With a sprawling body of weirdness tracing back to mid-'70s Bloomington, Ind., and the groundbreaking avant-rock ruckus of MX-80 Sound, the East Bay collective known as O-Type has no shortage of pedigree. While playing in a host of configurations such as MX-80, the Gizzards, the Mutants, and Half-Life, the group's members have done everything from musique concrète and guitar improv to soundtracks and cover tunes. Looking back over the enigmatic career path of the O-Type nexus, it's heartening to see these journeymen experimentalists still adding new dimensions to their peculiar audio universe. And according to bassist/sample manipulator Dale Sophiea, they're not stopping any time soon: He half-jokingly envisions a sci-fi future where the members trigger their instruments with brain-implanted chips.
In the meantime, Sophiea, guitarists Bruce Anderson and Jim Hrabetin, and percussionists Dave Mahoney and Marc Weinstein will interface with their gear in a more tactile manner — but not a wholly conventional one, judging from some of the inscrutable, far-flung atmospherics on O-Type's latest offering, Medication. The third movement in a five-album “New Edge” suite (issued via the Bloomington-based Family Vineyard label), Medication is a virtual journey to the center of your medicine cabinet. Each of the 12 cuts takes its title from potential prescription-drug side effects, such as “Exaggerated Feeling of Well-Being,” “Decreased Production of Tears,” “Ringing in the Ears,” and the ever-popular “Metallic Taste.” In turns proggy and post-industrial, Medication's ruminative swirl can easily induce “Euphoria,” “Melancholy,” and/or “Delirium.” So be careful with that heavy machinery, and consult your physician before listening.