ERIK NORLANDER GETS SURREAL
Veteran California artist announces new solo album of keyboard-heavy prog rock
Surreal is the new full-length visionary album from California keyboardist, Erik Norlander. After two recent highly-acclaimed releases with his Rocket Scientists project, Norlander now presents the follow-up to his 2009 solo epic, The Galactic Collective, released in several forms including a live DVD/CD set. Surreal continues in that spirit with traditional rock band instrumentation fronted by Norlander’s own timeless, signature keyboards. Surreal gives both a nod to the past and puts an eye on the future with lush analog soundscapes, real living human grooves and unforgettable melodic lead work that will keep the songs playing in the listener’s head long after the music stops.
Like The Galactic Collective, Surreal is mostly an instrumental affair with 5 tracks driven by keyboard and guitar melodies. But there is a sixth song, the title track, that features vocals by Norlander’s chanteuse spouse, Lana Lane. Norlander writes in the album liner notes, “If there is only going to be one vocal track on an album, it had better be great, right? The vocal range of ‘Surreal’ is rather wide, going from ballad-like warm lows to stadium-inspired powerful highs. And I think as Lana performs these vocal acrobatics in such an honest and skillful storyteller’s style, you don’t even realize the register shifts as they are happening.”
Surreal employs the same rhythm section of The Galactic Collective with Mark Matthews on bass and Nick LePar on drums. The two have toured with Norlander extensively in the 7 years since The Galactic Collective was released and have become an essential element of Norlander’s signature style. Another familiar face is percussionist, Greg Ellis, who played on 3 other Norlander solo albums including his 1997 debut, Threshold. “There’s actually a real thread of continuity with Greg,” says Norlander. “Since The Galactic Collective re-recorded existing compositions, Greg is really the percussionist on the last album of ‘new’ music released under my own name, Seas of Orion, 12 years ago back in 2004!”
Ellis also played on the epic 2014 Rocket Scientists instrumental track, “Traveler on the Supernatural Highways.” And to make the Rocket Scientists connection complete, Surreal also features Don Schiff on cello and NS/Stick and Mark McCrite on acoustic guitar. Surreal also highlights the guitar work of the always-in-demand Alastair Greene and Jeff Kollman, two of Los Angeles’ finest axemen and stellar musicians that Norlander has worked with on other projects. All three guitarists, Greene, Kollman and McCrite toured with Norlander’s band in recent years ahead of this album’s recording, and the well-defined interplay between guitar and keyboards is evidence of that finely built foundation.
released June 21, 2016
Erik Norlander - keyboards
Mark Matthews - bass
Nick LePar - drums
Greg Ellis - percussion
Alastair Greene - guitars on 1,2,3,4,6
Lana Lane - vocals on 5
Jeff Kollman - guitars on 5
Mark McCrite - acoustic guitar on 3
Don Schiff - cello, contrabass and
All songs written by Erik Norlander (c)2016 Waking Dream Music, BMI.
This album was recorded between August and December 2015.
Nick LePar’s drums and Mark Matthews’ bass guitars were recorded by
Dylan Roth at Mad Rabbit Media, Uniontown, Ohio, with special
thanks to Greg and Angie Wilkinson.
Keyboards, vocals and Alastair Greene guitars were recorded by Erik
at Think Tank Media, Placerville, California.
Greg Ellis, Jeff Kollman, Mark McCrite and Don Schiff tracks were
recorded at their home studios.
Mixed by Erik Norlander at Think Tank Media.
Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering in Los Angeles.
ERIK NORLANDER is a progressive rock keyboardist, composer, producer and active live performer based in Northern California.
In addition to his many solo albums, Erik works with vocalist Lana Lane (his wife), his band, Rocket Scientists, and The Bob Moog Foundation. Erik has worked extensively with ASIA Featuring John Payne, Last in Line, Big Noize (with Joe Lynn Turner) and many other artists....more
Inspired and lyrical, mellow prog. Love the rich instrumentation, the textures, the composition. Everything in this album, and in its companions, speaks of the band's curiosity for music and love for their art. No anger, no gloom here, only an open heart and a wise smile. This music does good with every note. Igor Mokin