Jeff Royer - Wizard At Work Part One (2020) Single Review
Hearing and getting an opportunity to review Jeff's music was one of the best experiences since we launched Prog Loop. It instantly reminded us why we were doing this in the first place: to showcase underrated and unappreciated musicians' works to the progressive community. And Jeff was one of them who also had the great potential of getting liked by a wider range of listeners with his creative and glamorous mix of genres and quality of the compositions.
After his modest debut with "A Portal to the Message", we were able to get a glimpse of who influenced him and what he was trying to achieve with his music. He was a mix of many genres that influenced him throughout his 27 years on the planet, which he used to develop a sound that we could label as prog-pop with a high emphasis on the atmospheric aspects. Adoring his first works, we were curious about how he was going to shape his music later on. Apparently, he was too. Now he's releasing an album entitled "Wizard at Work" which reflects his process and mindset of trying to improve as a musician and crafting new art. With the title of the album, he metaphorizes himself as a wizard trying to be better than ever.
The 11-track album will be out in December, which Jeff Royer again played and programmed all of the instruments, along with composing, arranging, and producing all of the songs all by himself. He did a pretty decent job in the first album handling all of the instruments and being able to create a space to use all of them in a balanced way. With this single from the album, "Wizard at Work Part One", we are able to see his growth as a musician that enhances the harmonical, structural, and ideal components of his compositions; apart from his inevitable growth as a multi-instrumentalist.
With this particular track, he tries and succeeds to achieve (in his words) "exciting magical pieces of music, with wild sounds and lots of changes". He uses some fierce synth sounds that were directly used by some early synth-based proggers like ELP, Triumvirat, Yes, and much more that we’re trying to achieve a full sound that cut through the softer atmospheric sound build up in their songs. The way he considered the dynamics and used the instruments in balance is admirable and there is no way of zoning out on the creative collaborations of different instruments.
In terms of composition, we hear that Jeff took more risks than ever and tried to change his direction to a more dramatic feeling induced progression with sharp transitions in-between parts that seem highly apart from each other. He also changes his use of synths in the song by making the guitars the main instrument that transfer the melody of the song and create the tonality by playing the chords in the background. He still emphasizes the atmospheric essence of his own style and epic synth mania is present here and there. But seeing that he was trying to find different ways of creating art such as changing his style of piano riff induced music to a more sophisticated instrumental madness was indicating that he was trying to achieve more as a musician with his unsatisfied ambitious persona.