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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Octant
Car Alarms and Crickets
Up Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
When I first heard of Octant, I thought, "Oh great another novelty act that sounds like a cool idea that doesn't work in reality." Here is a guy, Matt Steinke, that builds his own computer modified instruments; light sensitive samplers, an electric stringboard, frequency modulators, and a random tone generator made from a plastic bowling ball. This sounds very cool, but I am very afraid. Afraid because most of the time we encounter man-meets-funky-computer-stuff the results are random noisiness that is really quite annoying (Oval) to everyone but that one friend we all have who says, "It's not bad if you listen to a couple of times."

Well, Octant delivers the goods on Car Alarms and Crickets in a way I have not heard from a computer generated band before. The vocals from Steinke and fellow bandmate Tassy Zimmerman are sparse but super, especially Tassy's on "Laquita, Laquita". This song reminds me of "The Gash" on the last Flaming Lips album in its pacing and use of vocals. However, the electronic breakdown in the middle certainly sounds nothing like the 'Lips and is a great chaotic mess from which Zimmerman's vocals recover the music. Apparently Octant's idea of a drum machine is very different from your normal band. They have a robotic drum set that plays itself, which makes me believe that they would be dynamite live, especially on songs like "Mince Up" and "Blocks" in which the drums cut through the songs like a chainsaw in a Jackyl song (this is a compliment). "What It Was" sounds like a wholly electronic Yo La Tengo with a slow, soulful interplay between the vocalists. The song "Millionare Hairdresser" builds off of a riff on what I think is a real banjo (you can never be too sure with these bands). It sounds great placed in the middle of the electronic mesh that surrounds it. The album tails off toward the end a little, "Prolicane" sounding like it is trying to do way too much and the closing track "Car Alarms and Crickets" is one of those long songs of slight droning sounds that bands put at the end of albums for reasons unknown. Despite the tailing off at the end, Octant's Car Alarms and Crickets proves interesting and exciting after repeated listens and proves that this band is not a novelty act.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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