Eccentric Orbit — Attack of the Martians
(EOCD01, 2004/2014, CD)
by Sean McFee, 2004-09-01:Eccentric Orbit was founded by bassist Bill Noland, and includes Mark Cella (Pye Fyte) on drums and Madeleine Noland and Derek Roebuck on keyboards. The keyboard sounds veer heavily towards the 70s, with use of Mellotron, organ, clavinet (both Nolands have played on Gentle Giant tribute albums), Fender Rhodes (or other electric piano), and some additional synthesizers. The music is entirely instrumental, and the album comprises five tracks ranging from six to fourteen minutes in length. The band keeps rhythms fairly standard and most compositions consist of either layering or trading off keyboard parts. Noland the bassist and Cella do a fine job nailing things down so that the space cadets can let fly on the keys. The sci-fi inspiration is fairly obvious and the melodic debts to “spooky alien music,” while de rigueur, are charmingly cheeky. There are a few personalities here; ELP-ish classicalism with lots of organ, funky fusion groove sessions led by Fender, and spooky SFF Mellotron sections to name three. When you throw more than one in a composition it adds some schizoid variety (in the literal sense, no Crim here). I’m a little surprised a group with such a Gentle Giant influence doesn’t use a bit advanced counterpoint, but you can’t have everything. Eccentric Orbit is a lot of fun to listen to, and will serve especially well as ear candy for vintage synth heads.
by Jon Davis, 2015-08-07:
Eccentric Orbit announce their intentions right out of the gate. Their debut album begins with some big Mellotron chords, then a theme on organ leads into a section where Mellotron chords are backed by a heavy bass part. Time signatures vary (11/8 generally dominates), and other keyboard instruments get added and subtracted from the mix. Overall, the sound could be likened to ELP with more aggressive bass playing and Mellotron added into the keyboard arsenal. Refreshingly, the keyboard playing doesn’t really resemble Keith Emerson, instead combining elements of Kerry Minnear, Rick Wakeman, and maybe a little Tony Banks. While some of the vintage keyboard sounds may in fact be modern digital recreations of the original instruments (not everyone has an old Mellotron stashed in their basement), the sounds are very good, certainly close enough to tickle the fancy of any fans of the classic tones. The compositions and arrangements are sophisticated, though they don’t delve into Twentieth Century developments as Gentle Giant did, nor do they much indulge in polyphony, being mostly chord-and-harmony based. For the reissue, a bonus track has been added, and it’s a doozy – the ten-minute “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” which was written around the time of the original album but recorded more recently with the band's current lineup. The big thing here is the addition of violin as an alternative melodic voice, providing a great foil to all the keyboard sounds. It’s another multi-part composition, with all the qualities that make the rest of the album work so well. The bottom line is that Attack of the Martians is every bit as much fun as the title implies.
Related artist(s): Eccentric Orbit
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more