Starfucker Add Dates To North American Tour

Portland’s Starfucker (or STRFKR for the faint of heart) have been selling venue after venue supporting their second album, Reptilians, out on Polyvinyl on a coast to coast tour they kicked off in March. Accordingly, they just added dates to their tour which include playing San Francisco’s Outside Lands and Canada’s Sled Island. Spinner included them in its Top 100 Acts at SXSW 2011 and Pitchfork said, “Onstage, the members swap multiple instruments, providing a kinetic, anything-can-happen energy” when describing their live performances. If they’re coming near you, you might want to check them out.

Here is the updated list of tour dates:
04/19 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court – Early Show
04/19 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge – Late Show
04/21 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
04/22 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
04/23 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project
04/26 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
04/28 – Portland, OR – Holocene
04/29 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
04/30 – Portland, OR – MS Studios
06/03 – Mexico City, MX – Caradura
06/20 – Pullman, WA – Bell Tower
06/22 – 06/24 – Calgary, AB – Canada Olympic Plaza – Sled Island
06/26 – Spokane, WA – A Club
08/12 – 08/14 – San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands

The Octopus Project @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 10/8/10

(Every show has more than one story right?)

On Friday night (October 8, 2010), The Octopus Project played Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. I wasn’t familiar with their brand of electronic psychedelica, having only really heard Hexadecagon.

Hexadecagon touched upon minimalist composers, video sequences and “happiness seizures” which intrigued me. It all sounded a bit Dan Deacon-ish, but in doing some further digging, it wasn’t like that at all. On the surface it could be; electro acoustic compositions that push your sense of time to a near stand still as dissenting loops are pushed together into a whole, where the shape of the room changes the sounds you hear and how you react.

Happiness Seizure isn’t far off, to be frank. From the opening notes of the first song, “Fuguefat,” I had a smile on my face as large as the room, and any sort of “professional demeanor” was gone with the rushes of ecstasy washing over the room and clapping and cheering broke out which each chord change. Someone brought in a sack of glowstick necklaces and threw them to all corners of the room providing little pinpoints of participants in neon colors which caught and complemented the sounds from the stage as their wearers bounced in time, extendending the show’s tense visual flavor.

That visual flavor was, unfortunately, a bit muted. The sequence of video that the band had brought along was projected onto thick black curtains behind the act, so that the sequenced animations were not visible, denying the crowd the chance to see what other cities got to experience. This video animation was complemented by an amp stack which was wrapped in Christmas lights then draped in a white sheet with eyes made of tape and another stack was covered in geometric reactive stripes whose back-lit black light made every thing on stage as strong as the brief snatches of color dancing in the crowd.

Special shout out for the theremin playing of Yvonne Lambert. It was the first time I’ve ever seen the theremin used as anything other than a special effect as Yvonne teased full melody and contra-melody from the device to great effect during the 10 minute long “Circling,” and taking the center stage for the near solo work of “Toneloop” which sounds like catching a cry from Heaven on your radio at 1 AM. It’s difficult to not call it “masterful” because it’s clearly a new league above other acts using the instrument but there’s really little comparison beyond educational videos glimpsed from times long gone.

Not to say that the rest of the band wasn’t impressive, as everyone on stage proved to be a multi-instrumentalist; as guitarists became bassists became drummers became keyboardists in seemingly equal measure. The visual accompaniment of the musicians themselves in constant motion was almost enough to make up for the lack of actual visuals barely glimpsed, like shadows on a cave wall.

And that’s what it was like. It was like tribal storytelling, music from beyond the ether handed down to the God touched performers. Dangerously close to hippy dippy jam bad territory, but also smart enough to know when to pull back. The Octopus Project is impressive live and you deserve to experience it.

The Octopus Project Churn Out New Single, “Fugefat”

With an overly-ambitious concept that’s so overly-ambitious that it has to work in some realm, The Octopus Project are set to release Hexadecagon.  To make sense of the name, the group already blew minds at last year’s SXSW by arranging 8 speakers and 8 synchronized video projections into a 16-sided audio/visual carousel.  The project was the result of tireless work to refine home-crafted electronic equipment to configure the 8-channel audio system the album was recorded on.  The album was inspired by minimalist composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich, which is apparent in how structured and articulate the theoretically chaotic new songs are.   Though it starts out sounding like the next iPod or Google commercial, soon 40-plus piano tracks loop together to form a visceral, auditory spaghetti.  Give the track a listen HERE, on headphones preferably, and look out for The Octopus Project on tour with STRFKR on these dates:

09/30 – Shreveport, LA @ The Collective
10/01 – Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree
10/02 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
10/04 – Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
10/05 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
10/06 – Washington DC @ DC9
10/07 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
10/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/09 – New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine*#
10/10 – Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bears
10/11 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
10/12 – Toronto, ON @ Wrongbar
10/13 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks
10/14 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
10/15 – Chicago, IL @ The Bottom Lounge
10/16 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
10/19 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
10/20 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
10/22 – San Francisco, CA @ Great Am. Music Hall
10/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
10/24 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
10/25 – Tucson, AZ @ Plush
10/29 – Asheville, NC @ Moogfest *

All shows with Starfucker (except *)
# w/ We Are Scientists, Rewards