Edge of Time
NOMAD PLANETS - EDGE OF TIME For those songwriters and artists who are willing to dig deeper and be true to what they find, the road may be rough to travel at times, but the rewards are great. When the songs are as beautifully crafted and realized as the 12 pieces featured on Edge of Time, the listener will want to ride with them and stay the distance. Edge of Time is the Nomad Planets' second collection, building on the themes and styles established by their acclaimed 2000 debut, The Indestructible Drop; poignant sketches of parallel lives and clear-eyed expressions of what it is to be human. Like singer-songwriters Gillian Welch, and James McMurtry, the Planets' chief writer, Mark Mybeck, understands the music of words -- their measure and weight - as shown in the spare and beautifully placed steps of 'Bed of Nails' and 'Devil In Between'. More pleasing still is the way this four piece electric-acoustic band carry the compositions, adding both fragile textures and rugged dynamism. This is a band that clearly enjoys making music together. Edge of Time, released on the Chicago-area band's own imprint, The Fairbanks Label, was begun in 2001. The disc was nearly completed in early 2003, when a simple computer error caused the band to lose more than half of their work from the recording sessions. As devastating as that blow was to the band's will, they pulled together and discovered that there is a blessing in that journey of re-recording, something which anchors the music deeper in spirit. And so, three years after beginning, comes this strongly complimentary grouping of songs. With the bare-boned beauty of 'Oklahoma Girl' and the more complex, rocky rumblings of 'Toward The Tower', the Planets easily captivate even the most casual listener. The band's current line-up found each other during and after the recording of 'Drop'. Mybeck and bass player Phil Rapchak had voyaged together through various bands, including the artfully eclectic Whistling Jupiters. During the recording of the disc, they forged a creative connection with engineer and co-producer, John Carpenter, who joined their lineup as a guitarist and vocalist after the album's release. In turn, Carpenter brought in drummer Drew Enselman, whom he had befriended during session work at his studio. Edge of Time, produced by Carpenter at Thunderclap Recording Studio of Hammond, Indiana, also features guest appearances by, among others, former Verbow and Poi Dog Pondering cellist Alison Chesley, songwriter/artiste Cath Carroll, organ player Chris Ussery, and Urban Twang vocalist Trish Clausen. There is a timeless integrity to Nomad Planets' music - sometimes rough hewn, sometimes sheer and elegant - that reminds us there is an art to accompaniment and interpretation. It comes from a knowing, taken up by the band, and carried to the listener, that there is a place, deep within, where we all gather as one.