Classical Graffiti

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There's little doubt that The Planets will achieve success in the world of Classical crossover. All the essential elements are in place: top-notch musical credentials, photogenic good looks, sex appeal, and the ability to create an entertaining mix of Classical and contemporary Pop music. Most important, perhaps, is the fact that the group is the brainchild of Mike Batt, the man who orchestrated the careers of Vanessa-Mae and Bond. For its debut album, he provides the eight-member ensemble with 16 tracks made up of original compositions and covers of well-known classical themes, all bearing Batt's signature crowd-pleasing arrangements and production style. Dance beats, Flamenco rhythms, Middle-eastern modalities, and sentimental melodies are intermingled with heavy guitars and prog-rock pyrotechnics to create a vibrant musical mix that showcases the group's technical proficiency.

High-energy workouts such as "Rodrigo," "Carmen Caprice," and "The Journey Of A Fool" offer ample opportunities for displays of virtuosity. But the group shows it's capable of subtlety and nuance, particularly in the romantically wistful "Love In Slow Motion" and the Celtic-tinged "He Moved Through The Fair." Batt has consistently demonstrated a knowledge of the ingredients necessary for crossover success, and on CLASSICAL GRAFFITI he once again applies a winning formula to great effect.

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