The New York ensemble IZZ around the brothers Tom and John Galgano has been one of the most exciting prog suppliers from overseas for two decades. Since that time it has known how to build an elegant bridge to Europe. Four years after their last regular studio album "Everlasting Instant", a new work is now available, which more than just makes you sit up and take notice. Not least because of his reference to Douglas Adams.
With their ninth studio recording, IZZ deliver their masterpiece: "Don't Panic" bursts with clever ideas, artistic arrangements and joy of playing. In addition, the group is proving to be more progresful here than ever before. As the title suggests, "Don't Panic" does indeed refer to Douglas Adams' cult radio play and novel series "Hitchhiking through the Galaxy", but differently than one might initially suspect. We talked about it with John Galgano and Paul Bremner.
eclipsed: With your last albums you had heavy existentialist topics at the start. Douglas Adams' novels are rather bizarre and funny. Did you need emotional compensation?
John Galgano: When we started working on the new album, I had just read Adams' book and all the funny ideas from him were whirling around in my head. But two things came together here: said reading and the rediscovery of my admiration for the American baseball player Jackie Robinson [1919-1972], the first black American in the Major League to do much for the development of human rights. Then it hit me like a blow: In Adams' book the number 42 is the answer to life, to the universe, to everything. The 42 was also Robinson's back number. The connection was clear: the man, or rather: his heroism and selflessness are the answer to everything, if we dare to follow in his footsteps! That's the theme of the 42 longtrack.
eclipsed: The equations IZZ = F (x2 + y2) and DM = MK 2/Z are emblazoned on the record cover. What's it all about?
Galgano: We were looking for a name for our instrumental. Because this is a rather aggressive track, I wanted a connection to physics, to how a single object can influence the direction of other bodies. That's how we came to "Moment Of Inertia". The greater the improbability of an event, the greater its impact. The spaceship in Adams' novel is powered by an improbability machine that takes it to unknown targets. The same with Robinson: The first African American in the Major League - that has changed the history of the USA for the better.
eclipsed: Do the three other song titles also have corresponding double meanings?
Galgano: "Don't Panic" is the motto for the space travellers in the novel. But "Don't Panic" is also a great concept: Even if the world seems frightening, let's all take a deep breath and give each other more leeway. "Age Of Stars is more general: It takes a look at our life on earth in relation to the infinity of the universe. The idea behind it: We live in a special cosmic time where we can enjoy the sight of the stars. At some point, the universe expanded so far that that will no longer be possible.