Thursday, May 11, 2017

O.R.K., Soul of an Octopus

Art Rock, for lack of a better term, continues to evolve and develop. As others have remarked elsewhere, the fate of interesting and worthwhile rock seems to be following in the path that jazz has followed. Initially a music of great popular success, the music perhaps no longer dominates the pop charts as it once did, but instead has become more of a specialized art genre in its own right, where the elements that make it what is has been are still present but further evolved at times away from easy popular success and more towards an audience looking for substantial music. Just as jazz has gone from a music central to the popular zeitgeist to an art form independent of mass appeal, so perhaps goes rock. The Beatles' Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was one of the celebrated forebears of evolved rock, surely. And there were many other albums from that era onwards that made claims for the music as much more than hit tunes per se. And Chuck Berry or Little Richard certainly made of the music an art as much as a success. So now we go forward and the roots have made it all possible.

If that is so the band O.R.K. and their album Soul of an Octopus (Rarenoiserecords RNR075/RNR075LP) are an excellent example of rock in its developing away from a commercial form to an art form.

O.R.K. is a quartet of Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari on keys, electronics and lead vocals, Carmelo Pipitone on acoustic and electric guitars, Colin Edwin on fretted and fretless bass, and Pat Mastelotto on acoustic and electronic drums and percussion.

This is music that centers around song form. The song is the primary vehicle that one encounters, with highly evolved progressive instrumental parts that set everything off and gives each song a highly complex musical substance, a depth.

Each instrumental and vocal part meshes together, vocal and thought out keyboard parts, guitar and bass, drums, all in the evolved sort of progressive sphere that looks back to bands like King Crimson and others as the models that have made it possible to go further afield into sophisticated futurist realms.

This is an album that demands your close attention and rewards with music that increasingly grows on you. It gives us music of a definite character, with an elaborate whole that demands guitar and bass prowess but integrates that into the complex totality.

It is music that gives you much to appreciate. This could be part of what the future of the music holds for us. At any rate it gives us a great deal that is happening right now! Listen.

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