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Erik Norlander - Music Machine album cover
    
DISC ONE:
1. Prologue: Project Blue Prince   [3:38]
2. Music Machine  [6:39]
3. Turn Me On  [5:49]
4. Heavy Metal Symphony   [6:31]
5. Tour of the Sprawl   [8:40]
6. Andromeda   [6:02]
7. Letter from Space   [3:16]
8. Lost Highway   [5:12]
9. Soma Holiday   [3:04]
10. Return of the Neurosaur    [1:39]
11. Project Blue Prince Reprise    [1:12]

DISC TWO:
1. Fanfare and Interlude   [3:04]
2. Beware the Vampires   [5:18]
3. The Fire of Change   [7:53]
4. The Fall of the Idol   [5:43]
5. Metamorphosis    [3:14]
6. One of the Machines [  5:17]
7. Fallen   [5:13]
8. Johnny America   [6:35]
9. Music Machine Reprise   [1:53]
10. Epilogue: Sky Full of Stars   [10:14]

   


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Other titles by Erik Norlander:

The Galactic Collective
(2010)
Hommage Symphonique (2006)
Live in St. Petersburg (2006)
Seas of Orion (2004)
Stars Rain Down (2004)
Into the Sunset (2000)
Threshold (1997)

related:

Rocket Scientists -
Looking Backward (2007)
Revolution Road (2006)
 





Erik Norlander - Music Machine 2003 promo photo

ERIK NORLANDER TURNS ON THE MUSIC MACHINE
Modern prog rock maestro announces new grand double CD concept album

(Los Angeles, 5 May 2003) Keyboard virtuoso and producer extraordinaire Erik Norlander proudly announces the release of his brand new rock opera, Music Machine, a double CD concept album about the dramatic rise and fall of a genetically engineered rock star. With a full compliment of world-class musicians including Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio), Gregg Bissonette (ELO, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, etc.), Virgil Donati (Steve Vai, Planet X, Ring of Fire), Mark Boals (Yngwie, Ring of Fire), Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder, Whitesnake), Kelly Keeling (MSG, Blue Murder, Heaven and Earth) and many others, Erik's Music Machine project is epic both in scope and sound.

Erik Norlander has created some of the most enchanting rock music in recent years appearing on over 25 albums since 1993 with his diva spouse Lana Lane, his band Rocket Scientists, his own solo albums and guest appearances on CDs by Mark Boals, Ayreon, Star One, Neil Citron and many others. Erik's evocative synthesizer technique is reminiscent of the legendary Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Jon Lord while still very unique and forward &endash; moving in its own right. Erik takes many of the classic riffs and phrases of his hero masters and reinvents them with highly emotional pitch bending, vibrato and authoritative phrasing. This technique combines brilliantly with Erik's mastery of sound and production. Erik has personally led sound design efforts on several major brand synthesizers, and his knowledge of synthesis and audio engineering are second to none. Erik's perpetual live use of vintage instruments such as Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer give his concerts a depth and authenticity of sound seldom seen in modern stage productions.

Prior to his Music Machine rock opera, Erik also recently completed a massive project as the executive producer for the the Line 6 GuitarPort, an interactive computer product, where he recorded over 200 new versions of classic rock and blues tracks (from Led Zeppelin to Elvis) working with legendary artists such as Jason Bonham, Simon Phillips, Vinny and Carmine Appice, Leland Sklar, Robben Ford, Double Trouble and scores of others.

Erik Norlander was born in 1967 in Hollywood, California. He grew up in Los Angeles studying both jazz and classical music on several instruments from a young age through his years at the university where he also graduated with a degree in English Literature. Erik lists his keyboard influences as Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Mike Pinder, Geoff Downes, and even Geddy Lee! Erik lists his production influences as Alan Parsons, Jeff Lynne and Bob Ezrin. His favorite bands are Yes, ELP, ELO, King Crimson, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Blue Öyster Cult. While clearly a prog rocker, Erik is surprisingly quite adamant that he prefers melody over flashy playing and strong songwriting over artsy meandering.

Erik Norlander's previous solo albums are Threshold (1997), and instrumental progressive effort with a decidedly electronically bent and Intro the Sunset (2000), a prog metal vocal album with a more traditional rock band sound. The Music Machine rock opera will be released worldwide in late May, 2003. Following the release, Erik and wife Lana Lane will be touring Europe in June, 2003 supporting his Music Machine album as well as Lana's recent Covers Collection title. New recordings and reissue projects will continue following the tour!


