For over five years, progressive and jazz-minded psychedelic post-rockers Motion Turns It On (Chocolate Lab Records) have been developing a tight, yet free form sound they can call their own. In 2007 the then all-instrumental band released its impressive debut six-song Rima EP, and a live record, Live At The Southpaw, followed early the next year.
For its long-awaited debut full-length Kaleidoscopic Equinox, which hits stores Tuesday, February 16, the band recorded plenty of bass parts but went from a foursome to a “bass-free” trio (parting ways with Derek Sinquefield), which now consists of William Kenny (guitar), Steve Smith (drums) and Andres Londono (keyboards). They did however add one new wrinkle to its densely layered mix: vocals (courtesy of Londono and Kenny).
On Rima, MTIO already sounded like seasoned pros. If you had to draw comparisons, hints of fellow Texans Explosions In The Sky and Mars Volta, or even Chicago’s post-rock mainstays Tortoise could be found if you looked hard enough. With Equinox, you get an even more creative, intense and fucked-up beast of a sound. A kaleidoscope of sounds is more like it.
After a brief intro to the album, a heavy, five-minute long math rocker “Exchanging Souvenirs” gets the record off to an enjoyably noisy and forceful start.
Extraterrestrial sounds and feedback make up interlude “Teraform” before the one-two punch of jazz/rock tunes “Lo Pido Con Piedad” and “Occipitalized” blast through your speakers to show off the threesome’s incredibly tight arrangements and tremendous musicianship. The latter track would qualify as a frantic Mars Volta cover if you didn’t know better.
Elsewhere, the seven-minute-long “Moyedi,” despite its indecipherable distorted vocals, has a flair for the dramatic, musically speaking, but gets lost in itself for a bit too long around the halfway point, then without warning, heads into a strong, rockin’ steady finish.