14 Dec 2014

E.P Review: Jorge Arana Trio "OSO"

Reviewed by Dedric Moore (KC Psych Fest / Monta at Odds / Gemini Revolution)

Math-rock meets psych? Precise time signatures and perfectly timed ups and downs with frenetic playing comes to mind. How do you psych that out without it becoming a dreadful mess? You should ask Jorge Arana Trio because they did the math and came up with the right formula (couldn't resist the pun) Add in a secret element of free-jazz and I'd call it Fuzzy Math Rock.

"Foredoom" starts off with a build and then unloads guitar, bass and drums in a heavy perfectly locked speedy rhythm. But the second half slows down to glacial speed and things get dreamy and weird as Jorge's guitar strums as effects pile on and you can feel a hypnotic sway take over your body. Once you are settled then "Kallisto" kicks in with squelchy guitar stabs and heavy syncopated bass and drums. When the Trio could have gone heavy or even metal, they choose to add a softer touch with some jazzy chords and excellently timed stutters that keep you perked up waiting to hear what is coming next.

"Crime of Passion Fruit" kicks it up to the "heavy" realm without getting into doom and gloom. The bass and drums bring on the indie rock vibe ala Tortoise or Trans Am and the guitar is pitch bent and determined to melt the strings with a twisted solo (again not metal) that gets the band going wild.

"Old Bamboo" kicks off side two of the EP with a marching groove that sounds like the Trio watched fight scenes from "Flash Gordon" and channeled Queen's bombastic soundtrack into a modern indie rock song. Josh Enyart shows off his drumming skills with complicated drum fills but matches it with dynamics to build up the song from medium to scorching. Then the songs dials it back to show off Jason Nash's bass virtuosity as he adds runs and grooves in the empty spaces.

"Banished to Siberia" finishes off the EP with a bouncing post-rock tune that punches yet has a lot of swing in the groove. I wish the TV on the Radio LP had a track with this energy. And then at the end the song crashes down to a guitar stab and ride cymbal as the Trio add in an ominous vocal chant that carries on through to the end.

It's a short EP at 15 minutes or so but you feel like you got a heavy dose of listening in. It comes in translucent purple or black with a silk-screened cover. The package is impressive inside and out.

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