The Invisible Band! - "Interplanetary Vibe" (Ethereal Music 2000/1, EM CD-025)
The Invisible Band! - "Galactic Citizen" (Ethereal Music 2002, EM CD-047)
From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
This is the first of a double review so I will offer a bit of background information in this review, as not to repeat myself in the next. The name Invisible Band may sound familiar to some ears and to others it may mean nothing. Alazarin Mobius is the fella behind that name and he could be termed as a veteran to the space scene in England. These creations stem back to the early 80’s where he could be seen busking on the streets of Camden in London, selling cassette releases of his work. I have acquired a copy of Sunburst Earthrise from a friend who lived in London around that time/ Then Alazarin, or Rory, as he was known, used to perform very similar stuff to his recordings. He could be termed as a one-man band, but it would definitely not be what you would expect.
The music that he creates on Interplanetary Vibe has similar outlooks to Steve Hillage’s And Not Or phase. It is guitar/sequence driven with drum machine patterns in some compositions, others having classical feels to them. The sound conjures an Ozric Tentacles guitar style mixed with what I could term computer game music. A sort of hectic blend of strangeness and Doctor Who vibes. The track ‘Muzik 99 - A Giant among Men’ has this computer game sound and I image myself running through a forbidden planet with my ray gun, zapping all whom cross my path. It has a manic touch to it, but it moves away from that with track two, ‘U Stole My Face’. This track is more of a song but it has that And Not Or drum machine slant. Again 80’s computer game music springs to mind, but Steve Hillage can definitely be heard. The guitar work shows talent and the sound says spacerock, the whole vibe being spacey and having elements of certain eras of Tangerine Dream on ‘Muzic - 102 (Orchestral) as well as other electronic bands. Tomita for instance does similar stuff and so does Terry Riley. The Invisible Band has taken it forward in his own style.
Interplanetary Vibe lasts over seventy minutes so it is jam packed with interesting stuff. Four of the tracks are close to around fifteen minutes in length so there is plenty of room for wild improvisation. The whole album has exactly what the title states. Maybe that is where I get visions of Doctor Who and computer games. The sound quality may not be the best, but that is not at question. The simple fact is that it is fantastic stuff in parts, some of it reminding me of Wooden Baby. The whole sound has elements of 4-track recording and it offers very space induced stuff. Alazarin Mobius can also pull off similar stuff live. Guitar, keyboards, sequencers, drum machines are all part of his trade, and he plays them all very efficiently. The Invisible Band is a spacey one-man band of the highest order.
Galactic Citizen lasts around sixty minutes. It is a six track album starting with ‘Muzik 103’ and moving numerically through to ‘Muzik 108’. The first track, ‘Muzik 103’, is an excellent journey through that Steve Hillage sequencer styled stuff. The guitar soloing is manic and it cruises speedily over paths laden with ample space. It is another fifteen-minute epic that sticks to its course and rarely strays from it. ‘Muzik 104’ again has that Tomita/Terry Riley style. Very orchestral, and again fifteen minutes so its another head buster.
The rest follow in regimental fashion, each track begining and finishing one paced, and each track having an enticing journey to offer you. Some of you would find it all hard listening because it is very much in your face and may seem relentless as it nudges the brain, chancing a good rampage in a convertible tachyon warp field machine. The music is definitely spacey and probably is the closest that I have come to spacerock vibes with this months selection of CD’s. It is good to see that it is a fellow citizen of dear auld England that has taken me on that journey.
The Invisible Band has a wealth of experience behind him and you can tell this as soon as you hear his music. The guitar playing ranks up there with Hillage/Ed Ozric, and the music is very competently composed. It is thoughtfully constructed and will hold a worthy place inside Aural Innovations. There are those of you who would love this guy’s music. There are those who would not, but if you want spacey stuff, performed in that Hillage/Tomita/Tange space mould then The Invisible Band is worth looking into. There are also slight elements of Hawkwind on here as well so it is varied in its influences. Doctor Who’ish lead lines, rip roaring improvisation from guitar and keyboard. It makes interesting listening once accustomed to the style and sound, I cannot really say any more than that except I enjoyed travelling through the Muzik and I look forward to hearing more from Alazarin Mobius.
For more information you can visit http://www.etherealmusic.co.uk, or http://www.myspace.com/alazarinmobius.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Albert Pollard