Alphanaut is an electro-acoustic project fronted by singer/songwriter Mark Alan.
Alan, who has been writing and recording music since high school, played in several bands in Seattle before moving to Los Angeles in his early 20’s. He launched his professional career writing and performing in the early 90s with a group of musicians he gathered to form the band November. Fronting the five piece project for over six years, Alan spearheaded a style that mixed lush guitar melodies with ambient keyboards—not exactly an easy nut to crack in the “garage rock” era. After the band split, he began focusing on other creative interests with an eye towards one day returning to writing and recording music from a fresh perspective. Many of the musical sketches he wrote over the years formed the foundation for Alphanaut, whose futuristic name came from a cult 70s British sci fi show called Space: 1999.
In late 2007 and early 2008, Alan got back in the groove and began work on three dozen new musical works that covered a vast range of soundscapes. At one end of the spectrum there were songs that had a more straight ahead “pop” structure, and at the other were more abstract, ambient pieces. Alan decided to break them out into three distinct groups and build Alphanaut’s releases from there, starting with the commercial minded "The Lunar Age" and its subsequent maxi-singles, all of which have been released digitally. He then focused on the more socially conscious, “Out of Orbit”, full length album expanding the lushness and scope musically. The album is set for release March 2010.
Perfectly fusing his lifelong passion for Brian Eno and retro keyboard flavors with elements of pop, funk, jazz and even hip-hop, Alan complements his vocals and studio wizardry with an exciting array of live musicians who bring a fresh spontaneity to the evolving Alphanaut sound. Working off the core vision of Alan and his regular guitar player Chavo Villanueva, the singer brings in other guitars, upright and electric bass, piano and trumpet textures. The songs are snapshots that tell unique individual stories, some personal and some with biting social commentary borne of Alan’s frustration at the tail end of the previous administration. Impressively, Alan wrote all of the current songs and those on "The Lunar Age" in a burst of inspiration after nearly a decade away from songwriting.
The process now includes the compelling tracks that make up Alphanaut’s latest project, which include “Never Been To Athens,” a quirky and bubbly down tempo piece featuring an inner dialogue looking back on one’s youth from the vantage point of adult wisdom; the anthemic, “More Than I Do,” which expresses Alan’s lingering anger over the unanswered questions about the Iraqi conflict; the cool electronic-jazz fusion of “Satellite’s Crashing”; and “Mystery Loves Company,” a jab at religious hypocrisy featuring a swirl of hip hop beats, string arrangements and tension created by distortion and noise on the electric guitar. Every track began in Alan’s home studio with pre-production in Pro Tools before he brought them to Stagg Street in Los Angeles to flesh them out in a live environment.