Prolific composer, significant keyboard player, and husband of Lana Lane, Erik Norlander offers fans and friends some extravagence. Here, in two parts, is an intriguing and entertaining adventure into his wonderful 2010 recording The Galactive Collective. The album is a reimagnining of some of Norlander's favorite instrumental pieces, many of which have gone through numerous revisions even prior to this recording.
Norlander delivers The Definitive Edition, which is a look into the actual studio sessions, as seen on YouTube. The second part is Live in Gettysburg where Norlander plays nearly the entire album live at RoSFest. Both sets offer DVD and two CDs to compliment. Mostly I'll be considering the DVDs, with some brief comments on the CDs when necessary. Since I love live albums, we'll consider Live in Gettysburg first.
Erik Norlander is not a stranger to live recordings. But considering the significance of The Galactic Collective, the revisioning of his favorite instrumental pieces, playing it live is also rather important. Simply, this performance is equally magnificent and substantial. The recording was made at the Rites of Spring Festival (RoSFest) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, not far from Dangerdog HQ.
Notable at the start is the homage paid to synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog by his daughter Michelle Moog-Koussa. She invokes the memory of her father while introducing Norlander, who found his voice by using Moog's inventions.
Then we're treated to nearly the entireity of The Galactic Collective in live performance, with some interesting inclusions. As to the exceptions, Dreamcurrents is included in the Into the Sunset suite. More on that in a moment. Garden of the Moon, from the Lana Lane album, is included as a bonus track recorded in Cleveland.
Norlander broadens this performance of TGC by integrating Capture the Sun into Sky Full of Stars. Lana Lane is on call for this vocal performance, and the others to come. This includes adding Secrets of Astrology to the Prelude. At the end, Norlander and company give us an extra, something beyond TGC: Into the Sunset Suite, which includes three-part harmony of Hymn. Marvelous stuff.
Perhaps the most compelling part of the live performance, not dismissing the exceptional music and musicianship, is the song introductions by Erik Norlander. He offers insightful comments about the songs that give more color to them. But more importantedly is the fact that Norlander is well-spoken, gracious and quite appreciative of his audience. Those qualities go miles for this listener.
Bottom line: The Galactic Collective - Live in Gettysburg is terrific.
The Galactic Collective roots go back to the turn of the millenium. Erik Norlander wanted, at some point, to take his favorite instrumental pieces, whether recorded with Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists, or on solo efforts, and give them new life in new arrangements. In 2010, his vision came to fruition with The Galactic Collective. Here we have, not just the original album, but more in the Definitive Edition.
Considering again the DVD side, first, we have the studio recordings that were shown on YouTube. This is great stuff. But what's even better is Norlander's comments before every song. Here you get not only the history of the song, but also what he intends to develop in these new recordings. If you're a musician, you'll get this; having the ability to envision new interpreations of your material is mouth-watering stuff. Again, as mentioned in my review of Live in Gettysburg, Norlander is articulate and gracious.
Also included on the DVD is a 22 minute feature about the 'Wall of Doom,' the affectionate description of Norlander's synthesizer monolith. Techheads and keyboardists will rejoice as he describes and explains in some detail the technical aspects of this instruments. Mostly, I didn't get what he was talking about, but it was cool nonetheless.
Regarding the CDs, one offers, of course, The Galactive Collective studio recording. The second, called Echoes from the Collective delivers variations on Sky Full of Stars, Garden of the Moon, and The Dark Water called The Darker Water. Yet, fans will likely dig another representation of theme from Space: 1999, a staple of Norlander's catalog.
As with Live in Gettysburg, the Definitive Edition is marvelous. Both are highly recommended.
Both representations of Erik Norlander's The Galactic Collective, the Definitive Edition and Live in Gettysburg are simply terrific DVD and CD sets from this prolific and talented musician.
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