Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Charles the Osprey drops math rock without losing the audience

December 3, 2010

Charles the Osprey should be proud to know that their vinyl of Consider was the last thing in my record player before I broke it. In fact, it was actually in my record player when I broke the needle (or stylus, according to Wikipedia). It deeply disheartens me, because I only got to listen to this excellent album two or three times on vinyl. When I get a new needle (and if you’ve ever owned a record player, you know how that goes), it will be the first thing that I listen to.

Charles the Osprey is two dudes: Rafael Ohli on guitar and Derek Lancioni on drums. They make instrumental math rock in the most spartan way possible: straight up. No pedals, no loops, no overdubs, nothing but straight performances. This makes the music they put out all the more amazing; sometimes it still sounds like Ohli is using a loop pedal, because his guitar playing is so complex. The only change in sound is from clean to distorted, which Ohli does with a channel switch. In spite of (and because of) these limitations, they crank out fascinating tunes that push the imagination of the listener.

Sometimes math rock can get esoteric and unfun, but Charles the Osprey never let that happen; knowing the limitations of their sound and of their listeners compel the members to change up the sounds, moods and tempos of their songs. Lots of patterned playing goes on, but never without melody (thank you, thank you, thank you). These guys know what’s up, and this album is proof of it.

If you’ve got a record player, the record itself is gorgeous: hunter green vinyl in a cardstock gatefold with great art and funky song titles. In short, I reiterate what I said at the beginning: when I get my record player fixed, this is going to be the first thing I play on it. It’s just that good. Best vinyl I’ve gotten all year.


Comments: (2)

On December 10, 2010 Raf wrote...

Oh yeah -- we're honored to break your record player!

On December 19, 2010 Kenny Eaton wrote...

Hi, my name is Kenny Eaton. Great site! I play guitar in the loop-based math/post/prog rock band, Time Columns. The entire foundation of our sound is built on guitar and keyboard looping using the Gibson Echoplex and related loop pedals to create layers of intricate rhythms. I’m wondering if you might be interested in writing a review of our latest album release, Sunriseinthesea EP, or conducting an interview relating to our music, upcoming January tour and looping. Send me an email at and I’ll be happy to get you anything you need. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. Once again, great post! You can download Time Columns’ EP for free at -Kenny Eaton/Time Columns (TOUR DATES, MEDIA) (FREE DOWNLOADS)

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of instrumental music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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