Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra are a Berlin behemoth of a band, featuring eighteen members working under leader Daniel Glatzel. New fourth album Vula is a thrilling ride through stacks of international rhythms, melodies and textures, the whole thing unfolding in great detail over the course of an hour. Vula is a double LP, released by Alien Transistor.
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An eighteen-piece band playing a cunning amalgamation of jazz and classical that veers between proggy abstractions, easy listening and your favourite Moody Blues record, the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra know how to explode their sound into big, bright colours. ‘Vula’ is their biggest work yet, focusing their often disparate sound into firm melodies and proper rhythms -- if they sound too tight, it’s only so they can make the heaviest impact in this weird, colourful world they’ve been painting without numbers all this time.
On this outing, bandleader Daniel Glatzel has created something wholly cinematic, a world of cosmic delights -- on “In Light of Turmoil”, his group sways between frenzied string rushes and horn flurries, creating a prog suite out of rivalries of timbre. The track halts, seized by the crisis of a climax that can go no further, and moves into a slower, more contemplative section before rising back up for musical theatre so ridiculous it could belong to five different show scenes at once. It’s this kind of hyper-active abandon Glatzel seems to live for: every member of his orchestra needs to sound lit up.
Still inventive enough to be composing on the fringes of reality, he offers moments like those on “qwetoipntv vjadfkvjieop”, a slice of free composition that sees horns smacked and violins struck into a formless, dynamically added and subtracted drone. The volume is lulling or piercing, with a nonsense guitar motif rolling through the track like rats on a train track. It’s proof of a band that can mould energy and drama out of pretty much any shape.
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- Vula by Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra
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