Erik Norlander’s biography on his website starts by saying he is a progressive rock keyboardist, composer and producer from California that has written and produced over 30 albums since 1993 with his chanteuse spouse Lana Lane and his band Rocket Scientists. Is that enough to impress? I would think so if you have never heard of the artist or any of his work. Erik’s band consists of Freddy DeMarco (guitars), Mark Matthews (bass), Nick LePar (drums) and his lovely spouse Lana Lane (vocals).
I can you tell you he does back up that initial statement with a solid back log of recordings and most recently this 2CD/1 DVD collection Live In Gettysburg distributed by the folks at Gonzo Multimedia.
This is a beautiful set that gives you the option of popping the CDs in your stereo or iTunes or kicking back and watching the entire concert and listening in surround sound. I enjoyed both experiences completely. The thing about a guy like Norlander is that he does not stand out in the hall of legendary ivory ticklers such as a Wakeman, Emerson or Rudess. After listening to all of his music I think it may be time to look a little harder at this great musician and all of the tremendous contributions made to the development of keyboard advancements and the great progressive rock he has produced.
It takes a set like this for it all to sink in entirely. I found Norlander’s music moving, majestic and powerful. It makes you feel like you are getting ready to go into battle with King Arthur and his court at times or at the other end of the spectrum with the thought of the “Galactic Collective” term in mind, you have visions of deep space exploration or floating amongst the stars via the spacey notes emanating from his very large keyboard set. He has that monstrous wall of equipment similar to what Keith Emerson used when he was with ELP.
I find it difficult to single out any one track as being a stand out from the rest as the entire collection is outstanding. Visually there is not a lot going on with the DVD, it is just the band and Erik talking about the songs, the equipment and how the band came together. Things like that can be of interest to a listener. If you looking for a visual presentation you will not find it here, however if your only concern is what you are hearing then it takes no more than shutting your eyes and letting Erik and his band take you wherever you please. I also enjoyed the vocals of Lana Lane. She has very powerful set of pipes and a good stage presence.
By the time this entire experience was complete I found myself looking at all the releases Norlander and Lane have available. Everything is listed right on his website so it is worth exploring if you are interested.
Live In Gettysburg is a must have collection if you enjoy keyboard music and or progressive rock. Don’t miss out on this release.
Key Tracks: Secrets of Astrology, Trantor Station, Sky Full of Stars
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder MuzikReviews.com
July 31, 2012