Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings
'One of the Top 10 Prog CD Titles of 2004' -Floyd Bledsoe, Progressive Ears 'One of the Top 20 Prog CD Titles of 2004' - Elias Granillo, Sea of Tranquility 'One of the Top 20 Prog CD Titles of 2004' - Greg Cummins, Sea of Tranquility 'One of the Top 30 Prog CD Titles of 2004' - Sergio Vilar, Nucleus 'One of the Top Prog Albums of 2004' - Ken Solomon, Progressive Soundscapes Radio 'I think it's an incredibly gifted and remarkable disc. Another excellent CD by The Gak Omek.' -John Garaguso, Progressive Soundscapes Radio 'F**kin' Fantastic! Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings has my vote so far for the best prog album of the year.' - Greg zotzz Zandecki, Radio Gnome 'Just the last 6 minutes of 'Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings' are enough to buy this CD, these minutes are absolutely beautiful, here the beautiful meets the powerful, an inherent characteristic of a great progressive-rock song, what a majestic nice ending in that song, wow, that's true prog.' - Denis Taillefer, Proglands.com 'Amazing!!! A complete mindblower. A marvelous CD.' - Jenny T. Kayoa, music director, KEOL-FM 91.7 'The material is EXCELLENT!' -Sergio Vilar, Nucleus 'An enjoyable trip to unknown worlds in the company of a terrific guitarist.' - Dave Sissons, The Dutch Progressive Rock Page 'Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is a beautiful instrumental body of work. The Gak Omek is on it's way to becoming the future of progressive rock by meshing old and new ways together into a fresh sound that would appeal to new as well as older prog audiences.' - Ron Fuchs, ProgNaut.com 'This one came as a complete surprise to me. The last Gak Omek disc, entitled Alien Eye, was excellent and this one pushes the envelope even farther. The Gak Omek project is fronted by Robert Burger who is also the head of his own record label out of New Jersey called BlueCube Music. The label has released both of the Gak Omek CDs as well as one from another spacey artist named Brainstatik. As with lots of great music, the style here is very hard to pin down. At times I'd call it electronic music similar to Synergy but the guitar throws it all off and the music tends to veer into Djam Karet territory. Whatever I call it, it's still damn good stuff. The CD starts out very strong with the title track which features Glenn Robitaille on drums and Dave Cashin on additional keyboards. Right from the start it's obvious that this is going to be a really unique disc. Robert's guitar playing is quite majestic at times and his sense of counterpoint is just a joy to hear. At around the three and a half minute mark things get a bit strange, there's a weird slowed down voice part and the music suddenly shifts into a freaky lower gear. Things gradually pick up, new parts are added and there are a few organ solo spots. Very impressive album opener that doesn't drag at any point for it's entire 15 minutes. The second track 'Forbidden Technology Of The Lost Clown Civilization' is a weird little ditty that certainly lives up to the title. This is some crazy mutant circus music with a jazz twist and some really cool electronic percussion. This is followed by 'Cydonia' which starts out a bit slow but very huge with a nice sci-fi soundtrack type sound; having listened to this music several times now, I'm convinced Robert Burger could easily have a lucrative career working in the movie business. About halfway through, the tempo picks up and we get a nice speedy pace that is perfect for layered guitar leads and synth embellishments. The piece ends in an ambient style with a few minutes of beautiful synth and guitar drones. 'Apparitions Of Departed Human Personalities' is another interesting one and this time I'm hearing a sort of cross between Anthony Phillips and David Arkenstone to make up some alien new age tune. There are parts of this one that are really out there, like a segue from lush orchestral parts to demented island music from another planet. After the track fades out, the next one begins with some more great and very unusual synth sounds for just a short period. Even though it has one of the odder song titles on the album, 'Radio Hypnotic Intra-Cerebral Control' is probably the easiest song to describe since it has a style very similar to King Crimson. This one would fit in very neatly in the 'Larks'' song cycle. If it weren't for the fact that this song just totally kicks ass, I might even call it a rip off. Another peculiar vocal bit brings the song to a spectacular end. 'Dance Of The Nine Unknown Men' is an upbeat space rock piece with some more really captivating guitar playing. I swear he just plays his ass off throughout this CD but it seems to fit the music so well that it sounds almost effortless. There are also some really neat sitar sounds on this one too. This leads into the ending track on the album, 'Departure Of The All-Powerful Light Beings' and after a piano intro we're treated to a brief reprise of the first track. The album ends with some very cosmic synth sounds as the Light Beings depart from the realm. This is definitely one of the best albums I've heard this year so far. It's another one of those that each time you play it you hear something new and exciting. I will admit that there is a bit of a homemade/amateur feel to the music and the artwork on the CD but not only is this nothing embarrassing, it's very welcome to see something of this caliber coming from a home studio.' -Floyd Bledsoe, Progressive Ears 'Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is the the second album by The Gak Omek I have had the chance to listen to. The first one, Alien Eye featured some very good 'cerebral' instrumental progressive music. Considering that it was a first CD from an independent solo artist (Robert Burger), Alien Eye was an exceptional album. Well, with Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings, Mr. Burger has managed to raise the bar a little higher. You will again find on this CD some very well composed and performed instrumental progressive music. Robert Fripp and Steve Hackett can still be cited as references, but I notice two main differences between the first and the second CDs. Firstly, the tracks do not feature as many unexpected twists and turns as on the first album. They evolve in a more gradual manner even though, like on the first track (of epic porportion at more then 15 minutes), there are some distinct sections. Secondly, the music is more emotional. Taking again for example the first track, it ends in a very moving 'finale' that reminds me of The Flower Kings. Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is another great album by The Gak Omek and can be considered a step forward. I have to underline the contribution Glen Robitaille on drums and especially Dave Cashin on the keyboards (both on the title track) that add some interesting nuances to the music. Highly recommended.' -Marc Roy, ProGGnosis.com 9/27/04 The gak is bak! Wait, didn't guitarist and resident gakker Robert Burger issue alien eye just last week or so? That might be the case, but the allegiance he's struck with a motley group of extraterrestial wayfarers validates the understanding that he wants us to think outside the musical bun, and that he's got ideas enough to release albums on a monthly basis! Also returning is guest keyboardist Dave Cashin (on the first and last tracks) and drummer Glenn Robitaille adds his touch to the monster title track - all other percussion, as on the first album, is programmed (and very well). A splendid organ-ic solo lurks on here, too, so listen for it. 'return of the all-powerful light beings' opens with a monster of a title track, a symphonic triptych of the Vangelis-meets-Hillage mold. A regal-sounding overture, a soundtrack to an undiscovered continent populated by miniature beings, and a ride on a smooth photon glider encompass in musical terms what this elegant suite is all about - up there with many an epic track. 'cydonia' is a certifiable compact epic hinged on moderate guitar pyrotechnics that give way to a neo-canterbury spell sprinkled over with Synergystic spices. 'apparition of departed human personalities' is easily the most 'pastoral' sounding of the selections found here, with an organic feel bestowed by samples of reasonable quality. There's a quasi-Spanish section, with Burger playing a trumpet sample on guitar synth! Percolating electrons even assume faux-violin shapes that preface virtual orchestra - a decidedly Wendy Carlos tactic, if you ask me. Great fun, and accessible without dumbing down the formula. 'radio hypnotic intracerebral control' conveys a feel not unlike '80s (and some '90s) King Crimson. Those disjointed, staccato Stickish lines are usually referenced back to Levin, Gunn, and the like. 'dance of the nine unknown men' finds the gakmaestro again plying his monophonic legato melodies, sensuous and crystalline and bearing more than a vague resemblance to 'Bolero.' The second half includes 'singing' guitar a la Oldfield, and hi & lo sitarsonics. Having dodged (and dumped) the sophomore jinx, the gak omek has a great third run to look forward to. Electro-proghedz and instrumental aficionados need to get with the program and get the gak! - Elias Granillo, Sea of Tranquility 10/20/04 'Let me start with a confession: I have a limited knowledge of this genre. With that out of the way, I must add: I knows what I likes. And man, did I dig this CD! It's a joyously blistering journey into space, leaving behind the constraints and limitations of everything routine. More than that, composer-front man Robert Burger will push you into your own creative imagining as you ride along. Highly recommended to flush out the stale air inside your head, it's a colonic for the mind. Burger heads his own label, New Jersey-based BlueCube Music, and he performs mightily on guitar, synthesizer and digital drums. He's joined on two of the seven tracks by Dave Cashin on some scorching keyboards and on track one by Glenn Robitaille on drums. In other words, this guy is a music machine, and a wildly imaginative one at that. He creates an atmospheric wave of sound that ebbs and flows like a tide gone wonderfully mad. Opening with the title track, majestic and strange space music moves from a heavy laborious feel to playful trippy tones halfway through. New parts slowly enter a la Mike Oldfield before changing tempo once again to accommodate Cashin's hot organ solos and finally climb out of the fire to ascending moog riffs, leaving you panting on the side of the road. Who are these Light Beings and how did they get so powerful?? And that's just the first track, at 15 minutes. It gets better, if you can believe that. The second, aptly named 'Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization,' made me think of circus music even before I noticed the title, with it's mad program drums, though it is a bit less soulful than the other cuts. 'Cydonia' is like a movie for your ears, leading you into deep mental/auditory wanderings. It builds slowly and grandly, Burger's soaring guitar painting majestic murals in your mind's eye, before the tempo changes for some marvelously layered synth work. 'Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities' is my favorite cut, whimsical and even sweet at times. It's captivating changes are beautifully melodic, but by now you've learned that dementia lurks around all of Burger's corners, lying in wait to delight. It does not fail you here, taking off for another wildly cadenced space ride to a completely unexpected planet, some place wonderfully Latin this time. Who would have anticipated that? Burger is a master composer, producer, and journeyer, and this CD is a sure winner.' - Kevan Breitinger, Indie-Music.com 'Quite a stunning sophomore effort from this New Jersey-based group, essentially a one man army with support and reconnaissance from several like-minded soldiers of the psychedelic wars. Despite the somewhat pretentious pretext-an 'instrumental progressive rock interpretation of ancient and modern mysteries'-Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings features impressive arrangements and stellar playing by group leader Robert Burger (guitar, guitar-synthesizer) and solid contributions from drummer Glenn Robitaille and keyboardist Dave Cashin. In addition to the shimmering artwork and packaging, we're treated to a host of songs with titles that would mystify even the most enlightened Zen disciple, from 'Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization' and 'Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities' to 'Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control.' But most importantly the music matches and, at times, transcends the vivid color and searching ingenuity of the conceptual apparatus. The extended title track is a technocrat's stereo wet dream, filled with dynamic tempo shifts, clusters of complex chordal variations and some tasteful and refined multi-timbral counterpoint. The variety of sounds, textures and simulations Burger conjures from his guitar-synthesizer is truly astounding, rivaling the similar pyrotechnic displays of Adrian Belew on his early solo projects. 'Cydonia' revs up the guitar engines for the jump to hyperspace. Here, Burger's elegant jazz scales soar and glide over an orgasmic frenzy of supersonic bass and drums underscored by the heavy metallic thrust of some diamond-hard rhythm guitar. The almost Ozric Tentacles-like 'Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control' forms an intricate web of staccato guitar arpeggios buttressed by syncopated rhythm machines. It's like listening to the sound of a thousand metal ball-bearings thrown into a stainless steel anti-gravity echo chamber. 'Dance of the Nine Unknown Men' is an entrancing saraband that approaches anthemic proportions. It's mood of yearning for and surrendering to the infinite mysteries of the ineffable in every heart is skillfully choreographed with bittersweet melodicism and resolute percussive drive. Like a song of time and distance, it echoes the voice of the ancient sage who reminds us that there is only the dance of the music-the sadness is in ourselves. Thoroughly original, with few if any precedents, Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is a work of subtle yet probing design. Intensely cerebral, and at times achingly expressive, it's a fully-realized vision of things neither seen nor heard but only felt.' - Charles Van de Kree, Aural Innovations #30 'With a tripped out, psychedelic cover featuring alien beings that would be right at home in a tips and tricks book on Bryce 3D's section on molten glass layers fused with cadmium embossing, this work of art is light years ahead of anything this side of Uranus. Coverwork aside, this disc contains an astonishingly different approach to what we all take for granted with an enormously vast array of sounds and ideas that left me speechless until I had time to understand the complexity of the music presented. Embracing anything from a throbbing Deep Forest sound to a mamba from Rio Di Janiero, to a tribal beat playing counterpoint to a ridiculously infectious rhythm section you won't find as much variety as on this 2nd outing from a band with the unusual name of 'the gak omek'. Sounding more like a vegetarian dish that the local natives would serve in the highland village of Ubud in Bali, they don''t come much stranger than this one. Don't ask me what the name means as I have not yet encountered the obligatory out of body experiences needed to understand all of this alien hoodoo guru, but let me assure you this will challenge those wanting some complexity and versatility without requiring you to leave planet earth. Robert Burger propels his spacecraft through the nether reaches of the galaxy ably assisted by Dave Cashin on keyboards and Glenn Robitaille on drums although it is Robert who is credited with all songwriting skills. Call it what you like, try and label this one for me as I can't find a pigeon hole that will envelop it's constantly evolving shape. Weird but captivating, infectious but restrained, challenging yet sometimes familiar and discordant in parts yet with melodies aplenty in others, you'll need your photon enhanced Sennheisers to fully appreciate the galactic sojourn you are about to embark on.' - Greg Cummins, Sea of Tranquility.