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Everything Oscillating — The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
(Bandcamp no#, 2024, LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-01-08

The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are Cover art

I'd venture to guess that not many albums of instrumental rock will have references to both Led Zeppelin and Weather Report, but Seattle's Everything Oscillating does just that. "Mysterious Traveler" shows up in one track combined with an original called "Imagination," and Zeppelin fans will recognize the title "Does Anybody Remember Laughter?" as a call-out to a famous Robert Plant quote — and the track has a suspicious resemblance to one of the riffs in "Achilles Last Stand," and is credited as such. What does this diversity tell you about the band? It's certainly representative of the wide range of sounds on offer with the band's debut recording, The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. The group is a trio consisting of Dave Webb (guitar) and Mike Murphy (bass, keyboards) of Moon Letters along with drummer Kai Strandskov, who has a substantial resume (though nothing we've covered here at Exposé). They've been playing around Seattle, leaving audiences slack-jawed with their high-energy brand of complex jazz-rock, and I, along with others, have been asking them for some time when they'd hit a recording studio. The result does not disappoint. "Ensorcelled Again!" functions as a sort of fanfare to open the album, a fast-paced shred-fest in a cheerful major key where all three players operate at the highest levels. Webb seamlessly blends nearly every possible guitar technique into his part, from whammy-bar acrobatics to blindingly fast tapping to expressive wah-wah; Murphy's bass is up-front in the mix, matching the guitar lick for lick; and the drums hold it all together with both power and finesse. "Future Dance II" is a short burst of odd meters, crazy riffs, and unexpected digital manipulation. It's not until the fourth track that there's a chance to relax a little with a clean guitar tone and a meditative fretless bass melody on "Imagination," which segues into "Mysterious Traveler" in an arrangement inspired by Scott Henderson's take on the piece. The well-known keyboard figure works surprisingly well translated to guitar, and the heavier sections add great contrast. Special kudos to Strandskov for his wild playing to back the band just before the final recap. The album finishes with the near-title track, called "The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are," which is a twelve-minute journey up from eerie atmospheric synths and a lovely fretless bass to a cool groove with lots of percolating percussion and melodic guitar lines where I'm reminded of Phil Manzanera's instrumental pieces of the late 70s. They finish the piece off with a cool riff that's a little more intense and reminds me of Quiet Sun, then drift off into the sunset. The album is a blast to hear from start to finish, and balances supreme technique with artistic taste in a way that very few shredders can match.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Webb, Everything Oscillating

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