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FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Farmhouse Odyssey biography
Founded in 2012 in Arcata, California, USA

Farmhouse Odyssey was formed by five college students in a small farmhouse in the fall of 2012.

Embracing an improvisational writing style and inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the band quickly developed an organic and undeniably original sound. Songs flow freely between moods and styles influenced by progressive rock, psychedelia, jazz, funk, and world music, while always retaining the distinct musical personality of the group.

The group deftly executes their complex arrangements with skill and precision, never losing sight of the strong emotional undercurrent of each song. Their live shows have made them into local favorites in Humboldt county, and Farmhouse Odyssey is excited to see their music spread across the state of California and across the nation!

Bio provided by the band

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FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY discography


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FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 40 ratings
Farmhouse Odyssey
2014
3.80 | 76 ratings
Rise Of The Waterfowl
2016
3.66 | 38 ratings
Fertile Ground
2019

FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

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

3.25 | 4 ratings
Back In N.Y.C.
2016
4.33 | 3 ratings
Verve
2019

FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Farmhouse Odyssey by FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.90 | 40 ratings

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Farmhouse Odyssey
Farmhouse Odyssey Symphonic Prog

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

4 stars FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY formed in 2012 in the northern hippie college town of Arcata, CA by Alex Espe (vocals, keyboards), Ian Taylor (bass, vocals), Thatcher Holvick-Norton (drums, vocals), Alex Pepe (guitar) and Aaron Laughlin (guitar, vocals) who were college students taking their free moments to reflect their interpretations of the best of California sounds set to prog rock music. The literally took their name from living in a farmhouse and developed a style of prog that while set in the summery feel-good symphonic prog sounds of bands like Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and Moon Safari also adopted many other styles such as jazz, funk and psychedelic rock.

Basically an improvisational jam band, FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY sounds somewhat like what if The Grateful Dead would've evolved into a full-on prog with instrumental workouts reminiscent of Yes, Genesis or even solo Steve Hackett. While packaging many of its influences neatly into this self-titled debut that contains six tracks which was released in 2015, this band is interesting in how it managed to sound completely different as if it was stranded and aloof on some rural beach road when it crafted this set of songs that all jam on for great lengths of time. "Colossus Cypress" is the shortest track and just misses the seven minute mark while "Sleeping Silent" almost hits a thirteen minute running time.

This is what i call flower prog, sunshine prog or fluffy happy prog as it truly sounds like one of those aforementioned bands that lives in that sliver of the universe where life is just peachy and the music reflects it perfectly. While this style of prog is admittedly not my favorite, i have to admit there are certain bands / albums that rub me the right way especially when the music is extremely well played with superb musicians on board and just quirky enough to stand out on its own even if references to what came before are indisputable. FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY cranks out somewhat of a mellow album's worth of material but still finds some time to rock out albeit sparingly. There are still lots of jarring time signature changes though that give this mellow album a sense of boldness that keeps it from becoming sleepy time.

In many ways this band reminds me most of neo-prog albums especially when lead vocalist Alex Espe sounds like Arena's Rob Sowden or IQ's Peter Nicholls but things never stay the same and the tracks are different as this album has a jittery quality that shakes things up and there are moments where his vocal style is more akin to that of Leprous lead singer Einar Solberg in his most tender moments. While based on that flowery symphonic prog that makes Spock's Beard stand out amongst the pack, FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY adds enough jazzy elements to the mix to offer an off-kilter rhythmic drive which is actually quite appealing and this is particularly true in not only the drum parts but when the guitar is allowed to engage in some soloing. The tones and timbres are very much in the context of a jazz-rock ensemble as well.

One of the strongest aspects of FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY's debut is the nice mix of the guitar with the atmospheric mellotron and extensive use of groovy bass lines. While clearly rooted in determined melodic patterning, there is a lot of effort placed in heavy improvisation that allows the musicians to drop in and out of the greater musical conversation which allows the tracks to sprawl on. There are no clearcut rules for instrumental outbursts and vocal led moments as everything simply trades off in rather indeterminate randomness however it all seems to work pretty good. Despite the emphasis on the symphonic prog elements that work in tandem with funk guitar as well as those neo-prog guitar sweeps, there are many psychedelic moments although this is not acid rock by any means. This is more of a detached sort of happy springtime prog when the ducks are leading their ducklings into the pristine lake next to the green pasture. True i have to be in the right mood for this but FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY did an excellent job mixing all these styles into a sound all their own. Bravo!

