One Song (or, Richard makes a brief go at music criticism)

The Octopus Project & Black Moth Super Rainbow: “Spiracle”

“The Octopus Project – oh yeah, I know them! They’re great. One of the band members once hit on my sister at a show.” – Natasha Hernandez, in conversation with me when I brought up the subject

So you know what I really need right now? This song. It’s the opening number off an album I don’t own in any format – The House Of Apples And Eyeballs – and it fulfills the function of a proper opening number, i.e. hitting and running the prospective listener with a big blast of hyperbole that amounts to the simple message of “Listen up”, thus setting expectations high for what’s to follow. The rest could very well fall flat – I like to be surprised.

But good golly, it is a fine piece of work, a quick build-up – chiming synths, squeaky beats, and guitars – which gives way to a breakbeat and then that squalling climax, a sound so immediate it renders the forty seconds that came before almost perfunctory, if structurally necessary. You’ll know it when you hear it. It sounds like a siren signaling both alarm and euphoria – everything is up in the air, suspended, and who knows where we’ll land. It’s hard, but not aggressive – just immense, oddly inevitable; everything can happen and it can only happen now, to quote somebody, probably, which is the only palpable moment I can grasp when I hear it: Now. There’s catastrophe and frenzy there, the sense of something emerging – who knows? The song hits another valley, with distortion as an extra flavor, and then ascends back to the same heights, somewhat; this time it echoes off of itself, stuttering, unsustainable – it can only break itself into pieces within those parameters. In the end, that moment just stops, the song trailing off with a simple synth line to lead us out, its point made.

(If I’m honest, I’ll admit that my confidence w/r/t instrumentation is pretty damn hazy: I think I can identify that beat as a breakbeat and everything beyond that – geetars, bass, synths, whatever – all meld into various blissful shades of red against a black background according to my synaesthesia.)

Use this to choreograph your next action sequence or sugar rush or something. Repeat.  

You can download it, along with many other fine tunes (another few recommendations: “I Saw The Bright Shinies” and “The Way Things Go”, though it’s all swell) off The Octopus Project’s website. Enjoy.

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