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Space Invaders

Invasion on Planet Z

Review by Gary Hill

There are four epic pieces here to make up this set. They generally segue into one another, meaning that you could almost see the songs as part of one larger piece. This is all instrumental. It’s also all improvised space rock. That means nothing here changes very fast, instead opting for gradual changes. The thing is, space rock usually has to be compared to Hawkwind. There are moments here that earn that kind of reference, but a lot of it does not. However you categorize this, though, it’s an entertaining set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Invasion

The first of four epics here, this one lands at over eighteen minutes in length. Noisy, echoey space starts it and builds up gradually. It transitions and evolves very slowly, as great glacial space rock. By the ten minute mark it really works into a hard rocking jam. Before this thing ends, it gets dropped back into mellower territory, though. This segues directly into the next number.

Surrender
This is the shortest piece of the set. That said, it’s still almost 17 and a half minutes in length. It comes in sedate and gradually works forward from there. In some ways, this makes me think of fusion at times as it evolves. Mind you, it’s still definitely space music. It definitely gets more rocking as it continues, but it’s still somewhat subdued. As more power is added it does move into rather Hawkwind-like territory. That seems a given for space rock, but the first time I’ve really heard it here. There is some pretty intense soloing on this as it gets really hard edged. Noisy feedback laden space takes it near the end.
Leaving the Ruins (Demolished Sound System)
At a length of over 24 minutes, this is the longest cut here. It comes in gradually, rising up from atmosphere. It starts to take on more musical elements, albeit noisy ones, much more quickly than the previous numbers did. I really love some of the bass work that emerges here. It works through some of the most distinct changes we’ve heard here. It gets into some fusion-like territory. By around the three minute mark the space sounds seem to merge with jam band kind of elements, even turning a little funky. It turns toward more pure progressive rock and there is some awesome jamming as the intensity ramps upward. There are some intriguing drum patterns later and this gets into some great territory. Some psychedelia emerges around the eleven and a half minute mark. It continues with a slow and steady upward trend, getting pretty intense at times. Around the 16 minute mark, a chugging section that’s very much like old school Hawkwind emerges. It continues to build and intensify from there with some killer soloing. I believe there is a “talk box” in use or something that produces a similar type of wave-form. It eventually works back down, but there is a chugging, grinding kind of sound driving the back of the piece. It builds back upward from there, though. This works to more pure space before segueing into the final cut.
Laboratory In Space
Rising out of the remnants of the last piece, this gets more into psychedelic territory as it works forward. This one does a great job of combining space rock, jazz and jam elements into a killer instrumental excursion. It has a great groove and seems to be a bit more melody driven than some of the rest of the music here. This gets pretty intense, too. By around the nine minute mark, it gradually drops back to more sedate, slower moving territory. As the evolution continues were definitely taken into some powerful space. It eventually works out to mellow space for the last minute or so, although it threatens to rise back upward. This ends more then 20 minutes after it started.

 

 
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