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gak omek, the: alien eye

Beware the One Man Band™! What horrors doth it bring? Synthesized bass; loathsome canned percussion; the most self-indulgent of concepts; perhaps even the dreaded Dearth Of Cohesive Ideas! Worry not. Fasten your cummerbund, gaze into the alien eye, and prepare to be transported to a metavalley so deep the ocean floor is merely a step in a creek. Guitarist and composer Robert Burger is to be held accountable for what transpires here, for it is he who coaxes all otherworldly textures with his trusty axes. Synth sounds abound, but hardly a keyboard is present, and there's no lag whatsoever. Yes, the beats are canned, but the sequencing is tastefully executed. Burger's guitar playing channels many a hero — be it Hackett, Froese, Montrose or Beck — and copies none. The synth parts and primary electric leads are deftly interwoven, the results overtly symphonic; think Howe's Turbulence meets Vangelis' Direct and you're getting warm.

"black holes colliding" is a meaty template for "sci-fi rock," while "here comes the aluminum man" does the same for horror/SF crossovers — think Cube. On the latter, the drum programming shifts from the hypnotic variety Tangerine Dream specialized in (before the group went south) to quasi-rock a la Mark Shreeve. The second half hour is no letdown: a long lost Djam Karet track, the opening line of "moonburn 3am" sounds so odd, one wonders if a microtonal exercise is being indulged. The most consistently upbeat track is "baby gotta visegrip" (love only for that title); while Burger emphasizes composition over chops, this is the most singularly "guitariffic" cut with a grandly melodious design. This would be an easy segue into Ronnie Montrose's Mutatis Mutandis.

Guest keyboardist Dave Cashin sits in on "robotomy" which manifests itself via percolating, dancing digital electrons. Burger's processed lead lends itself to the title, and Cashin's presence alerts us that all Burger really could use now is a flesh-and-blood drummer. If the gak omek is reborn as a proper trio on the next album, the scent of burning rubber will definitely grace the asphalt. "the squiggly parameter" juices up the FX to '11' and introduces a synthetic trumpet for a most extraterrestrial air. Well, the holder of the pseudonym has more than proved his credibility as a serious musician — next time, more players, more synths, and real drums, and we'll have a runaway hit!

Tracklist:

1. black holes colliding > 10:33
2. here comes the aluminum man > 9:02
3. tourniquette of roses > 9:24
4. moonburn 3am > 8:31
5. baby gotta visegrip > 6:54
6. dancing bologna > 6:15
7. robotomy > 4:34
8. the squiggly parameter > 5:24

Total time – 60:34

Added: September 7th 2004
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Score:
Related Link: the gak omek website
Hits: 3218
Language: english

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