Friday, September 28, 2007

O.S.I. - Free CD Review

Jim where did our love go wrong?

Whats he doing? I know what he’s doing, he’s breakin’ my heart.

Before I dramatically go on:
O.S.I. stands for Office of Strategic Influence which consists of Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, Solo work) on guitars, keyboards, programming and Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, Porcupine Tree) on vocals, keyboards and programming. Free is OSI’s second release with special guests Mike Portney (Dream Theater) on drums and Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint, Anthrax ) on bass. Free is their second release, with Office of Strategic Influence being their first.

Okay back to the drama:
Jim Matheos is one of my most treasured writers/musicians. It was his force that got me started on this odd time path back in the late 80s. I was in love with this music and it was my mission to be able to write like this. The first Fates Warning show I ever saw was in Boston and Jim and his manager helped sneak me in because I was too young. How cool of them to help this distraught stranger. Ever since then, I have seen every one of their shows that I have known about and almost everything he’s written I’ve resonated with (sans solo). I heard him write 4/4 before mainly during his solo efforts– but this “Free” is just a little bit too much for me to handle.

Sure You Will 4/4
Free 4/4Go 4/4
All Gone Now 3/8, 5/8, 11/8, 6/8
Home Was Good 4/4
Bigger Wave 4/4, 11/8, 5/8
Kicking 4/4Better 4/4, 7/8
Simple Life 4/4
Once 2/4
Our Town 6/8

There is simply too many FOURs in this equation. I think there is about 7 mins worth of odd time here (yes I did count it) which in turn makes it about 14% (OCD ya you know me) in odd meters. Jim please come back to your oddness, this is where you belong.

Okay deep breath… at least he didn’t go way off the deep end and start involving himself with sunshine, rainbows, smilely hearts, that I couldn’t take. The whole feeling of the album is perfectly reflected in the cover: the isolation of conformity, creative desolation and more than a bit of hopelessness. There are a lot of cool musical ideas and sounds here but its just not the same when its in four. I like the bass on "Sure You Will" and "Free". “Once” has some interesting poly-rhythms and moods. “Free” and “Kicking” are rockin’ as far as 4/4 songs go and of course my favorites were “All Gone Now” and “Better” – now we’re talking.

Anyways, back to Jim and this meter situation. Its sounds like he is trying to be something his is not – and that’s a 4/4 man. It just doesn’t suit him at all and takes from his magic. Now he’s Plain Jane Jim, not Magical Matheos. Please don’t tell me he is trying to appeal to a larger audience – I will forever be in denial of that if its true. It is a musical album, but Mr. Matheos’s signature is barely there.

Okay, enough of me selfishly holding on to someone’s expression (my new name: Loco B). Its healthy to experiment that is when you get to the gems. If you don’t have any OSI, go get the first one "Office of Strategic Influence" then hope he comes back to his senses for the third one.

Loco B
(Countess B)
Odd Time Obsessed

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Equinox is Equal

I tried with no luck to find a song out of four titled Equinox in my collection.... Maybe because the equinox represent equal day and night??? Anywho, I do have Jaco Live in NYC - but no odd time on that song, he really wasn't big on that... and some new age album - but no oddies...

New this week on Odd Time Obsessed Radio...

Note: Every week the songs are rotated on the playlist (6 hour loop) and each week I try to find new ones to add to the collection... some weeks I find more than others, this is what I found this week....

Some Classics
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin Live in Berlin - their last concert
4/4, 5/4 + it is rumored that they wrote this rhythm to thwart cover bands, I bet they succeeded in that ...

Guinnevere - Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wooden Ships beautiful song... recently discovered this at a neighbors and had to play it 5 times in a row to get the timing and buggin' the sht out of him in the process
4/4, 3/4, 7/4

Classic Players...
Gov't Mule
Wandering Child 10/8, 4/4, 8/8, 4/8, 9/8 plus a couple meters more that will require a few more listens to catch...

