Exposé Online banner

O.R.k. — Soul of an Octopus
(RareNoise RNR075, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-04-17

Soul of an Octopus Cover art

The first O.R.k. album was a pleasant surprise, presenting an imaginative take on the confluence of heavy rock with atmospheric production and strong vocals. Soul of an Octopus gives us nine more tracks of the same basic style, and while it is perhaps a little less immediately appealing, it is a no less rewarding release. The notable changes from Inflamed Rides are the increased use of acoustic guitar and electronic percussion. Certainly Carmelo Pipitone played acoustic guitar on the debut, but it seems more prominent now, with tunes like “Collapsing Hopes” featuring acoustic and slide to start with, though of course the heavy electric parts are bound to arrive before long. Pat Mastelotto is no stranger to electronic percussion, and his inclusion of it here is well within his style, though he avoided it for the previous O.R.k. album. These electronic elements do not overpower the rock element of the drumming, only serve as coloration at times. To a great extent, the sound is dominated by the vocals of Lorenzo Esposito Fornaseri, which are strong and capable of great range — and his lead parts are augmented by many backing parts, both harmonizing and offering counterpoint and commentary. The second defining factor comes from Pipitone’s guitars, often with three or more parts worked expertly together, providing variations of tone as well as enriching the harmonies. You’ll hear one or two acoustic parts with picked or strummed parts, a bluesy slide, and several distorted electrics with riffs and chords. One of the really nice elements of the band’s sound comes from Colin Edwin’s favoring fretless bass, which is not often heard in such heavy circumstances, but adds a lot of interest to the music. Add in some supportive keyboard parts (from Fornaseri), and you’ve got a lot going on. Fornaseri’s production manages to make it all sound real and natural, full but not overdone, with each part fitting into its own sonic space. Soul of an Octopus is another great release from this great band, and should find a home in the playlists of fans of Porcupine Tree and other progressive music that is heavy but not in the realm of progressive metal.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Pat Mastelotto, O.R.k., Colin Edwin, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (LEF)

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Christian Décamps et Fils - Nu – Décamps is, of course, the longtime lead vocalist and rock-poet emeritus of Ange, returning here to solo-career status (technically, Ange is still together - sort of - I have an album titled Les...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues