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Rick Wakemans The Red Planet - a return to a prog god's halcyon days

Ground control to Major Rick, as Rick Wakeman launches himself towards The Red Planet

Rick Wakeman - The Red Planet
(Image: © Madfish)

What a clever Rick, releasing his new album just as a flotilla of rockets is launched at the Red Planet with the collective aim of proving whether there is, or was, life on Mars, opening up a wealth of soundtrack and other marketing possibilities.

And if they do find frozen water under the surface, or even a microbe or two, no one is better placed to perform the album on ice.

The instrumental album’s style deliberately harks back to prog’s – and Wakeman’s – halcyon days of the early 70s, and he relishes the chance to slip back into his old habits with the added spice of the sampled keyboard sounds that are now available to him, starting with a thunderous church organ on Ascraeus Mons

The English Rock Ensemble are no mere backing band, either; just check out Lee Pomeroy’s bass at the start of Valles Marineri.