 Fertile Ground by FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.66 | 38 ratings

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Fertile Ground
Farmhouse Odyssey Symphonic Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars An Impressionistic, Brooding Eargasm

To Dream, Therefore to Transcend:

In this, the third full-length studio release from eclectic visionaries Farmhouse Odyssey, our philosophical musical guides cite Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky to spark us on a hero's journey.

Through means of sometimes brooding, sometimes delicate musical landscapes, and densely-themed lyrics, we are challenged to range widely beyond space and time to discover truth within the Self.

Blending many sources, divergent streams

Yet always we are grounded in the here and now. Sounds of water, thunder rumbling, birds calling- so we know we are indeed present. Yet the ways we confidently (arrogantly?) think we know, begin to slip and slide.

I realize it can all sound solemn, maybe intimidating

Painted young men in farmer overalls who work as one entity, collectively push, mold, invite, whisper, cajole, and summon the listener to move into different realms.

Dreams.

The lyrics themselves take on a nearly surreal, sometimes almost e.e.cummings-like texture- the phrasings odd and suggesting, rather than spelling out in cold, clinical terms.

All of it backed by formidable, exquisite, musical complexity

That right there is the spiritual bedrock: while the voice whispers, cries, intones- the musicians form ever-changing, ever-growing, never-stagnating counterpoints leading to newness.

All of it hypnotic.

How does one portray dreamscapes?

'Fertile Ground' does this. With sophistication, unpredictability, immense musical skill and scope, we are drawn into other dimensions: the Self is found less in hard data, and more in softer, yet more dangerous vistas.

Musical highlights:

For me, the intricate interplay among these musicians, coupled with the searching lyrics, formed a musical whole. At times, the acoustic guitar work was masterful. At other times acoustic piano, or the harmony guitar and keyboard lines. Tasteful drumming and bass guitar provided solid, fluid underpinnings.

In the end, there is light

There is pain. Resentment. Loss. Yet, in this hero's journey, there is hope, love, transcendence.

This is not an easy, facile album. Stick with it, and be rewarded.

I say four visionary dreamscapes on this release.

 Rise Of The Waterfowl by FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 76 ratings

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Rise Of The Waterfowl
Farmhouse Odyssey Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A bunch of friends (Alex Espe on vocals and keyboards, Thatcher Holvick-Norton on drums, Aaron Laughlin on guitar and vocals, Alex Pepe on guitar, and Ian Taylor on bass) living in Nature's playground, Arcata, California, got together to create music in 2012 and the rest is, as they say, history. Farmhouse Odyssey is a quintet of musicians creating a jazzy symphonic prog rock in a style that is not far from the psychedelic rock that came from the West Coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s--though at times I hear very strong influences of 1980s GUNS'N'ROSES (vocals, chord progressions). I find the classically influenced rolling piano lines the most interesting parts of this album.

1. "Daybreak" (6:29) opens with some very pastoral, relaxed atmospherics. These last and gradually thicken for about a minute before the full band ignites into action, launching into a nice jazzy guitar-based weave that soon supports the vocalist. There is a kind of 3RDEGREE and THE MERCURY TREE feel to this section until the 4:35 mark when a funky drum'n'bass takes over giving us a PARLIAMENTian synth solo. Interesting. I'm not sure it works, but it is definitely interesting. (8/10)

2. "Slumberless Sun" (4:29) opens with a very delicate vocal accompanied by jazz guitar chords before the full band kicks in--bringing us a little SANTANA/THE MARS VOLTA-like dual guitar section. Returning to the softer vocal section we are treated to several harmonizing vocal tracks to go along with the main lead. The next instrumental section is drenched with keyboards and even a Mellotron sound. Another vocal section changes things up (a chorus?) melodically. Good song that never really climbs to greatness. (8/10)

