Inner Galactic Sprint Review
Major Tom and The Pecos Planetary Orchestra has done something we haven't heard much before in electronic music - have live drums. Their 12 -track instrumental collection of space inspired music is rich in musicianship and exploration. The opening track to the CD, "Inner Galactic Sprint", is a modulating harmonic minor-based groove trip that, as most of the tracks do, feature kinetic and deranged lead guitar work by Daniel Ward. His outside approach to guitar is worth the price of admission. That track, "Beyond Pluto" establishes what's to come - and what comes is nothing short of organically grown avant-garde instrumental space music. Organic in the fact that instrumentally MT has employed acoustic instruments to support his compositional keyboard adventures. Viola peppers track 2, "Exogenesis Phase 9", with a dance groove that perpetuates throughout. Sawtooth key lines remind us of 70's AOR while funky guitar is up front and wah wah loved. Nearly experimental, track 6, "The Matter of Darkness", haunts with guitar vibrato swells and dissonant compositional choices. A medium groove percolates as deep piano, strings, and bass brood beautifully. The following track, "Multiversal Mother Time", is the most energetic on the record and changes the mood from 'darkness' immediately. Distorted blues guitar and 2/4 drum beat remind us a bit of a ZZ groove. Track 8, "Fractal Fusion", has a more commercial direction with the chord choices and overall production. The tune could be a bed for an 80's pop song - but instead allows MT's keyboard work to lead the melody. Nice. Track 9, "Planet Search in Sector 33", opens with nylon Spanish guitar flavor, before heading into more analog keyboard flavors. Major Tom and co. launch in several genre directions in the record - from pop to experimental to ambient - and track 10 moves them firmly into jazz. "Captured by the Sun" features the sax work of Kristen Strom in one of the only mainstream potential pieces on the CD. Keys paint a 4-note motif underneath as control is lost to the sun in tension that is musical bliss. The final track, "Saturnalia", features the piano work of band leader, Major Tom, along with interesting rhythmic patches and string swells. At about two and a half minutes in, the drums and full frequency spectrum kicks in and piano figure is performed that reminds us a bit of the Peanuts theme. Eventually the record ends, panning left and right with keyboard effects and the epilogue musical moment that pay fitting tribute to space exploration and all it artistically inspires.