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Octave Cat - Synth Heavy Instrument Funk

I was born in 1978 which aside from making me old means I was raised considerably on the synth sounds that made the 1980's great. My first crush was the singer of A-Ha and I was positively obsessed with keyboards. To this day it's something I have a tendency to focus on when hearing new music. It's one of those things I always wanted to learn and never did so it's a bit of a fascination with what can be conveyed with the instrument. It pushed into a deep appreciation for New Wave and that fine line between punk and electronica that it walked. Ok, maybe that line wasn't so fine in reality but it was in my head. Come the 1990's, I had blossomed into a dark industrial fan... and then I found punk and ska and my world changed forever. That love of electronic sounds never really left though. I just kind of forgot about it.

I love to dance, despite being terrible at it, but I really can't stand modern radio dance music. I touched on this a bit in my last review of Teddy Midnight. The dance music of modern FM radio and any club I have ever been to lacks depth. It lacks emotion. It bores me something terrible. It's repetitive and irritating. The same sounds over and over again gives me nothing to work with mentally and at that point, why bother? I have said before that if I don't feel emotion in music, it makes no difference whether or not it has words. I just can't get into it. I guess that is why when I come across an instrumental artist that has the ability to convey that emotion with music alone, I am completely floored.

My husband passed along the name Octave Cat saying that it was a side project of Eli Winderman of Dopapod and Jesse Miller of Lotus. Honestly, I am not terribly familiar with Dopapod outside of knowing the name and I don't know Lotus at all so I have not heard a peep about these guys. (I'm new to the jam scene, remember? Don't hurt me...) It's really better that way because I can go into a listening experience totally clean with no idea what I am going to fall into. Fall I did. This is nice.

I gave their 2017 self-titled album a listen. I really surprised myself with how much I love it.

First off let me say that I'm a vocal whore. I love to sing myself so I love something I can sing along with. I love lyrics. I want to feel and words help that. With Octave Cat, I didn't even need them. They have a way with their sound that puts you somewhere else in every song without having to sing a single word. This is not someone sitting in front of a computer manipulating sounds. This is very synth heavy dance funk by real musicians. Take a really great jam and make it an entire song. This is an album of that. A full album of incredible flow to just let your mind wander with. It's very cool keyboard sounds from all over the map while still keeping a funky bass sound and steady drum beat throughout.

Now I am still learning about this scene in general. Marrying into it helps, especially since I married a musician who despite being just as stubborn as I am, is fascinated by my willingness to open my ears to what I don't know. I come from a world of songs that tend to cap at maybe five minutes at the most. It was not an instant transition for me into longer songs. I had to really learn what jam is. The moving and changing that elongates a song is something that not just anyone can do. You have to be able to feel your other musicians and find a mental space without words to meet and groove. It's fucking hard.

Discovering a project like Octave Cat makes those open ears of mine so totally worth it. This is to me what a really good jam should be, but its an entire album of them. Each song is a story. It takes you various places within the same song. The song changes and flows into different valleys and pools. Imagine what it would be like if you could hear a kaleidoscope. That twisting and turning and changing of colors but audible and just as beautiful. There are moments of groove heavy funk laced together with psychedelic ear trips. This is dance worthy, but it's also so much to think on. This album reminds me so much of needing something to coax your emotions from the depths to the surface. It does that. There is a lot of feel.

Essential listening:
Fever Subsides - This has such a strong feel of The Postal Service (which is a huge compliment because I played Give Up until my ears bled) The drums are intense and their own perfect compliment to the keys. There is a really modest but groove heavy bass line going through. This album is mixed really well. There is this intense build right around the five minute mark.

TitTat - The drums and bass really lead you in on this song. Then the synth strong groove come in, highlighted by this very Manzarek rain-like sound. Then it just takes over. This is spring afternoon driving with nowhere to be, but a lot on your mind. So much to ponder, but you are not being held down by what you feel. There is a subtle strength in this song. This is my favorite on the album by far.

Metropolis - This is just a fun song. This is that dance feel I was talking about. It changes throughout to keep it interesting but the beat and the groove are strong. It's funky and smooth. The last minute of this song really pulls me. It builds into such a high.

I am again surprised at just how much I love this whole album. No two songs are alike and take you on completely different journeys. I'm truly impressed with this. Stepping outside of my comfort zone has never been so strange and so very worth it as when I discover something like this. Well done, Octave Cat. Please keep bringing it.

Check them out on Facebook HERE

(and now I am going to delve into Dopapod and Lotus because I feel like I am absolutely missing out)


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