Alien Dream - "Dogon Dance" (Self-released CD-R)
From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)
This is the 2nd album by Australia's Michael Blackman and cohorts and it's one hell of a slab of organic ambient space-rock in the '80s Hawkwind tradition (as opposed to the freaked-out assaultive "blanga-blanga-blanga" attack-sound), featuring very fluid Lloyd-Langton/David Gilmour-styled wailing and lilting lead-guitar which Blackman masters with great aplombe. Throw in some solid drum-programming, EMS synth from Keith Kniveton (Hawkwind, Starfield) and "multi-moog" from Steve Eyre and you have a glorious melodic space-chowder.
The album opens with "Brain Scan", introduced with a heavy doom-drum, Renee Blackman's sexy spoken words, male space-calibrating vocals, while infused with lotsa layered space-synth in the modern British space-rock style, before a basic beat finally kicks in. "Alien Warp" is an incessant, almost-dancable, drive-jam space-stomp. "Distorted Realms" features a mid-paced beat and astonishing synths that pierce the sky like modern Hawkwind bird-chirps and ascendant Brockian space-waves circa '81. All in all, not too different from some of Quarkspace's instrumental excursions, actually. The title-track is another programmed mid-pace groovy cymbal/bass drive, with ecstatic whispered moans and wails from Renee. "Planet Chaos" gets a bit more freaked-out with Brock-style waka-waka-waka "Valium 10" rhythm-lead guitar and Lemmy-style "Time We Left" suffocating bass leads. "Starry Nights and Orbiting Dreams" is a funky beat that leads into some lullabye Lloyd-Langton-ish leads and starglazed organ-keys.
"Stardust" is a slow, grand, moving "Dust of Time"-like penultimate lead-melody. Skip one track over into its reprise "Moons and Stardust" - this is a good tune in-and-of itself, but perhaps the album should have ended with "Stardust", or have placed it mid-way though, as the variation in pace by now gets a bit redundant. But still, this is a great work, and deserves serious attention and label distribution.
For more information you can email Alien Dream at: michael_1968@OZEMAIL.COM.AU.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg