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OSI: re: free (EP)

Once the major labels began repackaging recently released albums and releasing them again (see Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, issued in April, and We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions-American Land Edition, which came out four months later), it was only a matter of time before that practice found its way into the progressive-rock ranks. Enter OSI, the band featuring ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore and Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos, who collectively and effortlessly float between King's X chunks and Pink Floyd swirls. On Free, released earlier this year, the dynamic duo was joined by such venerated guests as Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Fates Warning bassist Joey Vera on a record that's ultimately stronger and more cohesive and melodic than OSI's 2003 debut, Office of Strategic Influence. But now here comes re: free, remixes of three Free songs and a video. Couldn't these have been included on Free, just as the five additional (and relatively short) tracks on the "American Land Edition" of The Seeger Sessions could have been featured on the original release? Although you may question whether re: free is a necessary addition to the OSI oeuvre, once you accept it for what it is, you're left with almost 26 minutes of startlingly compelling music.

The "Go" remix, provided by Martin Gretschmann (also known as "Console," the respected keyboardist and programmer from the German electronica outfit the Notwist), creates freeform layers of sonically aesthetic tics and textures. Meanwhile, Moore's remixes of "Kicking" and "Home Was Good" come across as more abrasive, with harsh yet moderately paced blast beats, unintelligible vocal samples and a thick ambience that like Free never lose their melodic sensibilities.

Unless you're a Moore, Matheos or InsideOut Music completist (which, face it, you may very well be), re: free doesn't need to be in your music library. But like Magna Carta's 2002 Vapourspace album of electronic remixes, it's worth hearing how limitless this music (in the right hands) can be.

Track Listing:
1) Go (Console Remix)
2) Kicking (Kevin Moore Remix)
3) Home Was Good (Kevin Moore Remix)
4) Free (Video)

Added: November 16th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official OSI Web Site
Hits: 3052
Language: english

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OSI: re: free (EP)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-16 06:57:01
My Score:

OSI released the critically acclaimed Free earlier in 2006, a very different album from their debut Office of Strategic Influence, as the band moved away from any sort of prog-metal territory and more so into a melodic ambient/prog rock style. re: free is a new EP of remixes of three of the tracks from Free, and probably something for completists only and not for OSI fans who are starving already for new material. "Go", "Kicking", and "Home Was Good" are the songs picked for this EP (and there is a video for "Free" as well), and the new mixes turn these songs even more so into ambient, somewhat techno sounding washes of assorted blips, beats, and effects, with Kevn Moore's droning vocals at the helm. Ambient and trance fans will certainly love this, as there's a certain Tangerine Dream meets early Pink Floyd meets early Porcupine Tree theme going on here. However, after a while it all seems to sound like background music, regardless of how melodic these songs really are. I'm all for OSI offering up some alternative versions of a few of their songs, but come on guys, you mean to tell me you couldn't tack these on a special edition of Free?

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