O.S.I. - Free

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 245/SPV 085-48862
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:11:00

The first album was far more substantial than Free, the second album from O.S.I. On the first record the melodies, structures and the intent all seem more gutsy - if perhaps simpler.

Free, on the other hand, has more of what we're coming to recognize as Kevin Moore's signature sound - vacillating between spacey, and ambient, with a soft acoustic and muted electronic approach.

O.S.I. is the joint project of ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore, and Jim Matheos, guitarist for Fates Warning. There are strong drumming contributions from part-time collaborator and Dream Theater boss Mike Portnoy, and bass lines on 5 songs are by Fates Warning's Joey Vera. But despite the background of those artists, you won't hear gobs of progressive metal. In fact there's hardly a note of any sort of metal on this CD - and it has more in common with a Hawkwind than with a Dream Theater. Matheos' famous riffs are present but reigned in, small overdubs and sampled sounds are pushed way back into the mix, a lot of the percussion is programmed, and there's a lot of breathing room between the instruments - all adding to the album's approachable, laid back, ambient mood.

There are very few instrumental-only sections, and it's a vocals-oriented piece. Kevin Moore's delivery is in a lazy mid-ranged tone with just enough reverb to evoke Porcupine Tree or Blackfield comparisons. Having said that - unlike the band's debut album, Steven Wilson wasn't involved with this one.

Free will be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Some listeners will find it puts them to sleep. Others will appreciate the relaxed, non-challenging, subtle music that can easily be pushed into the background. They'd both be right. This CD has some subtle elements that only grab you after several listens, yet many sections that are just too linear to develop in any way regardless of how many times you spin the CD. Opening track "Sure You Will," for example, could easily find a spot in a Clearchannel playlist.

Think Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd on valium. Or if you're familiar with Kevin Moore's Chroma Key or his solo releases, you'll have a good idea of the laid-back, space-out stuff you can expect.

The special edition release (IOMSECD 245/SPV 089-48860) contains a bonus disc (19:25)

Sure You Will (3:46) / Free (3:20) / Go (4:16) / All Gone Now (5:13) / Home Was Good (5:03) / Bigger Wave (4:30) / Kicking (3:52) / Better (4:06) / Simple Life (4:00) / Once (6:34) / Our Town (3:20)

2nd disc of special edition: OSIdea 9 (3:33) / Set It On Fire (3:42) / Communicant (3:47) / When You're Ready (demo) (3:09) / Remain Calm (4:08) / Old War (1:06)

Jim Matheos - guitars, keyboards and programming
Kevin Moore - vocals, keyboards and programming

Guest Artists:

Mike Portnoy - acoustic drums
Joey Vera - bass on 5 tracks

Office of Strategic Influence (2003)
Free (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 9th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website: www.osiband.com
Hits: 1214
Language: english


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