Norlander, Erik - Seas Of Orion

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Quantum Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:22:00

Let's play a little game, a game of elimination. Pick a random Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists or Erik Norlander song (save for the ballads). Now we are going to eliminate some elements of that song. First, we take away the vocals. Then we take away the guitars and the bass guitars. Finally, we take away the drums ... what do you get? Just the keyboards. Well, that is in fact the very essence of Erik Norlander. Despite the fact he can write touching ballads and heavy rock songs, the electronic music, in his case in the form of a huge amount of analogue synthesizers, is what he is.

His debut solo showed this already, but now he delivers another amazing, tangible work of his essence, Seas Of Orion. In 2001 Erik Norlander was invited to play at the Dutch Alfa Centauri festival, dedicated to electronic music, together with Rick Wakeman. In 2004 this was repeated, but this time with Norlander as headliner. The festival organizer suggested Erik to do an electronic album, which resulted in this album, Seas Of Orion.

Opener "Fanfare For Absent Friends" has the familiar Erik Norlander sound, which you can hear in all of his songs. A triumphant sounding opener, dedicated to those lost in the tragedy on September 11, 2001. It is noteworthy the album was released on September 11, 2004! In the liner notes, Norlander explains he had a hard time composing the music, as he was too much thinking in the lines of traditional songwriting, while he intended the album to be in the vein of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. "City Of Living Machines" is exactly what he intended, less a song as the opener, but more an experience in sound.

The highlight if the album is most definitely the epic piece "Adrift On The Fire Seas Of Orion's Shield"! Here his famous "Wall of Doom," as his immense modular Moog is called, is fully utilized! Starting with a cosmic wind, Norlander slowly builds up his soundscapes. This epic song truly demonstrates what an amazing composer and keyboard player Erik Norlander is. Captivating sounds, beautiful synth arrangements and virtuoso musicianship, that is what you find here. The closing song of the album is a very interesting one, as it is a cover of the Vangelis song "Hymn." Again, Norlander has played this song in his own characteristic way, dripping with fantastic analogue sounds.

We started out with a game of elimination, but one element was added: the percussion of Greg Ellis, who also played on Norlander's Threshold album. This adds a bit more dimension to the music, but just enough to still sound as an electronic album.

It is a fantastic recording, with a great production, as we are used to by Erik Norlander. The artwork adds to the sci-fi/alien/space atmosphere on the album. Ever since I first heard Erik's sound, which was on the Universal Migrator albums, I loved his work, so for me this album is a must have. Fans of Erik Norlander will consider this a must have as well and it is highly recommended for fans of Rick Wakeman, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and other electronic music. So, it all comes down to your taste in music, but one thing is certain: Seas Of Orion is a beautiful, high quality album!

[This review originally appeared October 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Fanfare For Absent Friends (5:51) / City Of Living Machines (7:28) / New Gotham Prime (7:39) / Adrift On The Fire Seas Of Orion's Shield (22:32) / Oasis Is Stasis (6:08) / Opera Sauvage: Hymne (2:42)

Erik Norlander - synthesizers
Greg Ellis - percussion


Rocket Scientists - Earthbound (1993) (OOP)
Rocket Scientists - Brutal Architecture (1995)
Threshold (1997)
Rocket Scientists - Earth Below And Sky Above (1998)
Rocket Scientists - Oblivion Days (1999)
Into The Sunset (2000)
Music Machine (2003)
Threshold - Special Edition (2004)
Stars Rain Down (2004)
Seas Of Orion (2004)
Rocket Scientists - Revolution Road (2006)
Hommage Symphonique (2006/2007)
Rocket Scientists - Looking Backward (2007)
The Galactic Collective (2010)

Live At St. Petersburg (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 28th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 856
Language: english


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