Albert Einstein once remarked that the most crucial decision for a human being is whether or not to believe that the universe is friendly. I don’t know about the universe, but the Hanslik & Moniz Experiment’s new album “Friendly Planet” describes a harmonious destination for any space traveler looking for a good time. It is a superb and highly creative ambient release that takes the listener on a multi-dimensional journey in music, time, and space.
Alan Hanslik is an American composer, musician, and producer (see a complete list of his albums here). Alan has also composed soundtracks for features films and movies. We have recently reviewed his releases “Precious Memory“ and “Space Anomaly”. Steve Moniz is a songwriter and guitar player. He has written songs in just about every style, from folk, fingerpicking, rock, blues, and contemporary. “Friendly Planet” is Hanslik and Moniz third release (others are “The Visitor” and “Side Show”).
The title track opens the album. It takes a while to get used to the ricocheting synth sound, but don’t let it scare you. It is a lovely effect that seems to indicate movement. Perhaps it is the sound a spaceship makes as it enters the atmosphere on a newly discovered planet? Let your imagination run free, and you’ll be amazed by the complexity and beauty of this soundscape. There are even the sounds of wildlife, giving the planet a friendly ambiance. Hanslik and Moniz have created something truly unique, no doubt about that.
“Channeling Siri” takes us right into the heart of technology, introducing a future version of Apple’s Siri – or an alien Siri. Again, your imagination decides. The many layers of sounds create a melody that seems to form, and then suddenly disappears. “Channeling Siri” has a nice touch of Tangerine Dream’s more ambient material.
On the Shore Eddie
Humor is vital in any sci-fi project. “On the Shore Eddie” has a fresh, somewhat distant electric guitar, and the Rhodes piano sounds terrific. Its atmosphere is engaging; Are we enjoying a beautiful view of the shore, or, to quote the above-mentioned Tangerine Dream, witnessing a “Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares”? Eddie seems to be a likable person, so I think life on the shore is good. Different yes, but good.
“We Are Your Friends” continues where “On the Shore Eddie” left off, inviting the listener into a world of strange creatures and magic. It is a very intricate soundscape filled with colors and movement. I very much enjoy how the guitar seems to take on a life of its own. It is a nice contrast to the ambient synths. Make no mistake about it; this is world-class sound design. Just check out how “We Are Your Friends” fades into “Meadow,” and you’ll understand my point.
“Meadow” seems to be gentle and light, but soon it changes and develops. I like how the synths have a rhythm, driving the song forward. Around six minutes, things start to happen. Precisely what is hard to answer, but something magical is unfolding there in the meadow. It is a superb, ambient piece. The last song is called “Drifting”. It is, however, less about drifting and more about landing the album – making sure that we return safely to earth.
In conclusion: “Friendly Planet” by Hanslik & Moniz Experiment is in every way a delightful and inspired album. Indeed, after a song or two, you’ll forget the experimental nature of the band and have a thrilling listening experience. It is custom-made for sci-fi reading, contemplation, or dreaming about friendly places in far-away universes.
Score: 96/100 – See our scoring policy
Visit alanhanslik.com for more information and music samples.