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As some friends and sympathizers of Spacerock's own eclectic nature already know, Spirits Burning is a collective of musicians led by US musicians Don Falcone and Albert Bouchard (formerly at Blue Öyster Cult).
In the run-up to Spirits Burning's fourteenth album, Falcone has contacted British science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock. The goal was to use the "Dancers" trilogy by Moorcock as a text template for Spirits Burning. "An Alien Heat" is the name of the first part of the "Dancers" trilogy by Moorcock. After a meeting and some sessions with Moorcock, it was discovered that the collaboration worked well, so Moorcock was allowed to contribute his lyrics and to compose some pieces. In addition, Moorcock has been involved in vocals in most pieces, even though it is often just the background vocals. (Too bad that the lyrics were not printed anywhere, so that you can probably only guess the sung content of Moorcock).
In addition to Moorcock, Falcone and Bouchard, "An Alien Heat" involved around 30 musicians, including Cyrille Verdeaux (Clearlight) and members of Blue Öyster Cult, Hawkwind, Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, The Groundhogs and The Damned. Even after up to eight musicians with different backgrounds were allowed to write on the pieces, the result sounds pretty homogenous to me. In vocal technique, several singers are involved as well, though most often the voice of Albert Bouchard, sometimes pressed and sometimes reminiscent of Robert Wyatt, can be heard.
According to the self-description of Spirits Burning, the music is output as a spacer rock. However, it is not always easy to classify what is required stylistically. Some pieces seem to offer a fusion of psychedelic rock, folk, and pop rock with a pinch of spacerock and postwave, akin to Hawkwind's time with Robert Calvert (as heard in "Hothouse Flowers," "Doomed," and "In the Future," among others). In the pieces like "Dark Dominion" and "To Steal a Space Traveler", you go one step further in the direction of psychedelic experiments and add some weird sounds, as if Daevid Allen's spirit was present.
"Geronimo" again has to offer psychedelic-folky style pop, in which the chant is in constant dialogue with the melodic violin lines. It seems very difficult to find traces of Spacerock here.
Featuring the charming female vocals of Ann Marie Castellano, the "Soiree of Fire" seems to combine the trance of Spacerock with the ease of Artpop and the mysterious mood of psychedelic folk. Colorful and lively-looking psychedelic-spacy folk prog can also be heard in "Fall in Love" and "Any particular Interest".
(If anyone needs it, there is also a bonus CD to the full package that includes the instrumental versions of each piece, so you can of course follow the detailed arrangements better and at the same time think about whether this music is justified even without the vocals. Without singing, sometimes even other stylistic assignments of the individual pieces could result, which can happen with such a musical tightrope).
I find it very exciting to watch over the entire length of the album, how creatively the pieces from the above-mentioned musical puzzle pieces were put together, so that pigeonholing is made almost impossible and at the same time new ways for the musical expeditions are opened.
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Spirits Burning is one of the most unique entities in the space rock galaxy. The group consists of one main member, Don Falcone, and many other participants from various bands and projects...
Healthy Music In Large Doses is the latest offering from the Spirits Burning space rock collective, this time featuring keyboardist Cyrille 'Clearlight' Verdeaux. Clearlight is a project of French son..