THE GALACTIC COLLECTIVE is a brand new take on the best of Erik’s vast instrumental compositions written for Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane and his own solo albums over the years. The DVD and 2CD set includes the complete album, ERIK NORLANDER - THE GALACTIC COLLECTIVE, performed LIVE at The Rites of Spring Festival 2011 along with the “Into the Sunset Suite” and the Norlander-penned Lana Lane songs, “Capture the Sun” and “Secrets of Astrology” creatively woven into medleys to complete the celestial sojourn with guest vocals by none other than Lana Lane herself! Erik’s Modular Moog synthesizer, “The Wall of Doom,” was used extensively at this concert, and band is introduced with an excellent and informative monologue from Michelle Moog, Executive Director of The Bob Moog Foundation and daughter of the late maverick synthesizer pioneer and inventor, Robert Moog. Full color, detailed booklet includes not only beautiful photos from the concert but also liner notes by Erik's synth tech, former Moog Music designer and ELP keyboard tech, August Worley, along with an additional article written by Erik himself especially for this release. Featuring Erik Norlander (keyboards), Freddy DeMarco (guitars), Mark Matthews (bass) and Nick LePar (drums) with special guest vocalists Lana Lane and Debrissa McKinney.
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!"
SouthSideoftheSky | 5/5 | 2012-7-2
Melodic Progressive Rock 5.0/5.0 !!!
"The Galactic Collective roots go back to the turn of the millenium. Erik Norlander wanted, at some point, to take his favorite instrumental pieces, whether recorded with Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists, or on solo efforts, and give them new life in new arrangements. In 2010, his vision came to fruition with The Galactic Collective. Here we have, not just the original album, but more in the Definitive Edition.
Considering again the DVD side, first, we have the studio recordings that were shown on YouTube. This is great stuff. But what's even better is Norlander's comments before every song. Here you get not only the history of the song, but also what he intends to develop in these new recordings. If you're a musician, you'll get this; having the ability to envision new interpreations of your material is mouth-watering stuff. Again, as mentioned in my review of Live in Gettysburg, Norlander is articulate and gracious.
Also included on the DVD is a 22 minute feature about the 'Wall of Doom,' the affectionate description of Norlander's synthesizer monolith. Techheads and keyboardists will rejoice as he describes and explains in some detail the technical aspects of this instruments. Mostly, I didn't get what he was talking about, but it was cool nonetheless.
Regarding the CDs, one offers, of course, The Galactive Collective studio recording. The second, called Echoes from the Collective delivers variations on Sky Full of Stars, Garden of the Moon, and The Dark Water called The Darker Water. Yet, fans will likely dig another representation of theme from Space: 1999, a staple of Norlander's catalog.
As with Live in Gettysburg, the Definitive Edition is marvelous. Both are highly recommended."
Music In Belgium-Chroniques
Keyboardist, composer, producer and sound engineer, Erik Norlander's all at once. Originally from California, juggler has composed and produced nearly 30 albums since 1993, and this, with singer Lana Lane and Rocket Scientists group. There are also albums as a soloist and also several guest appearances on albums by other artists for this technician finally following the path mapped out by the masters of this art are Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and John Lord! A perfectionist at heart, he perpetuates the mood of the seventies thanks to the legendary vintage keyboards, but also looks to the future with modern synthesizers.
First part of this musical and visual showcase of the musician, since a second box is also available and will be chronicled later on our site. This is the first studio side that will be developed here with two audio CDs and a DVD for a total of nearly four hours. And therefore from the intro and the first compositions played, we feel a great work and professionalism on the part of this artist. Here, it is far from Rick Wakeman albums recently Reviewed! The sound is excellent and the atmosphere smells the progressive rock and progressive metal, also with the presence of more lyrical passages and more playful. Keyboards are here of course demonstrative without being syrupy. As for the electric guitar, it will also offer some beautiful solo passages. Do not forget to mention many passages in classical piano that will be, too, well crafted. On the role of each protagonist, the emcee work keyboards and Yamaha pianos and Rhodes as well as the traditional Moog, Mellotron or Hammond. This is Mark Mathews who held the bass. Nick LePar will handle the drums and percussion. As for Freddy DeMarco, he will master the electric guitar. Add the presence of Lana Lane on vocals and John Payne, himself, who will accompany the group for three compositions.
If one wanted to look for similarities or benchmarks, I would say that we approach projects from a Clive Nolan but also, for some passages of Vangelis or Ryan Farish. The set, which will evolve a progressive rock music to a more epic, will be very attractive to eventually follow. To get to the DVD that will complement the cabinet with the detailed presentation of recording sessions with beautiful views in the studio. We shall see the beautiful work of each musician. The genesis of the compositions, the composer's approach and its equipment will also be impressive to watch for a total of nearly two hours!
Hours and hours, I tell you, to understand this strange character certainly came from elsewhere. Along with a Clive Nolan, the composer-keyboardist has a career that commands respect from all of us. A box that any fan of keyboards will of sinking body and soul. Also a box with a large illustrated booklet that anyone should listen at least once to realize the great job done!