The Satellite Orchestra is the latest project from Los Angeles keyboardist Rodney Lee. The music is a cinematic journey into soulful live electronica with Lee navigating from a Fender Rhodes electric piano. The CD features Rico Belled on bass, Allen Lightner on percussion, Dino Soldo on bass clarinet and flutes, Dave Karasony on Drums, and vocalists Jody Watley, Jeff Robinson, and Wade3.
The Satellite Orchestra is like a chance meeting of Massive Attack, Zero-7, and Herbie Hancock.
One unique influence that Lee has brought to the equation is orchestration. Rodney has been scoring music for film and television lately, and that work has ignited a creative spark in him to begin exploring the use of orchestral elements in this groovy electronic setting.
"Orchestral elements such as strings usually play a backing role in popular music, but I wanted to bring some of these timbres to the forefront of the compositions. Therefore, there are places where the orchestra takes over completely such as in the bridge in "Sky Islands"._Rodney Lee
The "Satellite Orchestra" title comes from the fact that the orchestral elements were created from string samples. Individual samples of violins, violas, cellos, and string basses were used to "orchestrate" the compositions. Therefore, the virtual orchestral elements actually reside in the computer somewhere between cyber-space and reality.
However, the flutes and bass clarinets were played live by humanoid, Dino Soldo.
"Coming from a science background, I have always been fascinated by the interaction of man and machine. I am continually experimenting with musical ways in which the two co-exist." - Rodney Lee
The special guest vocalists bring that final touch of soul -- a human element that rises above the infectious groovescapes laid down by the rhythm section.
The result is an aurally stimulating journey into a funky cosmos enveloped in orchestration and ambient textures.