OK OK OK at Bennetts Lane

GIG / CD LAUNCH, June 16

Album: Searching, Finding

Sophia Exiner, piano/toy piano
Joshua Teicher, electric guitar/effects
Josh Holt, double bass
Rebecca Ari, vocals

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Sophia Exiner

On its Facebook page, OK OK OK describes itself as “a collaborative music project” and says “Sophia’s unique blend of traditional jazz elements and contemporary extended piano technique combine with Teicher’s electronic soundscapes and rock-based guitar playing and Holt’s rich, warm presence, making for a distinctive and intoxicating mix. The trio captures the broad brushstrokes of a film score together with lashings of playfulness, humour, art and improvisation.”

Their album, produced by Joe Talia, features vocalist Rebecca Ari on two tracks.

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Joshua Teicher

OK OK OK formed in 2007, when the band members were VCA students. Originally there was a drummer, Nick Martin, but when he was no longer available the other three decided to develop techniques to deal with the change. Exiner has studied with in the US with classical composer/pianists Amy Williams, Amy Briggs and Phyllis Chen. The band has performed in Berlin and New York.

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Sophia Exiner

For the CD launch OK OK OK played four tracks from the album — in the first set Carnival (Exiner) and in the second Alice (Exiner), Here We Go (Teicher) and Always Want More (Teicher). The first set opened with Skyland, named by one of Exiner’s piano students, in which varying tempos added layers of interest. Then came Underwater, with Exiner plucking the piano strings in the intro, and Having To Say Goodbye, which was solemn and majestic. After Carnival came Lost Highway, inspired by the David Lynch film.

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Josh Holt

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Josh Holt

It seems apt to describe this as “modern” music which is interesting rather than involving. It is cool in the manner of Jacam Manricks‘s album Labyrinth. The players have heaps of talent and are happy to explore and invent, but at this stage their music falls short of being “out there” (so there is an absence of the excitement that brings) and does not have the obvious (some would say too obvious) development of tension that attracts crowds to performances by The Necks.

On the night there was a lot to like about where the music took us, but the experience was not cathartic. I am not sure OK OK OK has hit its straps yet.

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Joshua Teicher

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Sophia Exiner

Now it’s confession time. As I have said before, I need educating on vocalists, and I’m happy for that to occur — gradually. In short, I often wish i could just listen to the instruments. But when Rebecca Ari joined the band in the second set, I did not enjoy the result. This is possibly my problem but I found the vocals too harsh and clashing in this instance. I did not stay for the whole set. It seemed as if the vocals and instrumental music were in conflict.

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Rebecca Ari

That said, plenty of Bennetts Lane patrons no doubt thought differently.

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Josh Holt and Joshua Teicher

OK OK OK is at the start of a journey that could take the band, and its fans, in exciting directions.

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Rebecca Ari

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