Ostinato

Chasing the Form

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"Ostinato" is defined as "a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm" -- probably a better name for some motorik-styled Krautrockers or a four-on-the-floor house DJ than the group heard here, because Ostinato the band are anything but repetitive. Their third album, Chasing the Form, should unarguably be filed under P for "prog," but the progressive rock of old, where complex arrangements, meandering instrumental passages, and technical prowess are all on display, but also where the music is song-driven, and occasionally actual lyrics guide the way between long excursions into non-vocal space rock territory. Pink Floyd and King Crimson come to mind, but so do modern practitioners of '70s-era prog like Secret Machines and Crime in Choir. Even a tad of the indie prog/math rock approach of bands like Volta Do Mar, Maserati, and Turing Machine enters their lexicon. But Ostinato have a voice of their own, where driving juggernaut drumming is balanced with bridges favoring off-kilter rhythms, and yet the obligatory odd time signatures are unnecessary. The guitars are mostly arpeggiated single-string washes of sound instead of clich├ęd scale-running "soloing," while the melody line is often carried by the bass guitar. Ranging in length from under three to nearly 11 minutes, the songs are studies in diversity. The opener, "Goal of All Believers," is the only track to feature a prominent verse-chorus-verse structure and evokes a multi-suite epic penned by David Gilmour. The headlong abandon of "Monkey Gestures" dissolves into the languid psych dub of "Antiaircraft." "The Art of Vanishing" begins as a jazzy post-rocker but erupts into outer space midway through. The triptych of "Between the Years," "Volant," and the untitled closer are transcendent lullabies providing relief for the weary traveler. And the longest song, "Latitude," is a martial epic that catapults the listener to lands previously traveled only by the likes of Umma Gumma.

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