World Of Tomorrow - "Water On Mars"
(W.O.O. Music 2000, SWEET-006)
From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)
I had described World Of Tomorrow's debut release, Soul Motive, as a jazzy but more acid jam rock version of W.O.O. Revelator. For Water On Mars the band have relegated the guitar to the background and added an additional trumpet, the result being an even more jazz oriented set whose relation to space is comparable to Sun Ra. In fact, several tracks almost sound like they're from a long lost Arkestra set. Having had the opportunity to speak with bassist/guitarist/vocalist Scott Prado a couple times I know he's a bit of a Ra maniac so this direction comes as no surprise to me.
Songs like "Procession Of The Glow Worms", "Helium", and "East River Solution" are the ones that most prompt the Sun Ra analogies. On "Procession Of The Glow Worms" wailing sax and trumpet lead the fray backed by steady, tribal drumming, brief acidic guitar licks, and searing electronics. But the horns and drums are the stars of the show having a genuine big band sound, the rest helping to set the music firmly in freakout mode. "Helium" is a total Ra track. Cool tribal percussion rhythms set the pace while that gorgeous moaning sax kicks out leads against an eerily spacey backdrop of horns and electronics (or maybe it's guitar?). But the combination of old time big band horns and the tripped out electronics works very well and brings the whole thing into space jazz heaven, some parts sounding a bit like Ra circa Concert For Comet Kahoutek. For "East River Solution" a drifting flute takes the lead instrument position, playing seductive lines backed by that drum pattern I'm really getting to like and a faint, but deep, bass that almost sounds like a standup.
Standout tracks that veer more deeply into psychedelic territory include "New Ark". With the band performing as a quartet, this is similar to the music on Soul Motive. The guitar, bass and drums give the music a jazzy psychedelic quality like Soft Machine or any number of Krautrock bands. The sax is the one horn present but the rest of the musicians soon take over, finishing the tune in raw jamming freakout mode. On "Sock Drawer" the horns again combine in big band mode, more like Coltrane than Ra, but work most effectively also as psychedelic instruments... wailing, jamming, accompanied by swirling electronics. Slow, simple, but tasty. "M Class" is a cool combo of freaky electronics that rise and fall like a siren and horns. "Catnip Slut" starts as a standard bluesy horn piece, but finishes as a harsh sonic freakout. And finally, "On The Right Bank Of Philadelphia" is a bit different, being a rock 'n roll jam with lots of psych elements and a bit of jazz.
Of the many impressive recordings orbiting the W.O.O nebula Water On Mars is probably my favorite to date. Space and psych fans who dig Sun Ra or jazz in general shouldn't hesitate to check this out. This is a lesson in how music can trip out with a lineup of horns just as well as an army of guitars.
For more information you can visit World Of Tomorrow at the W.O.O. web site where you'll also find info on other cool bands like W.O.O. Revelator and Friends Of Mescalito.
Contact via snail mail at W.O.O Direct; P.O. 249 Knickerbocker Station; New York City, NY 10002-0249.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz