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TRIP LAVA

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United States


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Trip Lava biography
TRIP LAVA is the brainchild of US, Minnesota based composer and multi-instrumentalist Joel Lee. He started the project in 2005, and after 2 years of spare time efforts with his instruments and trusty 4-track, 2007 saw the release of the first album under the TRIP LAVA moniker - 'Oddball In The Corner Pocket'.

The music on this production is based on circular improvisation. Acoustic drums, guitars, bass, and loops/drones mix in rotation, creating patterns and moods that avoid conventional 3 chord song structures. These improvs are tied together with strange sonic segues and sound effects.

Minnesota based indie-label Shark Records signed TRIP LAVA in 2010. Shortly after they issued Lee's second production 'Octatroid', which he started working on back in 2008. 'Octatroid' is a 38 minute concept album, telling the story of a heroic robot warrior who defends a village from the evil robot Gurgblah. Comprising of 13 songs, which are all tied together to form one piece of music.

One of the tracks, 'March To Battle', was featured on the Prognosis 2.1 CD compilation, included in issue #21 of Classic Rock presents Prog (nov 2011). TRIP LAVA's third full length 'Ounds' was released Sept. 2018 on Shark Records.

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Oddball in the Corner PocketOddball in the Corner Pocket
CD Baby 2007
$1.95
$1.46 (used)
OundsOunds
CD Baby 2018
$5.98
Oddball in the Corner Pocket by Trip LavaOddball in the Corner Pocket by Trip Lava
Import
$29.85
Octatroid by Trip Lava (2013-05-04)Octatroid by Trip Lava (2013-05-04)
CD Baby
$26.40
OctatroidOctatroid
CD Baby 2010
$4.24
$1.08 (used)
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TRIP LAVA discography


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TRIP LAVA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 8 ratings
Oddball In The Corner Pocket
2007
3.29 | 8 ratings
Octatroid
2010
3.84 | 8 ratings
Ounds
2018

TRIP LAVA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TRIP LAVA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TRIP LAVA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TRIP LAVA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TRIP LAVA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by raigor

4 stars Here comes the album of instrumental music which can easily disorient and mislead even the most practiced and informed connoisseur. I mean the long-awaited third album of TRIP LAVA, a modern classic "one-man-bad" directed by composer and multi-instrumentalist Joel Lee from the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. Is it Rock or Electronic? Is it Prog or Psyche? Well, since 2005 this project has been creating instrumental music beyond the traditional genre-style classification.

Joel Lee uses guitars, keyboards, synths, acoustic drum-kit, drum-machine, voice, and variety of electronic devices to create somewhat very special. His music flows and changes stylistic profiles constantly, even within one single track. Any attempt to classify it would be strictly subjective and determined by personal experiences of anyone who dares to do it... Nevertheless, the tacks on "Ounds" (understand "Sounds") are technically separated from each other. And it makes the task of classifying a bit easier. You can say at least that there are tracks rhythmically structured by acoustic drum patterns (like "Ounds, Pt. 1", "Ouseh Of Orsmirr", "Osmicc Oldeng Ordsw Of Onmeldag", and "Ounds, Pt. 2"), and they can be conditionally defined as bizarre and freakish Space-Rock or even Avant-Prog. As well as there are tracks not organized rhythmically or with loose sequenced/programmed rhythmic arrangements (like "Oblivision", "Orf Ontrastc", "Ongadays", "Oopl De Oopl", and "Oomsmushr") which relates to abstract Ambient-Drone, Illbient, or even Futuro-Techno. If/when you try to perceive the album in its contextual eternity, you would get quite weird and intricate Sound-Collage featuring a sort of electro-acoustic pictures/scenes rather than songs/compositions.

In my subjective assessment, this is the most principle characteristic of TRIP LAVA music. Joel Lee creates so called "Hybrid Music Sound-Collage" which can take any stylistic shape depending only on what the author wants to say/illustrate and on what audience he wants to appeal to. In fact, "Ounds" much reminds me a soundtrack to an adult animated film based on sci-fi comics or video-games. And I can guess that the album, aside from a funny anagram puzzle within the track-list, should have kinda funny cripping fabula-plot. Am I right? Anyway, it's definitely not for every Prog-Rock fan or rock-traditionalist, but it's strongly recommended to lovers of weirdly progressive, genreless, hybrid, collage, inventively experimental and loosely cinematic instrumental music.

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Trip Lava is a psych/prog project headed by Joel Lee out of Minneapolis. Really I never heard of Trip Lava until now, and this was the third release, apparently the last one appearing in 2010. Everything you hear is from Joel, guitars, bass, drums, synths, drum machines, etc. This album bears some really weird titles, which as it turns out, is really Pig Latin-inspired (without the "ay" tagged on to everything), in this case the album title "Ounds" translating as "Sound" (if this was Pig Latin, it would be "Oundsay"). It's full of similar titles like "Ouseh of Orsmirr" ("House of Mirrors"), "Osmicc Oldeng Ordsw of Onmeldag" ("Cosmic Golden Sword of Meldagon"), "Oomsmushr" ("Mushrooms"), etc.

Anyways, this is some great space rock, with lots of guitar and spacy analog synths. I really dig the synth sound as it really has that wonderful analog sound. I really have a difficult time comparing this to other acts. There's at times a Krautrock feel to the music, especially during the more "out there" parts. I never thought of Minneapolis to have much in a way of a space rock scene going on, but I'm glad at least Joel Lee/Trip Lava sure made a stab at it, and a wonderful one at it too.

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Meltdowner
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars They say you shouldn't judge an album by the cover, but in Joel Lee's latest creation, what you see is what you get. That is, a weird, whimsical and totally unpredictable journey.

Rewieving the album track by track is pointless because the album was clearly made to be listened in its entirety. I believe it's the album's biggest strength since the order of the songs, the passages and reprises are very well thought and turns what could be considered a collection of sounds and psychedelic improvisations into something more.

In many occasions I was reminded of Brainticket's "Cottonwoodhill" and "Tago Mago" from Can, with those funky tunes complemented with sound collages as well as avant-garde psychedelic sections and inventive mixing (I really love those rotating drums!).

Another thing I like about it is how it never gets too meandering: when you get too high in the atmosphere, there's a synth track, a distorted bass or a different section that pulls you back to the ground.

There's not much else to say, just experience it for yourself and enjoy the trip!

4 stars

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The Minnesota based TRIP LAVA is one of those labor of love projects brought about by a single artist with a vision. In this case it's Joel Lee who as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and psychedelic freak who loooooves to play with electronic gadgets! TRIP LAVA came about from a whole zany bunch of loose and free form sessions that mixed various guitar, bass and drum parts and then augmented with synthesizers and effects and i do mean a lot of them! Lee released "Oddball In The Corner Pocket" all the way back in 2007 and created a amalgam of styles i'd never heard performed in quite that way before. A veritable maelstrom of psychedelic rock, progressive electronic and Krautrock all swirling around in a psychedelic storm of sonic bliss. Be careful with this acid blotters! They might send you over the edge with this one :P

Lee followed up with his sophomore "Octatroid," another sonic storm of strangeness in full psychedelic regalia only this time in the form of a concept album, thus upping the ante in pretty much every way, shape and form. While an expected third album should've followed suit a few years later, in reality an eight year gap has passed since any TRIP LAVA musical madness but finally in 2018, the third album has arrived in the form of OUNDS, a fine return to form that takes more from the debut than the followup but retains its own identity and, of course, packed with all that magic mushroom mojo that TRIP LAVA has become known for. While the project was never scrapped, Lee has spent the last eight years in other musical projects ranging from different collective improvs to rejoining his 90s art punk band called Marcus Noise for a reunion. One of these collectives has been the Twin Cities Electronic Music Collective which was basically a bunch of guys with synths, gadgets and gizmos gathering together every month to let their inner freak flags fly like a Star Spangled Banner. Some of the results would end up on TRIP LAVA's third album OUNDS.

After years of being distracted by playing drums in other bands and that dreaded reality game called "a day job," Lee finally perfected his next installment on Shark Records which to my ears sounds like a nice middle ground between the debut and sophomore albums. The first most noticeable quality about OUNDS is that every track begins with an "O." Why? Because most of these titles have scrambled letters such as "Ouseh Of ORsmirr" instead of "House Of Mirrors." Once that initial quirkiness gets soaked in, it becomes apparent that there is much less emphasis on the guitar sounds that made the first two albums more rockin' in the free world. OUNDS is more atmospheric and ambient yet hasn't lost the steady beat and bass line grooves that aren't too far off from what the debut album utilized. OUNDS takes the electronic liberties of "Octatroid," however and creates extremely bizarre sonic constructs around the accessible beats and grooves. However as the fractalization of the music starts to ramp up much like the acid starting to hit, BIG TIME, the music can start to melt like a sugar cube in a cup of tea. Steady beats, tempos, timbres and dynamics can morph into gelatinous and amorphous sonic slimeballs that slink around like an intoxicated swarm of honeybees.

OUNDS is noticeably much mellower overall than the other two albums. However Ozric Tentacles type rock energy is abundant. There are more echoes, reverb, flange and processed sounds that layer over the ubiquitous loops, drones and oddball progressive time signatures. The album has a more vintage analog feel than the digitally crazed pair that preceded. Once again there are lots of sound collages, funky bass, synthesizers!!!!! and what sounds like drum machines as opposed to the bombast of the real things present on the earlier albums. There is also synth solo craziness, lots of pitch alterations, stereophonic ping ponging, cartoony noises strewn about and the usual layers of the sonic onion skins where each sliver of sound is doing its own thing independently with a grounding groove submerged beneath the mind freakery. While this one is not as schizoid as the previous two, it certainly hasn't lost any of its psychedelic to the max qualities. In fact the trippiness seems to have been set to overdrive.

TRIP LAVA lives up to its name, big time. It is truly an eruption and pyroclastic flow of major trippiness that not only utilizes some of the freakiest ideas but also implements them in creative ways in the production process which uses the production elements as basically extended instruments. Much like bands like Coil, Throbbing Gristle and other electronically oriented bands throughout the years have done but TRIP LAVA takes extreme liberties in just about every conceivable direction with not only the tones, timbres and timings but also in volume control, echo effects and the good old trusted sound bank of 21st century synthesizers! Of all the three albums, OUNDS is probably the safest for newbies to sink their teeth in. While the debut was more grounded than the second album, it too had its wild ass bursts of weirdness. Not that OUNDS doesn't but this one is less jarring and pacifies the soul rather than freaking the crap out of it! This is a project that is right up my alley. The bizarre psychedelic eccentric restlessness of it all captures my attention throughout as one creative passage segues into the next. Once again, this is all instrumental and pretty much flows like a continuous albeit scattered stream of thoughts. Another cosmic winner here!

 Octatroid by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.29 | 8 ratings

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Octatroid
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

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!

 Oddball In The Corner Pocket by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.57 | 8 ratings

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Oddball In The Corner Pocket
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars I've listened to my share of psychedelic rock over the years ranging from the cutesy psychedelic pop of the 60s to the hardcore acid blotter's club that takes all the extremes to the max, so it's always wickedly wild to discover something that's totally new and unlike anything else i've ever experienced! Such is the case with the Minnesota based psychedelic and progressive rock artist TRIP LAVA which is actually the solo project of musical madman and multi-instrumentalist Joel Lee. This is basically one of those labor of love projects and it shows in all its eccentricity and attention to details. While TRIP LAVA's output has been sparse over the years, the absurd quality of the extreme head trips to be experienced are beyond belief!

ODDBALL IN THE CORNER POCKET is the first release which emerged in 2007 after a two year series of recording sessions. This album is basically a compilation of all the improvised 4-track jams of this period which utilized real drums, guitar, bass, synthesizers and many drones and loops all mixed together in bizarre rhythmic AND arrhythmic ways. Different riffing sessions, bass grooves and drumming patterns were selected, arranged and tied together with myriad sound effects and then implemented strange sonic segues to tie it all together and create on continual piece of music. While the tracks are quite clearly individual, they are tied together by bizarre electronica freakery that provides as the sinew to create a larger listening experience.

First of all, i have to acknowledge that this is music for hardcore psychedelia addicts. Too many bands for far too long have relied on the overused and abused Pink Floyd paradigm for their entire musical outlook. TRIP LAVA is something else altogether. This musical project derives from serious music nerd moments that implement some of the most fascinating juxtapositions of ideas that one could imagination. The 13 tracks on ODDBALL IN THE CORNER POCKET may be all over the place psychedelically speaking but every single track is accessible for the first time listener in that it has a steady beat, groovy bass line and are basically, well rhythmically speaking, compositions in total freeform jamming mode. But that is where the normalcy ceases to exist.

While easily perceived rhythms and grooves exist, the rest of the musical elements are literally spaced out beyond belief. The first impression i got when listening to TRIP LAVA was that one of Lee's influences clearly had to be Achim Reichel as some of the subtle time signature changes and overlapping of slightly off grooves that incrementally fall out of sync and drift into chaos is straight out of the 'Die Gr'ne Reise' playbook from Reichel's A.R. & Machines days. While the Krautrock vibe doesn't come through in the overall compositional style, it certainly does in all the tricks and trinkets used in the subtle timbres, tones and synchronizations. Also, this is clearly a product of the 21st century with excellent production (especially for a 4-track) and quite trippy indeed how everything ties together.

On ODDBALL IN THE CORNER POCKET you will experience energetic rock jams that for the most part utilize steady and heavy drumming patterns, very busy bass grooves and repetitive rock guitar riffing that find themselves the dominate factor for moments and then drowned out by many layers of electronic accoutrements. There is usually an atmospheric drone, some sort of reverb, flange or other effects and just plain weird sound effects. Don't let the word 'repetitive' fool you either. There are many details paid to progressive touches that mix up time signatures, phrasing and musical motifs overall. But remember that everything is laid out in a logical manner and quite subtle in its unfolding. This could easily be just as meditative as it is an active listening experience. The best of both worlds. Personally TRIP LAVA hits my spot for some sort of progressive rock meets psytrance type of experience and even this early primeval debut of this style of music works for me quite well. Welcome to tripper's paradise in the 21st century!

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Some anagram needed? Let's play Boogle ... Scrabble ... or how does it feel? Come what may, it all results in juggling with the vowel 'O', otherwise you won't have a chance to win the competition. Okay, let's go .... ounds = sound ... you've got it? Don't know how many musical trips Joel Lee aka TRIP LAVA has ventured in his career already, this is the third published one at least, as far as I understand. And it took eight years since the release of the forerunner album 'Octratroid'. This means a relatively long hiatus, basically no need to speculate why though. At all events this is an unusual sound package, just like sent via transmitter from another planet.

We all know, this may take time, and afterwards, probably you are not hundred per cent sure that everything has been restored quite exactly. Now having a CD at hand, or ideally a vinyl cover, and enjoying the fine illustrations, this surely is serving some funny benefit. TRIP LAVA comes as a solo project, though comprises drums, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass and vocals. What one regularly would expect from a music collective too. As for the music, well, Joel himself describes this as a 'fusion of collective improvisations, sound collages, minimalism, and free-form jams with funky beats'. Yeeees! Hell, I do need a proposal ... in order to get in completely, to take effect, for having a clue regarding the approach, how often should this be inhaled? Is there any leaflet available? Also concerning potential side effects?

It feels like I'm not skilled to describe what I hear in detail. The unusual blend. The unpredictable flow. Sometimes it's really beautiful. Weird often enough though, definitely useful when intending to terminate your next neighbourhood party, for what reason ever. Gripping, while waiting for the next surprise to come. Cinematic too somehow, could be a soundtrack for a movie possibly. Okay, basically what avantgarde music is standing for. Solely trust your own impression ... hey, and now beam me back to Start, I would like to reserve the letter 'O' once again!

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars Already knocked out by kinda Krautrock-ish dry-fruity dissonance and eccentrically colourful sound vineyard, TRIP LAVA aka Joel LEE, my progressive rock mate and a fascinating psychedelic sound generator, has finally released his newest album 'Ounds' in the summer of 2018. Assumed his crazy soundscape would drive me crazy, and it's not wrong at all. Look at the bizarre sleeve that should mean he can launch kaleidoscopic sound world view, methinks.

