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The Gak Omek - 2004 - "Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings"
TRACK LIST: 1. Return of the All-powerful Light Beings 15:06 2. Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization 6:13 3. Cydonia 10:44 4. Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities 10:45 5. Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control 6:54 6. Dance of the Nine Unknown Men 9:35 7. Departure of the All-powerful Light Beings 2:57 All tracks: by Burger. Produced by W. Dumont. Engineered by F. Krankenmutter. SOLO PILOT: Robert Burger - guitar; guitar synth; digital drums With: Dave Cashin - keyboards (1, 7) Glenn Robitaille - acoustic drums (1)
Prolusion. "Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings" is the second album by New Jersey's guitarist and composer Robert Burger working under the moniker of THE GAK OMEK project. The review of his first album is here.
Analysis. Although consisting predominantly of long tracks with different compositional and structural characteristics, the "Return" has rather much in common with its predecessor, "Alien Eye", especially by construction. Once again, the most diverse and interesting compositions are located in the beginning of the album. The 15-minute title track is especially gorgeous, showing Robert's great abilities to create works in the vein of Classical music, giving them different shapes and sound, and also his very efficient use of guitar synthesizer. The latter quality, though, Robert displays everywhere on the album, while here, he is joined by the skilled keyboardist Dave Cashin, whose contribution to the epic's sonic palette is also solid. This very palette looks like the piece was performed by a small chamber orchestra following the canons of Classical music and a Rock band supporting this direction, though by their special way and the means available. The parts featuring the drummer Glenn Robitaille have a full-fledged band sound, but, unfortunately, there aren't that many of such. As a matter of fact, the drumming alternates with a terribly sounding drum machine, which often 'joins' the play beside the point at all. Have you ever heard a pure Classical music accentuated by rhythms in general? And what if by those of a highly monotonous antediluvian drum machine? Welcome, there are plenty of such unnatural episodes on this album, much more than on "Alien Eye". The second piece: Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization does not need a detailed description. Although 'brass instruments' have been added, it's of the same stylistics as the title track and is nearly by all means on par with it. Though the presence of an awful drum machine throughout may reduce the perception of this wonderful music almost to nothing. Most of the remaining tracks are good, at least, but each of the following ones is a bit less impressive than its predecessor, which isn't a good tendency, to put it mildly. From a rather interesting symphonic Space Rock with elements of Space Metal on Cydonia, Robert turned to more traditional music forms on its follow-up and beyond. Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities represents an excessively joyous (at least to my taste) quasi Jazz-Fusion blended with an ordinary Latin Rock. The only track with the more or less properly programmed drums is Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control, which, though, is the worst composition here. More than merely derivative, this opus was just moulded upon those quirky guitar techniques that became the central hallmark of King Crimson's sound in the '80s and are now familiar to every Prog fellow. I hardly believed my ears, as I could not even imagine that Burger, who already had time to show himself as an originally thinking musician, would go this discreditable way. Later, the guitar lines were replaced with sounds of wind instruments and vibraphone, but the structure remained the same. Dance of the Nine Unknown Men has no tempo changes. The origin of the 'dancing men' doesn't seem to be completely unknown. They don't remind me of extraterrestrials, as the composition is more than merely materially minded. They're either from the Far Eastern or Indo-Chinese region of Asia, bringing some related music spices to the traditional ambient landscape. Only on the last track Robert managed to enliven the situation - by the return to the style of Return of the All-powerful Light Beings, though it's about their departure. Looking at the last sentence, I see I've got completely confused while describing this motley album.
Conclusion. Rather unexpectedly, The Gak Omek's second step turned out to be less convincing than the first. In my view, Robert has to refuse working with non-progressive forms, systematize his other stylistic preferences and put them in good order. Also, it is urgent to involve at least a drummer in the project, which would help to widely enlarge its audience. In any case, otherwise Robert's works will never get a complete shape, which would be pity. Back to the album: Those of you, dear readers, who fully accepted and liked "Alien Eye", will most likely be satisfied with this CD too.
VM: December 8, 2004
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