the gak omek

"Robert Burger is quite an amazing and creative artist. He is a guitarist and also does some very impressive work as a free-lance computer graphics artist. His solo project is called The Gak Omek and combines his art and music into one very cool adventure. "Nonrenormalizability" is the third independently produced disc on Rob's own label that he calls BlueCube Music. I caught him at a living room concert opening up for ex-Tangerine Dream member Steve Jolliffe a few months ago and he promised me a copy of his new CD to review and I've been impatiently waiting for it ever since.

Continuing on his journey from his last disc Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings released in 2004 (has it been over five years already?) The music here is an eclectic mix of electronic styles that amazes me every time I listen to it. Rob is not only an accomplished guitar player but he is a very skillful arranger and the music on all of the pieces here is meticulously multi-tracked in a very dramatic fashion. This one is just great for the headphones.

The disc opens with "The Tunguska Event" (Rob has a certain way with titles..just thought I'd mention that.) The first few seconds is an odd collage of noises before the actual music comes in. This is a nice rocky number with some heavy distorted guitar work. "The Pythagorean Lambdoma" (see what I mean?) has a sort of classical feel or maybe it's a march or something soundtrack-like. Whatever he's going for I really dig it. He's using some very orchestral sounds in the piece that really make it stand out. There's a slow buildup to "Galaxia Nuncius" which as the name implies is a nice spacey piece. It starts out mellow with some nice backwards guitar sounds and progressively gets heavier.

The centerpiece of the disc is the title track, not only due to the fact that it is the longest piece on the album but it's also in the center of the track list. This one sees Gak in a nice percussive mode with a marimba rhythm driving the melody. There's lots of great guitar playing in this one as well. "Bagudzinishinabe" would have fit well on the Light Beings disc. It's a very cool track that starts out with some sci-fi soundtrack sounds that quickly gives way to an upbeat pulsing beat. There are some really nice moments in this one that make it one of my favorites on the disc. It would take longer to review the track "Fifteen Billion Nanoseconds In Hell" than it does to listen to it. Ok, now it's over.

"Alien Television" is also the track that Rob used as the basis for a very cool computer animation. This can be viewed on YouTube. I wish Rob could have put a version of that onto the CD. If you like the music in the video, you'll definitely want to pick up this disc. The final piece takes us "Into The Fourth Density" with a bit more ambient grooves and some more great guitar leads. Folks that like the Fripp and Eno collaborations should dig this one.

The two previous discs from The Gak Omek received some very nice praise from reviewers and listeners alike and this one should be no different. Rob is a talented and creative artist both musically and visually. If you get a chance, check out the video mentioned earlier in this review."

-Floyd Bledsoe,

"The Gak Omek delivers an album which is food for imagination as each song is well written and played full of energy and emotion."

-Gert Hulshof,

"I just got the new CD and it is out of this world great."

- Joseph M. Croft

"I've been playing this CD quite a bit lately, and I have to say it's GREAT! It's chock full of color & detail: there's a lot going on, which begs for repeated plays. In terms of breadth & scope, it has more of a symphonic slant to it than the previous two, at least to my ears, while at the same time maintaining their highly original "electronic meets angular guitar rock played by androids" sound. Best thing the band has done so far, IMHO."

-Allan Bruce Ray

"Multi-instrumentalist Robert Burger is the brainchild behind THE GAK OMEK, an experimental instrumental progressive project combining symphonic elements of Larry Fast’s SYNERGY and FUTURE SOUNDS OF LONDON with the bone crunching bombastics of the Larks Tongue In Aspic thru Red era KING CRIMSON. Nonrenormalizability is an impressive follow-up to Burger’s previous albums Alien Eye and Return Of The All-Powerful Light Beings. Each new release displays a remarkable level of compositional maturity and sophistication.
The music is an insane hyper-kinetic soundscape of psychedelic space rock, rhythmic tribal fusion, concrete sounds, manic guitar and keyboard interplay, and snippets of sampled dialog blended together into a giant acoustic Cuisinart, creating an exotic taste treat for the adventurous listener. Very highly recommended."

-Joseph Shingler,

"The Gak Omek is the personal project of Robert Burger who lives in Stockton, New Jersey (USA), and who began his solo career in 2003 with the album “Alien Eye”, released by the independent label Blue Cube Music. His second release, “Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings” (2004, Blue Cube Music), had the participation of drummer Glenn Robitaille and keyboardist Dave Cashin. Both albums were acclaimed as outstanding works by the specialized press. The style of The Gak Omek may be defined as Instrumental Electronic Progressive, having insertions of Psychedelic, Jazz-Fusion, and Experimental elements. Or, as Burger himself said about it: “…a progressive rock interpretation of ancient and modern mysteries“. Now, The Gak Omek is back with a new release, which is sure to spark the same favorable reaction on the Progressive Scene. “Nonrenormalizability” (2010, Blue Cube Music) brings 8 instrumental compositions entirely performed by Burger alone. Besides using guitars and guitar synthesizers, he uses an extensive list of original “electronic musical devices” with funny names like “Porkatronic Vibrolator” or “Octostrimpolizer” (see the list below). Musical influences come from many different sources, and many names may be cited: Guitarists (“Robert Fripp”, “Steve Hackett”, “David Torn”, “Lanvall”, “Allan Holdsworth”); Classical composers (“Beethoven”, “Mozart”, “Tchaikovsky”, “Strauss”); Progressive Bands (“King Crimson”, “Allan Parson’s Project”, “Zappa”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Djam Karet”); Experimental and Electronic Music (“Stockhausen”, “John Cage”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Brian Eno”, “Vangelis”, “Wendy Carlos”, “Drew Neumann”); Electronic Trended Krautrock (“Kraftwerk”, “Tangerine Dream”); Minimalist and New Age Music (“Philip Glass”, “Kitaro”, “Gandalf”); and even Brazilians “Tom Zé”, “Hermeto Pacoal” and “Uakti”. Burger knows however how to dose all ingredients, so that The Gak Omek does not sound like a mere copycat of those influences, being rather original, producing musical pieces that shine on with their own uniqueness. Over a lively and contagious rhythmic section, founded on samples of computerized effects and electronic drumming, Burger performs beautiful melodies with his guitars, which sound like carefully elaborated Classical Music. "Cosmological" waves of sound reach your brain at all levels, evoking cinematographic images of futuristic landscapes. "Devoid of the cold", robotized, artificial, and inorganic mood so common in electronic music, The Gak Omek sounds lively, contagious, cheerful and touching – as if a young Mozart could make a voyage through a space worm-hole to arrive in our modern technological world to produce New Music for the Quantum Mechanics Era. Overcoming the strange TV-static intro and mechanized-robotized sounds of “The Tunguska Event” (which reminds me of “Drew Neumann’s” soundtrack for the “Aeon Flux” animated series), the listener will be introduced to the most cheerful “Mozartian” tunes of “The Pythagorean Lambdoma“. Differently, “Galaxia Nuncius“ presents graceful “Beethovian” melodies on the background that will later explode in colorful waltzing guitars, like a piece of “Tchaikovsky” or “Strauss”. The title track, “Nonrenormalizability“, will transport the listener from the Old to the New World through Brazilian Northeastern rhythms and ethnic beats, with influences of “Hermeto Pascoal”, “Tom Zé”, “Uakti”, “Peter Gabriel” and “Philip Glass”. The fast-paced “Bagudzinishinabe“ sounds mostly like a thriller soundtrack, combining electronic sampled beats with dramatic machine-like sound effects and creative Jazz-Fusion soloing. “Fifteen Billion Nanoseconds in Hell“ is a noise that lasts 15 seconds, and introduces one of the most Progressive tracks of this album - “Alien Television“ – which brings influences of “Philip Glass”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre” merged with electronic vocal sounds that make one feel lost in an extraterrestrial rainforest (search for the video-clip on Youtube). The last track - “Into the Fourth Density“ - is a soft New Age piece with Asiatic influences, sounding like “Kitaro”, “Gandalf”, and “Lanvall”. The Gak Omek’s “Nonrenormalizability”  features brilliant and meaningful music that cannot be overlooked by any Progressive music lover, being an indispensable item for any collection. Highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in The Gak Omek are: Robert Burger – Guitar, Guitar-synth, Fingerdrums, Porkatronic Vibrolator, Fengku, Octostrimpolizer, Blipophone, Bagundochord, Schrimpler, Yakapod, Flekoscope, Blomosizer, Hekletuber, compositions, design, and photography."

- Marcelo Trotta, Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal E-ZINE

"The alien musical entity known as “The Gak Omek” has produced a new CD of thrilling instrumental progressive rock. Much of this reminds me a lot of Anderson, Bruford Wakeman, and Howe, but to stop there in the description would only capture part of the music. You’d need to include King Crimson, jazz music, fusion and a whole lot more to really get everything into the description. Whatever you want to call it, it’s exciting and captivating."

-Gary Hill,

Robert Burger sure isn't shy about flouting conventionality. Therein lies the allure of "Nonrenormalizability"(?!), an ubabashedly energetic journey into electronics-heavy sonic realms that combine epic orchestral guitar/synth workouts and edgy/angular avant-garde fits of mayhem.

The latter sets a raucous tone on opener "The Tunguska Event", where Burger's insistently keening guitar lead sounds downright malevolent. Things settle down subsequently as melody and some truly awesomw arranging establish the disc's defining vibe. Epic tracks "Galaxia Nuncius" (10 minutes) and "Nonrenormalizability" (15 minutes) are joyously awe-inspiring in spots, as Robert deftly multi-tracks guitar and his array of keys/percusion programming with great attention to detail.

"Bagudzinishinabe" pushes things back into the avant fray while the panoramic soundtrack-style approach returns to close things out via "Alien Television" and "Into the Fourth Density" (which includes a nice oriental-style melodic passage).

An impressive solo effort overall. I'd love to hear this material performed by a true ensemble with orchestral accompaniment for the depth and dimension it deserves. How about it, Mr. Burger?

-John Collinge, Progression Magazine



the gak omek
return of the all-powerful light beings

"One of the Top 10 Prog CD Titles of 2004"
- Floyd Bledsoe,

"One of the Top 20 Prog CD Titles of 2004"
- Elias Granillo, Sea of Tranquility

"One of the Top 20 Prog CD Titles of 2004"
- Greg Cummins, Sea of Tranquility

"One of the Top 30 Prog CD Titles of 2004"
- Sergio Vilar, Nucleus

"One of the Top Prog Albums of 2004"
- Ken Solomon, Progressive Soundscapes Radio

"I think it's an incredibly gifted and remarkable disc. Another excellent CD by The Gak Omek."
-John Garaguso, Progressive Soundscapes Radio

"F**kin' Fantastic! Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings has my vote so far for the best prog album of the year."
- Greg zotzz Zandecki, Radio Gnome

"The material is EXCELLENT!"
-Sergio Vilar, Nucleus

"Amazing!!! A complete mindblower. A marvelous CD."
- Jenny T. Kayoa, music director, KEOL-FM 91.7

"An enjoyable trip to unknown worlds in the company of a terrific guitarist."
- Dave Sissons, Dutch Progressive Rock Page

