[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(91:24 2CD, Lizard Records)
Prolusion. The Italian outfit OUTOPSYA was formed back in 2003, initially as an instrumental trio. Later on the project has been based around Luca Vianini and Evan Mazzucchi, with a computer replacing the third member for live purposes. "Fake" is their second studio production, released by Lizard Records in November 2011.
CD 1 (49:22)
TRACK LIST: 1. Useless: Fake & Awful 4:36 2. Engage 4:02 3. Rays-Rays-Rays 5:16 4. Engage Reprise 1:16 5. nOH 1:44 6. 99% of People Will Skip 1:49 7. Nausia 3:44 8. Phantom 5:24 9. Lilies 15:03 10. My Joy 2:30 11. Insane 3:58 LINEUP: Luca Vianini – vocals; guitars; synthesizers; drums Evan Mazzucchi – bass, cello
Analysis. The first half of this sophomore production by Outopsya is an intriguing experience on a number of different levels. And for anyone who remembers their initial venture into the world of recording artists, the main point of interest is the stylistic expression. Whereas their debut "Sum" was an experimental progressive metal production by and large, the first of the two CDs that make up "Fake" is distinctly different: still experimental, but now with a solid electronic foundation to the proceedings. Opening piece Useless: Fake & Awful sets the tone straight away, sporting a rainfall sample, dark brooding synth undercurrents, vocal effects for spoken words and the occasional lapses into singing, with a slight plethora of more or less eerie sounds coming and going, with a loud, dramatic noisescape thrown in towards the end as the remaining sounds starts skipping, decaying and ebbing out. This sets the standard for the majority of the following pieces, where futuristic sounds, cold light toned textures and dark, brooding undercurrents combine with or without vocals into cinematic creations with a distinct dystopian touch to them, the one-two punch of 99% of People Will Skip and Nausia perhaps the most striking and compelling of these initial excursions. The epic Lillies marks a shift in focus however, opening up in a comparable setting as the one previously described and then slowly altering and shifting instrumental motifs and arrangement structures to end up as a psychedelic oriented, organic effort where gently flowing guitar licks and careful keyboard textures supporting vocals that have been run through a psychedelic filter. My and Insane is another one-two punch that closes down this first of two CDs in an elegant manner, retaining some of the organic qualities developed on Lillies, yet also incorporating some of the electronic sounds from the other compositions, ending the CD in a manner a lot less alien sounding than the initial phases. A challenging, fairly adventurous first half of this double entry, with experimental electronic music is just as suitable a description as progressive, challenging electronic music, an intriguing and compelling opening for those who enjoy music with a unique, hard to grasp general atmosphere, and a perfect example of what I tend to describe as headphone music. The compositions merit full concentration and active listening to reveal their better qualities.
CD 2 (42:02)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Word Has Been 3:14 2. Anxious 4:26 3. Enter the Brain 4:39 4. Lanterns 4:52 5. Loving You Sick-I 6:06 6. Khen 4:10 7. Virus 1:58 8. Loving Heat 4:02 9. Khen-Khen 2:01 10. Enter the Heart 2:07 11. Loving You Sick-II 4:27
Analysis. The second part of "Fake" continues pretty much where the first half ended, continuing to explore territories where electronic textures and effects are less vital to the proceedings. Opening tune The Word Has Been is a high intensity excursion with a much more organic feel to it, if that is an appropriate description, with high intensity bass and drums beneath swirling light toned guitar textures that come with something of an automatic Robert Fripp association as far as I'm concerned. Echoing guitar textures continue on in the just as brilliant Anxious, now in more of a cinematic manner, venturing back and forth between lighter toned and darker toned textures, the latter creating a stunningly effective brooding atmosphere that borders on being a presence in itself. And guitars are at the heart of the matter for the majority of the additional excursions too: as echoing, compact standalone riffs or licks, wandering motifs of a more careful nature or as dark and chugging riff cascades. And in the case of Loving Heat we're even treated to an improvised, subtly electronic treated guitar solo as the uniting element on top of arrhythmic, chaotic electronic percussion and dampened synth surges. Lanterns is something of an exception with its more distinct emphasis on electronic effects, apart from that this second part of double feature "Fake" focuses on the use of guitars as key motif providers while electronics have more of a supporting role. As with the first disc the material is of a fairly challenging nature however, with intense moods, frequent use of arrangements and themes employing a substantial amount of non-harmonic details and dominating motifs both, and again this is material I'd describe as headphone music, compositions that demand the full attention of the listener. And while not quite as compelling as the first disc, the differences are marginal. The material is generally challenging, adventurous and fairly innovative throughout, sporting moods intense as well as more careful in nature and expression, but perhaps slightly less dramatic and intense on this second disc. Both discs in this set consist of material fairly hard to describe too, the major differences between the pair is that the first one is more of a purebred electronic production while the second disc resides within the realms of rock music, in both cases within the experimental and avant-garde parts obviously.
Conclusion. The Italian duo Outopsya have made themselves a very nice double entry with "Fake". And while those who really enjoyed the experimental metal they explored a few years back on "Sum" might be disappointed with this new double CD, those who appreciate a band that ventures fairly well outside of common and expected norms when creating their material should enjoy this double CD. At least if their taste in music encompasses material of an experimental electronic and rock expression both. A compelling, refreshing but also demanding production from this fine band.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 16 & 17, 2012
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]