Galactic Wanderer is the solo project for Harley Broughton. Life's Journey was his first album which came out last year and he recently released Falling into Oblivion. It’s a completely instrumental album veering towards prog rock. According to Broughton, “The album is not concept as a whole, but songs seven through nine are connected by a story of a man who is trapped in a satellite that is flying uncontrollably into a black hole.”
There are some differences between his first album and Falling into Oblivion. The production quality has improved and there are more ethereal, atmospheric moments scattered throughout the album. There are a number of “epic” songs here in terms of length and ambition.
I think it's fair to put the first song “Perfect Confusion” in that category. There are a copious amount of changes in the nine-plus-minutes which come in the form of lead guitar, crunchy bass and complex drum patterns. The prog rock elements are evident and comparisons to bands like Yes and Rush are certainly notable. Let’s just say if you are a fan of the genre you will appreciate what is here.
Besides the prog rock elements there are more ethereal textures and tones the you might find in an album from Pink Floyd or Radiohead. There are heavy hall reverbs in use as you can hear on “Riding a Solar Flare” which is one of the more serene and cosmic sounding songs on the albums.
“Dark Circles” takes you back down to earth with a heavier progression and distortion while “Shafts of Light” sounds as if it has some kind of wind instrument taking the lead. I thought a personal highlight was “Ebony.” The song had a Mike Oldfield type vibe I enjoyed and a climbing energy that reaches a couple of impressive peaks.
As the album progresses the last three songs lightly play into the aforementioned theme. He plays some very brief monologue. There is really no way to tell how the story ends and it is completely ambiguous since there are so few words to guide you.
Broughton is for a niche audience. Prog rock had its glory but it's not exactly a popular genre like it was in the ’70s and ’80s and never maintained like classic rock. Falling into Oblivion is Broughton’s best effort to date and I hope to hear more evolution as he continues to improve as a musician.
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