an album for the hit-cravers. That said, music is not about hits; it's about feelings, and this record evokes feelings. (4.5/6)