Exposé Online banner

Eccentric Orbit — Creation of the Humanoids
(EOCD02, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-08-14

Creation of the Humanoids Cover art

Eccentric Orbit’s second album finds the band with a revised lineup and a solid bump upwards in sophistication. They’re still a keyboard-heavy entity focused on vintage instrument sounds, but some welcome additions, including – gulp! – guitar. The change in personnel is partly due to the tragic loss of original drummer Mark Cella, who completed about half of this album before succumbing to brain cancer. New drummer Rick Landwehr, a veteran of groups playing progressive rock and jazz, helped the band complete the album. The other change is the addition of Tom Benson on violin, guitar synth, and “MandoBot” (which I think is something like a guitar synthesizer triggered by a mandolin), who had worked with Eccentric Orbit on tracks for a Gentle Giant tribute album. Continuing members Bill (bass) and Madeleine (keyboards and wind synth) Noland remain as the core of the band, with Madeleine’s keyboards usually the dominant factor. Once again the keyboard sounds tend toward the vintage, with Hammond, Mellotron, and analog synthesizers (again, both real and emulated, but sounding pretty darn good). Speaking of sounding good, the quality of the recording is a step up from Attack of the Martians, really clear and with all the parts sounding crisp and rich. Bill Noland favors an overdriven sound on his bass, not generally full-on fuzz, but with a very aggressive tone that serves to add some welcome grit to the sound. Keyboard-dominated music can sometimes come off as too polite, with clean sounds that result from running instruments directly into the mixing board rather than through amplifiers, so the bass is especially welcome. Madeleine’s keyboards and wind synth are stellar, with inventive lines, excellent sound choices, and fluid technique. I’m at times reminded of classic PFM, Quella Vecchia Locanda, and Museo Rosenbach even more than any English bands that may come to mind (ELP, Greenslade, solo Wakeman, and so on). Creation of the Humanoids shows the continued growth and progression of an outstanding band, and it’s a lot of fun the listen to as well.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Eccentric Orbit

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cream - Disraeli Gears - Deluxe Edition – What comes to mind when you think of psychedelic blues rock? For me, it’s Cream. They were the most important UK rock band out of the 60s besides the Beatles and the Stones. Eric Clapton, Jack...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues