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Planet X: Quantum

Planet X returns with Quantum, a gigantic leap forward for the Derek Sherinian-led prog-fusion outfit. Quantum proves the five years between the group's last offering, Moon Babies were kind to the group. As brilliant as Moon Babies was, it occasionally eschewed subtlety for the sake of shred, but here, Sherinian, drummer Virgil Donati and bass virtuoso Rufus Philpot (Jimmy Johnson also handles some duties) focus instead on delivering full-realized compositions where no note and no solo is out of place. A cliché to be sure, the individual playing is always at the service of the song.

What remains intact is the unit's ability to capture the hazy, late-night feel of a party that just gets started at 3 a.m., the reflection that solitude brings and the unbridled power evident when a master marches in step with his instrument. Witness the opening "Alien Hip-Hop," the Krimson-esque "The Thinking Stone," the beautiful and brilliant "Poland" and the gritty "Quantum Factor." Although Tony MacAlpine has gone the way of Gilby Clarke, there's still plenty of perfectly good guitar to be found throughout, courtesy of Brett Garsed and the unfathomably cool Allan Holdsworth (on two tracks, namely the ultra-cool "Desert Girl," which features one of the legendary guitarist's best solos to date).

This isn't progressive fusion like they used to make, it's progressive fusion as they'll make it in the future, as soon as the rest of Planet E catches up with the aliens making the music of Planet X.

Track Listing
1. Alien Hip-Hop
2. Desert Girl
3. Matrix Gate
4. The Thinking Stone
5. Space Foam
6. Poland
7. Snuff
8. Kingdom Of Dreams
9. Quantum Factor

Added: May 13th 2007
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: Planet X Website
Hits: 8290
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Planet X: Quantum
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-13 09:21:27
My Score:

It has been five years since Moon Babies came out, and it would be wise to say it's been worth the wait. Instrumental rock, metal and fusion project Planet X are back. Driven by keyboardist Derek Sherininan and drum god Virgil Donati, their new album sees them returning to the composition-based style of Planet X and Universe, more so than its predecessor, which relied more heavily on mindblowing instrumental prowess.

Without doubt, the biggest plus of Quantum is that Allan Holdsworth appears on two tracks. Unfortunately, because of scheduling commitments, he could not do the whole album, but fear not, for another amazing guitarist, Brett Garsed, has returned to the fold, filling the songs with amazing chops and his unique legato phrasings. As most will remember, it was Garsed who played on the very first Derek Sherinian album Planet X, which still ranks as most fans' favourites. Both Garsed and Holdsworth are known for their unmatched legato-style playing, backed by killer tone and amazing solos. The two Holdsworth pieces, "Desert Girl" and "The Thinking Stone", are wildly improvised. "Desert Girl" starts out with nice symphonic keyboards and a beautiful piano melody before it picks up pace thanks to Donati's funky playing. It then launches into a fantastic improvised passage, highlighting Holdsworth's talents. Surprisingly, the song is also quite heavy compared to stuff we've come to expect from Holdsworth's solo material, so it's a much welcome change. "The Thinking Stone" has also some cool tribal drum beats and the guitar playing is mindblowing.

The band tests heavier waters on "Matrix Gate", one of their most complex pieces on this disc, blending busy rhythms with groove-inflected drum and bass battery. Brett Garsed particularly comes to the fore on "Space Foam", punctuated by simmering synths and big bass. Considering his timing and sense of melody, it is a shame he is still yet to be discovered by the masses. Anything with Garsed rules, so be sure to check out his solo material as well. The atmospheric colouring of "Snuff" and the playful "Kingdom of Dreams" demonstrate how such busy and complex numbers can be turned into relatively easy listens thanks to Sherinian's keyboard acrobatics. On bass, both Jimmy Johnson and Rufus Philbot (Al Di Meola) do a great job. The bass is loud and central on pretty much every track, and complements the tunes perfectly. As for Donati, the drum solo on the final track is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Those kick drums are phenomenal.

Quantum is going to be one of the best instrumental discs of the year. Period.

Planet X: Quantum
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-12 06:17:10
My Score:

First of all, how cool is it that Derek Sherinian got Allan Holdsworth to play some guitar on the new Planet X CD?

OK, now that I got that out of the way, this is Planet X's fourth release, and Quantum is a good one, as the band, featuring Sherinian on various keyboards, monster drummer Virgil Donati, guitarist Brett Garsed (who REALLY fits in well with these guys after the departure of Tony MacAlpine) and bassist Rufus Philpot (Jimmy Johnson also lends some help on the album), decided to concentrate less on shredding and more on groove and melodies. Not that there's not some killer playing here-check out the smoking ensemble arrangements of "Alien Hip Hop", or Donati's rumbling rhythms flying about the mix while Garsed blisters through a jaw dropping Holdsworth-ian solo on "Matrix Gate". Oh yeah, Mr. Holdsworth is here as well on two tracks, lending his signature chord voicings and a white hot legato solo on the gorgeous "Desert Girl", and follows Garsed's wild solo with a stunning one of his own on the UK-ish prog rocker "The Thinking Stone".

There's plenty of other hot numbers, like the symphonic cruncher "Space Foam", the complex fusion of "Poland" (which sees Sherinian's synths and Garsed's guitar weaving some severely complex interplay), the mind blowing "Kingdom of Dreams", and the progressive metal epic "Quantum Factor". I've always said you can't go wrong with a Planet X album, and the guys have once again solidified my opinion. Garsed fits in like a glove here, and let's hope he sticks around for years to come. Planet X is raising the progressive fusion bar folks-check it out!

» Reader Comments:

Planet X: Quantum
Posted by Carlos Canales Vega on 2007-06-28 12:29:13
My Score:

I am no musician and i find this entertaining and awesome.All the songs have hooks and let's say choruses to them.The playing and production values are excellent.The music has great feel and it will transport you to another planet.

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