(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
This one came as a complete surprise to me. The last Gak Omek disc, entitled Alien Eye, was excellent and this one pushes the envelope even farther. The Gak Omek project is fronted by Robert Burger who is also the head of his own record label out of New Jersey called BlueCube Music. The label has released both of the Gak Omek CDs as well as one from another spacey artist named Brainstatik. As with lots of great music, the style here is very hard to pin down. At times I'd call it electronic music similar to Synergy but the guitar throws it all off and the music tends to veer into Djam Karet territory. Whatever I call it, it's still damn good stuff.
The CD starts out very strong with the title track which features Glenn Robitaille on drums and Dave Cashin on additional keyboards. Right from the start it's obvious that this is going to be a really unique disc. Robert's guitar playing is quite majestic at times and his sense of counterpoint is just a joy to hear. At around the three and a half minute mark things get a bit strange, there's a weird slowed down voice part and the music suddenly shifts into a freaky lower gear. Things gradually pick up, new parts are added and there are a few organ solo spots. Very impressive album opener that doesn't drag at any point for it's entire 15 minutes.
The second track "Forbidden Technology Of The Lost Clown Civilization" is a weird little ditty that certainly lives up to the title. This is some crazy mutant circus music with a jazz twist and some really cool electronic percussion. This is followed by "Cydonia" which starts out a bit slow but very huge with a nice sci-fi soundtrack type sound; having listened to this music several times now, I'm convinced Robert Burger could easily have a lucrative career working in the movie business. About halfway through, the tempo picks up and we get a nice speedy pace that is perfect for layered guitar leads and synth embellishments. The piece ends in an ambient style with a few minutes of beautiful synth and guitar drones.
"Apparitions Of Departed Human Personalities" is another interesting one and this time I'm hearing a sort of cross between Anthony Phillips and David Arkenstone to make up some alien new age tune. There are parts of this one that are really out there, like a segue from lush orchestral parts to demented island music from another planet. After the track fades out, the next one begins with some more great and very unusual synth sounds for just a short period. Even though it has one of the odder song titles on the album, "Radio Hypnotic Intra-Cerebral Control" is probably the easiest song to describe since it has a style very similar to King Crimson. This one would fit in very neatly in the "Larks'" song cycle. If it weren't for the fact that this song just totally kicks ass, I might even call it a rip off. Another peculiar vocal bit brings the song to a spectacular end.
"Dance Of The Nine Unknown Men" is an upbeat space rock piece with some more really captivating guitar playing. I swear he just plays his ass off throughout this CD but it seems to fit the music so well that it sounds almost effortless. There are also so really neat sitar sounds on this one too. This leads into the ending track on the album, "Departure Of The All-Powerful Light Beings" and after a piano intro we're treated to a brief reprise of the first track. The album ends with some very cosmic synth sounds as the Light Beings depart from the realm.
This is definitely one of the best albums I've heard this year so far. It's another one of those that each time you play it you hear something new and exciting. I will admit that there is a bit of a homemade/amateur feel to the music and the artwork on the CD but not only is this nothing embarrassing, it's very welcome to see something of this caliber coming from a home studio.