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Sally Tomato's Pidgin: Planets
Sally Tomato's Pidgin certainly soars to great heights artistically with their newest offering, Planets. A lengthy, mostly instrumental representation of our solar system, the record is filled with cosmic sounds, relaxed atmospheres, and a few intriguing moments. Unfortunately, it proves to be another case where listening in short sessions is the only way to truly enjoy it; taken as a whole, it's quite repetitive, cold, and uninvolving.
Planets, as you can probably guess, is inspired by British composer Gustav Holst's early 20th century piece, "The Planets." Known for her unique, grandiose endeavors, it's not surprising that Tomato would want to do a project like this. Guitarist Carlos Severe Marcelin and drummer Eric Flint, the instrumentalists from her stage show, once again help out, as do a host of guests. Together, they emanate "a blend of traditional rock grooves and counterpoint, rhythms and orchestrations noticeably more progressive [and abstract] than those you would find on your mainstream radio station." Although the album is full of smooth guitar work, encompassing rhythms, and charming voiceovers, there just doesn't seem to be too much substance here; nothing really grabs you in terms of arrangements or melodies. It's just not memorable at all.
Opener "Sol" is a hectic yet calming slice of spacey jamming, while "Mercury" features Genesis-esque keyboard timbres. With its freer vibe and tongue-in-cheek social commentary, "Earth" is a nice change of pace, and brief interludes like "Luna," "Pallas," and "Haumea" provide a chance to take a breath in between the interstellar, repetitive madness. There's also a nice bit of synthesized orchestration, such as on "Titan" and "Uranus." Album closer "Eris" is full of intense guitar work, thunderous percussion, futuristic sound effects, and robotic dialogue, making it a satisfyingly chaotic conclusion.
Truthfully, though, a lot of Planets sounds 95% the same, and overall, the music feels like an imitation of the earliest Porcupine Tree records sans the addictive intricacy and songwriting. Granted, Wilson's novice recordings were also heavily inspired (by the pioneers of the previous musical generation), but the resemblance is still palpable. Planets will certainly appeal to those who can get lost in the frenzy without noticing how familiar it feels; however, for most people, a few tracks will do fine, as endearing the entire collection is a bit maddening.
08 Main Belt
Added: June 28th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: More Information
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