The first titled strike is such a killa. Distorted, oddball electronic madness sounds rather clean and fresh for me. "Ouseh Of Orsmirr' is another pleasure of mine, that is filled with enjoyable, addictive electronic wave reminding me of authentic Krautrock voyagers like Neu! and so on. Sincere rhythmic stuff attacks my organ directly. Hallucinogenic repetitive endeavour can be heard via the following track "Orf Ontrastc'. Mystic acoustic sound dissection and melodic concentration 'Ongadays' might relax me for a while eventually.

"Oopl De Oopl' is my favourite stuff really, where mad experiments happens one after another, only with simple guitar-based synthesizer sounds. This one sounds leaning towards Manuel G'ttsching's 'Inventions For Electric Guitar' for me and notifies me Joel has opened a novel, innovative 'earsight' up. From the opening until the end 'Ounds Pt. 2' suitable for the epilogue, this fascinating creation should let me say cheers for Joel the multi-instrumentalist and psychedelic adventurer.

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.84 | 8 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Trip Lava' is the project of one single musician, Joel Lee, who is responsible for all of the sounds and music on every one of the releases. 'Ounds' (which is an anagram of the word Sound), is 'Trip Lava's' 3rd release. The style of music is psychedelic, electronic and progressive with a lot of free form experimentation and improvisation. There is a lot of work with synthesizers and other sound manipulation to give you a sound of spacey psychedelics for the most part.

The number one positive thing that this album has going for it is that it is entertaining and fun to listen to, with surprises on every corner. At the same time, Joel makes sure that there is plenty of variety throughout the tracks, which is a big plus for this type of music. Not only does he give us what we expect, but he adds in progressive improvisation, crazy sound effects, minimalism and even dance styles. But the key here is that all of these things never linger too long, but are used to create a carefree atmosphere while making sure the listener knows, that while it is often light hearted, it is also serious and done professionally.

The first thing you will probably notice is that all of the track titles start with the letter 'O', and seem to be written in some strange language. In reality, the letters are all scrambled in the song titles, so that all of the words start with 'O', yet the words still take on a semblance of some strange language. I'll leave it to you to figure out the titles, as that is part of the fun here, but be warned that some words are names of fantasy places that don't exist. One title is actually three words pushed together to look like one word. So, there are some tricks here.

So, how is the music? It's actually quite entertaining and surprisingly keeps your interest throughout. There are a few production issues, but they are not bad enough to ruin the overall listening experience. Be prepared for some funky sounds mixed in with the space rock as is the case with 'Ouseh of Orsmirr'. This track is one of the highlights in my opinion as it morphs from a 70s style prog/funk improvisation featuring a synth that sounds like something from an early Styx tune to a spacey sound collage. There are a lot of crazy cartoon sound effects going on also, and these sounds start layering on top of each other giving things a Spielburg-ian nightmare feeling of chaos before it breaks down into a more ambient collage of syth treatments.

'Orf Ontrastc' is a cool study in music morphing as it flows flawlessly from a smooth space rock to disco to chaos to experimental meandering, bending sounds all the way, with hardly even blinking. For those that love ambient electonica, there is 'Oblivision' which fills that need, along with 'Ongadays' which puts improvised bass and keyboards through a tremolo effect.

There's a great synth/bass jam on 'Osmicc Oldeng'' with some treated alien vocals, some loop pitch experimentation on 'Oopl de Oopl', strange guitar psychedelia on 'Oomsmushr' (which according to Joel is 'The sound of someone hallucinating' which should give you a hint at the scrambled title), that switches to synth stylings and a psychedelic sound collage later (someone answer the phone please), and even a multi-part track with 'Ounds pt, 2' which ends the album with a conglomeration of styles, including a drum solo.

The overall style is Space Rock Psychedelic. The music is interesting and varied enough to keep your interest throughout. With its minor faults, the fact that this album is lots of fun to listen to definitely pushes everything to a four star level. I want to thank Joel for giving me a chance to review this exciting album and for sending me a copy. I truly enjoy this album and will be checking out some of 'Trip Lava's other works. Everyone should come to this space party and bring your own headphones.

 Octatroid by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.29 | 8 ratings

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Octatroid
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to windhawk and Joel Lee for the artist addition. and to rivertree for the last updates

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