"Just the last 6 minutes of 'Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings' are enough to buy this CD, these minutes are absolutely beautiful, here the beautiful meets the powerful, an inherent characteristic of a great progressive-rock song, what a majestic nice ending in that song, wow, that's true prog."
- Denis Taillefer,

"Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is a beautiful instrumental body of work. The Gak Omek is on it's way to becoming the future of progressive rock by meshing old and new ways together into a fresh sound that would appeal to new as well as older prog audiences."
- Ron Fuchs,

"At the cutting edge of the progressive rock idiom. An outstanding effort that succeeds on the strength of superb compositions."
- Peter Thelen - Expose' #31

"As far as guitar instrumental albums go this is certainly one of the most interesting and enjoyable that I have come across. While Robert Burger, an incredibly talented guitarist, can play quickly when he wants to, fluidity is stressed more highly and the result is something that can be played and listened to on many levels.
The album is experimental and is challenging boundaries without being too avant-garde. It is possible to be taken into the world of The Gak Omek and question what is going to happen next and where the journey is going to lead but at all times it makes musical sense and isn't a voyage into self indulgence."
-Kev Rowland, Feedback Magazine #84

"This one came as a complete surprise to me. The last Gak Omek disc, entitled Alien Eye, was excellent and this one pushes the envelope even farther. The Gak Omek project is fronted by Robert Burger who is also the head of his own record label out of New Jersey called BlueCube Music. The label has released both of the Gak Omek CDs as well as one from another spacey artist named Brainstatik. As with lots of great music, the style here is very hard to pin down. At times I'd call it electronic music similar to Synergy but the guitar throws it all off and the music tends to veer into Djam Karet territory. Whatever I call it, it's still damn good stuff.
The CD starts out very strong with the title track which features Glenn Robitaille on drums and Dave Cashin on additional keyboards. Right from the start it's obvious that this is going to be a really unique disc. Robert's guitar playing is quite majestic at times and his sense of counterpoint is just a joy to hear. At around the three and a half minute mark things get a bit strange, there's a weird slowed down voice part and the music suddenly shifts into a freaky lower gear. Things gradually pick up, new parts are added and there are a few organ solo spots. Very impressive album opener that doesn't drag at any point for it's entire 15 minutes.
The second track "Forbidden Technology Of The Lost Clown Civilization" is a weird little ditty that certainly lives up to the title. This is some crazy mutant circus music with a jazz twist and some really cool electronic percussion. This is followed by "Cydonia" which starts out a bit slow but very huge with a nice sci-fi soundtrack type sound; having listened to this music several times now, I'm convinced Robert Burger could easily have a lucrative career working in the movie business. About halfway through, the tempo picks up and we get a nice speedy pace that is perfect for layered guitar leads and synth embellishments. The piece ends in an ambient style with a few minutes of beautiful synth and guitar drones.
"Apparitions Of Departed Human Personalities" is another interesting one and this time I'm hearing a sort of cross between Anthony Phillips and David Arkenstone to make up some alien new age tune. There are parts of this one that are really out there, like a segue from lush orchestral parts to demented island music from another planet. After the track fades out, the next one begins with some more great and very unusual synth sounds for just a short period. Even though it has one of the odder song titles on the album, "Radio Hypnotic Intra-Cerebral Control" is probably the easiest song to describe since it has a style very similar to King Crimson. This one would fit in very neatly in the "Larks'" song cycle. If it weren't for the fact that this song just totally kicks ass, I might even call it a rip off. Another peculiar vocal bit brings the song to a spectacular end.
"Dance Of The Nine Unknown Men" is an upbeat space rock piece with some more really captivating guitar playing. I swear he just plays his ass off throughout this CD but it seems to fit the music so well that it sounds almost effortless. There are also some really neat sitar sounds on this one too. This leads into the ending track on the album, "Departure Of The All-Powerful Light Beings" and after a piano intro we're treated to a brief reprise of the first track. The album ends with some very cosmic synth sounds as the Light Beings depart from the realm.
This is definitely one of the best albums I've heard this year so far. It's another one of those that each time you play it you hear something new and exciting. I will admit that there is a bit of a homemade/amateur feel to the music and the artwork on the CD but not only is this nothing embarrassing, it's very welcome to see something of this caliber coming from a home studio."
-Floyd Bledsoe, Progressive Ears

"Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is the the second album by The Gak Omek I have had the chance to listen to. The first one, Alien Eye featured some very good "cerebral" instrumental progressive music. Considering that it was a first CD from an independent solo artist (Robert Burger), Alien Eye was an exceptional album.
Well, with Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings , Mr. Burger has managed to raise the bar a little higher. You will again find on this CD some very well composed and performed instrumental progressive music. Robert Fripp and Steve Hackett can still be cited as references, but I notice two main differences between the first and the second CDs. Firstly, the tracks do not feature as many unexpected twists and turns as on the first album. They evolve in a more gradual manner even though, like on the first track (of epic porportion at more then 15 minutes), there are some distinct sections. Secondly, the music is more emotional. Taking again for example the first track, it ends in a very moving "finale" that reminds me of The Flower Kings.
Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is another great album by The Gak Omek and can be considered a step forward. I have to underline the contributions of Glen Robitaille on drums and especially Dave Cashin on the keyboards (both on the title track) that add some interesting nuances to the music. Highly recommended."
-Marc Roy, 9/27/04

“The gak is bak! Wait, didn’t guitarist and resident gakker Robert Burger issue alien eye just last week or so? That might be the case, but the allegiance he’s struck with a motley group of extraterrestial wayfarers validates the understanding that he wants us to think outside the musical bun, and that he’s got ideas enough to release albums on a monthly basis! Also returning is guest keyboardist Dave Cashin (on the first and last tracks) and drummer Glenn Robitaille adds his touch to the monster title track — all other percussion, as on the first album, is programmed (and very well). A splendid organ-ic solo lurks on here, too, so listen for it.
"return of the all-powerful light beings" opens with a monster of a title track, a symphonic triptych of the Vangelis-meets-Hillage mold. A regal-sounding overture, a soundtrack to an undiscovered continent populated by miniature beings, and a ride on a smooth photon glider encompass in musical terms what this elegant suite is all about — up there with many an epic track. “cydonia” is a certifiable compact epic hinged on moderate guitar pyrotechnics that give way to a neo-canterbury spell sprinkled over with Synergystic spices. “apparition of departed human personalities” is easily the most “pastoral” sounding of the selections found here, with an organic feel bestowed by samples of reasonable quality. There’s a quasi-Spanish section, with Burger playing a trumpet sample on guitar synth! Percolating electrons even assume faux-violin shapes that preface virtual orchestra — a decidedly Wendy Carlos tactic, if you ask me. Great fun, and accessible without dumbing down the formula.
“radio hypnotic intracerebral control” conveys a feel not unlike ‘80s (and some ’90s) King Crimson. Those disjointed, staccato Stickish lines are usually referenced back to Levin, Gunn, and the like. “dance of the nine unknown men” finds the gakmaestro again plying his monophonic legato melodies, sensuous and crystalline and bearing more than a vague resemblance to “Bolero.” The second half includes “singing” guitar a la Oldfield, and hi & lo sitarsonics. Having dodged (and dumped) the sophomore jinx, the gak omek has a great third run to look forward to. Electro-proghedz and instrumental aficionados need to get with the program and get the gak!”
- Elias Granillo
Sea of Tranquility 10/20/04

"Let me start with a confession: I have a limited knowledge of this genre. With that out of the way, I must add: I knows what I likes. And man, did I dig this CD! It’s a joyously blistering journey into space, leaving behind the constraints and limitations of everything routine. More than that, composer-front man Robert Burger will push you into your own creative imagining as you ride along. Highly recommended to flush out the stale air inside your head, it’s a colonic for the mind.
Burger heads his own label, New Jersey-based BlueCube Music, and he performs mightily on guitar, synthesizer and digital drums. He's joined on two of the seven tracks by Dave Cashin on some scorching keyboards and on track one by Glenn Robitaille on drums. In other words, this guy is a music machine, and a wildly imaginative one at that. He creates an atmospheric wave of sound that ebbs and flows like a tide gone wonderfully mad. Opening with the title track, majestic and strange space music moves from a heavy laborious feel to playful trippy tones halfway through. New parts slowly enter a la Mike Oldfield before changing tempo once again to accommodate Cashin’s hot organ solos and finally climb out of the fire to ascending moog riffs, leaving you panting on the side of the road. Who are these Light Beings and how did they get so powerful??
And that’s just the first track, at 15 minutes. It gets better, if you can believe that. The second, aptly named “Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization," made me think of circus music even before I noticed the title, with its mad program drums, though it is a bit less soulful than the other cuts. “Cydonia” is like a movie for your ears, leading you into deep mental/auditory wanderings. It builds slowly and grandly, Burger’s soaring guitar painting majestic murals in your mind’s eye, before the tempo changes for some marvelously layered synth work.
“Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities” is my favorite cut, whimsical and even sweet at times. Its captivating changes are beautifully melodic, but by now you’ve learned that dementia lurks around all of Burger’s corners, lying in wait to delight. It does not fail you here, taking off for another wildly cadenced space ride to a completely unexpected planet, some place wonderfully Latin this time. Who would have anticipated that?
Burger is a master composer, producer, and journeyer, and this CD is a sure winner."
- Kevan Breitinger

"With a tripped out, psychedelic cover featuring alien beings that would be right at home in a tips and tricks book on Bryce 3D's section on molten glass layers fused with cadmium embossing, this work of art is light years ahead of anything this side of Uranus.
Coverwork aside, this disc contains an astonishingly different approach to what we all take for granted with an enormously vast array of sounds and ideas that left me speechless until I had time to understand the complexity of the music presented.
Embracing anything from a throbbing Deep Forest sound to a mamba from Rio Di Janiero, to a tribal beat playing counterpoint to a ridiculously infectious rhythm section you won't find as much variety as on this 2nd outing from a band with the unusual name of "the gak omek". Sounding more like a vegetarian dish that the local natives would serve in the highland village of Ubud in Bali, they don''t come much stranger than this one.
Don't ask me what the name means as I have not yet encountered the obligatory out of body experiences needed to understand all of this alien hoodoo guru, but let me assure you this will challenge those wanting some complexity and versatility without requiring you to leave planet earth.
Robert Burger propels his spacecraft through the nether reaches of the galaxy ably assisted by Dave Cashin on keyboards and Glenn Robitaille on drums although it is Robert who is credited with all songwriting skills.
Call it what you like, try and label this one for me as I can't find a pigeon hole that will envelop its constantly evolving shape. Weird but captivating, infectious but restrained, challenging yet sometimes familiar and discordant in parts yet with melodies aplenty in others, you'll need your photon enhanced Sennheisers to fully appreciate the galactic sojourn you are about to embark on."
- Greg Cummins, Sea of Tranquility"

"Quite a stunning sophomore effort from this New Jersey-based group, essentially a one man army with support and reconnaissance from several like-minded soldiers of the psychedelic wars. Despite the somewhat pretentious pretext-an "instrumental progressive rock interpretation of ancient and modern mysteries"-Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings features impressive arrangements and stellar playing by group leader Robert Burger (guitar, guitar-synthesizer) and solid contributions from drummer Glenn Robitaille and keyboardist Dave Cashin. In addition to the shimmering artwork and packaging, we're treated to a host of songs with titles that would mystify even the most enlightened Zen disciple, from "Forbidden Technology of the Lost Clown Civilization" and "Apparitions of Departed Human Personalities" to "Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control." But most importantly the music matches and, at times, transcends the vivid color and searching ingenuity of the conceptual apparatus. The extended title track is a technocrat's stereo wet dream, filled with dynamic tempo shifts, clusters of complex chordal variations and some tasteful and refined multi-timbral counterpoint. The variety of sounds, textures and simulations Burger conjures from his guitar-synthesizer is truly astounding, rivaling the similar pyrotechnic displays of Adrian Belew on his early solo projects. "Cydonia" revs up the guitar engines for the jump to hyperspace. Here, Burger's elegant jazz scales soar and glide over an orgasmic frenzy of supersonic bass and drums underscored by the heavy metallic thrust of some diamond-hard rhythm guitar. The almost Ozric Tentacles-like "Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control" forms an intricate web of staccato guitar arpeggios buttressed by syncopated rhythm machines. It's like listening to the sound of a thousand metal ball-bearings thrown into a stainless steel anti-gravity echo chamber. "Dance of the Nine Unknown Men" is an entrancing saraband that approaches anthemic proportions. Its mood of yearning for and surrendering to the infinite mysteries of the ineffable in every heart is skillfully choreographed with bittersweet melodicism and resolute percussive drive. Like a song of time and distance, it echoes the voice of the ancient sage who reminds us that there is only the dance of the music-the sadness is in ourselves. Thoroughly original, with few if any precedents, Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings is a work of subtle yet probing design. Intensely cerebral, and at times achingly expressive, it's a fully-realized vision of things neither seen nor heard but only felt."

- Charles Van de Kree, Aural Innovations #30

"Robert Burger has been busy. Less than twelve months since his The Gak Omek debut release, Alien Eye, sees his follow-up, Return Of The All Powerful Light Beings in 2004.
For this release, Robert is accompanied by Dave Cashin on keyboards and Glen Robitaille on drums. For the trivia merchants, Robert and Dave were in a band called The Carpetbaggers whilst students.
What struck me before I lifted the disc from the jewel case was the tremendous cover artwork (the reproduction on the left does not do it justice). Whilst a poster of the artwork may not be desirable, my student days being long gone, a full size framed print wouldn't go amiss.
Described as an instrumental progressive rock interpretation of ancient and modern mysteries, Return Of The All Powerful Light Beings is on a different plane to Alien Eye. The incorporation of keyboards and real drums in addition to Roberts guitar synthesiser and digital drums provides added strength to the well thought out compositions and their complex sounding arrangements.
From the heavier side of prog of the title track to the gentler, almost Anthony Philips style, Apparitions Of Departed Human Personalities, the music slips from a classical, majestic feel to something altogether more prog-funky (think I invented a new term there!). There may be moments of space rock and fusion but the sum total of these are a few minutes at the most.
One of the highlights of the album is Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control which sounds very much as though a Chapman Stick is being tapped to trigger the sounds but as there is no mention of a Chapman Stick, Robert must be 'slapping' his guitar strings to achieve this effect.
The album closes with the majesty and slight menace that is Departure Of The All Powerful Light Beings. It is a 'blink and it's gone' short track of just under the three minute mark that hints towards a reprise of the grand opening title track but adopts an Enid style approach.
- Jem Jedrzejewski
The Hairless Heart Herald

"They have an extremely weird name, but the band makes seriously good music. It's structured entirely around neo-progressive instrumentals. The mix is busy, yet not overly convoluted. The compositions are cleverly arranged, the beats are catchy, and the music is proficiently performed. The music is so symphonic that the vocals are not missed in the slightest.
Looking at the credits, one all-powerful light being is responsible for the majority of the music. He goes by the name Robert Burger and all he uses to make these sounds is a guitar, synthesizer, and digital drums. He is helped out by another named Dave Cashin who plays the keyboards on the first and last track. The last lifeform, Glenn Robitaille, donates his drums to the first track. Whether it's Robert, Dave, or Glenn enriching the elements, the music radiates particles that are rich with radioactivity."

- Josh Turner - Music Street Journal
"Here we have another stunning album from a band that have decided to make their way through without looking back with a view to see what has been done already by any other band or musician in the past, in other words, The Gak Omek is one more band or even a project led by the US multi-instrumentalist Robert Burger, that have opted by following a way mostly cheracterized by originality, of which it surely makes of their music quite an outstanding adventure where the listeners will have the opportunity of diving into a world unknown, but fair and also filled with colours whose sensation is quite an unforgettable voyage inside a luminous sphere. That’s the The Gak Omek’s music according to my slant, a sort of music created overall, by one who surely beholds the world from an upright angle whose goal is to afford us the chance of beholding it this way too so that we can finally share his vision and to understand it better anyway. As far as I know, this album is their second effort entitled ‘’Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings’’, an album that features six songs, some of them quite long as the opening theme for instance ‘’Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings’’ 15:06 while the shortest song entitled ‘’Departure of the All-Powerful Light Beings’’ is 2:57. The music proposed by The Gak Omek is an intelligent and fortunate blend of some Progressive tendencies comprising a bit of Electronic, Symphonic, Space and Jazz Music, that the listener will find some majestic guitarworks, and also quite a few keyboards interventions, and the listener will also find a lot of synths around, creating quite a delightful atmosphere over the whole album. The album is rich musically, and this fact really shows how worthy it is to be discovered by those who appreciate a sort of music that gives in brillantly to diversity at times, not only in rhythm but in ideology likewise, never losing however, the artistic value overall. This album really reflects it all, and this is the reason why I have appreciated it more and more each listening while new discoveries are also befalling obviously. Highly recommendable!"

- Sergio Motta
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal Ezine
" For The Gak Omek read Robert Burger, who is an incredibly talented guitarist. The album is experimental and challenges boundaries without being too avant-garde. It is possibel to be taken into the world of The Gak omek and question what is going to happen next or where the journey will lead, but at all times it makes musical sense and isn't a voyage into self-indulgence. As far as guitar instrumental albums go, this is certainly one of the most interesting and enjoyable that I have come across. While Robert can play quickly when he wants to, fluidity is stressed more highly and the result is something that can be played and listened to on many levels."

-Kev Rowland - Feedback Magazine
"It may be one guy on guitar, guitar synthesizer and digital drums, but it sounds like a prog-rock orchestra - the sounds of guitars, bass, drums, "keyboards", "electronics" and "strings" soaring from the CD in majestic fashion. The opening fifteen minute title track adds a keyboard player and drummer (kit) to start the album with this huge-sounding anthemic instrumental that has the prog adrenaline flowing almost as soon as it begins, as an emerging electric guitar lead suddenly erupts in a cloud of "synths", guitars and drums, as good a prog-rock orchestra as it gets. Then the lead guitar shines out as the track drives forward, this expansive sound having the hairs standing up on the back of your neck as the melodies twist and turn, both solid and powerful yet full of emotion, and it's this construction and arrangement that turns the track into the most stunning instrumental on the album. A further 6 tracks last between three and eleven minutes, and, apart from extra keyboards on the shortest track, it's all the one guy - but, as I say, you'd never know it, as the complex and melodic instrumentals unleash such a variety of sounds, you'd think there was a team of guitarists, synth players and drummers. The lead guitar work throughout is razor sharp while the sounds and arrangements never veer towards self indulgence, preferring to let a more melodic and muscular flow be the central hub around which the vari-paced tracks revolve. Comparisons? Hard one - perhaps a symphonic instrumental Tony Levin, mixed with electronic Synergy style anthemic backgrounds, and multi-layered Hackett-style textures. But it's more than all that - a veritable prog symphony in its own right and it works a treat."
-Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest) - CD Services
"The Gak Omek offers something besides the usual in progressive rock."
-Jurriaan Hage - The Axiom of Choice
"A winner"
John Collinge - Progressions Magazine
- Phil Jackson - Acid Dragon


the gak omek
alien eye

"Alien Eye made my list of top 10 prog albums for 2003"
-Clay Gaunce, "The Trip with Clay Gaunce" - WRFL Radio, Lexington, KY

"I'm really impressed with the music."
-Kenny Solomon, Progressive Soundscapes Radio

"The CD is excellent."
-Christopher Lamka, Of Sound Mind

"An excellent project by Robert Burger who wrote all the songs. A sort of instrumental progressive electronic rock."
- Denis Taillefer,

"Every now and then, I'll get that one disc that makes me stop in my tracks and demand my attention. Alien Eye was definitely one of those discs. What an amazing recording. I absolutely loved it! I couldn't wait to get it into my library and on to the air. It's a fantastic disc."

-John Garaguso
Progressive Soundscapes Radio

“It is quite excellent electronic progressive space rock. Quite a cool variety of material on this CD with great playing by all involved. It appears his family helps out with the artwork. The CD opens with some really spacey sounds before the guitars kick in on "Black Holes Colliding". This song creates a very cool dark, scary mood before lightening up. Excellent stuff. The program drums are really quite good. I usually can’t stand programmed drums on this type of music and never understand why they don’t have a real drummer. "Here Comes The Aluminum Man" slowly takes us out into space and the beautiful guitar slowly builds up as the song gets more and more intense. "Baby Gotta Vicegrip" has a really great riff and repeated sample ("Oh Yeah!"). This is the only song on the CD I would really consider heavy. "Dancing Bologna" is perhaps a tribute to the Italian prog scene of the 70s? "Robotomy" features the guest synth player Dave Cashin and some nice percussion. The CD ends with the "Squiggly Parameter" and has some nice guitar trumpet trade offs.”
Excellent stuff.
5 Stars - highest rating
-Scott Heller
Aural Innovations: December 2003

“The principal instrument is the guitar although not a “guitar” based album. The guitar playing here is fluid and at times powerful. The music on Alien Eye is comprised of elements taken from electronica, space rock, symphonic and some slight fusion with the guitar sound. A very nice mixture of contrasting musical styles that Robert blended in so well. Alien Eye, is one of the better CDs that has come across my desk in 2003. This is definitely a nice overlooked instrumental gem of 2003. I do hope that The Gak Omek continue to bring new fresh ideas as they have on Alien Eye.”
-Ron Fuchs 2/3/04

“The Gak Omek essentiially is the work of Robert Burger, a dynamic performer who plays guitar and guitar synthesizer ina fiery style that emphasizes soloing without sacrificing melodicism. "Black Holes Colliding" the opening track and longest of the 8 cuts at a little over 10 minutes, sets the tone for this collection of space-rock fusion. While there are ambient moments on this CD, much of the material is fairly intense - impassioned instrumentals that take the listener on quite a ride. Burger shows delightful dexterity throughout. One minute he's freewheeeling across the frets in jig-like fashion for "Dancing Bologna," the next he's scanning Steve Howe and Yes (circa Drama) on "Robotomy." Burger even trades licks with a trumpet on "The Squiggly Parameter." His soloing is nicely fluid - Steve Hillage might be a fair comparison, though there are bits that recall Jeff Beck's recent forays into the world of electronica. At any rate, it's highly listenable, first-rate material.”
- Mark Newman
Progression Magazine #45

“The sound is a stew of interesting elements: colorful and abstract melodic complexities, dark progressive chamber rock, fluid atmospheric David Torn-like guitar elements, foreboding soundtrack-like sequences, dense flourishes of sound that congeal around odd rythmic structures with wailing guitar leads overhead, and jazz and fusion elements filtered through the ebbs and flows of complex electronica. Burger's guitar work is sensitive and emotional, in direct contrast to the more mechanical elements of the sound, making it stand out of the mix wonderfully. I'm at a loss for convenient comparisons. The compositions and arrangements here are nothing less than outstanding, and although it's up in the air whether Burger might have been better served by live musicians handling more parts within this dense wall of sound, the disc nonetheless has it's unique charm just as it is. In all, a very solid effort that warrants a listen.”
-Peter Thelen
Expose´ Magazine #28

"Now this is ultra cool music! Without uttering a word, The Gak Omek create an instrumental masterpiece entitled Alien Eye. You can see the pictures they paint with their music. The music does the job with colorful soundscapes of rockin' electric guitar, synthesizers, brass, bass, drums, and various other interesting simulations. I enjoyed this CD immensely. It's a musical gift. Every track features great guitar work and clever use of electronics and brass. Literally, every aspect of musical proficiency becomes the focus on this release, including their excellence in production. Bravo To The Gak Omek. This one is a 10/10 on the Gakometer."
-Keith Hannaleck, June 12, 2004

“Black Holes Colliding opens with a somewhat lengthy atmospheric synths and "spacey" noises section, followed by an infectious riff, which in turn is followed by a return to the atmospherics. As the track develops and presumably the "black holes" eventually collide, the piece becomes slightly more dissonant whilst building in intensity. The music is comprised of elements taken from electronica, Space Rock (apt) and also touches on areas of guitar fusion, although it should be noted that the album does not delve greatly into this area. A similar pattern, is adopted in Here Comes The Aluminium Man and the less intense Tourniquette Of Roses (shades of the riff from Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun here) - an infectious and enjoyable track. These three instrumental offerings pretty much set the mood for the album, combining most of the elements to be found within the remainder of the CD. As I see it, Alien Eye is fundamentally a mixture of contrasting musical styles with infectious, often hypnotic keyboard riffs, atmospherics and spacial effects - all of which serve as a canvas for Robert to paint over his guitar themes. The stand out track is the tension building The Squiggly Parameter, with some nicely constructed bass parts and Burger's guitar work offering a nicely constructed Q&A format with some excellent sampled trumpet sounds. One of the shorter tracks from Alien Eye and one that conjurered memories of Pat Metheny's work with Lyle Mays.”
-Bob Mulvey
The Dutch Progressive Rock Page

“On " Alien Eye " the music can mostly be described as instrumental progressive rock with some jazz fusion, psychedelic, electronica and a few other genres mixed in. Even though we get a full band sound on every track, the main focus is always on the guitar, the other instruments serving more as a musical background. The keyboards also take an important place but never in a soloing capacity. Robert Burger is the sole composer and performer on "Alien Eye" (except for Dave Cashin on one track). The other performers listed on the album sleeve are "imaginary friends". Like I just mentioned, Burger's guitar and guitar-synth playing is at the forefront on every piece. His playing style (and sound) is often close to Robert Fripp and/or Steve Hackett, depending on the tracks.
The general mood of the album is pretty cold and calculated, very cerebral and mathematical. This is not at all meant as a criticism. Once in a while the music does begin to rock a bit more, but it does not last long. The compositions are all very good and I was very much interested and focused on the music all through the album. It is also an album for which I did not mind pressing the "repeat" button on my CD player. The production and performances are also excellent.
I think that fans of Robert Fripp and Steve Hackett (his instrumental non classical pieces) should really enjoy "Alien Eye". From my limited knowledge of this genre, I would venture to say that The Gak Omek are also pretty close in style to French band Priam. For those into the more intellectual side of progressive and fusion, "Alien Eye" should definitively be in your CD collection. An excellent album.”
-Marc Roy
ProGGnosis, 8 Mar 2004

“Beware the One Man Band™! What horrors doth it bring? Synthesized bass; loathsome canned percussion; the most self-indulgent of concepts; perhaps even the dreaded Dearth Of Cohesive Ideas! Worry not. Fasten your cummerbund, gaze into the alien eye, and prepare to be transported to a metavalley so deep the ocean floor is merely a step in a creek. Guitarist and composer Robert Burger is to be held accountable for what transpires here, for it is he who coaxes all otherworldly textures with his trusty axes. Synth sounds abound, but hardly a keyboard is present, and there's no lag whatsoever. Yes, the beats are canned, but the sequencing is tastefully executed. Burger’s guitar playing channels many a hero — be it Hackett, Froese, Montrose or Beck — and copies none. The synth parts and primary electric leads are deftly interwoven, the results overtly symphonic; think Howe’s Turbulence meets Vangelis’ Direct and you’re getting warm.
“black holes colliding” is a meaty template for “sci-fi rock,” while “here comes the aluminum man” does the same for horror/SF crossovers — think Cube. On the latter, the drum programming shifts from the hypnotic variety Tangerine Dream specialized in (before the group went south) to quasi-rock a la Mark Shreeve. The second half hour is no letdown: a long lost Djam Karet track, the opening line of “moonburn 3am” sounds so odd, one wonders if a microtonal exercise is being indulged. The most consistently upbeat track is “baby gotta visegrip” (love only for that title); while Burger emphasizes composition over chops, this is the most singularly “guitariffic” cut with a grandly melodious design. This would be an easy segue into Ronnie Montrose’s Mutatis Mutandis.
Guest keyboardist Dave Cashin sits in on “robotomy” which manifests itself via percolating, dancing digital electrons. Burger’s processed lead lends itself to the title, and Cashin’s presence alerts us that all Burger really could use now is a flesh-and-blood drummer. If the gak omek is reborn as a proper trio on the next album, the scent of burning rubber will definitely grace the asphalt. “the squiggly parameter” juices up the FX to ‘11’ and introduces a synthetic trumpet for a most extraterrestrial air. Well, the holder of the pseudonym has more than proved his credibility as a serious musician — next time, more players, more synths, and real drums, and we’ll have a runaway hit!”
-Elias Granillo
Sea of Tranquility 9/7/04

