04 Aug Episode 52 – Eight-Sided Views of Two-Headed Turtles: The Mars Volta’s Octahedron
A journey through a wilderness of Nembutals and Luciforms, The Mars Volta’s fifth album offers up a radical departure from the itinerant mania of The Bedlam in Goliath, to explore the inscrutable, dream-like vistas of the interior mind. Though songs like “Teflon” and “Cotopaxi” puncture the reverie with their rhythmic brawn, Octahedron is governed by an acquiescence to the spacious, liminal dimensions of the dream-state. Festooned with the surrealist art of Jeff Jordan, Octahedron travels the paths of psychic borders and the distorted geographies of the human mind put under the pressures of the absurd. We invite you to descend with us into this quiet miasma.
Hunter mentions in this episode De Facto, the dub/Latin band featuring Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Ikey Owens, and Jeremy Ward, who operated from 1998 to 2003. Incidentally, Ward provided the muse for the first Mars Volta full-length, De-Loused in the Comatorium, following his untimely death.
John Frusciante, lynchpin in Red Hot Chili Peppers (a band uniformly disliked by the hosts of this podcast), has made numerous, godlike contributions to the music of The Mars Volta, and appears in fine form on Octahedron. Your sins are forgiven, Mr. Frusciante. We offer you absolution in return for your noble deeds.
Yeah, yeah…Jeff said “Cedric” at 59:32, but meant “Omar.” A bizarre sound glitch happens early on, too, and Jeff wants to confirm he said “crafty,” not “crappy,” re: Steve Zimmerman.
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Music cited, in order of appearance:
[all from The Mars Volta, Octahedron, 2009]
“Since We’ve Been Wrong”
“Halo of Nembutals”
“With Twilight As My Guide”
episode 53 preview: Virus, “Dogs With Wheels” (Carheart, 2003)
Radical Research is a conversation about the inner- and outer-reaches of rock and metal music. This podcast is conceived and conducted by Jeff Wagner and Hunter Ginn. Though we consume music in a variety of ways, we give particular privilege to the immersive, full-album listening experience. Likewise, we believe that tangible music formats help provide the richest, most rewarding immersions and that music, artwork, and song titles cooperate to produce a singular effect on the listener. Great music is worth more than we ever pay for it.
This is Radical Research Podcast episode 52.