Will there be any music from earth left once the blue planet is no more? Perhaps the peruvian panpipes and Johann Sebastian Bach's sonatas floating around in space in form of the Voyager Golden Records?
That is a question ROCKET MEN cannot answer, but being musical globetrotters the band is on a mission to draw as much inspiration as possible from all around the world.
To look at earth and it's musical diversity from outer space. To escape the everyday pressure and the sensory overload. Being free and realizing which sounds of earth are really important.
ROCKET MEN was founded in 2016 by Valentin Mühlberger (Keyboards) and Philipp Püschel (Trumpet). They both knew each other from high school, and after they both left their hometown of Hannover and relocated to Leipzig and Hamburg, they quickly found new recruits for their new space adventure.
Besides it's founding members, the band consists of Lasse Golz (Saxophon, Reeds), Bertram Burkert (Guitar/Bass), Paul David Heckhausen (Electronics/Percussion) and Felix Dehmel (Drums).
The debut CD „Weightless" (2016) showcased the band's ability to combine the more traditional side of Jazz music with the infinity of space. In 2018 though ROCKET MEN drew inspiration not only from Jazz, but from the sounds of earth and all of it's multiple styles of music. That makes „Twerk & Travel in Space" an album that'll take you on a journey around the world.
The band's keyboardist Valentin Mühlberger brought vocal samples with him from his trip to brazil featuring the natives of north brazil. The song „Ngoma" (which translates to „Dance" in swahili) features recordings of trips to Zanzibar and Tanzania. Although some of the songs also feature and sample some US presidents, ROCKET MEN do not identify themselves as a political band. But they still try to reference current events and issues.
The opening track of the album „Twerk & Travel in Space" unfolds a driving electronic funk tune coupled with a fiery saxophone solo which is reminiscent of a balkan wedding. „Apollo 13" reminds of a rather beautiful jazz composition until the band's guitarist Bertram Burkert takes the song into a completely different direction and morphs it into a rock attitude. On „Kaleidoskop" Valentin Mühlberger creates a floating, dreamy atmosphere with his warm, heartfelt wurlitzer and keyboard sounds. The teamwork of Lasse Golz and Philipp Püschel is extraordinary. They manage to accent certain parts in the style of Duke Ellington, yet in the next moment their sound reminds you of a floating feather in the soft breeze on a sunday morning.
The album titel „Twerk & Travel in Space" inevitably refers to Miley Cyrus' invention in 2013. Philipp Püschel says: „ twerking is what happens if a jazz musician tries to dance." At first sight the titel seems to be rather confusing and odd, however it serves the purpose of bringing people together and combining different styles of music. Being a part of Hamburg's „JazzLab" collective, Püschel helps to blend the different musical genres of the city. The people attending the concerts are equally interested in Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop and many others. „If we had to label our music, Intergalactic Jazz, Drum & Space seems about right. Frankly we don't care what you call it. We just want to play music we love."
„Twerk & Travel in Space" is a diverse record that takes the listener on an adventure through space, time and all around the world. To say it with the words of Neil Armstrong „It's different, but very pretty."