Eccentric Orbit — Attack of the Martians
(EOCD01, 2004/2014, CD)
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.
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.
Related artist(s): Eccentric Orbit
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.