Odd Circus, Mantha (Good Idea Music 2021)

Free-form improvisation is the orifice through which the music expands into creation on the new album from Odd Circus.

The band describes its music this way. “Forged in improvisation, the band’s music navigates a boundary-less sonic landscape that embraces the unknown and welcomes the bizarre. The result is an experimental style of psychedelic art-rock that weaves its way into garage, fusion, krautrock, no wave, post-rock, noise, hard psych, and sci-fi prog.” The musicians are Graham Robertson (saxophones and effects), Partin Whitaker (drums), Crews Carter (bass and effects)

If this music comes from live free-form improvisation then color me amazed. The notes read that the set is compiled from this process, so maybe they worked in the form and captured the lasting bits for the album. Whatever the process, the creativity is a boundless expansion that takes no time to consider what is possible.

With drums, saxophone, and bass, enhanced with “effects,” the fullness of these instrumental pieces is a marvel. It is heavy and driving and up-tempo for the most part, splashed and slammed with surprises. When the music slows a touch or quietens for a while, an eerie sensibility takes over that complements the pulsing urgency of the other passages. Progressive post-rock, we could call it, and with the saxophone you can’t take your finger off the jazz button either, but if it is jazz, its dark.

Each piece flows into the next, and still they all have their own perspectives and outcomes. The titles of the tracks are named after mythical entities like “Djinn” and “Dybbuk” and “Wendigo,” providing the perfect launch for the musical explorations.

Pushing aside predilections, the music on this EP will find its way into your psyche. It will be an altered state experience for the heavy music crowd, and we could all use that now and again. Recommended.

Mantha drops on Friday, April 2nd. Bandcamp is your best bet for a hook-up in the US.


Bandcamp, https://oddcircus.bandcamp.com/album/mantha

Website, https://www.oddcircus.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OddCircus

Odd Circus, Mantha (Good Idea Music 2021)