(New Album Review) Agassiz Oscillation Ensemble- Workplace Democracy

Agassiz Oscillation Ensemble are a Minnesotan collective that, like Hototogisu and Vibracathedral Orchestra, do not craft songs so much as living, breathing musical spaces. Their impressive debut Workplace Democracy recently came out on cassette from Chicago’s 1980 Records.

There is never any one focal point here, just a slowly contorting mass of clattering percussion and groaning acoustic strings swirling around the grave invective of sometimes-leader Allen-Killian Moore’s imagistic poetry. The album is one long form piece divided into two manageable chunks. To choose a blank canvas and then maximize the overtones with blunt force leaves so much room for the mind to manifest in unexpected ways. Indeed, bands such as these are “psychedelic” in the true sense for their confident, freely-flowing sonic unpredictability. Workplace Democracy is the sound of a haggard brain searching furtively through a thick undergrowth of abstractions. The intuitively-controlled chaos leads up from the roots into the ambiguous glimmer of a checkered daylight. This one comes highly recommended to all fans of psych-drone, free improvisation, and noise.

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