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Trip Lava

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Trip Lava Octatroid album cover
3.29 | 8 ratings | 7 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Trouble in the Skies (1:02)
2. Hover & Land (2:58)
3. Gurgblah Emerges (1:51)
4. The Villagers Retreat (3:33)
5. The Search for Zidrakong (2:38)
6. Zidrakong the Sorcerer (2:58)
7. Octatroid - Heroic Robot Warrior (1:18)
8. March to Battle (3:39)
9. Octatroid Must Rest (3:41)
10. Octatroid Reaches Mt. Meldagar (5:27)
11. Octatroid Climbs Mt. Meldagar (1:41)
12. Octatroid vs. Gurgblah (3:56)
13. Peace Returns (2:51)

Total time 37:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Joel Lee / composer, performer

Releases information

CD Shark Records - 13281 (2010, US)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TRIP LAVA Octatroid ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (62%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TRIP LAVA Octatroid reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Octatroid is the second album released by the multi-instrumentalist Joel Lee. Octatroid follows the same musical path with obvious references to krautrockin excentricities and RIO. However this one features much more cosmic-molecular-noisy-spacy experiments obtained by machines and technologies. The drum / guitar combination is always impressively bombastic and perpetually improvised. Octatroid is conceptually based on sci-fi / futurist-post modernism decadence. Consequently, the musical pieces deliver a menacing-agressive like atmosphere sustained until the end of the album. The album is divided into 13 parts but it's composed like a whole single piece. After a long introduction into spaced out vibes and sci-fi surreal ambiences, the musical voyage reveal astonishing-delirious and groovy guitar tones (The Search for Zidrakong) versatile solos and maniacal drum parts. The acid inflected electronic sounds come back to the surface, punctuated by savage drums and freaky krautrockin' guitar grooves. Peace Returns closes the album with calm dreamy-like piece made of long synthesised waves and expressive echoing guitar lines. Octatroid is maybe more challenging / extreme than Trip lava's first effort, also less psychedelic. Joel Lee develops a sort of schizoid-scifi hybrid kraut jazzy rock...An unique, imaginative and interlocking jurassic (lo-fi electro) rockin trip. Pretty achieved and highly recommended.
Review by Rivertree
3 stars Again TRIP LAVA is a one-man show here. Speaking of a rollercoaster trip last time when reviewing Joel's debut 'Oddball in the Corner Pocket' I definitely could not know what will follow of course. Well, his second effort reaches for new ups and downs, it's a really dangerous course on this occasion, excentric, a balancing act so to say, a heavy load for the listener, at least for me.

'Octatroid' presents a concept telling the SciFi/Mystery story about tyrannic king Meldagar. He was ousted by his people some day and prepares on a revenge. An evil robot (Gurgblah) and heroic eight-armed robot (Octatroid) are fighting each other ... and finally, with the help of a sorcerer, the whole story comes to a positive result. When knowing this you can expect a special dramaturgy concerning the musical essence. And it's not sursprising really that the proportion of electronical elements has increased to the benefit of a strong avantgarde approach with a technical and surreal share (Stockhausen comes into my mind).

The short songs are fading into each other, also opening the door to a whole epic if you like. Tricky rhythms are alternating with way out excursions based on electronical gimmicks all over. You will be frequently confronted with an uncommon bass style, frantic drums. The songs are offen escalating to a high speed performance, like on The Search of Zidrakong - hence it's strongly recommended to study the song details Joel offers within the booklet. So you'll get an impression about the dramaturgy - why it has to sound in this way. Spacey guitars are really rare like on Octatroid Reaches Mt. Meldagar - so much the more you will meet the whole nine yards of synthesizer and sample exhibition all the way through.

Blatantly ambitious for sure but less accessible. According to my taste it's too much of a good thing here and there. Joel is an artist who doesn't make any compromise. He doesn't have to, because managing everything on his own. Never heard such a compositional attempt before, meant as a compliment concerning the experimental attitude. Anyhow - I for one prefer his debut. 'Octatroid' is recommended though to such a fan base which like an excentric kraut/avantgarde sound.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is TRIP LAVA's second record and it's an instrumental concept album set in the future. Sort of a Science Fiction story I guess you could say. And while i'm not generally a fan of concept albums, instrumental ones usually aren't a problem for me. Usually. I'm a big fan of Psychedelic music but the noisy, experimental kind is often hard for me to digest. There's lots of that here because of the concept. So while I can appreciate the need for it as I follow the story line i'm not a fan of it. So that's my bigget issue with this album. In fact I prefer the debut to this one.

We get 13 songs over 37 1/2 minutes but the songs all sort of blend together making this a fairly seemless listen. As i mentioned earlier there's lots of abrasive sounds and experimentation. I do though like "Zidrakong The Sorcerer" especially a minute in where we get a great sounding section after the chaos.Then it picks back up. My favourite though is easily "Peace Returns" the final track. I just prefer this dreamy, melodic style of Psychedelia and this is beautiful. An excellent way to end the album especially after all the turbulence that has preceeded it.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Octatroid is the sophomore effort by US one man band Trip Lava, and is an excursion into a musical universe where all regular conceptions on the art of crafting a musical composition have been tossed aside.

Carefully planned and crafted, we're treated to one piece of music divided into 13 chapters, where atonal fragmented sounds, dissonant motifs and noisescapes are the dominating melody providers, placed on top of energetic and often frantic drums and sounds of a percussional character. The bass guitar and the less freaked out guitar motifs does add grains of melodic touches to the proceedings, but it isn't until the final chapter that a melodic theme unfolds, to ease the listener out of this intense non-melodic universe in a more tranquil and laidback manner.

If the notion of extreme avant-garde creations with psychedelic leanings following a conceptual story sounds like something you might enjoy, this album is most likely one you have dreamed about. I referenced fans of Magical Power Mako as a suitable target crowd for Trip lava's first CD from 2007, and can only repeat that suggestion this second time as well. With the main difference that Trip Lava this time around arguably can be described as the most challenging of these two.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Trip Lava is the work of Joel Lee, who provides all the writing and performances on this album. It's a timeless tale of an evil king and his robot minion trying to whip some ignorant villagers into shape, only to be foiled by the enigmatic yet powerful Octatroid.

The album is entirely instrumental, the story unfolding by means of the music alone (accompanied by the CD booklet of course.) Although indexed separately, the tracks all flow into one another, making for what is essentially one long piece of music. There is definitely a psychedelic vibe going on here, but hear the album as being more in the Progressive Electronic vein rather than space rock, with keyboards and processed sounds dominating the proceedings. The live drums are a nice touch though.

There is a busy, frantic feeling present in most of the tracks, which is understandable since the story is about robots fighting, and a great deal of rhythmic complexity, yet the music is not without a quirky sense of humor. I am reminded of the work of the electronic artist "Books on Tape" in many places. There is also a fair amount of distorted feedback, used very creatively, that makes me think of Merzbow, though not nearly so abrasive or atonal.

This is quite fine freakout music, but the album as a whole suffers from a lack of diversity in sound. The energy level is set at a constant high for the duration of the record, and it demands a lot of the listener to focus on it all the way through. There are a few second of quietness in "Octatroid Must Rest" and again at the very end of the record, but that's all the respite you're going to get. This is doubly a shame since the peaceful sections are themselves very well done. I could easily listen to another five or ten minutes of "Peace Returns" and be happy about it.

That being said, this is a good record of trippy, high energy instrumental prog. Just be prepared to be a little tired by the end of it.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Octatroid' - Trip Lava (6/10)

Composer Joel Lee goes for a second spin with his Trip Lava project. With his debut, Joel achieved an interesting, but scattered collection of jams. His talent as a musician was certainly there, but there was an added sense of direction needed in order to give his work that sense of 'album completion' that many progressive artists strive for. To that end, Joel's second album 'Octatroid' is a giant step in regards to album flow. Although it's safe to say that this second album is not a full head above its predecessor, 'Octatroid' represents a more matured Trip Lava.

Musically speaking, 'Octatroid' now focuses more on the electronic element of Trip Lava than was heard of 'Oddball In The Corner Pocket', which capitalized on Joel's talents with the guitar. 'Octatroid' maintains Trip Lava's sound, but approaches it from a much different angle. There is a simultaneously a greater sense of composition and noisier sound to this one. 'Octatroid' most notable victory over 'Oddball' is in regards to its flow. Although there are thirteen tracks here, they all roll along as one epic piece. In fact, 'Octatroid' is a concept album of sorts. Although there are no lyrics to push a story along, Joel tells a very simple sci-fi tale through the tone of the music and album booklet. In summary, an evil overlord builds a robot to attack a helpless village, and the eponymous hero mechanique Octatroid steps in to the rescue. Without spoiling anything, Octatroid saves the day. It's a plot that a thousand bad science fiction movies have covered before, but the depth of the story is not the point of 'Octatroid'. What makes the concept aspect of the album work so well is the fact that each track is able to reflect the plot so well. Although it may be difficult to gather any but the most basic elements of the story without the help of the booklet, Joel uses sound effects, changes of tone and mood, and droning build-ups to convey the plight of Octatroid. Without a doubt, this is the album's biggest selling point, and makes me want to check out more instrumental concept albums that tell stories in similar fashion.

