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

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs – I think this one may have been repressed again, since I have seen many copies poke their heads out recently. This album in my opinion is the pinnacle of English progressive folk a la The Trees,...  (1993) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues