Make your own free website on Tripod.com

in a series of events

 

the Olivia Tremor Control

 

Another of those Elephant 6 groups. The OTC (as I call 'em) deal in psychedelic-tinged pop with some crazy 60's Zappa-esque noise collages thrown in. They sure can write a good song, too.

lineup: Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart (vocals and various instruments); with a cast of thousands

review index: Music from the Unrealized Film Script "Dusk at Cubist Castle" / Black Foliage: Animation Music, Volume One

solos & sides: Circulatory System (Circulatory System)

missing albums: Singles & Beyond

apex: Black Foliage: Animation Music, Volume One
nadir: Music from the Unrealized Film Script "Dusk at Cubist Castle"
overlooked: all of them!


Music from the Unrealized Film Script "Dusk at Cubist Castle" - 1996

Rating: ***
Best songs: The Opera House, Jumping Fences, Define a Transparent Dream, No Growing (Exegesis)
Worst songs: Green Typewriters, Frosted Ambassador, bla bla

 

The first half of the album has plenty of good songs on it. The second half of the album (or disc, if you've got this on vinyl) is mostly hindered by aimless noisy meanderings. Don't start here, get the next one.


Black Foliage: Animation Music, Volume One - 1999

Rating: ****1/2
Best songs: must I choose? okay, fine: I Have Been Floated, Hideaway, California Demise 3, A Sleepy Company
Worst songs: The Bark and Below It

 

This is just a brilliant album. It would've been great had it just had such wonderful songs on it, but combining the songs with sound collage, bursts of noise, recurring themes, and disjointed voices? Well, I said it before: brilliant.

The sound on here is a lot more polished and refined than that of Dusk at Cubist Castle. Though I'd still call it "lo-fi", they manage to cram a whole lot of instruments, vocals, and other assorted noises on here. Who says you need a recording studio? I should note, at this point, that the two primary songwriters of the OTC, Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart, have a sort of Lennon/McCartney thing going on. Doss writes the happier, poppier, upbeat songs, and Hart does the more minor-chordey psychedelic-inspired songs. And they're both good at it! Have I overused the word "good"? Good! I won't go into individual songs, as there's way too many of them to cover. Let's just leave it at that.

Despite the overall goodness of this album, there's just one tiny problem on here, and it's called "The Bark and Below It". It's a ten-minute ambient collage thing that really sends the album grinding to a halt. Sort of like "Moonchild", except without the incredible pretentiousness of Robert Fripp.

Boy, I bet you weren't expecting that biting commentary on King Crimson, were you?

So, in conclusion: buy this album or else I'll be forced to sit here quietly until you do. Assuming you can find it -- these independent releases are always going in and out of print, y'know? But do make an effort to find this one. It's good.


Appendix: Solo Albums and Side Projects

Unfortunately, it seems that the OTC has broken up. However, Bill Doss and Will Hart have both started up solo projects: the Sunshine Fix for Doss, and Circulatory System for Hart.


Circulatory System, Circulatory System - 2001

Rating: ****
Best songs: Outside Blasts, Yesterday's World, The Lovely Universe, Inside Blasts, etc.
Worst songs: none

 

This is, at the same time, more and less accessable than the OTC albums: more accessable because there aren't any of the bursts of noise, and less accessable because Bill Doss isn't present with his sunny pop side of the moon. Also, this album pretty much contains the exact same mood for all of the 23 tracks. But man, the mood is wonderful -- sort of eerie and floatey. And the songs kick ass too. I won't say anything specific. Okay, okay: "Outside Blasts" is a friggin' awesome mini-epic-type-thing. The rest are good too, pretty much. Buy it. It's good. I swear!! You're not gonna use that $12 for anything worthwhile anyway. (If you want to buy this album, support independent musicians and do so here.)


This is the end of the page. Return home now.