The Black Rascal

The Past, The Present and Beyond

Written by: BV on 16/09/2014 17:59:05

Danish musician Torben Guldager has made himself relatively well-known throughout his work Wrong Side of Vegas and the following work with former Wrong Side of Vegas frontman Morten Christensen on his solo project Dirty Old Town. Now, Guldager debuts as a solo artist under the moniker The Black Rascal, with an album out called “The Past, The Present and Beyond”. The album contains no less than 12 mainly instrumental tracks that reside well within the garage/surf area of music made famous by Dick Dale, various Quentin Tarantino movies and the guitar sounds of Hank Marvin.

From the get go of opening track “California” there is a heavily reverb-laden vibe going on. Guldager is clearly not trying to hide his inspirations – rather he seems to embrace them fully whilst attempting to perfect the formula that has been used large and wide for the better part of 50 years or so. In some ways Guldager seems successful in his endeavor, as the guitar sounds are wildly authentic and the production is quite rich in its depth. Where I feel Guldager might fall a bit short at this stage is at the songwriting. I realize that surf music is, and always has been, rather formulaic with very little room to actually add a personal touch to it. However, much of the songwriting portrays a talented musician who is opting to stay on the safe side of the proceedings, whilst not indulging himself in many, if any, risks.

A potent example of this could very well be “Epodium Me Amore” which, to be perfectly honest, sounds pretty neat. However, it is also wildly predictable in its progressions and general sense of direction and, as such, fails to leave an effective imprint that will make me return to the track time and time again. I consistently believe that there is more to this project than what has been displayed thus far. For all the reverb-drenched greatness of tracks like “California”, “Guitar a Go Go” and “Oceans of Banana” there are at least as many, if not more, somewhat anonymous tracks on “The Past, The Present and Beyond”. – And it’s a shame, as the sheer musicianship of Torben Guldager is undeniable but his willingness to take risks is not entirely present as of yet. Either way, The Black Rascal has managed to intrigue me – the question is whether or not that intrigue can be kept alive by the project’s future output.

Download: California, Guitar a Go Go, Oceans of Banana
For The Fans Of: The Good The Bad, Spindrift, Dick Dale
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.07.2014

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