Hear The Track HereEvery once in a while my review blog will inspire someone to holler at me for a review and this month is no exception, this time from Californian Oji. Don't know anything about this guy prior to him getting in touch but he was kind enough to send me a link to download the whole of the Collective Conscious Project, a seven track CD (I guess). Where you can get that, click on the link above and ask, but you'll also find most of the tracks playing on the page anyway. Oji seems to be responsible for most everything you hear although there is someone featured (I guess on backing vocals) but I can't make out the name from the CD cover. When I first heard Collective Conscious (Track 1) I definitely felt the ghosts of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart walking in the track. Now whether that is because Oji and the original masters of lunacy came from the San Francisco area, or whether it's because this style fits Oji like no other.
There is no doubt in my mind that Oji is something apart, almost unclassifiable.
That's because he grabs huge chunks of musical culture out of the ether and stitches them together with the strangest bunch of songs you are likely to hear this side of nirvana buddy. While the title track sets the tone for the CD ( a very strange but charming tone at that) LovevolveLivEvil (Track 2) merely cements the feeling that this is not Kansas anymore Toto. Espiona'ge (Track 3) is one of the main highlights for this reviewer, a very classy sound, a mind-boggling arrangement and some lovely performances. Before I go any further, you may be under the impression that this may be 'difficult' music, but I think it would probably boil down to whether you like Oji's very idiosyncratic (sung/spoken) vocal style. Judged from a purely technical level, Oji could wipe the floor with most artists I have reviewed but I am enormously biased because I do admire musicians who push the envelope and develop something that is specially theirs - usually one and the same thing.
Oji does that with such dash and skill, once you get the taste you'll be hooked. Hellz7even (Track 4) shares all of the traits of the preceeding tracks, clever arrangements, but comes with a surprisingly sassy poppy sound, and another of my favourites from the CD. It reminds me strongly of the very earliest Prince records, at least in terms of ideas and sheer style. Goddess Here (Track 5) strays into funk jazz but not in a manner you have probably heard before. Probably one of the stranger tracks on the CD but one I got comfortable with given enough time. Although I haven't had much time to concentrate on the lyrics, it's obvious that the ideas poured into the music and production is mirrored lyrically and Answer Your Calling (Track 6) pours yet more of this magical mixture into your ears (and I could have sworn I heard Bootsy in there somewhere). Lifetime Supply (Track 7) closes the CD and brings all of the influences I have mentioned so far and stirs in just about every genre there is into the mix (including a snatch that sounds suspiciously like Smoke on The Water) and damn me if it doesn't work a treat. Odd? Yep, I'll grant you that. But I'd also add words like brilliant and f******* genius and madman into the bargain and utterly, completely and finally original to the core.
MUST HAVE. So unique it's jaw dropping.