Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
The second album in Oneida's as-yet-unfinished album triptych makes me think that there's nothing other than the artwork to tie them together. Not that that's a bad thing. Oneida gets prolific here and churns out a triple album. It's probably a good rule of thumb that no one should go for the triple album (ask the Clash), but here it seems more of a matter of organization. Each disc is extremely distinct. The first is an electronic fused ball of experimental sounds, while the third is devoted to the band drone jamming to more live grooves. These two discs are probably better than 'Preteen Weaponry' and for me positions the band as the most deserving heirs to krautrock making music today (we'll ignore the fact that Oneida is from the NYC area). The second disc doesn't hold my interest nearly as much, as the band ads vocals and goes for a more standard indie rock sound - granted it's droning, intense indie rock, and it probably works well in a concert setting, but it's by far the disc I play the least.
Just to screw with your mind, the first disc makes me think of a modern update of Can's "Tago Mago," although I'd certainly say that that particular album does remain far ahead of its time. "Brownout in Lagos" definitely fits its title, with a low rent booming bass sound vying with claustrophobic, mildly dangerous sounding electronic squiggles. "Story of O" gives us the unprocessed band's first trip out with Kid Millions providing another amazing drumming setpiece. Of the late space jams, "O" is about as peaceful as this band gets, with some sitar sounds trying to scale a mountain of tribal drumming and electronic drones. "Folk Wisdom" is a long trip through the psychedelic battleground, and could probably be substituted for a side of an Ash Ra Tempel album without anyone knowing the wiser.
Oneida tries out a whole like of different masks on this monster of an album, and typically manages to pull it off. I'll be the first to admit that I far prefer the wild excursions through interstellar space as opposed to the more grounded tunes found on the second disc, but the bands chops shine through the whole thing (well, except those damn indie rock vocals). If you've warn out the grooves on all those vintage Can albums, this isn't a bad place to go.
*Note: Part 3 was released on Jun 6, 2011 under the title "Absolute II"