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Album Review

Octant's debut album Shock-No-Par combines homespun visual and musical artistry with technological know-how. The group's idea of a "drum machine" is a homemade robot bolted to an otherwise normal drum kit; this willingness to reject conventional ideas about electronics, music, and electronic music defines Octant's unpretentious yet inventive stance. Songs like "The Move" and "Simplexity" feature sweet but somewhat distant boy-girl vocals, understated guitars, and layered synths, and, of course, the group's mechanical, percussive namesake. The whimsical but slightly menacing style of the band is reinforced by the two video tracks on the CD, which feature robots with baby doll heads roaming around techno-scapes. The vinyl version of Shock-No-Par includes two tracks not on the CD, "3/4 Nostalgia" and "Green Drop .2," a song that finds a typically Octant use for a dot-matrix printer.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Seattle-based group Octant is named for its third member, a robotic drummer created by singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist/inventor Matt Steinke. Also a member of Mocket and Satisfact, Steinke studied kinetic art and music at Evergreen State College and studied electronics after graduation. Wishing to combine all these disciplines, he began building the Octant, an automated collection of mallets bolted onto a drum kit; as it plays, it not only makes music but adds a visual element to the...
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Shock-No-Par, Octant
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