Space Roots – The Bob Lazar Story
Since the release of Matt’s last EP The Silence Of Perez de Cuellar back in 2007. I think many would of thought that Matt had given up on making any more great music especially has his 2nd album and 3rd release of The Bob Lazar Story did not appear until 5 years later in 2012.
The reason for the big gap and delay of this release was due to personal problems that arose during the making of what was to become Space Roots. Matt had been working on the album and had around 90% of it completed when all of a sudden he and his family had to up sticks and move back England.
His computer never survived the trip, though he did manage to rescue the both hard drives that the material was stored on. When he eventually returned to New Zealand he built a new computer and had quite a painstaking task of piecing back together the material he had from the 2 hard drives.
Matt told me it was due to all of this that the production suffered in parts and it was quite patchy. He was also working with 3 different drummers at the time and it was the first time he got together with the drummer Chris Jago who eventually became his number one choice of drummers to feature on his more previous releases that came after this.
He also felt that he should of really made a couple of EP’s out of the material rather than put it out as an album. I personally think his observation of doing that would of worked out better, because I do feel it does suffer a bit in relation to the rest of The Bob Lazar Story releases, and you can find out more about it in my review here.
All music composed by Matt Deacon.
Matt Deacon – Guitars – Gynth & Other Stuff.
Mike Fudakowski – Bass.
Kevin Roberts – Drums (On tracks 1, 5, 7, 12).
Chris Jago – Drums (On tracks 9, 10, 14)
Unknown Drummer – (On Track 2, 3, 16, 18)
The Album Review…
The album Space Roots by The Bob Lazar Story was released on the 16th of May 2012. It’s an album that contains 19 tracks and comes with a total playing time of 38 minutes 51 seconds. It’s the longest album out of the 3 that have been released to date so far. It’s also the first release that features little snippets in between some of the tracks. The snippet feature was something that went on to continue with the rest of The Bob Lazar releases from here on.
Personally I feel that even though the snippet idea Matt introduced from this point onwards is not so bad with the 3 releases that followed it, simply because they only have a couple of them on them releases. On this particular album Space Roots it tends to be overrun with them, and I would also say that both the albums (Sic) and EP The Silence Of Perez de Cuellar that came before worked better for having none at all.
You may think your getting 19 tracks here, but in reality 9 of them are only snippets and I could quite easily of thrown 7 of those away, and the only 2 snippets that I would of kept is the one placed at track 11 entitled “Late Night Guitar” which to be honest is more of a track than a snippet as it’s a lovely little guitar ditty. And the final little ditty entitled “Siren” which is the 19th track and rounds off the album.
To be honest even in some of the little snippets there is some great guitar work on a couple of them, but in general most of them are very much what I would call “Midified”. Some people may like the sound of General Midi some may even like the sound of even 8 bit sounds that was used commonly in old games. I just think the whole thing is cheap and nasty.
Being a keyboard player myself and knowing what decent keyboards sound like is very much the factor why I detest these cheap and nasty sounds. But not all the sounds he uses are cheap and nasty, and I do understand why Matt chooses to use these sounds, and he is very much creating music to fit into cartoon animation in a way.
Though his music is very complex it still very much contains the dramatics that can be put into cartoon animation. But it also strikes me and speaks to me like very well structured music that one would find in the world of progressive rock and jazz fusion.
His music is way too sophisticated for even me to be able to play the keyboards too. But I am far from likes of George Duke and Herbie Hancock who are the type of skilled players you would very much need to play to this stuff. I am very much an amateur in relation to those players and Matt would need to find a very skilled keyboard player to replace some of the more complex keyboard parts he has programmed that’s for sure.
As I have said in the past regarding the artwork Matt chooses for this project of his is that it’s simple, no thrills and perhaps does not really do the music on his albums any real justice. Well if you look at his music more seriously in the way I see it myself.
But Matt has perhaps more of a funny side to his sense of humour and is a big kid at heart. I think we all can be as well in many respects. It also must be the fact that his particular music is done in a way to suit animation which is why he chooses this type of artwork in the first place.
Though I have to confess myself (and please forgive me Matt) that the artwork he chose for Space Roots I really think is the worst album cover he’s come up with out of them all. It’s that bad it’s wins my all time worst album cover award :)))). It may be down to the choice of colour he used on it too :))))))).
Back To The Album Review…
There is no doubt the album Space Roots does tend to suffer a bit, and has a complete piece of work it’s not up to the standards of both the album (Sic) and the EP The Silence Of Perez de Cuellar. Though not all is lost here because it does have some really good material on it as well.