"Alien Eye" is the first album by New Jersey's project The Gak Omek, which is a one-man team actually. In other words, the number of Solo Pilots to Prog Universe has grown again, and by the way, it continues growing constantly. The fruit of the 20th century technical revolution, this phenomenon has already become a habitual occurrence.
Before reading the review, please have a look at the track list above and take note the dynamics of reduction of the duration of compositions as the album unfolds. It's rather curious, but doesn't influence upon the music's quality, at least on the whole. Now, I have to tell you that Robert Burger's music is strikingly unique, which in itself is a major achievement, and it's clear why. It's an axiom rather than a theory that originality can't exist out of the context of authentic inspiration, and such a primordially efficient union always leads to the best creative effect. Of course, there also are some other factors that have predetermined the impressiveness of "Alien Eye", and these lie in Robert's talent in composition, arrangement, performance, and engineering. Although our man plays only electric guitar and uses only a guitar synthesizer, the overall sonic palette incorporates the sounds of several instruments, is mostly dense and rich and is typical rather for MIDI instruments. (Thus, I wouldn't believe it could manage without any overdubs.) Most of the music was first improvised on the basis of preliminarily adjusted themes, laid when programming the parts of the rhythm-section, which serves somewhat of an axis in most cases. Later everything was integrated and fixed. As a result, symphonic and related structured harmonies prevail over improvisational ones nearly everywhere on the album, and with the exception of one track, which I'll point out below, the music is only flavored of Jazz-Fusion. Nevertheless, the album is very diverse stylistically. The two quasi-epics at the head of it: Black Holes Colliding and Here Comes the Aluminum Man are a confluence of guitar and symphonic Art- and Space Rock enriched with sonata textures of European Classicism and subtle sonorities of Northern India's Classical music, which doesn't have any analogies. However, the first of them is the only track here that contains obvious repetitions, so the second is better. What is more, it is filled with magic and is probably the best composition on the album in general. Here and on any of the other tracks, save the heavy Rock & Roll number Baby Gotta Visegrip, the music develop constantly and is highly exciting. Tourniquet of Roses, Moonburn 3 AM, and Robotomy in many ways follow the style laid on the first two tracks, but without any classical tendencies and related, lushly colored, sounds (of strings, etc). The sounds of drums, cymbals and mallet percussion that are used on these, and also on the second and eighth tracks, are very good, while on the other three most of the drum lines are both synthetic and unpretentious. Especially awful is a drum machine on Dancing Bologna. It sounds like a pair of flapping rubbers, while the arrangements, based mainly on Scottish or Celtic folk music, are excellent throughout. I really wonder why didn't Robert use good drum samples everywhere on the album. On the other hand, I must note that this is the only serious drawback he made here. The orchestral-like arrangements returned only on the last track, The Squiggly Parameter, this time in the form of brass section. This is Jazz-Fusion of the first water, but I doubt that all that jazz beauty was elicited from a guitar synthesizer, so "MIDI" comes to my mind again.
"Alien Eye" needs several listens to be comprehended. However, this music possesses a strong magnetic power, so it quickly attracts the listener's attention. To obtain an immediate effect, please play it loud, as I did. Despite a few flaws in the performance department, this is more than a merely noteworthy album, especially compositionally, and I would tell lie if I would say that I liked it less than very much.”
-Vitaly Menshikov, ProgressoR

"Alien Eye is an entirely instrumental album in a progressive rock-fusion vein with a hint of space rock to boot. According to the CD sleeve, Robert (guitar, guitar-synth) is joined by six other musicians. But as these 'people' have names such as Dick Digital, Tiny Shanks, and Zbodner Mnoptopic, I think we can safely assume with a bit of a giggle that Robert is the only real person here apart from Dave Cashin who is credited with keyboards on Robotomy.
The compositions are pretty unique and involving. Although there are eight individual tracks with imaginative names, I see this as one piece of music with eight transitions. Clearly, the album is guitar based but the use of Midi (I presume) and programmed percussion gives it a rich texture.
At times I am reminded of Steve Hillage and to a lesser degree, Satriani in terms of style. Robert builds an effect by intricately 'running' up and down the frets in a mesmeric way whilst the equally addictive percussive elements provide a complex beat. Sometimes this doesn't work too well in the sense that the listener becomes too aware of the fact that generated, as against real, percussion is being used but for the majority of the time it works remarkably well.
If it catches you in the right frame of mind, Alien Eye is extremely addictive. Well worth a listen."
-Jem Jedrzejewski, The Hairless Heart Herald
"I'd rather listen to a leaf blower"
-Roberto Lambooy - The Axiom of Choice