Tom Lacy "Welcome to the Future"
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Review by Krzysztof Radomski
I had a great need to give this album a listen after Hyps has presented excerpts as appetizers. Indeed, these sounded very promising with the "Travel With The Harmonizer" on lead. It took some time after I had a chance to listen to the album and... I am ambivalent about it. But let's stick to the order.
"Rescue The Galaxy (Terranova Mix)" starts with nice vocoder-singed intro and quickly turns into full-throttle spacesynth. Or is it really spacesynth? Lacy seems to grab a lot from trance music and the starting track is a very good image of what we will experience on our course through the album. Yes, there are a lot of trance elements in all tracks, but still I find all music here as spacesynth far more than trance. Lacy has a very good feel for melody, uses simple harmonies and implements a lot of space feeling in those tracks. First track leaves good impression on me, yet I sense something too repetitive here - it's a chord pattern. This tracks contains exactly one chord pattern that is repeated all over the track, only melody varies. Unfortunately this treatment is applied to few tracks on the album, what makes the whole thing too repetitive. That's a pity, because this could be a perfect album... Second track, "Welcome To The Future", as a title track indicates that it is supposed to be the highlight of the album. In my opinion it's not, but it's a decent track. Melodies are ok, no revolution about them. This tune introduces something we'll have to deal along whole album - a lead sound which is apparently beloved one of Tom Lacy. I admit - it sounds helluva spacey, kicks arse away into nebulae, but having it introduced in almost every track is a sin I cannot easily offer forgiveness for.
That was it - only two first tracks and I almost defined my all bad feeling about this album :) But here goes something that have an ability to save the dying star: "Travel With The Harmonizer". This track, heard as an excerpt on Hyps site, is simply incredible... It indeed cracks big time! The melodies introduced in this tune are almost perfect in their simplicity, offer a feeling of a space travel I haven't heard for a looong time. It's like riding with a manifold the speed of light through galaxies filled with stars, planets and stardust. Definitely the best track on the album, it defines it, it's its glory. Even my wife, who doesn't like electronic music at all, while listening to it when I was driving somewhere, asked me "oh, this one is only good, is it yours?". I should probably hate it, instead of loving it, hehe :)
Track four, "Cosmic Dreamer", according to the title slows the travel down. Very nice track, keeps the level of the whole album. Very spacy, dreamy and... short as for a downtempo track. Anyway, next tracks is back on course of space ride. "Space Highway" is again a decent tune, nothing special about it, nothing bad either. "Escape To Mars" needs some time to warm up, but after it does I sense a great harmony about the main melody I love. Simplicity at its best. Probably the second highlight on the album, made by single melody motive. Impressive.
"Let The Love Keep Shining (Chillout Vocal Mix)", starting the second half of the album, is again a downtempo track. Strange approach, not sure if it works to well - mixing downtempo tracks with uptempo pieces. It probably works only on concept albums, yet this album is not one of them. To me it sounds like the track order is rather random. It's not that important, to be honest, yet it's nice if artists takes care of a proper order of tracks - it may have an influence on listener's reception and defines quality. "Let the love..." isn't very interesting, again a decent track - those vocal samples are in my opinion out of place, don't cover with main melody too well. Anyway, there goes another track, "Planetviews (Robonautic Remix)". No kickass here, just another decent track, which could be gone and nobody wouldn't have noticed. "Pulsation" start with exactly the same sine-lead pulsing motive previous track has introduced, perhaps it's some sort of preset, which in my opinion shouldn't have been used in neighboring tracks. Forgetting this small issue, "Pulsation" sounds much more interesting than its predecessor. At least something happens here and I really like the melody motive starting at 3:17. Nice track.
Vocoder blurred singing introduces "Sonicwaves (Alien Remix)", one of the tracks closest to classical spacesynth music. nice melodies, nothing outstanding - good track with no failing elements. The album is outro'ed with "Echoes From Andromeda" downtempo track. I like unusual drum sequence of it - heavy and dark, fits nicely to the outro feel of the tune.
Tom Lacy have made some achievement on small spacesynth scene with this album. I admit it's one of the most interesting album of last years. he has his own style which definitely differentiates him from other artists. I really love the "space ride" feeling in spacesynth music and this album introduces it. But there are many ways to obtain it, while this album recycles only one, defined ultimately with "Travel With The Harmonizer". Actually if this album has contained only "Travel..." and two, three other tracks, there wasn't be a big difference. The fault of the album that it is way too homogeneous - tracks are very similar to each other: they recycle couple of lead sounds, they recycle chord patterns all over, they recycle the same atmosphere. Still I consider "Welcome To The Future" a good, successful album. Perhaps if Tom Lacy was more into diversification of tracks, he would be close to an ultimate album that would shake the scene.
My rating is 3.5/5, rounded up to 4/5.