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Dr. Space's Alien Planet Trip - Vol. 1 CD (album) cover

VOL. 1

Dr. Space's Alien Planet Trip

Progressive Electronic

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Scott Heller aka Dr Space takes a break from keyboard duties for cosmic rockers the Øresund Space Collective to deliver `Alien Planet Trip: Volume 1', the first of several promised solo works, and a wild, experimental and moody change of direction it proves to be! Culled from studio improvisations, `...Trip' is heavy on feverish distortion, swirling electronics and rumbling drones all fusing into stormy drifting instrumental atmospheres, actually a galaxy far away from the jam-heavy ØSC LP's and more in the manner of the early Krautrock-era of Tangerine Dream (but probably more resembling a soundtrack to Edgar Froese's most vivid nightmares!), also given a very modern edge.

Don't look for anything resembling a tune or melodic elements in side-long piece `Five Dimensions Of The Universe'. It's an endless rumbling drone of maddening electronic loops and ringing fizzes spiralling into infinity laced with grumbling guitar distortion provided by two ØSC collaborators Nicklas Sørensen of mellow spacerockers Papir and Richard Orlando of Alien Plenetscapes. Fleeting synth drifts rise and fall like both blowing breezes and raging gales, and guitars eventually twist into stormy wailing reaches and dreamy psychedelic embers. Fleeting moments of light and wonder from trilling and comforting whirring synth caresses reveal themselves in the second half, but overall this wild trip remains darkly colourful and perfectly captures the stark isolation of space the majority of its near twenty-five minute length.

On the flip side, the maddening and immersive `Rising Sun Over Mars' is a nightmarish machine sound collage of unceasing looping sequencer patterns over washes of harsh splintering guitar distortion and bleeding electronics, and the guitars throughout `In Search Of Life On Io' slink from drowsy psychedelic echoing, bluesy smoulders and feedback-strangled ripples, all the while lurching trip-hop-like programmed beats and scuzzy distortion pepper the background. A bonus track is also available with a download purchase through Bandcamp that doesn't fit on the vinyl edition, and `Alien Improv II' is a fizzing Berlin School-modelled howling storm that doesn't sound unlike parts of early Klaus Schulze albums like `Cyborg', only heavier.

With Heller relocating it essentially means the ØSC will be going on something of a hiatus for now, so fans and followers will have these exploratory releases to look forward to, and based on this first volume, it means there's plenty of challenging and experimental space music to come in the future. Well done as always, Scott, bring on volume two!

Four stars for this wicked mind-melt!

Report this review (#1737735)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Dr. Space's Alien Planet Trip - Vol.1" is the first solo-album by Scott Heller, the master-mind and synth-guru behind Øresund Space Collective, as well as the owner of Space Rock Productions label that released this album on vinyl LP only. It presents all instrumental synthesizer music at the intersection of psycho-acoustic Experimental, textured Ambient, sci-fi soundtrack Cinematic, futuristic Post-Industrial and Space-Age, etc. Aside of Dr. Space synth-manipulations and occasional rhythm-programming, the album features guest appearance of two prominent guitarists - Nicklas Sørensen (of PAPIR) and Richard Orlando (of ALIEN PLANETSCAPES). Their heavy distorted contribution into the creation of the swirling-bubbling-rumbling, droning, groaning, spiraling and constantly shifting space-atmospheric soundscape is quite remarkable. As a whole, the album resembles a soundtrack to the low-budget SciFi pulp-horror movie, though not without the references to Karlheinz Stockhausen's academic researches in the fields of "serialism", "spatialization", "polyvalent forms", "process composition", etc. In other words, if you're searching for inventive, exquisite, and motivated experimental music, this work would be just your "cup of tea".
Report this review (#1933788)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2018 | Review Permalink
1 stars When I happened on this album and the name Dr. Space, I thought it was a release by the Dr. Space from New York City who was active during the late 70s and played several high profile concerts in the U.S. with Gong, Zao, and Mars Everywhere. That Dr. Space was a young Julliard professor at the time who triggered his synths and electronics via a specially designed conductor's wand that could send control voltages. Alas, though, this is not that Dr. Space. Instead, this is just a knob-twiddling non-musician (shades of Brian Eno, but far less creative) making strange sounds with a couple of synthesizers and calling it "music." Some of the contributing artists here admittedly seem to be good players, and this Dr. Space obviously chose his allies well, as they definitely cover for his inability to play actual chords and melodies on his synths like Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman. Some of the songs have a trippy feel, like early Pink Floyd or Hawkwind but most of this seems entirely improvised rather than formally composed. There's nothing new here at all and I suspect that this new Dr. Space just listened to some old Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze records, went out and bought a few synthesizers, and said, "Hey, I can make funny space noises, too!" This is the sort of thing that actually gives progressive music a bad name. It's perfectly okay for novices to make noise, but please don't call it music or try to pass it off as innovative sound construction by dropping names like Stockhausen or Schulze. Flattering one's own vanity by pretending to be a musician or composer when one clearly isn't is simply fake and disingenuous.
Report this review (#2508642)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | Review Permalink

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