Augustwolf, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Douglas Wolf Reid, in collaboration with Ukrainian guitar virtuoso Oleh Andrievsky, has released their epic debut album “Visual Music”. The album features a talented cast of musicians and showcases the remarkable musicianship, songwriting, and production work that independent artists can achieve in today’s music industry. Reid, who runs a multimedia company with the same name as his musical project, has a passion for creating epic instrumental music. Although his profession revolves around video and media production, his unconquerable passion for music drove him to create a collaborative musical project about a year ago. He scoured the internet for collaborators and soon found Andrievsky, with whom he shared not only a musical but also a personal connection.
The two began a long-distance collaboration and friendship, which was soon tested by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Despite the devastating impact of war on Andrievsky’s reality, the Augustwolf project persisted, and they ultimately completed their debut album. “Visual Music”, released worldwide on January 17, 2023, is a testament to the power of art to persevere over the most horrific events.
The cinematic-rock styled album comprises 11 instrumental tracks that transport listeners on a journey through vivid soundscapes. Augustwolf’s remarkable musicianship is evident in every track, from the soaring guitar solos to the thunderous percussion, creating a symphonic experience that immerses the listener in a world of their own.
The album is a showcase of the duo’s musical prowess, and a testament to the ability of independent artists to make their mark in the modern music industry. Throughout “Visual Music”, you can expect loads of great guitar driven melodies, with electrifying solos and incredible riffs, superb bass, heavy-duty keys, emotional strings, surprising saxes, and deadly accurate drumming.
While a large part of the instrumentation is taken care of by Douglas Wolf Reid himself, alongside lead guitarist Oleh Andrievsky, many tracks feature extraordinary appearances by musicians such as Marco Toba, Ivan Krnic and Martin Stepien on bass guitar, Damiano on Hammond Organ, Joylin and Iryna Markevych on violin, Manuel Trabbuco on sax, and Glenn Welman on drums.
Masterpieces are rare these days, or maybe they are harder to find, but “Visual Music” certainly belongs in that category, and it’s right here before your ears. The moment the recording opens with “Pursuit”, you are catapulted into Augustwolf’s grandiose musical vision.
It launches the album with tremendous force before the rest of “Visual Music” follows a similar path, with expansive and soulful melodies alternating between ambitious symphonic-type orchestrations and hard-rocking technical wizardry. Such is the case with the colossal “The Sorcerer’s Audition” before giving way to the organic bluesy groove of “Jimmy Jam”.
“Cirque Show” is a dynamic and playful arrangement embellished with bombastic choral passages, while the slower “On Douglas Pond”, brings a reflective and languid mood to the album. “Urban Dossier 8F” is another groove induced jam awash with the horns, the Hammond organ, and Oleh Andrievsky’s sapient guitar fire.
The wall of sound brings forth engaging guitar tones that stick to you. There is a strong Latin flavor to the carnival-like sounds of “La La Chillax” which features resonating saxes and shimmering acoustic guitars. “Soften the Hammer” offers a sweeping cinematic arrangement.
“Blockster” is short but impacting, with its powerful action-movie soundscape, which slides into the more pensive and deeply emotional “Here I Stand”, followed by the multilayered magnificence of “Ukraine Peace and War”, which ends with the solacing sound of the strings and acoustic guitars.
Each of these songs are overwhelmingly warm, encouraging the listener to step in and allow the sonic waves to sweep them under. There is no shortage of atmosphere throughout the album, whether in blissful serenity or during a musical storm.
Douglas Wolf Reid’s composing, arranging, engineering and production skills are perfectly unraveled across the 11 tracks, allowing “Visual Music” to be the standout album it is. The musicianship of all concerned, and especially the guitar sensibilities of Oleh Andrievsky, is undeniable.
In conclusion, Augustwolf’s “Visual Music” is a compelling example of the power of collaboration and art to triumph over adversity. The album is a must-listen for any music lover looking for an expansive sonic experience that transcends genre boundaries. “Visual Music” is the kind of gargantuan-sounding cinematic album that so many rock artists and bands wish they could make. Only a few, like Augustwolf, succeed in doing so.