Following his original Psychic Temple creation, composer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Schlarb has united another outrageous selection of talent for Psychic Temple II, an eclectic mix of pop, jazz, and prog.
Going on three years without new material, the multifaceted Free Moral Agents — led by former Mars Volta keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens — has released the hypnotic and concise first single from its Chaine Infinie EP, which comes out next week.
Speaking to a relationship that lives on despite its seeming conclusion (“It doesn’t matter where you go, because I know you; I’m in your mind”), the smoky, bare-bones, black-and-white video is a two-minute closeup of singer Mendee Ichikawa. Watch and enjoy.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01-North-Is-Red.mp3|titles=Free Moral Agents: “North Is Red”]
Mars Volta fans know Isaiah “Ikey” Owens as a master keyboardist, also lending his talents to the related experimental dub/reggae side project De Facto. But Owens’ own one-time side project, Free Moral Agents, has transformed into a full-time band with a second studio release, Control This. Though his musical associations are enough to give him reputable standing as a versatile and adaptable session player, Free Moral Agents is far from sounding like a complex math-rock outfit.
The band’s music is, however, complex in its own way. Control This is an omnivorous kind of record — as diverse as it is visionary — and is comfortable in taking on different musical personas at once. Over a combination of ambient pop and trip hop, crunchy guitar riffs and avant-garde fusion motifs construct a critical foreground, and the esoteric vocals of Mendee Ichikawa make for a strong and fitting melodic element.