Stop Motion Orchestra - Hydnora

3 songs
15:40 minutes
***** ***
Egg Helmet


Even though the "rock in opposition" movement, which was anyway always more a political/cultural thing than a musical genre, was coming mostly from England and continental Europe, fans of the movement/genre might also turn their antenna towards the southern parts of the USA. Stop Motion Orchestra come from Austin in Texas, and after two albums released in 2014 and 2018, they came back this past Summer with a quarter hour short EP that still has enough to satisfy its fan base.

The heart piece of the record is the opener Blue Fog, which at nearly eleven minutes takes up most part of the EP. There are of course musical parallels to bands like Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Aksak Maboul or Etron Fou Leloublan, but Stop Motion Orchestra always manage to sound less oppressive, favouring a lighter, breezier approach. This long track consists of different movements, starting in a folk sounding way, before turning to a progressive post rock sound, followed by a more experimental middle parts and then ending by getting part to its more melodic components.

The two other tracks, both two and a half minutes long, are weirder additions. Spaghettification is rather experimental electronic composition than rock in opposition, but still pleases with its strange sounds. On The Floor is a cover version of a song from obscure Japanese avantgarde jazz band Wha-Ha-Ha from the early eighties, and one wonders where they excavated this weird but charming gem.

Stop Motion Orchestra are eight musicians on Hydnora, with the typical instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums) being augmented by violin, saxophones, cello and vibraphone. This makes for a really rich sounds that combines the best of both worlds, meaning rock and modern classical music. Hydnora is a pleasant if short pleasure, and one can only hope that Stop Motion Orchestra are soon back with another longplayer.

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