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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Stick Man - Mysterious Female – Colorado's Neil Haverstick is now simply "Stick Man." For this writer, there used to be some shock value listening to music played on 19 tone (and even more unusual) scales, but after listening to...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues