Rod While is a guitarist, songwriter and producer who has played in a variety of bands including Trekellion Skyway and Sarajevo. In 2021 he embarked on a solo career with the release of ‘Open the Cage’, an instrumental album of diverse material from progressive rock to jazz fusion to electronica and orchestral. In 2022 he releases his second album of original compositions ‘Vigil’.
Rod is based in Buckingham, England where he has a recording studio. He is a guitarist of longstanding whose playing has been compared to Jeff Beck and David Gilmour. After many years of playing in bands and writing and recording his own music, he decided to take a break from full time work in December 2020 to complete his first solo album.
‘Vigil’ is an instrumental album, and its theme relates to being awake, alert, vision and sight, the incredible facility to see the best and worst of the world around us, not just humans but animals also.
On the album, Rod played electric guitars, bass and keyboards (a variety of drum and percussion samples were used with permission throughout) and he also wrote and recorded and mixed and mastered the record.
Throughout its ten tracks, ‘Vigil’ draws you in with its brilliance and glorious splendour. There are hints of electronica along the lines of Massive Attack and (massively) Tangerine Dream, the room filling guitar soundscapes of legends like Beck, Gilmour and Steve Hackett and the unique sounds of bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra. Yet every song has Rod’s signature feel to it, this is an album that invokes the peace and tranquility of nature.
Opener Shimmer has that 70’s psych-electronica feel to it and this segues into the excellent Sybilline, a song that just screams hazy days with its jaunty guitar running throughout. Viridian has a more serious tone, provided by a superb, Hackett-esque guitar tone that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Chimera takes you on a fantastical journey, aided and abetted by the elegant guitar and flute sound, an elegant, quixotic piece of music and Eigengrau takes the Tangerine Dream similarity to another level, a mystical and mind bending track that could have come straight from any of the great 70’s Sci-Fi movies.
Rod’s delicate touch is evident throughout, as is his songwriting skill, these tracks are each little gems in their own right but, put them together and you get something quite magical. The other-wordly, Sci-Fi atmosphere continues with the opening to Flicker, a track with a trance like rhythm and one that calms the mind and soul and then Olivine takes you deeper into the recesses of your mind with its Zen like countenance. I love the funky, world music infused vibe of the joyous Heliotrope, a track that seems to imbue you with a good natured warmth as the jazzy guitar sprinkles little notes of bonhomie. Portmanteau takes that jazz soul and adds sophistication and a playful sincerity, the pulsating sax is just wonderful to hear. Album closer Leonid is a quite sublime piece of music, solemn but with a refined nobility and the guitar is just outrageously good. It’s near six minutes of aural perfection and ends the record on an extremely high note.
Rod While is a musician of consummate skill and one who can write pieces of music that touch you on both and emotional and cerebral level. In ‘Vigil’ he has produced one of the most graceful, elegant and thought provoking releases of the year and one that I recommend you seek out at your earliest convenience.
Released February 4th, 2022.
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