Sunday, September 6, 2009

Icarus the Owl - The Spotless Mind CD Review

Who is Icarus and why is he an owl? I know not, but one thing I can tell you is this is intelligence that wants to rock. And they sure do to with aggressive creativity and unbiased meter usage. To me they sound like a pop/punk version of the Meshuggah Escape Plan or even closer to Damiera. They are from Portland OR and have recently released their debut "The Spotless Mind". Joey Rubenstein (singer/guitarist) sent me the metric thesis and it goes like this:

Icarus the Owl - The Spotless Mind
Running From Lacuna - Intro:4 measures(6/4), Verse:8(6/4), Chorus:8(13/8), Post- Chorus:4(4/4), Technical Bridge:8(23/16), Verse:8(6/4), Chorus:8(13/8), Ending:32(4/4)

The Extortionist - Intro: 4(4/4), Chorus 16(4/4), Verse: 8(9/8), Chorus: 16(4/4), Verse: 8(9/8), Bridge: 2[ 3(5/4) +1(6/4)], Main Riff: 2(4/4), Chorus: 16(4/4), End: Alternates between 8/4 and 7/4 until the end.

Disposable Company Makes A Lonely Man - Intro/Verse: 6(10/4 + 12/4), Pre-Chorus: 8(7/4), Chorus: 8(19/8), Post- Chorus: 5(6/4+7/4), Verse: 4(10/4+ 12/4), Chorus: 8(19/8), Bridge: 9(9/4), Transition 4(4/4), Chorus: 8(19/8), Chorus: 8(19/8)

La Charliere -Intro/Verse: 2[2(5/4)+1(9/4)]+6/4, Pre-Chorus: 8(4/4), Chorus: 8(4/4), Verse: 32(4/4), Transition 2(4/4), Chorus: 24(4/4), End: 8(13/8)

Esophagus - Intro/Verse: 8(11/4), Pre-Chorus: 2(13/4), Chorus: 4(13/4), Verse: 3[ 3(5/4) + 1(9/4)] + 5(5/4), Transition: 2(6/4), Chorus: 4(13/4), End: 12(6/4)

The Man Who Cried Wolf - Intro/Verse: 2(15/16) + 2(8/4) + 2(15/16) + 4(8/4), Chorus: 8(5/4), Verse: 12(12/8), Chorus: 8(5/4), Bridge: 12(13/8), Second Bridge: 12(9/8), Chorus: 8(5/4), End: 16(6/4)

Tragedy Of The Commons - Chorus: 8(19/8), Verse: 2[3(13/8) + 1(30/8)], Chorus: 8(19/8), Verse: 2[3(13/8) + 1(30/8)], Bridge: 8(27/16), Chorus: 8(19/8), Transition: 4(9/4), Chorus: 8(19/8)

Game Of Jenga -all in 4/4 besides a bridge which is in 6/4!

Invertebrate - all in 4/4!

Igloo - Intro: 12(9/8), Verse: 12(7/4), Chorus: 3(12/4+16/4), Verse: 8(7/4), Bridge: 8(9/8), Bridge 2: 8(9/8), Transition: 2(6/4), Chorus: 3(12/4+16/4), End: 16(4/4) + 8(7/4)

Yellow Bricks - Intro: 8(9/8), Chorus: 7(15/8) + 1(16/8), Verse: 4(15/4), Pre-Chorus: 4(8/4), Chorus: 7(15/8) + 1(16/8), Bridge: 4(31/32), Pre-Chorus: 4(8/4), Chorus: 7(15/8) + 1(16/8)

It's A Good Thing You're Loyal -Intro/Verse: 12(9/4), Pre-Chorus: 4(9/4), pre-chorus Bridge: 16(5/8), Chorus: 2[4(6/4)+1(5/4)], Transition: 1(6/4), Verse: 8(9/4), Pre-Chorus: 7(9/4) + 1(11/4), Chorus: 2[4(6/4)+1(5/4)], Bridge: 19(3/4), Bridge Polyrhythm: Lead guitar: 12(3/4) Rhythm section: 9(4/4), Chorus: 2[4(6/4)+1(5/4)], End: 4(6/4)

My Grey Shun -Intro: 16(13/16), Verse: 7(13/16) + 1(15/16), Pre-Chorus: 2[2(8/8)+2(9/8)], Chorus: 2(4/4)+1(10/4)+4(4/4), Main Riff: 8(13/16), Verse: 7(13/16)+1(15/16), Pre-Chorus: 2[2(8/8)+2(9/8)], Chorus: 2(4/4)+1(10/4)+4(4/4), Bridge: 8(7/4), Main Riff: 3(13/16)+1(15/16), Chorus: 2[2(4/4)+1(10/4)]

Three Week Break - Intro: 7(7/4)+1(12/4), Verse:8(7/4), Pre-Chorus: 8(9/4), Chorus: 8(6/4), Bridge: 8(5/4), Transition: 1(5/4), Pre-Chorus: 8(9/4), Chorus: 8(6/4), End: 6/4 Until The End!

Choruses in 13/8 & 19/8, bridges in 31/32 & 27/16, verses in 11/4 & 7/4 and whole songs in 4/4, well what do I say about this but... how cool is this?

These guys can play and are gifted musicians. They play for the song and do not come across as trying to be technical but just following their true rhythm. I especially admire the singer, Joey Rubenstein's ability to sing in these meters. It fits, it works and is the song, not something that the singer is trying to work in, which can happen all too often. Also he is the guitarist with a two hand tapping melodic approach that fits/is the song too, this I would like to see live. Mark Haines, the drummer could teach most of the drummers I know a thing or two. As my sister says, maybe he came out of the womb suckling time changes. Yeah, I think he fits in this category. The bassist, Mike Black rocks too. His playing is flawless and deep but I feel like its held back a bit. Maybe its my bias but it would be nice to hear some leads from him.

By the looks of their MySpace page they have lots of fans and I think that they are on to something. And maybe they are proving that the whole population may not be so metrically phobic, a novel thought.

I look forward to hearing these musicians future creations whatever incarnation they choose to be in. Check them out, maybe they will inspire you to write a verse or two in 19/16 or 31/32.

Awakening your inner music geek,
BetZe13 Tune in



Anonymous said...

Okay, I know this blog is called "Odd Time Obsessed", but HOLY you REALLY think odd and/or multiple time signatures are what makes a good song? Hey, different strokes for different strokes. If that is what gets your dick hard, then more power to you I guess.

Stella said...

As a friend of the band, I feel impelled to tell you they have new band members. Brian Fowler is their new kickass drummer, and they'll be starting a tour in just a few weeks beginning Seattle and making the rounds around the nation. Gentlemen by the name of Tanner on lead guitar, and Ryan on bass will round it out so Joey can belt some vocals. Just an fyi. Nice writing, by the way.

BetZe said...

Never said its what makes a song good and wouldn't know about getting my dick hard because I don't have one. Thanks for your insightful comment.

Joe Gallagher said...

I realise this hasn't been commented on in a while but I just discovered these guys and stumbled across this by putting 'Icarus the Owl odd time signatures' into google xD
Love these guys now and your insightful blog is now helping me to drum along to them, cheers!