Nangyala, 6th October 1999
Omniversum, Den Haag, The Netherlands
By Derk van mourik
Destiny In Space
Last wednesday I went to Den Haag for a very unusual gig, being held in a cinema called the Omniversum. The Omniversum is a very special kind of cinema. It doesn't have a flat screen like any regular cinema but the film is projected on the inside of a large half globe, tilted slightly to give room to about 500 seats. Because the film is all around you, this gives you the feeling as if you're actually *in* the film! As films that are shown on the Omniversum tend to be documentaries containing lots of bottomless mountain crevices, aircraft doing impossible stunts, fast camera work, and with ominous titles like 'The edge...and beyond', it is not recommended for people with weak stomachs!
So are we now doing movies at DPRP, too? Not really, but I had been invited by prog rock band Nangyala to attend the showing of the film Destiny In Space to which they were providing the musical background. This was actually the first time that live music was used to accompany the showing of a film in the Omniversum. Nangyala bass player Peter Chattelin had approached the Omniversum with this idea and they accepted. And now the venture has been so successful that Omniversum is thinking of asking Nangyala to do more shows here next year!
When I entered the theatre and took my seat I was pleasantly surprised by the music that was playing over the speakers because this was none other than Tangerine Dream's Rubycon! I don't know if this was done on purpose or if it was coincidence because when the band entered the stage and started playing the intro it sounded very much like a mix between Tangerine Dream's seventies (compositionwise) and eighties (soundwise) styles. Very spacey. The Omniversum has a very advanced sound system (quadraphonic and all) and now I wish that every venue could install such a system because the sound was just incredible, very full, very warm en very well balanced. At other gigs the keyboards often drown out among the other instruments, especially the guitar, but Nangyala had their mix very well done. Hats of to the sound engineer!
The music played during the show was for the main part from an album that has yet to be recorded. Only the intro was written especially for the Omniversum shows. Two of the new songs can already be heard on the recently released promo EP "Paragon / Born Gifted".
Nangyala describe themselves as a symphonic rock band with progressive and psychedelic influences. They have strong ties to Pink Floyd, having played a lot of Pink Floyd covers in the past. Moreover, some members of the band have been involved in the Pink Project which among other things did a memorable 25th anniversary celebration performance of Dark Side of the Moon in Delft last year. Although I was at that event, I was standing quite far from the stage so this time I only recognized bass player Chattelin as Pink Project member.
A strong Floydian influence then, but that wouldn't be saying nearly the half of it. As I said, the long intro, carried by keyboardists Danyo Romijn and Tom Spaapen, and featuring en extended guitar solo by Pieter Hanja, sounded a lot more like Tangerine Dream than Pink Floyd, and as the show moved along, Nangyala showed their diversity even more.
The film itself was about space travel, featuring space shuttles, astronauts conducting experiments in zero-g, satellites being stationed in Earth's orbit, and scientists building them. The opening credits of the film said that the accompanying narration was performed by Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek) but we obviously never got to hear him as it was Nangyala who was to produce the soundtrack to the film tonight! I must admit that during the show I was more drawn to the music than the images, which is good because it shows the music can stand on it's own. The film was therefore in my opinion reduced to a mere lightshow, albeit a very elaborate one!
Having said that, it was of course the music that followed the film, and not the other way around, since the film had been around long before it was decided that for these shows Nangyala's music was to accompany it. As for capturing the mood of the film with their music, Nangyala did an outstanding job. The best bit of timing was that at the precise moment when the Space Shuttle took off on the screen, the music took off with it. Furthermore, slow, more laid back music accompanied such calm scenes as the positioning of a satellite from out of a Space Shuttle's womb, while intense, driving music tracked the movement of a camera as it raced across the rolling surface of a hazardous looking planet.
The music itself was a mix of styles. Floydian tracks flowed seamlessly into ballads with Rothery like guitar solos. There was also a long track that had a guitar solo that reminded me a bit of Latimer's solo in Camel's Ice. At other times the music was more dark, more ominous, and one such piece of music at the end of the show reminded me a bit of Porcupine Tree with its heavy guitar sound.
Daniel Woltgens' vocals take some getting used to. Especially when he sings with a lot of volume, his voice takes on a raw quality that not everybody might like at first.
There's only one little problem I had with the whole arrangement and that is that the whole show lasted not an hour! But this doesn't diminish the fact that I had a very good time and I sincerely hope that Nangyala soon finds the resources to record their CD and I also hope that Omniversum lets them return next year because I'll be there again for sure.
Daniel Wöltgens - Lead Vocals
Peter Chattelin - Bass and Vocals
Pieter Hanja - Lead Guitars
Tom Spaapen - Keyboards and Guitars
Danyo Romijn - Keyboards and Guitars
Geronio Welling - Drums