Music, more so than any other medium, can evoke a visceral emotional response. A song can generate unbridled joys, bring out crushing sadness, or rocket you back in time to a hazy, long-forgotten memory lost in the recesses of your consciousness.
The latter is what Nonversations, the debut EP from Berlin’s Summon the Octopi, did for me. A wonderfully crafted post-rock record, the first few tracks brought me back to college dorm rooms overflowing with pot smoke and incense, debating political science with cute girls wearing drug rugs while a John Frusciante vinyl spins lazily in the corner.
While certainly less daring than Frusciante’s typical output, most of Nonversations does indeed impress. The intro track blends seamlessly into the first full-length song on the EP, “Slobodan the Sloth,” which rolls steadily back and forth between a calm, well-structured layering of guitars and an aggressive, almost metallic combination of open-chord harmonies and pounding drums. A few of the transitions in the song itself come off as a tad forced, but the opening salvo of intricate instrumentation is certainly the best track on the album.
“It’s Been Sick, So I Tried To Feed It Some More” and “Lulling Waves, Sullen Gaze (All Is Space)” play more into the post-hardcore genre, almost reminiscent of a sans-vocal At The Drive-In or their predecessors. “Apricots Apricate (Alligators Alligate)” is a wonderful blend of rhythmic involvement and harmonic dissonance. Sadly, “Rehabosaurus Rex” is sort of a floater – while a good effort, the only song on the EP to bear a vocal part just sort of drones on over a cutesy classical guitar part.
All in all, Nonversations is a terrific effort by the self-described “one-dude band from Berlin, Germany.” While not a perfect record, and certainly falling short of the moniker “experimental,” the intricate guitar and drum work can easily earn a spot on the shelf of anyone just looking for something to lull them into an unusually dark state of relaxation.
02. Slobodan The Sloth
03. It’s Been Sick, So I Tried To Feed It Some More
04. Apricots Apricate (Alligators Alligate)
05. Rehabosaurus Rex
06. Lulling Waves, Sullen Gaze (All Is Space)
Run Time: 19:30
Release Date: November 17, 2014
Check out the album ‘Nonversations’