Exposé Online banner

Eccentric Orbit — Attack of the Martians
(EOCD01, 2004/2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2015-08-07:

Attack of the Martians Cover art

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.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 30 , 2014 releases, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Eccentric Orbit

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ring of Myth - Weeds – Ring of Myth is not the only band charting a course that combines old-school progressive with elements of metal and fusion, but their take on it is interesting enough to catch my attention. The...  (2006) » Read more

Zinkl - Dance Music for Insects – Electronic composer Anton Zinkl is now up to his sixth album, the first I’ve heard. If it’s any indication, I’ve been missing something pretty interesting. On his web site, Zinkl...  (2003) » Read more

Hecenia - Légendes – Légendes is Hecenia’s first album, recorded in 1989, released in 1990, and now reissued on CD. If you’ve only heard Hecenia’s second release, La Couleur du Feu from 1994, you...  (1997) » Read more

The Surgery - Holy Umbrella – The Surgery is a trio of guitars, bass and drums, with guitarist Toshi Horisawa providing the predominantly English lead vocals, as well as some synths and programming. The album opens with a...  (1997) » Read more

Frequency Drift - Personal Effects (Part Two) – Frequency Drift is primarily the effort of German keyboardist Andreas Hack, though he’s joined by a large group of supporting players that includes three female vocalists, three guitar players,...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues