Alphaterra - Planet In A Day

(CD 2006, 61:17, Ma.Ra.Cash RecordsMRC 011)

The tracks:
  1- Scottish Dream
  2- Nature Rises From Hibernation
  3- Sweet Rain Over Provence
  4- Sacred Night In Cornwall
  5- Patagonia Highlands
  6- Nature Falls Into Hibernation
  7- Norwegian Fjords
  8- Starlit Alaska
  9- Journey Through Lapland
10- Sunset Ride in New Mexico
11- Antarctic Sunglare
12- Last Brazilian Day

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Sometimes an album gets overlooked by the media after its release. This also happened with Planet In A Day (2006) by the Italian duo Alphaterra consisting of George Gabriel (guitars, basses) and Gianni Travel (piano, keyboards). Nowadays Gabriel is the guitarist of the Italian prog rock band The Watch. During their latest performance in the Netherlands (see review), I saw that Planet In A Day was for sale at the merchandise stand. After listening to the album I thought it to be a CD that certainly deserves a review even though it has been seven years after its official release.

George Gabriel and Gianni Travel know each other from childhood, but somehow their paths diverged. Once together again, they managed to create a one-hour album that showed all of their musical influences. They also succeeded in keeping my attention throughout the album. Don't expect an album with bombastic music that goes back to the seventies, the golden years of progressive rock. The overall pace on this CD is rather laid-back and mellow. On the twelve tracks featured on Planet In A Day both musicians show that they control several musical styles. What you get is a fine mixture of prog, new age, fusion, jazz-rock and Celtic music.

The opening piece Scottish Dream contains Celtic music which sounds as a fine blend of the music of Clannad and Iona. On Nature Rises From Hibernation and Patagonia Highlands you may enjoy fusion and jazz-rock having a fine mixture of elements from the music of guitarists like Pat Metheny or Lee Ritenour. The more progressive rock elements can be heard on Sweet Rain Over Provence, Nature Falls Into Hibernation and Sacred Night In Cornwall. On these pieces their love for the music recorded by Genesis and Steve Hackett emerges.

You could say that Planet In A Day is more or less a concept album. The musicians take the listeners on an imaginary journey that leads to several places on our planet. They take you from the rough Scottish Highlands to the stillness of the Norwegian fjords; from the lovely landscapes of the Provence in the south of France to the breathtaking nature of Patagonia in Chile and Argentina and from the desolate Antarctic icefields to the sunny beaches of Brazil. They always try to show some of the music from these countries in their compositions.

Planet In A Day certainly is a fine album. The twelve instrumental compositions are all worth listening to and show the musical talents of this duo in full glory. However, it has to be said that you must be in the right mood to enjoy this rather laid-back album. If that's the case you'll still get some wonderful music seven years after  the album was originally released!

***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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