Melodic Energy Commission — Wave Packet
(NRG 41, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-06-07Melodic Energy Commission is a Vancouver BC based space-rock ensemble led by multi-instrumentalist Don Xaliman that’s been a going concern since the late 1970s. The core of around four musicians is augmented by a number of guests, all track depending, providing an expansive array of instrumentation from the basics (drums, guitars, synth, bass) to the extras (violin, flutes, cello, dulcimer, trumpet, EWI) to the exotics (mbira, zheng, gongs, dumbek, what sounds like a didgeridoo, etc.) to the outright unique (a 6-arm Theremin – what is that you might ask? Click the Theremin link on the band’s website to see). Although their nominally psychedelic space music is fresh, free spirited and highly improvisational, which would normally suggest some sort of jazz connection – and which certainly is there in a subtle manner, because of the instrumentation employed it often bears more similarities to world music, mostly through the percussive underpinnings on each of the ten instrumental tracks (there is some eastern styled wordless vocalizing on "Tidal Nomads," one of the album's many high points). Followers of the later adventures of Embryo, Ancient Future, Between, and similar artists that find some bridgepoint between world, jazz and psych, will certainly find this of interest. The conceptual feel offers a calm, gentle and evolutionary experience, everything seems to flow together nicely, and when it’s over, relief is only as far away as the repeat-play button. This is one I could listen to in a loop for hours on end.
Related artist(s): Melodic Energy Commission
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