It is however my least favourite of The Bob Lazar Story albums, and for this review I am merely going to present you with the highlights of its good points and maybe some not so good points, rather than take you through every track.
The first thing I can tell you is that the album does kick off very well with it’s opening track entitled “It’s Thirteen“. It’s one of those pieces that weaves it’s way along in a menacing sort of way and goes through fine time signature changes and progression. It also contains some very well worked out melody lines between the keyboards and guitars from Matt, and Mike’s bass follows all the riffs and changes like glue.
The interplay between all 3 of them work very well on this track and although I have seen Kevin Roberts play live with both Mike & Matt on a couple of YouTube videos. This is his the first album of The Bob Lazar Story that he makes an appearance on. His drums certainly impress me a lot more on this studio track too, and he has done a bang on job here. Its a very strong contender for the best track on the album.
The longest track on the album “Two Vowels Contemplate The End Of The World” happens to be my favourite track on the album. It’s a track that has plenty of diversity with its changes and build. It also has a great bit of drama about it, and fits in very well with the space vibe with the use of the whistling saw wave sound used in it.
“Instant Jedi” is a great little rocking number and perhaps more to the style of some of the great tracks that were on the debut album (Sic). Another couple of great tracks are “Mr Weiner Pants” and “Alive In The Mullet Zone“. Both have a really great groove and feel to them and there maybe even a bit of Zappa influence not just in the music, but also the titles here too.
Both of the other tracks with zany titles “Henry Kissinger Must Diet” and “I Haven’t Touched Your Dog, Mate” have a great chill factor pace about them but still contain the power to beef them up a bit. The first of the two here has more of jazz vibe about it. Both are really great tracks and are very well placed on the album to bring the tempo down a notch.
Another very strong contender for the top spot on the album is the 14th track on the album entitled “Rawk II“. This one weaves a bit of magic along the way with its changes and progression. Oddly enough this album does also contain “Rawk” which is a 16 second snippet. The strange thing here is that Matt has a rule will quite often put a track on an album that has a part 2 only, and your left wondering where part 1 got too :)))))).
Speaking along the same lines “Glass Eyed II” is a typical example of a track that has a part 2 and no part 1. This is another great track on the album and along with the two very short tracks I mentioned earlier “Late Night Guitar” and “Sirens” these 11 tracks for me personally are the strength and good points of the album.
The not so good points are the rest of the snippets and the 2nd longest track on the album entitled “Deadbiking Trilogy” and to be fair this 4 minute and 49 second track is purely magic on the last 1 minute and 49 seconds of it.
For me personally where I think it goes wrong is within the way the first 3 minutes of the piece is structured. Bearing in mind this is a trilogy and that final part of it, is the magical side of it all. It’s first two parts do not really offer enough variation to really distinguish any real difference in the music here. Basically the programmed midified keyboards are the very reason why too.
In a way listening to it all the way it’s been structured with the keyboard section, is like some sort of merry go round ride. Then from the moment Chris Jago’s drums come into play it totally kicks ass for the last section with all the real instrumentation. The last 1 minute and 49 seconds are pure bliss and completely blow away the 3 minutes that came before it. Had the piece of been constructed around the final part of the trilogy in the first place this would of perhaps been the best track on the album.
Another strange thing is that Matt has always featured a track on all 6 of his album and EP releases about his “Foodstool” and yes there is also one on this album. Only it’s a 24 second snippet he perhaps gave some sort of German sounding title to it by calling it “FuhdStewl“. Unfortunately in relation to the other 5 pieces he has done about his “Foodstool” this one does not tick any real boxes at all I am afraid.
For me personally the album Space Roots does contain some great material on it, but it’s not really a solid album that works like the other 5 releases to date we have of The Bob Lazar Story. The snippets do not work that well simply because it’s overrun with them. It is a bit hampered by the production and how it’s been put together.
Never the less it still contains some well good strong tracks on it, and if like myself your addicted to the music of The Bob Lazar Story this album still has something going for it and is far from really being that bad at all.
On a final note and to conclude my review of Space Roots by The Bob Lazar Story. I would say that it’s still worthy of getting even though it does not measure up and work like Matt’s other releases do to some extent. There is still some really great tracks on the album that you are getting here for its low price point, and on that score you cannot really go wrong.
You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of The Silence of Perez de Cuellar here : https://theboblazarstory.bandcamp.com/album/space-roots
The track listing of the album is as follows:
Lee’s EP Rating Score. 6/10.