3. "Brain Song" (6:09) opens in a kind of 70s jazz wash before cutting down to a nice little syncopated groove coming from the rhythm section--and joined by organ and lead guitars. THE TEA CLUB-like vocal harmonies throughout with plenty of jazzy jazz, bass, keyboard, guitar and drum runs and riffs but never really congealing into anything of substance. (8/10)

4. "Calligraphy" (7:28) opens with some bluesy jazz guitar chords, arpeggi and chord progressions before the band joins in to establish another intricate instrumental jazz weave over which an ADRIAN BELEW/THE TEA CLUB-like vocal establishes itself. At the two minute mark the rhythm style switches to a kind of Carribean-Afro-pop sound. At 3:00 it switches again, this time into something again completely different, into a more piano-based jazz-rock form-- KANSAS, ELP and LYNYRD SKYNYRD all come to mind--though the vocal becomes all AXL ROSE. A return to the Afro- pop beat and sound yields a pleasant vocal and nice slowly flanged electric guitar solo. Almost a winner. (8/10)

5. "Space Revealed" (8:30) opens with syncopated piano, bass and drum play over which piano treble hand and lead guitar perform some PAT METHENY/LYLE MAYS-like duplicated melody lines. Then, at 1:37 an older sounding jazz rhythm is established by the piano before buzz guitar and the rest of the band's instrumentalists join in with an oddly timed pulse-and release accompaniment joins in. By the fourth minute the music has leveled into a very familiar straightforward 1970s electronic jazz fusion sound--with Fender Rhodes being the central character to the music. A really nice drum-led section ends the sixth minute and carries forward into a crazed section which then culminates into the tightest whole-band play (thanks drums!) over which an awesome jazz fusion guitar lead solos. LARRY CORYELL is reborn! Awesome to the end! (9/10) 7. "Speedbump Catalyst: Upon The Wheel, Blessing In Disguise, Energetic Tides, The Road Alone" (15:56) starts out very beautifully--very European classical pastoral, but then evolves into something much more American. I find that this song is most interesting for its piano and drums work as well as for its GUNS'N'ROSES vocals and chord structures. (8/10)

8. "Safe Passage" (1:09) is a pretty little piano-based piece. (8/10)

9. "From The Night Sky" (4:12) opens with some electric piano and some jazzy rhythm play with an interesting and pleasant MIDLAKE-like folk vocal and sound. (9/10)

Much of this interestingly composed music is performed with an incongruous muted jazziness. Nice music results but nothing great--nothing that I'm going to go humming along for days or nothing that I'm going to go shouting out about. This is an innocuous music that impresses a little but cries out for . . . something more. What exactly are they trying to be (and become)? Pleasant music from very competent musicians. I think they are still struggling to find a sound within which they can all gel. We'll see. I'd like to see these wonderfully talented young men get out of their heads and jam from their hearts. But that's just me. What do I know?!

 Rise Of The Waterfowl by FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 76 ratings

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Rise Of The Waterfowl
Farmhouse Odyssey Symphonic Prog

Review by Hrychu

5 stars This album reincarnated my hopes that retro prog will rise from the ashes. Farmhouse Odyssey's symphonic-fusion dipped second album is a real emotional bomb. Everything ranging from the ideas, to instrumentation and orchestration choices to the nuances in production feels... homely. A nostlagic and touching scent vibrates through the air, as the digital disc is swiftly spinning. Alex Espe's soft and trembling legato creates a very (for the lack of a better term) cute atmosphere. He might not be a technical master? but he is able to convey an enthralling mood really well. His keyboard sounds, which in my opinion serve as the main glue holding the music together are very organic and feel genuine, with the ability to not only power through the mix like a bullet, but also wrap you in mystery and curiosity. The rhythym/guitar section supports him effortlessly, inducing the rest of the emotional spectrum in the listener (the guitar solo that comes around minute 8 in Speedbump is pure elegance). On the other hand, Rise of the Waterfowl isn't a timelss ultramasterpiece. Sometimes, the magic is not present, especially when you see through how hard they tried to push the emotional barrier and thus the music sounds a teeny bit colorless (and a little too cute). Anyway, despite the minor nitpick, it's still a gorgeous record of sugary cosy and spark of authenticality, that in my humble opinion, many new symphonic progressive bands lack.
Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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