Okinawa

by Oho

Released 2010
Vintage
Released 2010
Vintage
"Astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barret-era Floydland; some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics--but all around inventive and well-crafted." (Trouser Press Record Guide)
NOTES
Here we have the official CD reissue of Okinawa, a rare progressive/psychedelic album by Baltimore band OHO, 1st released as a 15 track vinyl 12" record in July 1974. This Vintage disc features the original recordings in their intended sequence, now including 15 "bonus" tracks from the original sessions that were omitted from the original 1974 record due to the then prohibitive cost of releasing a double LP.

The Vintage package includes extensive liner notes and hermeneutics in a 20-page booklet along with credits, lyrics, anecdotes, "classic" quotes, poems, period photographs and much more. The unique garage-progressive/proto punk/"kitchen sink" style of OHO will appeal to fans of the Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Gentle Giant school of progressive music as well as to those looking for something original, psychedelic and/or bizarre and daring. This 74 minute CD comes housed in high gloss tri-fold Pepto Bismal-pink digipak cover!

OHO guitarist Jay Graboski worked closely with the Vintage label overseeing the new digital remastering of this classic material that is now over 36 years old. Jay has been a member of this ever transmogrifying ensemble since late 1973 when rehearsals for the January 1974 recording sessions for Okinawa began, and continues to record and perform under this moniker with drummer/multi-instrumentalist, David Reeve.

OHO? Aha! That's a name that rings bells. Baltimore's answer to Pink Floyd, an American underground icon, a band that came out of nowhere playing music the chroniclers swore was years ahead of its time. OHO sneaks around the musical conventions that have mummified so many others, unleashing sliders where you'd expect curve balls, fast balls where you'd expect change-ups. Part of its their sense of humor, part of it their unerring humanity. A curious anomaly, the band was totally out of synch with current musical trends when they formed in late 73, a five-piece multi-instrumental, avant garde, acid-progressive band from Baltimore with a do-it-yourself lifestyle and album/label/outlook who were either seven years too late or seventeen years too early. They remain enigmatic, but certainly made some daring music in their time.

Like the Residents, these guys seem to be an artistic collective of some sort having released albums, a single, various compact discs, DVD's, tapes and literature demonstrating their own demented aesthetic. OHO is one of those curious oddball bands who existed in the pre-dawn of the independent label revolution. "Okinawa" is OHOs first album and is now finally available on compact disc!

Recorded in January 1974, it is astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barrett-era Floydland: some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics; but all-around inventive and well crafted. OHO combined the theater-rock-dialogue format of Genesis with the crazed-rock styles of "Wild Man" Fischer and Capt. Beefheart. Musically more progressive than psychedelic, an hour of "Okinawa" and you'll be carried away, via a weird pastiche of post-Zappa logic and Christopher Milk-like Anglo worship, to the tangerine jungle of marshmallow madness. The original edition of this great album has reached its current staple status on the collector circuit where it usually commands a substantial minimum bid.

"This brilliant offering from mid-Atlantic mainstays OHO is a record whose shock ripples have yet to disperse. Here is experimental cabaret Voltaire at its most befuddling. Probably the finest example of non sequiter not-high-art pre RIO since The Fugs Electromagnetic Steamboat or The Mothers' Absolutely Free, this is one of those records that will keep you guessing for the entire 74 minutes the laser is on the disc. But there's something here for everyone, from the straight rock of 'Duva' and 'Parts and Ponds,' surreal acoustic nocturnes ('Manic Detective' & 'Last Dance'), the free jazz wig jam, 'Board Organ,' to the muscular prog workouts: 'Hogshead,' 'Cragwheel,' and 'The Plague.' An absolute masterpiece of classic American indie rock." (Proglydite's Child)

"OKINAWA is Sgt. Pepper's for advanced listeners. Recommended to all who can release themselves from common sound structures and lend their ears to fantastic, almost avant garde, progressive, varied and inspired '70's music,. Dare to enjoy and take part in it! Honor those who deserve to be honored. OHO gets the gold!" (Hanf!, Germany)

"An album of immense proportions, there is a plethora of great music here. There are jams in the progressive vein that really get up there in high gear, loads of analog keyboards, horn sections (that includeded members of both the Stan Kenton and Don Ellis bands) and most of all, complete zaniness. It's an excellent album really, so fascinating and extreme." -Mike McLatchey (Expose, USA)

"Have you ever heard of OHO? This Baltimore group is the best group of the 70's that I know of, if not the very best 70's band of all." -Rolf Niemeier (Bucketful of Brains No. 3, UK)