Exposé Online banner

The Van Allen Belt — Lactater-Tots
((Not on label) no#, 2004, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01

Lactater-Tots Cover artThe Van Allen Belt is the moniker taken by composer Troy Paiva, who wrote and performed ten tracks with Apple software packages that emulate basic rock and roll band instrumentation. Initial impressions recall a playful composer’s point of view that invokes works by Devo and They Might be Giants meshed with early Spock’s Beard or Kevin Gilbert’s later work. “Space Junk” opens the collection in a futuristic state where Paiva’s mode of delivery becomes easily apparent. His lead vocal and lyrical content reminds me a lot of Wall of Voodoo’s old singer Stan Ridgway (whatever happened to him?) with a bit of an extended drawl and a bit of tongue in cheek attitude. Following that up, “Creeper” captures a similar essence to many of Billy Currie’s forays into instrumental music after his work with Ultravox that is heavy on lush synthesizers, grand piano and programmed bass. “Suburban Tiki” captures much of the same attack with some creepy layered backing vocals eventually leading into fuzzy organ leads that work well within the private construct of the composer. The enhanced software package capabilities are quite surprising given the insulated scope of the individual performer which Paiva is comfortable to use. Despite a bit of mechanical percussion at times, the composer manages to flex his composer’s skills a lot as heard on trippy pieces such as “Psycho Synchromesh” that gets a bit tiresome due to some of the upfront synthesizers and digital mix. Closing out the disc is “Closer/Plasma” which ends the demo collection on a consistently high note. I’d be curious to hear how a full band arrangement of a few of these pieces would sound with the right supportive instrumentation.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): The Van Allen Belt

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

The Mother Hips - Kiss the Crystal Flake – The Mother Hips have been kicking around the Bay Area for at least a decade, having a half-dozen or so releases to date, though this is their first in a few years. Their stock in trade is great...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues