Tuesday, April 12, 2005

CD Review: The Octopus Project - One Ten Hundred Thousand Million


Batman and Robin were hanging out in the Batcave downloading some MP3’s when they came across the Peek-A-Boo Industries website and The Octopus Project songs available there.

“Holy Tortoise, Batman! This stuff sounds like Flying Lizards under a Tuxedomoon.”

“Good ears, boy wonder. You picked up on those stylistic cues as well as any hipster rock snob. I might buy you an iPod after all.”

The Octopus Project has created a sensation across the country with the party like atmosphere of their live shows impressing rock snobs, super heroes, and those of us who just want to dance sometimes alike. Balloons, bizarre party favors, and masks do give you the party feel, but it’s the music that really counts. Toto Miranda, Josh Lambert, and Yvonne Lambert’s music is a post everything mixture of guitar, drums, and electronic delight giving off more emotional resonance through instrumentals than most bands convey in the standard verse, chorus song format. The release of their second album, One Ten Hundred Thousand Million should see the sensation grow.

They have built off the barely contained chaos of 2002’s Identification Parade and expanded and refined the samples and beats to produce a singular joyful noise perfect for dancing or introspective contemplation. It’s a nifty trick that took tracking down a New Orleans brass band in one instance and recording the sound of the concrete steps in a stairwell in another. There is a childlike aura of experimentation and risk taking with The Octopus Project’s music that coincides with their visual appeal to make one delicious serving of tako never forgetting the extra wasabi.

One Ten Hundred Thousand Million gets off to a rousing start with “Exit Counselor” and its minute and 31 seconds dominated by drums which then segue ways into one of my personal faves, “The Adjustor” which has a trance like mechanical layering that is somehow very touching reminding me of the work of composer Philip Glass. The Octopus Project excels at controlled dissonance and wonderfully strange compelling tunes like “Responsible Stu” that wouldn’t be terrible out of place with the shortwave transmissions compiled on the Conet Project. The high point of the record is on the aptly titled “Music Is Happiness” with its debt to the drum and bass scene. “Tuxedo Hat” reminds me of a music box missing a few gears until the seagull sounds begin and then the song takes off into a whole other realm. Lest you think The Octopus Project do not know how to rock, there is “Six Feet Up” and its clattering heaviness much like Ministry in their “Stigmata” prime.

Meanwhile, back in the Batcave:

“Batman do you think The Octopus Project got their name from the famous conspiracy theory?”

“Robin, you’re wrong there. My sources tell me it is just a name and nothing more. The only conspiracy I can hear is one that’s wide out in the open – namely a conspiracy to rock!”

So listen to One Ten Hundred Thousand Million and be a super hero.


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