The perennial battle between good and evil. This is exactly what you get in Trip Lava's concept album Octatroid, an all-instrumental fusion of styles which can be loosely termed as electronic/club and noise.
It actually plays better than I might have made it sound and fans of, say, Factory of Dreams's music may find some soundscapes to enjoy on Octatroid (no vocals to soften the music of course). Thinking on the Hugo Flores comparison, all of his music, including that under his own name and Sonic Pulsar, is probably a tad more conventional than that on Octatroid.
The problem with Octatroid is that, in setting the concept of evil to music, Joel Lee – the sole composer and performer of this music – has resorted to a series of electronic noises: whirrs, beeps, whooshes, clangs, bazooms, yeals, twangums etc. It's a technique that becomes tired over the course of the album. Thankfully, the forces of good are represented by more conventional music.
So, for instance, the track "Gurgblah Emerges" - which the CD booklet's story narration describes as "The evil robot transforms into a laser blasting monster. The villagers wage an attack but it's no use against Gurgblah's powerful rays of mayhem" – is weighted towards the noises/sounds representing the forces of darkness, the forces of evil. There is little musicality here. At the other extreme, the final track "Peace Returns" – "the villagers are now safe from the evil Gurgblah, and can live happily once again" – correspondingly contains some of the prettiest, melodic musical composition on the album. Octatroid himself, one of the heroes of our story, is a robot conjured up by a wizard that comes with a mighty arsenal of damage-inflicting tools via its eight appendages: imagine the sounds associated with the skills required to defeat Gurgblah! However, Octatroid does represent good, so there are moments of more conventional music when he is associated with the story, as are the villagers and the wizard.
Joel Lee has thankfully avoided the biggest trap of all when making this album – that of making it too long. As it is, with its vinyl length running time, it will provide enjoyment to those fans of science-fiction and fantasy who are prepared to give the work time, sit and listen, become immersed in the story and be transported to this fantasy world.
For them, a great pleasure awaits.
1) Trouble in the Skies (1:02)
2) Hover & Land (2:58)
3) Gurgblah Emerges (1:51)
4) The Villagers Retreat (3:33)
5) The Search for Zidrakong (2:38)
6) Zidrakong the Sorcerer (2:58)
7) Octatroid – Heroic Robot Warrior (1:18)
8) March to Battle (3:39)
9) Octatroid Must Rest (3:41)
10) Octatroid Reaches Mt. Meldagar (5:27)
11) Octatroid Climbs Mt. Meldagar (1:41)
12) Octatroid Vs. Gurgblah (3:56)
13) Peace Returns (2:51)