Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's hard to top the gimmick behind the side project Octant: Satisfact's Matt Steinke and Mocket's Tassy Zimmerman created virtually all of the music on Shock-no-par using their assortment of homemade robots. The results depart from such robo-centric rock bands as Servotron (evil robots play terse, Devo-inspired rock) and Captured! By Robots (a man is forced to play music by his robotic tormentors), instead crafting odd, cluttered rock songs that happen to restlessly whir, bleep, plink, and clatter. Octant doesn't spend a whole lot of time winking at its audience, instead letting the robot noisemakers do much of the talking—a good portion of Shock-no-par is instrumental, for starters—but that's both a blessing and a curse. If you didn't know Octant's music was made by robots, you'd just think Shock-no-par is an extremely clamorous, relatively minor rock record. Which it more or less is: The 25-minute running time keeps the trick fairly fresh, but if it weren't for the inclusion of several short films on the multimedia track, it would be worth far more for its novelty value than for its contents. Steinke and Zimmerman often get their creations to make a fairly compelling racket, especially on the instrumental "Pong," but it's the concept more than the music that makes it work.

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