I agree with the general consensus that 'Octatroid' is a more challenging effort than we have heard before from Joel Lee. This time around, the music is much more sonic and dense, sometimes reverting to a barrage of noise. All of this manages to contribute to the concept, but it's clear that not all of Trip Lava's ideas work. With heavy influences in Krautrock and lo- fi ambient, Trip Lava's electronic elements are the focus here, ousting the guitar from any semblance of importance. Joel Lee is very good at arranging a vast, chaotic sound, but after a while, it becomes difficult to focus on the sonic complexity, and easier to 'tune out', in a sense. It's not to say that Trip Lava's music is boring- it's a challenging piece of music- but for long stretches, the music gets monotonous. The electronic noise also gets taken out of hand quite a few times on the record. The excessive bursts of noise wear thin quickly, but there are ultimately few bumps on the road. 'Octatroid's sound never jumps out at me or gives me chills, but it's a very interesting experiment with a bucket of atmosphere to go along with it. I cannot say that 'Octatroid' is that much better than 'Oddball In The Corner Pocket' though, because while this latest effort is more ambitious, it also falters more than the debut. In any case, for fans of noisy rock or Kraut, 'Octatroid' is well-worth listening to.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The Minnesota based artistic expression called TRIP LAVA is in reality the brainchild and sonic playing ground for multi- instrumentalist, composer and electronica geek Joel Lee who unleashed his first musical Frankenstein onto the world in 2007 with his debut 'Oddball In The Corner Pocket.' That album was basically a compilation of improvised 4-track jams that used various drum patterns, bass grooves and synthesizer noises that were worked out in drones, loops and bombastic weirdness. After many of these ideas were recorded, they were then arranged and tied together with even more strange sound effects to create sonic segues that wrapped the whole album into one humungous sonic journey into the bizarro-sphere. Sort of a mix between psychedelic rock, progressive electronic and Krautrock but seamlessly executed into one wild ride of freakery.

After three years of fine tuning his new batch of crazy psychedelic spawn, the sophomore album OCTAROID was released in 2010 and was quite similar in compositional construct with more improvised music that was tied together with even more various effects. The difference though was that this one was even MORE ambitious in that Lee shaped the music to conform to a conceptual sci-fi theme about a heroic robotic warrior named OCTATROID who helps to save a village from the former king Meldagar who once ruled in total tyranny. After being dethroned and exiled, the mad king, bent on revenge found a new home under a mountain where he constructed a secret robotic army to wreak havoc on his former subjects and usurp control once again. And then the war begins and here is the chaotic soundtrack to it.

OCTATROID is a completely instrumental album with absolutely no storyline laid out in vocal form whatsoever however the CD liner notes narrate the tale as it unfolds track by track and by reading each track, you can pretty much get the gist of the storyline. While this is cool and all, to be honest, instrumental concept albums always completely baffle me and i'd rather just think of this as random sounds battling it out on my speakers! However, for those who like these sort of conceptual things, it's a nice bonus touch. All in all, OCTATROID is a much busier and bombastic affair than TRIP LAVA's debut 'Oddball In The Corner Pocket.' The tempos are quickened and gallop like a herd of horses getting zapped in the ass by a lightning bolt and freaking the fock out. Lee obviously got more crazy, more ambitious and pulls out all the stops to create a ridiculous amount of sound effects with some of them being scary, some gleeful and some just spacey as friggin' hell.

Once again the music pretty much segues from one track to another with a dramatic theme unfolding and then connected with bizarre tempo effects, stereophonic ping ponging and acid blotter weirdness. In fact the whole thing comes off as somewhat of a sonic version of a fractal or something with steady rhythms and grooves spiraling off in myriad directions until all the sounds merge into a cacophonous soup. Overall this one is not as accessible upon first listen and requires a more active listening experience whereas the debut sorta skirted the line between mesmerizingly hypnotic and active. The first listen of this one left me cold as it completely passed me by since i was only half focused. Subsequent listens have yielded much more detail although it's quite a focusing experience as funky bass lines whiz by surrounded by a swarm of synthesized effects in a caffeinated schizoid dance to hell and back. The only calming track is the finale 'Peace Returns.' Guess who won the war!

TRIP LAVA is pretty unique actually. The cartoony setting reminds me a little of Buckethead's warped sense of humor as does the penchant for the most avant-garde and extreme sounds possible. This one is much less melodic overall than the debut and probably will lose all except the most hardened experimental rockers who love the incessant mixing it up of tempos, dynamics, timbres and weirdness. In fact, this is the kind of music that could cause seizures to anyone who can't tolerate strobe lights or something really intense like a roller coaster ride. These sounds are on steroids and unrelenting as they lambast the senses. For my tastes, i actually prefer the debut album but i'm in utter admiration of how this album is stitched together in all its avant-garde wackiness. This TRIP LAVA is one of a kind with an extra helping in the TRIP department!

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