STREAM: Octopod "Monoliths & Sepulchres"
"Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile… We will make the whole universe a noise in the end." - Screwtape, a character of C.S. Lewis
In the same way some might write off Rothko's color field paintings as overhyped or even simplistic (i.e. "My 3-year old could paint that") it's easy for the average listener to pass off free jazz as just noise. Anyone in the audience of the Octopod's album release at Dan's Silverleaf would say otherwise. The Octopod is a chimera of experimental jazz: equal parts punk, improv and classical composition - a band eight instrumentalists strong, with members that currently reside all over the country. Their work is transcendent, chaotic, and wholly captivating.
Monoliths & Sepulchres is the group's debut album, featuring 7 through-composed tracks and 8 interspersed interludes. Each interlude is the solo work of a member, representing the musical and personal quirks of the performer (trombonist Connor Eisenmenger's interlude features a cacophony of wet mouth sounds.) Most of all, the music the octet plays is fun - the last ensemble track on the album is derivative of an Eric Andre skit, a comedian who's work is just as disorienting and challenging. "The high art/low art aesthetic is a key part of the band's history and identity," composer Garrett Wingfield said of the Octopod's humor. And that key part is what makes the group so remarkable - the mix of 8 incredibly talented musicians and friends playing harmonically complicated music while having fun and cracking jokes through it all.
You can stream and purchase Monoliths & Sepulchres on bandcamp, but beware once you get past track 9. No one is supposed to make it that far.
Header image courtesy of The Octopod & Garrett Wingfield
Header image design courtesy of Holden Foster