Friday, August 14, 2015

Ocean Of Stars - Ocean Of Stars EP




This gem of an EP was sent to me out of the blue, and having no idea what to expect, this instrumental four-piece from Austin, TX - where else? All new exciting music seems to emanate from The Lone Star State these days - had me enthralled from the word go. Formed by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Danny G and based on songs from his solo work, the four reworked tracks featured here are other-worldly and magical. The band set-up is traditional with guitar, bass guitar and drums but with the somewhat odd addition of a saxophone. Sounds strange? I thought so too until I pressed played and hit outer space in a nano second.

Based on a foundation of tripped-out, mellow yet riff-infused instrumental space rock, Ocean Of Stars brings a whole new meaning to this particular style. Melanie Martinez and Ric Furley on bass guitar and drums respectively, lays down such an amazing backdrop allowing Derek Rodriguez, sax, and Danny G free reign to do what they want. And man, they put this freedom to great use. Even though Danny and Derek perform solos in the traditional fashion, they love to step forward and create beautiful visions and images as well.

A trippy solitary guitar initiates opener 'Ocean of Stars', conjuring a whacked out space trip, eventually joined by the rest of the band before launching into a heavier mode. All of a sudden, the pace drops down to a slower, trippier part. And this how the songs goes, ebbing and flowing between tempos, creating images of what I think it would feel like to travel through the universe. Fantastic! Going balls out from the start 'Hammerfoot' is a different kind of beast. While the guitar and the sax harmonizes the riffs, the bass guitar and the drums pounds out the rhythms so effortlessly and elegantly. An awesome feature is the Eastern European folk feel in certain parts where Derek takes the center stage.

'Sinners & Science' continues where 'Hammerfoot' left off but quickly becomes the rocker of the EP. That's most apparent when Danny pulls off a couple of blistering solos. It also has a really nice groove and some great riff work by the sax. 'Brief Ties To Space' ends this amazing EP, and while at first being a natural continuation of 'Sinners & Science', it slowly builds up in short bursts to eventually erupt towards the latter half of the song. The band goes all out and really shakes my foundations, just like a closer should. Before it's all over, Ocean Of Stars ties the end together with the beginning making a full circle in this mind-blowing musical journey.

I have probably said it many times before, so bear with me. But being a music lover there's nothing I like more than being surprised by a, to me, unknown band. And that's the case with Ocean Of Stars. Putting their distinct mark in a time when it's very hard for a band to stand out for good reasons, these Texans do so and then some! I can not state enough how taken aback I am by their prowess and elegance in creating one-of-a-kind music. So I urge you, dear waveriders, to seek this band out and give them a chance. Their music is far too good to be ignored.

- Swedebeast

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