May 15, 2019

The Fantastic World of Stop Motion Orchestra

You walk up to a brightly colored door. You knock. The door swings open. You are beckoned in with a graceful sweep of the hand. Inside, you witness an epic celebration. You are immediately overwhelmed, mesmerized, and entertained. You are having unabashed fun, dancing with wild abandon, and then, suddenly you have a strong desire to take a music theory class…

It is pure, intellectual bliss. You feel welcomed and challenged at the same time. You start to wonder if the term “serious party” is an oxymoron or not.

From the very first listen, Stop Motion Orchestra will invite you into their fantastic world with a sound that might be described as “raucously elegant.” The group’s variety of musical styles (free jazz, modern classical, prog, new wave) combine brilliantly to create something new. This is not some post-modern amalgam though. This is a new form of beauty, a style that has its own catchy hooks that pull you in, but then slide into more complex melodies and rhythms that keep you coming back for more. Every listen is an adventure. And, you feel like the group has as much fun playing their music as you have listening to it.

From my interview with the band’s founder, Mohadev, it sounds like the group does sincerely enjoy their art. Mohadev composes most of the music and provides impressive electric guitar chops, while bringing leadership to his “dream band.”

Formed in 2014, the group is made up of local Austin musicians, each of whom bring something unique to the party.  Alden Doyle is a classically trained violinist who can also play a mean fiddle. Check out his beautiful work on the song “News and Ice Cream.” Henna Chou is the cellist and synth player. Chou is an artist who also helps run Church of the Friendly Ghost, the local arts organization that supports the annual New Media Art and Sound Summit. Sam Arnold is the man on bass and acoustic guitar. He also plays and sings in local band Opposite Day, and you can hear the math rock goodness shine through in his work for the Orchestra. Polyrhythmic drumming bliss is provided courtesy of prog rocker Charlie Duncan, who also plays in local band Obnosticon. Leila Henley, also known for her work with the Invincible Czars, provides woodwinds and voice.

Personally, I’m new to Stop Motion Orchestra, even though their album Instant Everything! has been out for more than a year. I’m impressed – and have had it on repeat for some time now. Something tells me that I’ll be enjoying their sound for years to come.

As violinist Alden Doyle says, “we all have great respect for Mohadev’s compositions, which push the progressive envelope, but always remain a bit more familiar.”

I couldn’t agree more and hope that you do too.

You can check out Stop Motion Orchestra live on January 9th, 2016 when they open for Thinking Plague at the Salvage Vanguard Theater. Buy tickets here.

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The Grackle Diversion