Erik Norlander - Seas of Orion promo photo



Erik Norlander - Music Machine contributing musicians:

vocalists:

Kelly Keeling
Mark Boals
Scott Kail
Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser

instrumentalists:

Peer Verschuren - guitar
Neil Citron - guitar
Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - guitar
Vinny Appice - drums
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Virgil Donati - drums
Tony Franklin - fretless bass
Don Schiff - NS/Stick

Erik Norlander - Music Machine 2003 promo photo




NOTES FROM THE PRODUCER'S DESK
From the 2003 CD Erik Norlander - Music Machine

This "Music Machine" project was a tremendous undertaking. Surely it is the most far-reaching and adventurous recording project of which I have been a part. With 13 musicians and 21 songs -- all tied together by a central concept -- "Music Machine" is indisputably epic in scope. So why take on such a huge and unwieldy project? On my 35th birthday, I found myself looking at the over fifteen albums I had produced and recorded for Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists and my previous solo efforts, and I had to ask the very difficult question, "so what's next?".

"Music Machine" is a concept that I began developing in the Spring of 2000 immediately after the completion of my previous solo album, "Into the Sunset". It began really as two projects: one, a progressive metal album similar to "Into the Sunset" in style, and two, a more electronic-oriented album similar to my first release, "Threshold". The "Into the Sunset" album received a lot of praise and support, particularly in Europe, but still many fans of more "traditional progressive music" (is that an oxymoron?) lamented the metal influence that often dominated that album. Many wrote to me asking for another "Threshold". Many more made their case in person when I would play live concerts. And since to this day I keep at least one song from "Threshold" in my live set (whether it is solo, with Lana Lane or with Rocket Scientists), I could not turn a deaf ear to these requests. But after the success of "Into the Sunset" (which was commercially quite superior to "Threshold", as you would imagine), it was impossible to abandon that more heavy style. Nor was abandoning that style something I wanted to do from an artistic viewpoint.

Hence, a melding occurred, and I believe the resulting alloy is not a degraded clad but rather a new precious ore. In addition to its central story concept, "Music Machine" delivers a melange of musical styles from ambient electronic soundscapes to "classic" progressive rock landscapes to modern fusion forays to prog metal anthems. There are even elements of Texas blues and 70s English pop. Can you imagine such a puree of musical recipes? It seems quite a concoction when described on paper, but when heard in recorded form, I hope it is indeed the delicacy for the palette that I attempted to prepare.

So to reiterate the question, why take on such an epic project, the answer is simple: If not now, when? If not now, maybe never. As an artist, the worst thing one can do is become complacent and predictable. How many of our favorite groups and solo musicians have suffered that fate? For the moment, I hope to have escaped that bitter end. As for the future, I shall endeavor to remain nimble!

Erik Norlander
Los Angeles, California, 14 April 2003

 



LINER NOTES FROM RICK WAKEMAN

From the 2003 CD booklet:
Erik Norlander - Music Machine:


AN ALTERNATE VIEW

In the current music scene of the early 21st century, there is a genuine lack of true honesty from composers and performers alike as though we are all influenced by what goes on around us. I truly believe that at the end of the day, composers should stand and fall by their own decisions and their own beliefs in how their music should be performed and how it should sound.

Thankfully Erik Norlander does not come into this category and has always been his own man. I have been very familiar with his work for many years now, and he has an individuality that is very refreshing and helps his work to stand out in the world of progressive rock music.

I am a great fan of concept albums, and I have always believed that a true prog rock album has to have a concept in order to achieve it's own fulfillment. It was therefore a pleasure to be allowed to preview this quite remarkable 2 CD set and to note from the outset that there was a great story line to follow and musical themes to match.

On the subject of themes, Erik has filled the CDs with strong thematic elements and has managed to achieve a balance that some people might consider to be impossible, by using a multitude of different musicians on the various tracks, but has managed to keep overall continuity mainly through the great keyboard playing acting as a catalyst which bonds the whole suite together.

In true prog rock style, this is not music to be listened to once and then neatly placed in the CD rack somewhere. It will take numerous listenings in order to absorb all the intricacies and nuances that appear throughout. This is perhaps for me one of the joys of this music. I love to think that every time I play the album I know I will be able to catch something that somehow slipped by my ears on the previous listening. There is pretty much everything here as regards musical style from hard rock to gentle, almost new age nuances.

It takes a brave man these days to stick by his musical beliefs. Erik has somehow always managed to achieve this and long may he continue to do so. It's nice to know that there are still talented musicians and composers willing to stand by their musical beliefs. As this 2 CD set is so musically absorbing, perhaps the only problem I can see for Erik is ... where on earth does he go from here!!!

