Saturday, 7 July 2012

LINK: Fanfare for Erik Norlander

Erik Norlander - The Galactic Collective Live In Gettysburg (DVD) CD (album) cover


Erik Norlander


5.00 | 1 ratings

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5 stars Fanfare for Erik Norlander

This brand new live concert DVD and two CD set features a full show recorded at The Rites of Spring Festival in 2011. The amazing set list consists of the very best of Erik Norlander's instrumental works that originally appeared on his solo albums, his works with Rocket Scientists, and his works with Lana Lane. As such, this brilliant performance sums up Norlander's whole career as a keyboard player, composer, and producer; long may it continue. These compositions were first re-recorded live-in-the-studio in 2010 resulting in The Galactic Collective studio album. That album gave a very convincing snapshot of Norlander's immense talents as a composer and instrumentalist, but it is on this excellent live recording that these tunes really come to life. In addition, this live performance offers more great content as well as a visual element. Fans of people like Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, and Patrick Moraz should sit up and take note. Norlander will blow you away!

The concert opens with Arrival and Neurosaur that originally opened Norlander's first solo album, Threshold from 1997. This number has since become something of a signature tune for Norlander and it fits perfectly as a show opener. Next up is Fanfare For Absent Friends that originally was on Erik's Progressive Electronic solo album Seas Of Orion from 2004. This live version is clearly more rocking than the original version and an improvement on an already great tune. They carry on with Sky Full Of Stars, originally from the conceptual Music Machine album from 2003. This symphonic instrumental is creatively merged with the Lana Lane song Capture The Sun which features Lana Lane herself on lead vocals. This is the first out of four vocal numbers in this otherwise entirely instrumental show. Lana Lane is an amazing singer and adds great value to this performance and the presence of a few vocal numbers among the instrumental ones brings a very nice variation to the whole.

Lana Lane appears on lead vocals again on the next number, the superb Secrets Of Astrology. While on the studio version of The Galactic Collective only the instrumental introduction Astrology Prelude was recreated which felt a little truncated without its natural companion in Secrets Of Astrology. On this live performance, the whole Astrology Suite is restored the way it should be and the way it was on the excellent Lana Lane album of that same name.

Another tune from Threshold follows in Trantor Station, another wonderful, spacy instrumental. After The Revolution is the first out of two Rocket Scientists numbers, this one originally appearing on the 2006 Revolution Road album. Like almost every track here, this is the ultimate version. The 20 minute plus The Dark Water was originally split up into shorter introductions and interludes on the Rocket Scientists albums Brutal Architecture and Oblivion Days, but here they are presented as one long piece as on the studio version of The Galactic Collective. While on the latter I felt that it was a bit too long for its own good, this live version justifies the great length of the song.

In addition to all of the tunes from The Galactic Collective, Norlander also treats us to an extended suite from his very good solo album Into The Sunset containing two vocal numbers again performed by the wonderful Lana Lane. This amazing suite constitutes a very valuable addition to the set. However, the piano-driven Dreamcurrents is the only tune that I think is better on the studio version of The Galactic Collective (due to the middle section on that extended version being present neither here nor on the original Into The Sunset version). Still, this truncated version is not bad at all and contains simply brilliant piano playing.

For some reason, the recording of Garden Of The Moon is taken from a different show and is a bonus track on the DVD but part of the main set on the accompanying CDs. Another difference between the DVD and the CDs is that some of the in-between-song-banter has been appropriately edited out on the CDs. This is I think a very good idea and justifies the addition of the two CDs in the package. The CDs are preferable for repeated listening.

In conclusion, this is nothing short of a live masterpiece and there is no doubt about the rating here. Very highly recommended!

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