The Octopus Project with Wire Faces
The Octopus Project has been releasing joyous party music since 2002, following a musical path that veers through blown-out rock’n’roll, vibrant electronics, surreal pop and expansive psych landscapes. All these complimentary/contrasting elements have been packed into their sixth and latest album, Memory Mirror, creating a sonic world that is at once more diverse and more focused than any of the band’s work to date.
Writing and recording the album were aspects of the same process, with inspiration coming from sounds, accidental textures and rhythms that would then be shaped into songs. “Small Hundred,” for example, was born out of a recording of a champagne cork popping at the end of a European tour. That sound - distorted, pitched, and played as a rhythmic sample, became the arpeggiated rhythm that drives the song’s wordless chorus. The stuttering keyboard pads on “Pedro Yang” came from a previous, failed synth composition - when it was arbitrarily chopped up and rearranged, the new rhythms that emerged suggested a slow-motion float that the song came to embody. The real fun, though, lies in marrying these abstract inspirations to beats and melodies that reach out and grab you. The looping sequence that runs throughout “Woah, Mossman!!” may be in 10/4 (we think?) but it’s the insistent backbeat and rising vocal refrain that get stuck in your head.
Memory Mirror also represents a more focused approach to instrumentation and arrangement, in contrast to the heavily layered style explored on some earlier albums. Though the songs range from blasting guitar rock to blissed-out ambience, each has a sense of space has allowed the band to pursue heavier sounds and wider vistas than ever before. A nose-puncher like “Cuidate” blasts out of the speakers no matter the volume, while “Remember Remembering” with its soaring Theremin choir and “Ledgeridge” with its serpentine synth finale transport the listener to another world.