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CD REVIEW

The Octopus Project: Memory Mirror

by J. Poet on April 20, 2017
Austin’s Octopus Project continues to demolish our expectations of what a rock band can be. Fractured dance rhythms, post-rock clatter, mysterious theremin stabs, jazzy cocktail-lounge ambience and experimental electro textures continue to swirl through the mix in unexpected combinations and permutations. There are even a few songs, although they play havoc with traditional verse/chorus structure in favor of something more fractured and psychedelic, a lyrical equivalent of their erratic instrumental approach. “Small Hundred” is a minimal track that blends old school disco and rap into a breezy confection full of processed vocals and incomprehensible lyrics. A complex, off-center, Afrobeat-influenced pulse, intergalactic theremin textures and echoing, dub heavy vocals explore the beautiful melody of ”Remember Remembering” before floating off into a long instrumental passage that would be fitting background music for a sci-fi romance. “Understanding Fruit” inches close to a regular rock instrumental with a driving, propulsive bassline spinning through a whirlpool of guitars and xylophones that provide brief stabs of melody. A murky Bo Diddley beat submerged under waves of synthesizer slurry, foghorn bleating, fractured drum rhythms and funereal organ drives “Ledgeridge,” while “Brounce” features distorted, metallic guitars floating over sustained synthesizer chords, ambient, unintelligible vocals and a club-friendly dance beat. The murky mix the band favors is full of impenetrable sounds and challenging rhythms that often obscure as much as they illuminate, making it hard to discern individual voices and instruments. It’s an overwhelming approach that’s stimulating and frustrating in equal amounts.
Authors: J. Poet
Artist: The Octopus Project
Album: Memory Mirror
Label: Robot High School

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