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ERIK SCOTT Other Planets (2009)

Erik Scott

Erik Scott suitably titled 'Other Planets' is a well crafted, cleverly conceived and beautifully played album. And while much will be made of the fact that Erik is a bass player who uses bass as a frontline instrument, this album has more to do with the strength of his thematic musical developments and melodic qualities than it does his unquestioned playing ability.

The former Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie and long time bass player for Chicago alt.rockers Sonia Dada has recorded a very brave, adventurous album that fuses the cosmic, ethereal and gently voiced melodies that can best be described as ambient rock.

If there is a downside its simply that the celestial feel sometimes pushes the project into an MOR feel that by the time of the contemplative 'Foggy Bridges' is just tad too laid back.

But even on this track there's some lovely piano, sumptuous bass notes and imposing synths. And like the earlier Donnie & Sancho 'western' theme, there's a cinematic quality to his writing.

The frequent use of slowly evolving chords, and imposing melodies allied with a subtle mix of tonal colours from bass, pedal steel and synth often gives his pieces a wistful feel. This is especially so on the 'Peace on Saturn' another impressive ambient outing that unbelievable features only the duo pairing of Erik Scott (aka Eski) and the magnificent John Pirrucello.

And overall Eski is smart enough to hold back from too many ethereal sweeps adding some tension breaking voice collages on 'Bathing Maui' which ostensibly is about washing his dog. The opening voices acts as a clever foil for a fragmented funky piece that makes clever use of raindrop noises as a percussive tool.

The album is nicely rounded off with the humorously titled 'Aliens Made Me Do This', a concluding impressive foray into percussive funk, that like most of this excellent CD is applies subtly to top draw musical and compositional skills.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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