Rick Wakeman
24 April 2003

Erik Norlander - Music Machine 2003 promo photoErik Norlander - Music Machine 2003 promo photo




CONCEPT OVERVIEW: THE STORY OF JOHNNY AMERICA

From the 2003 CD booklet: Erik Norlander - Music Machine:

This is the story of Johnny America ...

In the early 21st Century, a certain music megaconglomerate based just outside of Hollywood found themselves in need of a boost. Their already falling sales had taken a merciless drubbing from the assembly line produced silicon wonder marvels that dominated the airwaves and satellite channels, and the only visible option was for them to create their own superstar to put into the foray.

As fate would have it, an eager young executive at the aforementioned megaconglomerate was surreptitiously contacted by a shadow group of hackers and scientists who had holed up in an remote laboratory on the far shore of a desolate lake in rural Montana. The shadow group proposed their plan to genetically engineer and and then behaviorally condition the ultimate industry phenomenon. The price was high, the cost even greater, but the benefits ... the benefits! Surely the return would prove to be beyond compare.

This superstar would have the perfect upbringing -- hard enough to give him street sensibility but still just sheltered enough to allow for reflection, imagination and flights of fancy. Then at the precise, predetermined moment -- just a few days north of his 18th birthday -- the subject would be thrust into ultrastardom on a whirlwind fast track never before seen live or on tape.

Multiple media productions would be commenced -- many in parallel -- and then released over time wave after wave. Certain key elements would be held back and tiny flaws built in to allow for reissues within a short amount a time. Success was all but guaranteed, but to be absolutely certain, the shadow group and their megaconglomerate co-conspirators would define and program a finite lifespan for this manufactured ultrastar. Everyone knows that nothing sells records more than the death of an artist. But such elaborate schemes seldom go to plan.

So begins our saga. This is the story of Johnny America ...




Erik Norlander - Music Machine track list with musician credits:

DISC ONE
---------------------

1. Prologue: Project Blue Prince [3:38]

Virgil Donati - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

2. Music Machine [6:39]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

3. Turn Me On [5:49]

Scott Kail - vocals
Robert Soeterboek - harmonies
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

4. Heavy Metal Symphony [6:31]

Scott Kail - vocals
Robert Soeterboek - harmonies
Vinny Appice - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

5. Tour of the Sprawl [8:40]

Robert Soeterboek - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Don Schiff - NS/Stick
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards, vocals

 

 

 


6. Andromeda [6:02]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Don Schiff - NS/Stick
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards, vocals

 

7. Letter from Space [3:16]

Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

8. Lost Highway [5:12]

Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - vocals, guitar
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

9. Soma Holiday [3:04]

Gregg Bissonette - drums
Don Schiff - NS/Stick
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

10. Return of the Neurosaur [1:39]

Virgil Donati - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Neil Citron - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

11. Project Blue Prince Reprise [1:12]

Virgil Donati - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

Disc One total running time . . . 51:47

DISC TWO
----------------------

1. Fanfare and Interlude [3:04]

Vinny Appice - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - rhythm gtr
Neil Citron - lead guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

2. Beware the Vampires [5:18]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Robert Soeterboek - harmonies
Vinny Appice - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

3. The Fire of Change [7:53]

Scott Kail - vocals in B Verse
Mark Boals - vocals in Chorus
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Don Schiff - NS/Stick solos
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards, vocals in A Verse

 

4. The Fall of the Idol [5:43]

Mark Boals - vocals
Virgil Donati - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

5. Metamorphosis [3:14]

Virgil Donati - drums
Erik Norlander - synthesizers

 

 


6. One of the Machines [5:17]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Vinny Appice - drums
Neil Citron - guitars
Erik Norlander - keyboards, synth bass

 

7. Fallen [5:13]

Scott Kail - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass, acoustic guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

8. Johnny America [6:35]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Neil Citron - lead guitar
Peer Verschuren - rhythm gtr
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

9. Music Machine Reprise [1:53]

Kelly Keeling - vocals
Gregg Bissonette - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Peer Verschuren - guitar
Erik Norlander - keyboards

 

10. Epilogue: Sky Full of Stars [10:14]

Gregg Bissonette - drums
Peer Verschuren - guitars
Don Schiff - NS/Stick slide solos
Erik Norlander - keyboards, synth bass

 

 

 

Disc Two total running time . . . 54:30


Erik Norlander - Music Machine release dates:

Japan: May 21, 2003 on the Avalon label
North America: June 6, 2003 on Think Tank Media, USA
Europe: June 6, 2003 on Transmission Records, Holland (out of print as of 2006)

All versions contain the identical track listing - there are no bonus tracks on any edition. Don't overpay for imports! :-)





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