Album: The Galactic Collective: Definitive Edition
Label: Think Tank
Review: Diego Camargo
Thoughts: Erik Norlander is a Progressive Rock keyboardist, composer and producer from California, the USA. He’s quite prolific in his area of work and has over 30 albums recorded since 1993. He was involved in many different projects e.g. with Lana Lane (who is also his wife), his band Rocket Scientists, his own solo albums and numerous guest appearances.
Erik is an old-fashioned keyboard man with a passion for the Moog Synths. He has also personally led sound design efforts on several major brand synthesizers.
In the year 2010 he decided to take the best instrumental material he had written so far for all the albums he had made and re-recorded them in a great style. Then the original The Galactic Collective (2010) was born, but only a preview of the whole work was released in CD-R format.
Erik was not that happy with that release and 2 years later, on August 6th, he decided to go full on that trip field again with The Galactic Collective: Definitive Edition (2012), a 2 CD/DVD box with all the material from the 2010 album but now with everything in video as well. He also released a live version called The Galactic Collective: Live In Gettysburg (2012).
Both releases came to life by Erik’s own company, the Think Tank Media, with distribution of Gonzo Multimidia. Each box contains deluxe, full-color 5x7" booklets with extensive liner notes written by those directly involved with the project and 2CD/DVD combo.
The Galactic Collective: Definitive Edition
Back in the year of 2009 Erik entered the Studio to re-record some of his favorite instrumental compositions. He joined forces with Mark Matthews (bass), Nick LePar (drums and percussion) and Freddy DeMarco (guitars) and in 2010 he released a CD-R of this work. In 2011/2012 he tried again, this time with video and guest members in some tracks like John Payne (guitars and vocals), Mitch Perry (guitar), Ron Redfield (guitar), Mark McCrite (acoustic guitars) and his wife Lana Lane (vocals).
The Galactic Collective: Definitive Edition (2012), the audio, is a very polished work. Well played and with a very good production.
Many good tracks are included in this Box. ‘Arrival/Neurossaur’, ‘Sky Full Of Stars’, ‘Trantor Station’, ‘The Dark Water’ (now transformed in one single epic track, more than 20 minutes long) are full of Erik’s trade mark, his synths. And great heavy guitar-driven riffs.
I cannot say the same about the video. On the DVD we have a kind of documentary, where Erik himself presents all the songs with details, technical or not, including lots of stories about the tracks.
If on the one hand it is very nice to see the band’s recordings, on the other hand the quality of the interviews is kinda amateurish, with Erik always looking to anyplace, except for the camera, which is very weird.
Album: The Galactic Collective: Live In Gettysburg
Label: Think Tank
Review: Diego Camargo
The Galactic Collective: Live In Gettysburg
In 2011 Erik took the base of musicians that recorded the original project and went on tour with them.
The show presented in the DVD and 2CD set was taken from the RoSFest concert that happened on May 21 and includes the complete studio album. So, if you have the Studio box, it is quite odd to have the live one as well. Unless you’re a hardcore fan.
On the stage Erik Norlander (keyboards), Freddy DeMarco (guitars), Mark Matthews (bass) and Nick LePar (drums) are joined by Lana Lane in some tracks.
Here the DVD is the most interesting part, not the CD. The band is sharp and very good. The one thing is that I’m not a fan of live recordings, so in my opinion the studio one is more interesting. But I do like a lot of live concerts on video.
In general, both releases are worthy, a lot. There are some great moments with great musicianship and will be just right for an audience that like Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Rick Wakeman but with a modern approach.
You just have to decide what’s your favorite format: Studio or Live.