In many ways, the Octopus Project’s new album, “Fever Forms” (out Tuesday on Peek-A-Boo Records), stands in opposition to the band’s hypnotic and expansive 2010 album “Hexadecagon,” which evolved out of a live multimedia and surround sound experiment. Nine of its 12 songs last for about three minutes or less; the approach hinges more on immediate blasts of the band’s bright electronic sound than slow-building mountains; and in general, the whole thing could be described as much more of a pop effort.
“The goal was to make this one more immediate, and just as different from the last one as possible,” said Octopus multi-instrumentalist Josh Lambert. “We’re always trying to force ourselves to get out of our comfort zone to make it challenging. That keeps it fun for us.”
With “Hexadecagon,” Lambert said, the band — Josh Lambert, Yvonne Lambert, Toto Miranda and Ryan Figg — took inspiration from minimalist composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Tracks including “A Phantasy” and “Toneloop” began with small ideas, single instruments that slowly conversed and interacted with other small ideas. “Fever Forms,” at its most concise, offers songs such as “Whitby,” a lush, bubbling two-and-a-half minutes with a buzzing bass line, sharp, fast-moving keyboards and vocals from Yvonne Lambert. Even on the instrumental pieces such as “Deep Spice,” there is far less waiting involved to get to the peak (or the climb is more extreme).
For Josh Lambert, at least some of the origins of “Fever Forms” can be traced back to recent run-ins with radio-friendly pop. “We have an 8-year-old niece; she eats that stuff up, and I’ve been listening to it with her a lot,” he said. “This stuff is amazing in its catchiness, and how it really gets to the point. It may not be my favorite music ever, but I really appreciate the craftsmanship of it.”
A second source, Lambert said, was the group’s live show, something that has sometimes been rated above their albums. “One thing we always get at shows is, ‘I love your shows and I love your records, but your shows are so much more intense,’ which is a great compliment, but I wish the records are more intense,” Lambert said.
As a bonus to supplement the music — something that the Octopus Project has embraced in the past — the band is releasing multimedia elements, including a stereoscopic trailer (think crossed eyes) and a 3D View-master, an idea that came about after an initial plan to use a 3D printer to print records for Fisher Price turntables proved too difficult.
Lambert, who attended film school at the University of Texas along with Miranda, said that creating visual elements, on a basic level, is just fun. “Once we’re done recording a record, it’s really exciting to see what else we can do to take those ideas further,” he said. “We just really like making stuff.”
The Octopus Project album release show
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: The Mohawk, 912 Red River St.