Gods Planet is a solo alto saxophone album by Adam Nolan. He attempts at creating an emotional spiritual ferocity in a personal imitation of the power and force of the energy of the Universe. This album is only for those who are willing to explore a deeper realm of consciousness. Recorded by the River Nore, an endless stream of the weir flows in the background whilst Adam Nolan attempts to push beyond the limits of his creative mind expressing something only those with the passion of God can experience as is the concept and goal of the album.
The above was what I read on receiving an email from Adam Nolan regarding his solo release. On my first listen through of the album I was reminded of John Coltrane’s quest for spiritual fulfilment through music. I am not comparing the two musicians as both are unique practitioners of the saxophone but I am struck by the need for emotional balance at a time when the world can feel so incredibly messed up.
God Planet is made up of five tracks with one commonality, the River Nore, which grounds the improvisations played by Adam. ‘The Internal World’ starts with the sound of moving water, which is quickly joined by the sound of the saxophone. My first though was that this is not the style of jazz I am used to or like to listen to but I soon found myself assimilating with what I was hearing. This is not melodic, or particularly easy to listen to but there is something there I felt able to connect to. ‘The External World’ picks up where the ‘Internal World’ left off but additional tones and energy broadened out the soundscape, which for me reflected the external influences we can feel when trying to come to terms with our internal thoughts. There are relatively gentle moments on this track when calm appears to break through but those externals are never far away.
Track three is ‘The Dimensional Body’, which opens with a relatively simple sounding structure, is lighter and brighter than what has been heard so far. The tonal colours on this number work very well and the effect starts to bring an inner calm into play. ‘The Force’ has a bit more energy about it but less anxious sounding than the opening two tracks. There are positive sounding note runs that give the impression of the player becoming more comfortable with what they are playing and, perhaps, why they are playing.
The album ends with ‘Will Power’, the longest of the five tracks. Like all the others, the River Nore is front and centre of what is being produced. The positivity of track four is still there but in a more expanded form. The free jazz improvisations drive the number forward but the spiritual aspect is more prominent. The middle section has an earthy tone and flows as the music moves forward. It feels like the musician has comes to terms with what he has been able to create in the time he has given to this project.
Gods Planet came to me because I wanted to bring in a mindset as powerful and relentless as the power of God the Universe. I practised every day by the River Nore for about two weeks prior to the recording session. Each day I recorded myself and listened back, refining and analysing everything I was attempting to achieve in improvised emotional ferocity.
Gods Planet reflects a journey without end because of this constant “refining and analysing” but at some point we have to find acceptance. The album is not an easy listen but that, for me, is more about the emotional struggle portrayed than the free jazz style chosen to explore the inner thoughts of the saxophonist. Adam Nolan is clearly a good musician searching for something that only he will be able to identify with if or when he finds the connection. This is not “big boy jazz”, it is jazz music played in a style that not everyone will connect with but it is emotionally driven and honest and for that, I thank Adam Nolan for sharing his journey with me.
Adam Nolan – Alto Saxophone
Tracklist: 1. The Internal World. 2. The External World. 3. The Dimensional Body. 4. The Force. 5. Will Power.
Recording, Mixing and Mastering – Martin Drennan
Recorded at The River Nore Kilkenny, Ireland
Photography: Infinity Media