Monday 28 Jul

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Indie · Empty Space Orchestra — Empty...

Empty Space Orchestra — Empty Space Orchestra

Brilliant, jazz-influenced post-rock

Stephen Carradini May 10th, 2011

I’m not sure why I’ve encountered large amounts of jazz-influenced post-rock this year, but I’ve heard so much of it that I’ve got Colin Stetson’s mindblowing “New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges” atop my current best of 2011 list.


Empty Space Orchestra’s self-titled full-length doesn’t unseat Stetson, but it certainly makes a run for it.

The trick with ESO is that they know how to balance their songwriting. If total mood pieces and obliterating guitar work are on opposite sides, ESO is running down the line between the two, grabbing stuff from both sides.

Opener “Brainjar” shows off this aesthetic well, as a patterned riff played by sax, guitar and bass kicks off the tune. Then the band drops immediately into a bass-heavy groove accented by guitar and sax. Then they ratchet up the intensity with some more riffs. Later on, they drop into mood-piece mode, with tons of reverb, rumbling toms and swooping synths. They ratchet up tension throughout the entire section, then sprint the last half-mile to the finish with distorted guitars and charging drums.

All of that happens in one seven-minute tune.

Then they’re off to the races with the Muse-esque piano and regimented snare of “Exit Strategy.” The band doesn’t let up for a minute throughout the entire 50-minute album, which makes this an exhilarating listen. It also helps that their sounds vary dramatically from track to track without losing the overall feel of the work.

The plodding first half of “Tiger Puss” leads up to a mega-distorted guitar tone and riff. “Tennessee Red” sounds like a sludge metal band instead of a post-rock one. Follow-up track “The Hangar” starts off with a European waltz on a piano. Closer “Clouds” is probably the best 10-minute track I’ll hear this year, as it combines all of the things I’ve been lauding into one ginormous composition.

Whatever your complaint is with post-rock (unless it’s “there are no words!”), Empty Space Orchestra has it covered. This is the sort of album that wins non-genre fans over, because the songs are just so good. Do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it. —Stephen Carradini

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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