Some Classic Classical....
Rite of Spring - In celebration of the Autumnal Equinox (today at 2:51am PDT) yes I know 6 months too in place of an equinox song we are celebrating with this classic.
There are 2 parts and 14 sections. For breakdown got to the playlist Odd Time Obsessed - Playlist

and some classic SURU to continue with the ritual theme...
Witch Doctor 6/4
A Healing Chant 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 7/4

Classically yours,
Countess B
Odd Time Obsessed

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Its 9/16

Okay who out there can name some songs/compositions that use 9/16? Talk to me - the search is on. As far as I know, this meter is rarely used and when it is its usually mixed in with other meters and sometimes hard to hear. It can feel like fast 9/8, 9/4 depending on where the accents fall and surrounding meters. When I was trying to think of a straight 9/16 example I happened to remember a project that I did for my Traditional Harmony class back at Berklee. The professor challenged us to use uncommon keys and meters, so I composed a lovely piece in 9/16 in B flat minor (5 flats). It doesn’t sound that interesting, but I got an A. Anyways if your ears burn for this a sample can be heard on front page of Odd Time Obsessed by clicking on 9/16 star.

New this week on Odd Time Obsessed Radio

Stoner Rock out of FOUR???
Yeahhhh, can you believe that I found some stoner rock out of four? First I have to thank Rocksanne from for broadening my stoner rock horizons – her station ROCKS! If it wasn’t for her, OG and Fu Manchu would not be in my collection today!

Orange Goblin
Hot Magic Red Planet 7/8, 4/4
You’ll Have to Go to the Moon in That 6/4

Fu Manchu
Pick-Up Summer 7/4, 4/4

Melvins – They can be kinda stoner - they sure do go on and on and on and on.....
Gluey Porch Treatments (New and Improved) 10/4, 4/4
Resolve (New and Improved) 7/4, 5/4, 4/4

MattyO - Matt O’Connor is a friend of mine who is stoner-like and a songwriter/guitarist who has a unique blues/reggae/rock/70s sound.
Slop the Barking Dog Band 12/8, 5/4, 7/4, 6/4

Enjoy the Oddness….

Keep it ODD,
Countess B
Odd Time Obsessed

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Happy 9/8

(oh seven that is..)

There are many ways you can play 9/8 such as:
in groupings 3222 - 2322 – 2232 – 2223
441 – 414 – 144
432 – 324 – 234 etc etc
or combo feels 6/8 + 3/8, 7/8 + 2/8, 4/8 + 5 /8
or 3/4 with a triplet feel
or just plain 9 with an eight note feel which is quite different from a quarter note feel.

In celebration of this odd metered day
these fine examples will be on this weekly broadcast:

The Start of Something Beautiful – Porcupine Tree 9/8, 4/4
Igor Russo – Drums & Tuba 9/8
Mucous Music - fred 9/8, 7/8, 4/4
Auroa's Aura - Lindsey Boullt 9/8, 7/8
Brain Seed - Kreator - 9/8 intro

To hear the contrast these 9/4 tracks will be in the broadcast as well:
Blue Rondo a la Turk - Brubeck, Dave Quartet 9/4
In the Absence of the Sacred - Lamb of God 7/4, 6/4, 9/4, 4/4
Jambi - Tool 9/4
Straight Outta HK - Say Bok Gwai 9/4

Also this week some new finds:

Drums & Tuba - odd metered tracks from Vinyl Killer and Mostly Ape
Funky creative art rock trio from Nawlins - why haven't I heard of them before? Where have I been?

Ekova - World Fusion featured tracks from "Space Lullabies And Other Fantasmagore" and "Heaven's Dust". There wasn't too much info on this artist, but she is a one of a kind singer with other worldly sounds.

- Have an ODD week -

Keep it ODD,
Countess B

Saturday, September 1, 2007

This is going to be a LONG week

This week on Odd Time Obsessed Radio for your odd time listening needs...

Epics by Opeth
Some of their longest, heaviest, oddest and growliest....

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Live Wild Strings
This was "given" to me by a seller at a yard sale in WDC in May. He wouldn't take any cash for it because......

Meshuggah - I
Their longest composition, I think it has like 52 parts in it, you won't be bored.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Finally got out my collection - I was missin' Wooten.

In celebration of their upcoming show at Whisky here in LA in Sept!!

Philip Glass
Some opera, some orchestra, some cool composition..

Have an ODD week!

Keep it ODD,
Countess B