Galactic Anthems by Glenn Adams Private production, 2002 (Galactic Anthems Music) http://www.galacticanthems.com This is one of those rare albums that I like immediately on first playing. Its sound is familiar vintage synthesizer spacemusic, but those swoops, chords, bleeps, and beats are in the hands of a clever, humorous, inventive professional. This appealing collection features a variety of styles. There’ s lounge-style pop (the wryly humorous track 2, “Orbital Bop”) and floating shimmering ambient on tracks 3, “Journey” and tracks 8, “Midnight Mist.” (His titles, though, could be a bit more inventive…). Then there’s deep space chilly dark ambient, rendered with metallic sounds and icy twinkles, such as in track 8, “Way Out There,” and track 10, “Black Nebula.” In track 6, “Tortured Souls,” Adams delivers his homage to death-metal and thrash rock, somewhat with electronic tongue in virtual cheek.
If that weren’t enough variety, Adams can also build captivating sound-pictures such as track 4, “Haunted Desert.” A touch of Arabian Nights, a bit of percussion, some strange atonal passages, and then back to the first part in a neat A-B-A structure make this piece my favorite on the album. Adams closes with yet another sound-picture, a nostalgic image of a warm beach, with sounds of waves and seabirds all done electronically. The electronic sounds (rather than “natural” samples”) give an impression of friendly alien-ness; this beach is not on planet Earth.
From the title “Galactic Anthems” one might expect yet another one of those heavy-handed Kitaro/Stearns/Klaus Schulze/Constance Demby megaproductions. But one of the best things about this album is that Adams does more with less. His “arrangements” are often clear and airy, and even when he gets into the “darker” drone and drift material, his sound is understated, with no track or section going on too long. The whole album is done with lightness and, in places, a kind of spacey charm. It’s the work of someone who knows his electronic heritage and has obviously had a lot of fun working with it.
Hannah M.G. Shapero 11/6/02
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