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Alien Chatter: Invasion (2007) CD Review

by January 03, 2014
Alien Chatter Invasion

Alien Chatter Invasion

Label: Emerging Artists (837101420143)

Track List

1.      When Worlds Collide

2.      Kronos

3.      Voyage of the 7th Chakra

4.      This Island Zameen

5.      20 Million Miles to Saskatoon

6.      Devil Kuri From Mars

7.      Last Ganesha on Earth

8.      Two Lost Worlds

9.      Tabla Base

10.   Evidence

11.   Metropolis

12.   Plan 5 from Outer Space

13.   Invasion


The Indo-Jazz fusion sound of Alien Chatter is the product of two superbly talented musicians: Rodney Lee and Satnam Ramgotra. I’ve known Rodney for over 25 years (we were band mates and roommates at college in Austin, TX), and the music they create is special in many ways, from the writing to the sound to the way it’s ultimately captured. Rarely do two distinct musical styles and tastes (Indian and Jazz) blend so completely into something so unique and fresh.

Audio Quality

Anyone looking for proof that independent home studio audio production can match that of an established recording studio need look no further than this CD: it is a sonic explosion of the highest quality. The drums, tabla, acoustic piano, and acoustic bass were recorded at Pangea Music Studios in Los Angeles via Pro-Tools at 24 bits on a Mac. The only non-acoustic piano present is on Last Ganesha On Earth, which just so happens to be my least favorite track on the CD. The oud, double violin, sitar, electric bass, and percussion overdubs were recorded at Rodney's home studio. He also recorded additional keyboard tracks there featuring a Mini-Moog, Prophet 5, Korg Triton, and Yamaha S-90.

For you recording aficionados, the microphones used included:

  •  Kick drum: a vintage RCA 44 ribbon mic captured the boom, and an AKG D112 recorded the punch
  • Drum overheads: Royer R-122  ribbon mics
  • Tabla: an AKG 414 and the RCA 44
  • Acoustic piano:  2 Neumann U-87 mics and one  AKG 414
  •  Miscellaneous percussion:  2 Studio Projects C1 mics
  •  Oud:  Studio Projects C1

Finally, all tracks were imported into Logic 7 Pro and mixed/mastered at Rodney's home studio.

An interesting note in the recording of the drums: multiple drum kits were used within the same song on a few tracks. For example, on Metropolis, Satnam played a small cocktail kit for the intro and outro sections and a full-sized kit for the middle section (where it goes into halftime). While it made the mix process very difficult, the end result justified the means. For those of you who are fans of composer Hans Zimmer, Satnam is also a featured percussion performer on blockbuster soundtracks like the (new) Batman trilogy. My favorite tracks are When World Collide, Metropolis and Invasion, but there are amazing grooves and performances all over this CD!


I know for a fact that the duo spent over a year working on this project, as I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy featuring some early mixes more than 6 months before its release. Even then I could tell it was going to be something special. They were also fortunate to get one of the most recorded guitarists in history to guest on this recording: Michael Landau; his guitars were recorded at his studio via Pro-Tools. In fact, Rodney relates that this was a “religious experience” of sorts for them (browse Landau's discography and prepare to be amazed). Checkout Alien Chatter's website for more information about the band and how to order their CD's.


Audio Quality: 4/5

Features: 3/5

Overall: 4/5

Reference Equipment

  • Yamaha DSP-A1 Natural Sound A/V Amplifier (Stereo Mode)
  • Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Reference LD Player
  • Polk Monitor 10B Speakers (x2)


About the author:
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Stanton was born and raised in Kansas City, where he was exposed to the rich culture of jazz at a very young age. He's a drummer and an electrical engineer and loves to review jazz music for us.

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