Material: Normally electric, this experimental jam factory hailing from New York embarked on a micro-journey that saw them stripped down to an acoustic trio. Flanked by guitar and keyboard, this incarnation of The Purple Planet makes Mike Glanzer’s sit-able hand- drum box, accented by foot tambourines, their de facto focal piece. Imbued with their usual elements of funk, jazz and world music, the trio became something akin to a minimalistic Ozric Tentacles or perhaps a Caribbean-esque take on ‘80s new wave backed by a modernistic troubadour. Simple, sticky song structures inspire endless riffs entwined around their natural compositional frameworks, generating oceans of rhythm to lose oneself in forever.
Musicianship: Glowing keyboards, savvy guitar and groovy, kiln-fired hand drumming are the basic building blocks comprising this inspired, youthful yet wise project. Guitarist Jake Garrison’s unadorned voice cleanly presents their musical concepts. Whether bleating about selling one’s soul for a nickel or wrapping Latin percussion around an instrumental Celtic motif, their abilities continually delight.
Performance: Short and sweet, The Purple Planet’s set makes its point easily and efficiently. While their sparkling sound must be applauded, there’s not much else worth remarking upon. Garrison appears comfortable, casually requesting “more cheese” in the mix, yet Glanzer and keyboardist Levitz seem bored. Beyond one name mention, they maintain no branding and Garrison eschewed relating the group’s story, setting up songs or even introducing his supporting players.
Summary: It’s inevitable listeners will fall for the easy-flowing, blissed-out ethos of The Purple Planet. It seems as though they’ve elected to reinvigorate the peace and love generation for a Millennial wave, undoubtedly an admirable goal. Yet they’ll only realize this mission by gilding the lily with the sorts of promotional trimmings so necessary in today’s competitive climate. Despite this, their sound deftly services an underserved niche, blending social awareness and instrumental acuity in a patchouli-scented wrapper. Let’s see whether they’re able to invigorate a wider audience the same way they can energize a diminutive, albeit appreciative, crowd.