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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Open Star Clusters - Bloodletting

Open Star Clusters is not a band for people who like things spoon-fed to them. They are an uncompromising noise-rock nightmare. Mercilessly assaulting conventions of songwriting, band structure and soundscape; this project began as an ambitious and inclusive project headed by Rick Visser (who was the central force behind the Tape Reels For Eyes movement). I have a very personal connection to this movement and to these people, by way of location and shared sensibilities.

Early OSC would mostly consist of Rick solo, with pedals, guitar, 4-track (or other tape based machine), occasional saxophone, and any number of unexpected additions. Over time Rick put together his first incarnation of the OSC band, which was nearly 20 people (myself included). Mostly percussion and vocals, the performance went of mostly without issue and was a success. Over time a solid formation began with OSC, the addition of brilliant local drummer Nate Sadowski, brilliant local weirdo Scott Bowers-Defino on guitar and brilliant spastic nutjob Sean Heslin on various electronic noise machines. They recorded a stellar EP "Various Forms of Animalcula" in '06-'07 and played a ton of shows all over the place.

Then they set out on a proper LP, Bloodletting, in '08 for release in '09. These songs are fucking CRAZY. Noisy as all fuck, time signatures all over the place, and (the best addition to the mix) instrument switching. Nate Sadowski wanted to do some guitar work, and that matched with the moderately equal skill (and distinctive flavor each member contributes) caused the band to switch instruments for sets of songs. There were several that had Scott Bowers-Defino on drums (and his delightfully Frog Eyes-esque drumming style) and several with Rick Visser on drums (which he beats with a wreckless abandon all his own). This switching made for some of the most interesting combinations of sounds and songs that could have ever come from this group. Different members were on lead vocals for certain songs. Each member has their set of unique skills which I think were perfectly tapped and harnessed for this straight up MAGICAL album of ferocity and joy.

The song titles are silly. The vibe is a dizzying array of tongue-in-cheek humor, menacing seriousness, inclusive bliss and vicious bile.

Recently, while hooking me up with these song titles Scott Bowers-Defino said "I can't believe we toured this band...". That's how wild this is.

Rick Visser went on to be in Brooklyn's White Suns, Scott Bowers-Defino and Nate Sadowski went on to form the acclaimed Fins with John Lydon, and as a result there is very little record of this band aside from their physical releases (if you can find them).


See some insane-o live videos below:

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