Radio Galaksy is a music collaborative originally founded by Danish composer, drummer and producer Søren Jensen in 2015. Jensen calls Radio Galaksy a “music constellation,” and after listening to their album Free Ride I would say that’s a perfect descriptor. As he explains: “Based on themes such as outer space, coincidences, film scores, time, and everyday life, the album Free Ride places itself as a concept album that allows things to happen just when they do.” The album was released at the end of November 2016.
Inspired by classic acts such as Pink Floyd, Bill Frisell, Kraftwerk, Ennio Morricone, Ry Cooder and Air, Radio Galaksy skillfully combines elements of alternative rock, jazz, blues, funk, reggae and electronica to create a distinctive and captivating sound. Jensen composed all six tracks in his own music lab, then enlisted the talents of several accomplished musicians, including bassist Viktor Krauss (who’s also played bass for Bill Frisell), guitarist Aske Jacoby, and keyboardist Christoffer Jespersen. Guest appearances were made by Jakob Dahn and Sara Broberg on vocals, Lis Wessberg on the trombone, Mikkel Schnettler on percussion and Dennis Flacheberg on guitar. Additional recordings were made by Marcus Toft at Moremax Studios.
Jazz and blues influences are strong on album opener “The Lottery.” With Jensen’s crisp, gentle percussion keeping time, Jacoby creates a sultry mood with his nimble, bluesy guitar work as he playfully flirts with the sublime tones of Jespersen’s keyboard and organ. Quirky jungle sounds employed in the bridge add a touch of mystery to the track.
The melodically complex “Elephant Swing” is a gorgeous composition, and one of my favorite tracks. While continuing with a jazzy theme, the track starts out with a strong hypnotic tempo that almost gives it an R&B feel, but with Jespersen’s lovely keyboards delivering an ethereal soundscape to the proceedings. Funky guitars float above a subtle bass line as all the elements come together to create an exceptionally pleasing sound. Spacey keyboards added later in the track create an otherworldly vibe, punctuated by funky, swirling guitar as the hypnotic beat continues.
The track immediately segues into “The Bike,” a languid, nine-minute-long track that feels like an extended chill jam session. Wessberg’s seductive trombone has a starring role here, complemented by perfectly executed instrumentals. As always, the guitar work is outstanding, as are the percussion, keyboards and bass.
Radio Galaksy channels Ennio Morricone (the famed and prolific composer of scores of film soundtracks such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Cinema Paradiso and The Untouchables) on “Pangæa.” Named after the super continent from half a billion years ago, the track features a subtle reggae rhythm injected into a mellow beat, replete with beguiling piano keys, peppy organ and electric guitar strums in the deeper chords. The result is a mesmerizing tune that carries you away to another time and space – to Pangæa perhaps?
“Alone on Planet Earth” conjures up images of intergalactic travel with a mystical soundscape of dreamy keyboards, gentle percussion and a rather melancholy trombone. A layered mix of delicate and gritty guitar riffs add a discordant complexity to the track, as echoed spoken male and female vocals, provided by Jakob Dahn and Sara Broberg, add an extraterrestrial aura to the track: “You threw away the garbage from your past. You pack your bags, the darkness in your eyes expanded, and filled it with something vast. You wish that I would come along. I let go of gravity and second sons. And I don’t wanna run.”
The guys get deep into their groove on the fun and funky album closer “The Lottery Appendix.” The intricate guitar work is freaking amazing, nicely melding with the jazzy keyboards and deft percussion to create an infectious track that’s just too cool for words. Radio Galaksy are phenomenal musicians, and with Free Ride have crafted a brilliant album that keeps getting better with every listen.
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