Decades have passed since a decent musical thrill ride has emerged recounting an epic journey over the span of an entire album. Euler’s Number has delivered such a masterpiece with Escape to Eurybia, an instrumental story with narration that belongs among such company as Jon Anderson’s Olias of Sunhillow and Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The tale begins with an explanation of how mankind in the year 2348 is forced to abandon Earth due to the collapse of the sun and travel to a new solar system in hopes of settling on the planet Eurybia. Italian keyboardist Giuliano Vangelista, the creator of both the story and the music, is well versed in mathematics and science and draws upon this knowledge to create in-depth explanations and realistic scenarios for this futuristic saga. Like Star Trek, Euler’s Number thoroughly details the workings of the space shuttle, the importance of scientific analysis and ultimately the supremacy of humankind.
“Gettin’ Ready to Leave” is the first real taste of Vangelista’s musical chops and the self-taught musician does not disappoint with electronic drums and ample use of the pitch bender on the keys. There is a mixture between synthesizer and traditional piano trading off the lead that is a staple throughout the album. The funky midsection however has one sound effect that resembles flatulence however this is quickly forgotten as the tune segues into a cellar jazz vibe with a steady backbeat.
Vangelista’s fusion of sounds makes each piece unique and constantly in motion. The jazzy mid-tempo opening of “The Long Space Journey Part 1” is not typical sounding space travel music but is enjoyable nonetheless. Along the trip the ship passes a “Nebula” and is musically chronicled with long mysterious shimmery chords draped in echo effects punctuated with repetitive staccato arpegiatted piano chords. The piano melody then becomes shrouded under a backbeat and electronic “waa’s” with a short drum solo leading to the rock organ lead.
Narrator Giorgia Rambelli explains that the ship enters Eurybia’s atmosphere in the year 3018. “Terraforming” is the accompanying instrumental with heavy rock organ glissandos, sounding very much like Keith Emerson’s work on ELP’s “The Barbarian.” By the year 3095, the humans have begun finally settling on the planet under the protection of a great dome to simulate Earth’s atmosphere. The hopeful uplifting vibe of “Landing on a New World” is at first reminiscent of Vangelis. Then with Vangelista’s jazz fusion tendencies morphs into a fun Ben Folds Five type song. “Settlement” is also jazzy with bass and offbeat percussion joined by syncopated organ.
Conflict arises however, as in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” with Rambelli relating how the humans began exploring the planet outside the great dome with the ominous portent, “The surprise was not the most pleasant.” After more exhilarating pieces featuring the back and forth of piano and synthesizer, there is a war between the humans and the subterranean creatures of the planet Eurybia resulting in the complete annihilation of the native species. In the “Bittersweet Epilogue” Euler’s Number contemplates the moral implications of mankind exterminating an entire race so that it might survive. The song opens triumphantly followed by the piano reflectively musing culminating in the rock organ ending abruptly in an unresolved cadence.
Escape to Eurybia is a fantastic journey sure to appeal to progressive rock fans yearning for new material to enjoy.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)