Exposé Online banner

O.R.k. — Soul of an Octopus
(RareNoise RNR075, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-04-17

Soul of an Octopus Cover art

The first O.R.k. album was a pleasant surprise, presenting an imaginative take on the confluence of heavy rock with atmospheric production and strong vocals. Soul of an Octopus gives us nine more tracks of the same basic style, and while it is perhaps a little less immediately appealing, it is a no less rewarding release. The notable changes from Inflamed Rides are the increased use of acoustic guitar and electronic percussion. Certainly Carmelo Pipitone played acoustic guitar on the debut, but it seems more prominent now, with tunes like “Collapsing Hopes” featuring acoustic and slide to start with, though of course the heavy electric parts are bound to arrive before long. Pat Mastelotto is no stranger to electronic percussion, and his inclusion of it here is well within his style, though he avoided it for the previous O.R.k. album. These electronic elements do not overpower the rock element of the drumming, only serve as coloration at times. To a great extent, the sound is dominated by the vocals of Lorenzo Esposito Fornaseri, which are strong and capable of great range — and his lead parts are augmented by many backing parts, both harmonizing and offering counterpoint and commentary. The second defining factor comes from Pipitone’s guitars, often with three or more parts worked expertly together, providing variations of tone as well as enriching the harmonies. You’ll hear one or two acoustic parts with picked or strummed parts, a bluesy slide, and several distorted electrics with riffs and chords. One of the really nice elements of the band’s sound comes from Colin Edwin’s favoring fretless bass, which is not often heard in such heavy circumstances, but adds a lot of interest to the music. Add in some supportive keyboard parts (from Fornaseri), and you’ve got a lot going on. Fornaseri’s production manages to make it all sound real and natural, full but not overdone, with each part fitting into its own sonic space. Soul of an Octopus is another great release from this great band, and should find a home in the playlists of fans of Porcupine Tree and other progressive music that is heavy but not in the realm of progressive metal.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Pat Mastelotto, O.R.k., Colin Edwin, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (LEF)

More info
http://orkband.bandcamp.com/album/soul-of-an-octopus

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Metanoia – This hard-to-find treat was released after the live album Coma Divine but prior to the latest album Stupid Dream as a limited edition gatefold double 10" vinyl-only release. Recent interviews...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues