volitarians, i'm happy to announce volitar's brand new cd has
been released and is now ready to purchase! first off, i'd like
to thank korry keeker @ the juneau empire and amanda gragert @ the
capital city weekly for covering the alien world story in their
respective newspapers. i'd like to thank rock'n ron @ ksup rock
radio for all the volitar airplay and words of support as well as
public radio station ktoo for the on the air interviews of alien
world. and last, but not least, i'd like to thank the cast and crew,
alien world's musicians, actors, and the folks who helped support
the making of this cd. thank you!!! (click on the credits
button to find out who did what in alien world).
to offer the chance for you to read korry keeker's article, volitar
invades again. i couldn't be more pleased; his article is accurate
and well researched. thank you korry, andy engstrom.
engstrom introduces his new rock-opera sequel, 'alien world'
by korry keeker
when juneau musician
andy engstrom last visited the remote mining post of volitar, on
his 2002 rock-opera concept compact disc "murder, mystery,
mayhem," the region was in dire straits.
had erupted in ganthros, the neighboring planet that supplies many
of volitar's workers. the revolutionaries were searching for volitar's
secret site of santanium ore - a key component of the ancient ganthronian
time-based perception drug santain.
mining moon owner
trevor braiden, played by engstrom and a central character on the
first cd, returns on "alien world," engstrom's sequel,
which will be released at a listening party saturday night at the
backroom at the silverbow inn.
braiden has a lot
on his mind. he knows the site of the ore, and he's pursued by the
ganthronians. he's also recently married the planetary geologist
dr. desiree lear (becky engstrom). "alien world" begins
with their honeymoon flight to intrincia, a trip that's soon aborted
when their ship is sabotaged and forced to crash land in the heart
engstrom, a juneau
native, drummer and professional window cleaner, created and composed
the two-disc, science-fiction volitar rock opera over the last seven
years. he released the first volitar cd in april 2002 and began
writing "alien world" immediately.
"i knew about
halfway through 'murder, mystery, mayhem' that i couldn't get the
whole story on one cd," engstrom said. "but i wanted to
keep a similar sound and i wanted to keep a similar tone for the
sequel. i envisioned everything i wrote so it could possibly be
presented in different formats in the future."
continues with the "movie without images" concept that
engstrom explored on the first cd. the music, scenes, dialogue and
sound effects are set into the cd, which made it particularly difficult
produced something that defined certain rules and guidelines in
which to follow," engstrom said. "when i first started,
i didn't have the idea that it was going to be this movie-without-images
concept. it was just going to be a well-rounded songwriter's portfolio,
the kind of thing you present the music industry with a bunch of
songs that reach into a lot of different areas. the first cd is
very eclectic. the second cd i went with the type of music that
i like to write. my regular writing is art rock, symphonic progressive
rock-type of material that doesn't lend itself to radio play."
still, ksup has been
playing two of the songs from "alien world" - "understood"
and "fire in the house," the soundtrack to the scene where
the evil ganthronian general tortures trevor.
most of the keyboard, electronic percussion and vocal parts at his
home using the audio production program cakewalk. he took those
recordings to gold street studio, where engineer george bryson did
most of the mixing and engstrom laid down most of his drum tracks.
once the drums were mixed, he added the other instruments: ward
f. ward on guitar; andrea mogil on flute; rick trostel on flugelhorn;
and sheldon winters on trumpet.
a microphone from albert mcdonnell and a minidisc player from sandro
lane to record some scenes on location. for a crowd scene near the
end, he recorded 30 drama students who were rehearsing for the upcoming
high school presentation of "pippin." the dramatic, surprise
ending was recorded from his pickup while coasting through downtown
starting at fifth street.
the 1950s-style sound
effects were created from a cache of vintage keyboards, including
his 1972 arp odyssey analog synthesizer, an antique he acquired
"the idea was
to have this very modern-day, very progressive musical sound but
incorporate older sounds to recreate this 1950s-style, science fiction
blend," engstrom said.
"we wanted to
combine the old science fiction of the 1950s genre, things like
'star trek,' 'the day the earth stood still,' "forbidden planet,'"
he said. "those types of story lines were almost b-rated, and
some of the sounds and some of the character parts are intentionally
a bit cheesy. when you look back, they kind of look silly now because
the technological understanding of the world is different."
scott hamilton, now
at the berklee school of music in boston, played guitar on the first
cd. ward created and composed the multitracked, counterpoint guitar
parts on "alien world."
ward and engstrom
have played together in a handful of recent projects, including
groove cult, special guest and the drums-guitar-trumpet trio naughty
jo. for the self-titled track, ward used a pitch shifter on a diminished
solo to recreate an alien sound.
"i had heard
the previous volitar cd and i was pretty impressed with that,"
ward said. "and he played some of the material for the second
cd, and i knew it was going to be much better, much improved, so
i wanted to be part of that."
of andy's style is that he really has an ear for dissonance,"
ward said. "normally that has negative connotations, but it
sounds positive the way he does it. he's able to fit it into music
in a way that sounds correct."
becky engstrom, andy's
wife, costars again as desiree, the saucy scientist who marries
and rescues trevor.
"she still has
remnants of the old character - this sexy 1950s-type girl - but
we're continuing with the merging of the concept that she's at the
same time a modern, intelligent, well-educated, well-spoken woman,"
engstrom said. "becky really did a lot to articulate the character."