Space Project "Beyond Imagination"
Review by Lauri Turjansalo
Thomas Gillert aka Spaceraider entered the spacesynth universe in 2004 with his album 'Journey into Space'. It somewhat suffered from low production quality but made clear Thomas' compositional skills. Thomas has now teamed up with Marek Kolodynski, a DJ living in the USA, who is a co-producer of the album and is for example responsible for the lyrics on vocoder tracks. Space Project's first album 'Beyond Imagination' reminds strongly of Spaceraider 'Journey into Space' sound but takes a leap forward - both musically and technically.
What immediately strikes with the album is the flow it has. Rarely there are moments which feel pointless but instead there's pretty much always a feeling of a movement forward. This has been achieved with good variety of different synth sounds and clever chord changes. And what really makes me pleased is that the melodies - which are the core of this music - are good. Maybe not exceptionally good (if I want to be picky) but really well done throughout the CD. This fact alone makes Beyond Imagination a worthy album to have. Whereas Spaceraider's solo album sounded somewhat repetitive, Beyond Imagination has a lot more variety to offer.
Beyond Imagination is classic space sound which sits somewhere between Laserdance and Anders Lundqvist. A lot of italo production tricks are present like echoing Linn claps, orchestra hits and basslines. They have even covered a classic italo track Keep on Music and well succeeded in that too. However, many of the melodies are sophisticated breaking out of simplistic italo arrangements - and that's where Space Project reminds of Anders Lundqvist. Influences are obvious especially on Starfighter, clearly one of the highlights of the album.
But narrowing Space Project's sound to two synth acts is not the whole truth and not really fair either. It has a bit darker twist and most tracks are based on minor chords – such as Dance in Time which has a wonderful mysterious feel to it, and the majestic otherwordly title track. Cover art with the grey humanoid actually represents the music very well. Present is also a vocal version of Starfighter – something some listeners may find alienating. But don't worry because the singer's voice sounds really nice, although mixed with heavy 80s style reverb.
It's not easy to point out shortcomings. Something I'm personally starting to get a bit tired of is the above mentioned echoing Linn claps. It fits the style but it would be interesting to hear more different kinds of percussive decisions used. Although the sounds are generally good and varied they lean a bit too much into traditions. Space Project would really be one of the brightest stars ever in this genre with a slightly more brave palette of sounds. Mostly tracks are good excluding a few weaker ones. I would've preferred a normal version of Legend of the Past instead of a live remix.
Alpha Centauri really hits the spot with this album and Beyond Imagination is clearly one of the best cd's in their catalogue, if not the best. At the end, there are not currently many artists with as confident composing skills. It sounds good, it feels good. It makes me want to listen it again.